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inspiration

meet the amazing muses, well-known, and not so well-known, who inspire je mérite...

my muses are creators, innovators, leaders, and intellectuals that continue to shape me

made in the softest washed silk charmeuse, this double-breasted wrap robe has long bell sleeves  wear barefoot, with a soft fuzzy slipper for a night in, or a strappy heel for a night on the town  soft collar wrap belt (not removable) relaxed fit midi length  washed 100% silk charmeuse  designed in new york city, new york made in new york city, new york   size details - available in 0/2-20/22
 
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made in the softest washed silk charmeuse, this hidden button front night dress can be worn as a robe or shirtdress , in and outside of the boudoir  belt loop is subtly and discretely hidden behind the back placket  complete with resting pockets  wear with a je mérite coordinating bottom or chemise  soft collar v-neck neckline subtle slits at sides removable belt sensual fit midi length  washed 100% silk charmeuse  designed in new york city, new york made in new york city, new york
best seller
wear as a duster or a wrap robe wear as soft suiting, mini dress, blazer dress  slits at either side for access to pockets  made in the softest washed silk charmeuse  wear barefoot, with a soft fuzzy slipper for a night in, or a strappy heel for a night on the town  soft collar belt (removable at hidden back loop) relaxed fit mini length  washed 100% silk charmeuse  designed in new york city, new york made in new york city, new york   size details - available in 0/2-20/22
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lola falana

this afro-latina powerhouse known as the “first lady of las vegas”

a multi-talented dancer, singer, actress, she was the highest-paid female performer in las vegas

donna summer

the "queen of disco", she is a talented vocalist trained as a powerful gospel belter, but she set herself apart with her songwriting ability and magnetic stage presence

she embodied the disco era with audacious musicality and uninhibited eroticism

josephine baker

world renowned performer, world war II spy, and activist are few of the titles used to describe the "black pearl"

one of the most successful african american performers in French history, her career illustrates the ways entertainers can use their platforms to change the world

lena horne

a major 20th century entertainer, the velvet-voiced dancer, actress, and civil rights activist battled racial injustice throughout her career

a career spanned over 70 years, appearing in film, television, and theatre

tamara dobson

my namesake, a tall, glamorous model-turned-actress best remembered for playing the title roles in films "cleopatra jones" and "cleopatra jones and the casino of gold"

geraldine sarah parsons

known as “Miss Gerry,” a phenomenal woman of faith and strength; a devoted mother of 11 children and a mentor to dozens more

a lady of small stature, but harnessed great power; she was cherished in her neighborhood in the us virgin islands, for her cooking, baking and as a seamstress

lois k. alexander lane

fashion designer, businesswoman and museum curator

her legacy is not only tied to designs she create, but her efforts to bring more attention and recognition to black designers by establishing the black fashion museum, the harlem Institute of fashion, and the national association of milliners, dressmakers and tailors

ann lowe

most well-known as the artist behind the wedding gown worn by jacqueline bouvier-kennedy

she once said “i like for my dresses to be admired; i like to hear about it… like when someone tells me, ‘the ann lowe dresses were doing all the dancing at the cotillion last night.’ that’s what i like to hear"

amsale aberra

a designer and entrepreneur, the founder, co-owner, and creative director behind her namesake fashion house

originator of the "forever modern” wedding dress, she set the bridal aesthetic of the past few decades

she was also the first black american woman designer elected to the council of fashion designers (cfda)

laverne cox

a four-time emmy-nominated actress, emmy-winning producer, and a prominent equal rights advocate and public speaker

the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for a primetime acting emmy and made her the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television series

elizabeth hobbs keckley

best known as mary lincoln’s dressmaker and author of "behind the scenes" or, "thirty years a slave, and four years in the white house"

sylvester

the gorgeous, androgynous falsetto that powered futuristic disco hits

a musically singular talent whose mélange of disco, soul, hi-NRG and dance; one of the most uncategorizable talents of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

nina simone

a griot, who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through a magnificent body of works

she earned the moniker ‘high priestess of soul’; she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time, space, and became absorbed in the moment

janelle monaé

a grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, performer, producer and covergirl spokesperson known for her unique style and groundbreaking sound

diana ross

an icon with a magnificent legacy that has changed the course of music history and popular culture

an alchemist of an unprecedented career that has made her one of the most successful entertainers of all time

zelda wynn valdes

a fashion designer who outfitted the glittery stars of screen and stage; credited for vintage playboy bunny costume

her signature low-cut, body hugging gowns, unapologetically extenuated curves; worn and adored by josephine baker, diahann carroll, dorothy dandridge, eartha kitt, and mae west

fannie criss payne

a signature design is shown in lieu of a portrait

a late 19th-20th century african-american designer who specialized in hand-made dress and gowns for elite patrons in richmond, virginia and new york city, new york

mildred blount

known as milliner to the stars, her work was worn by the who’s who of hollywood and the black upper class including marian anderson, joan crawford, and rosalind russell

she even designed the veil for gloria vanderbilt’s first marriage and her designs were shown at the 1939 new york world’s fair

