We are Shala!

New York Magazine (August 22, 2011). Photo by: Brigitte Lacombe

By now, you should be aware of (if not following the success of) style muse, Ms. Shala Monroque. We are personally thrilled that the fashion world has started to recognize and pay homage to this stunning taste-maker who hails from the island of St. Lucia and who is always mentioned as “the girlfriend of art guru, Larry Gagosian“. Besides her impeccable style, gorgeous skin tone and bright smile, we (and when I say “We” I mean those like her), are happy to have a woman of color who is celebrated for being more than the spouse of a famous athlete or even the “foremost gallerist on the planet” (as NY Mag wrote). Ms. Monroque has forged her way into the public eye without being an heiress or throwing a drink in someone’s face on camera. She is simply stylish, graceful, and is a creative who has been behind avant garde magazines such as Pop, and is now working on launching Garage. The industry has taken notice of her and labeled her a style muse in the same way that they have for the likes of Daphne Guinness (although we’re still waiting for an exhibit on Shala’s style). What is more, the attention that she has gained has landed her on the cover of the Fall Fashion issue of New York Magazine (one of four covers for the issue, and hopefully the only one that you purchased), as well as in the Net-a-porter campaign. This is when putting the money where the mouth is becomes important in our world of fashion. While we have a long way to go in diversifying the industry, one cannot help but want to pause to pay homage to a moment when major companies are putting her in spaces where they are confident that money will be made as a result, and doing it in a way that isn’t provocative or stereotypical (ala the much celebrated “Black Issue” of Vogue Italia, July 2008). While she may find herself in highbrow circles, coming from humble beginnings, Shala Monroque isn’t Michelle Obama either. She was a high school graduate and Caribbean immigrant, who was waitressing in New York city and worked her way into the right environments so that her talents could be discovered, similar to Jean Michel-Basquiat. She is a young black woman with ambition and creativity, and the world has noticed and celebrated. This is why we’re so excited about her success. This is why we are Shala!

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