{ Queen Selita }

QueenSelita1|ABOVE| A Peace Treaty scarf, Pia Pauro caftan, Lela Rose gown

Danielle and Jodie Snyder’s Dannijo jewelry line has always been colorful, layered and irreverent, but for their Spring 2014 collection ~ which has just launched and coincides with the brand’s fifth anniversary (and first-ever bag line!) ~ the sisters updated those signatures with a darker-tinted twist. Employing onyx metal bases and a toughed-up, repeating railroad motif, the pieces have a refreshed strength and sophistication. Black and white themes lend a tribalistic bent, as if each item had been carved from dark horn and sun-bleached bone.

The designing duo asked me to art direct and style the campaign for this anniversary collection, and it got me thinking on all sorts of ideas about jewelry as talisman, as armor, as a badge of fierce femininity. The colors of the collection may have been inspired by film noir, but the imposing, sculptural elegance of their execution ~ coupled with Dannijo’s signature attitude toward unrestrained layering ~ reminded me of an array of African cultures, and the way so many of the women there have traditionally worn heavily-layered jewelry for aesthetic, societal and religious reasons. QueenSelita2|ABOVE| Anya Caliendo hat, Maiyet gown |BELOW| A Peace Treaty scarf, Alice + Olivia gown QueenSelita3When I started this project, I’d not yet been introduced to Candomblé (or Yoruba, the African culture from which that Brazilian religion descended), but I was already heavily familiar with the work of Malian photographer Seydou Keita, and deeply entranced by the confident style of the women in his pictures. QueenSelita4|ABOVE| vintage hat, Rebecca Taylor tunic, Maiyet skirt |BELOW| Anya Caliendo hat, Oscar de la Renta tiered coatdress and sleeveless dress QueenSelita5Visually, I’m delighted by the way that Keita’s subjects paired audaciously patterned, silk taffeta gowns with Kente cloth turbans, finishing their looks with a mash-up of Malian and Western accessories (Keita always kept European props and adornments in his studio, to mix into shoots). This subtle melding is part of what makes his pictures so special; they tell an underlying story of a culture in transition. To me, they’re beautiful but bittersweet, riddled with visual hints of the early ripples of industrialization and the homogenization of the modern world. QueenSelita6|ABOVE| Cynthia Rowley top, Carolina Herrera skirt |BELOW| A Peace Treaty scarf, Honor gown QueenSelita7The more I see of our earth, the more desperately I wish that its ancient tribes and customs could be preserved a little longer ~ not for the sake of some sort of quaint colloquial ideal, but because we lose a little wisdom, a bit of our shared soul, stories, specializations and secrets with each degree of modernization.QueenSelita8|ABOVE + BELOW| Rebecca Minkoff dress, BCBG skirt QueenSelita9I find inspiration in so many things: from great literature to North American suburbia to 1930′s cabaret, from Egyptian mythology to European fairy tales to the suffragette movement to West Coast sport culture. Fashion is about so much more than aesthetics; it’s about people ~ the customs they observe, the symbols they prize, and the moments in time they are both unwittingly trapped in and also actively shaping. QueenSelita10|ABOVE| vintage hat, Cynthia Rowley dress, Nanette Lepore sandals |BELOW| A Peace Treaty scarf, Lela Rose jacket, Zuhair Murad dress QueenSelita11Equality must be the greatest gift modernity has brought. It’s still a work in progress, but I was proud to look around the set of this shoot and see a diverse array of female entrepreneurs collaborating creatively. I was proud to be shooting bold jewelry designed by and for daring women, and proud to work with Selita Ebanks, a bighearted, hardworking model, actress and philanthropist whose beauty is only enriched by her age and experience. She truly became a queen in these images ~ not merely because of Chloe Crespi’s celebratory lens or due to my styling, but because of the innate confidence she herself brought to set. In that way, she honored the memory of Seydou Keita’s heroines more honestly than I could ever have planned. QueenSelita12|ABOVE + BELOW| Suno top, CH Carolina Herrera skirt QueenSelita13|QUEEN SELITA| starring Selita Ebanks + Dannijo jewelry and bags |PHOTOGRAPHY| by Chloe Crespi |STYLING| by Kelly Framel |HAIR| by Bethany Brill |MAKEUP| by Porsche Cooper |NAILS| by Jackie Saulsbery

  • http://www.eyelikefashion.com/ Eye Like Fashion

    Stunning jewelry! Colorful and dramatic!

    NEW POST up…



  • http://fashionmusingsdiary.blogspot.fr/ Miss J.
  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    Wow this series is amazingly beautiful!

    Mafalda ❤

  • http://www.bohemianjourneys.blogspot.com/ Cheyenne

    Those are some amazing pieces!


  • pinkschmink

    “Fashion is about so much more than aesthetics; it’s about people …”

    YES. When I started studying fashion formally a few years ago this was one of the most important things I learned, and it’s a concept that some people seem to have real trouble getting their heads around. Fashion is not just about the clothes we wear; it’s about the people we are, why we choose those clothes and what they say about us. Dress is one of our most important methods of non-verbal communication, and it’s about so much more than whether we prefer Chanel or Dior.

    This shoot is wonderful for so many reasons, and highlights an awe-inspiring sense of strength, beauty and confidence in Selita. I love it.

  • Smith

    The series look…really fabulous ……

    Buy Formal Trousers Online India

  • http://www.veredstyle.com/ Vered Horen

    Amazing styling and stunning jewelry!!!

    Just perfect!



    בלוג אופנה Vered’Style fashion blog


    Amazing Selita! The print mix is fab!


  • http://www.shallwesasa.com/ Sasa Zoe

    wow love the embellished clutch and the accessories<3

    New on http://www.shallwesasa.com

  • Shopopal

    Love the necklaces and beautiful fabrics!

  • Nico

    Amazing and inspiring, love the colors of these shots and love the jewels!

    New flash trend on lowbudget-lowcost Fashion Blog

  • Smart Dresser

    Amazing work and story! Congrats :)



  • RiAnge

    This is one the most fabulous fashion stories I have seen in a long time. Absolutely delicious!!!

  • Shandrese

    I love this so much!! The styling and photography is excellent and, of course, Selita is stunning!!


  • Magda Carvalho

    Hello, I am already following the blog and bloglovin!

    What wonderful photos love all, I can not choose one.



  • Liz
  • http://www.fancyalterego.wordpress.com/ Heather P.

    Well done! I love the combination of the modern, spiky design of the jewelry with the more classic and feminine florals. It works well to enhance the dark tone of the metal, yet keeps things still decidedly more girly than punk (and, by proxy, a bit more grown up).

    Congrats to Dannijo on your anniversary!

  • Mackenzie Mancuso

    Gorgeous photos!

    x Kenzie

  • Irene Laura

    Loving these shots!


  • http://dancelikenobodyswatching.me/ May

    I love all the colors and the patterns. Selina is breathtaking, I love her!


  • Katherine

    How many times have I visited here only to find something that is more resplendent than the time before? Your work is visually exquisite and immeasurable…it really is. I am continuously amazed. Thank you!

    • theglamourai

      What a beautiful thing to hear. Thank you!!


  • Hannah Thiessen

    Beautiful — I love these! I adore how you combined the older work’s look with a new take, new clothing, new everything. Brilliantly done.

  • ann john

    Amazing !!! jewelry FABULOUS!!!


  • http://mayviensocial.tumblr.com/ MAYVIEN
  • http://www.peppermintandpaisley.com/ Lady ID

    Oh my goodness – I love this shoot. I keep wondering who you got to tie the gele (stiff headscarf) in the fifth and eighth images. I used to be good at them but I need to practice again :)

    • theglamourai

      Thank you! And I tied them myself!!! I studied YouTube videos for WEEKS leading up to the shoot to learn how to do it properly. Check out behind the scenes photos (including my gele sculpting in action) here: http://www.theglamourai.com/2014/03/queen-selita-behind-the-scenes.html


      • http://www.peppermintandpaisley.com/ Lady ID

        Ok. You get SERIOUS props for that. I have a few weddings to attend this year and at least one will have traditional Nigerian (Yoruba) clothes and gele so I need to study.

        You did a great job!!!!

  • Lunay

    Its awesome. Love it it

  • Kathy Boykin

    I enjoyed every photo in this styling post. They are amazing and Selita is gorgeous.