vonetta mcgee

a talented actress now best remembered as a popular leading lady in blaxploitation films such as "hammer", "blacula", and "shaft in africa

she caught the acting bug through her involvement with aldridge players west, a socially-aware black theater troupe

maya angelou

one of the world's most notable and lauded memoirist, poet, and civil rights activist

she published 7 autobiographies, 3 books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years

she received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees

jackie peters cully

falling into her career, ironically because of lack of opportunity, she became one of the first african american textile artists in fashion and thrived as head stylist and later owner of her own textile design firm in new york

nancy wilson

an american singer whose career spanned over five decades, from the mid-1950s until her retirement in the early 2010s

she recorded more than 70 albums and won 3 grammy awards

"the complete entertainer" and song stylist commanding blues, jazz, r&b, pop, and soul, and for her outstanding acting abilities

alexya salvador

a reverend at the metropolitan community church in são paulo, is not only the first transgender pastor in brazil but, perhaps, in all of latin america

donyale luna

she took the fashion world by storm in the mid-1960s, becoming the first african-american model to appear on the cover of vogue

a cult figure, she was the first black, and highest paid supermodel of her time

a unique phenomenon, arguably the most strangely beautiful woman to grace the planet in the 20th century

shirley chisholm

an advocate for the rights of people of color and for women’s rights, became the first black woman elected to the u.s. congress in 1968

four years later, she became the first black person to seek a major party’s nomination for the u.s. presidency

ella fitzgerald

"the first lady of song," she was the most popular female jazz singer in the u.s, for more than half a century

considered without equal at the height of the jazz era; her voice had an amazing and vibrant range that allowed her to sing nearly every jazz style

she was also an accomplished composer and bandleader

tina turner

known as the "queen of rock 'n' roll" the earthshaking singer whose rasping vocals, sexual magnetism and explosive energy made her an unforgettable live performer and one of the most successful recording artists of all time

bethann hardison

former model, advocate, and founder of the modeling and management agency that bears her name

she helped guide the careers of prominent models and through her decades of advocacy work has challenged and helped change common notions of beauty by consistently championing diversity in the fashion industry

joyce bryant

titled “the belter” her 4 1/2 octave range, eclipsed only slightly by her beauty and poise

also known as, the bronze blonde bombshell, her pristine voice and silver colored hair was rivaled only by none other that our muse, josephine baker

angelina weld grimke

a little known queer writer inspired the cultural awakening of black art and expression known as the Harlem Renaissance

born into a legacy of advocacy for racial justice, as the daughter of Archibald Grimke, the 2nd black to graduate from harvard law and vp of the naacp; as well as, racial equality and women's rights advocates, and prominent abolitionists angelina and sarah grimke

yuri kochiyama

a political activist, and ally of malcolm x, who dedicated her life to contributing to social change through social justice and human rights movements

as founder of asian americans for action, she sought to build a political alliance between the asian american movement and the struggle for Black liberation

ida b wells-barnett

activist, educator, writer, and investigative journalist, she became prominent in the 1890s, bringing international attention to the lynching of african americans in the southern u.s.

born enslaved, she became was an early leader in the civil rights movement, one of the founders of the naacp

eartha kitt

the iconic singer, award-winning actress, and activist who gave new meaning to the word versatile

an international star, she distinguished herself in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television

one of only a handful of performers to be nominated for a tony (3x), grammy (2x), and emmy (2x); her distinctive voice enchanted generations of fans

pearl bailey

a consummate entertainer, this a big band era singer and actress sang, acted, danced, her way onto stage and screen, and she did it all with humor and charm

over a nearly 40-year span, bailey produced hit singles, caused a sensation on stage and screen, and earned a tony award and multiple appointments as the u.s. goodwill ambassador to the united nations

betty davis

an artful, sexually empowered and enigmatic trailblazing uncompromising funk pioneer, muse of miles davis, who shocked the black cultural establishment of her time

her songs were filled with gritty yet sultry style of electrified funk — dirtier than james with more blues than sly

she wrote almost every song she ever recorded and produced most of her own studio albums

cicely tyson

an exemplar for civil rights whose vivid portrayals of women on stage, screen, and television shattered racial stereotypes

discovered by a fashion editor at ebony magazine, she quickly rose to the top of the modeling world

as she entered into acting, she committed to presenting only positive images of black women

janet jackson

an vanguard of pop music, singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer

known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 30 years

jenifer lewis

legendary actress, singer, comedian, and activist is dubbed the “mother of black bollywood” for her various matriarchal roles and more than 300 credits

she has enjoyed a wide-ranging and varied career in music and theater, as well performing in four broadway shows and presented more than 200 concerts, performing in 49 states and on four continents

lorraine hansberry

pioneer playwright known for the first broadway production highlighting the lives of african americans is one of the most significant and influential playwrights of the 20th century

her landmark play, a raisin in the sun, was the first play written by an african american woman to be produced on broadway

issa rae

With her own unique flare and infectious sense of humor, she is building a media and lifestyle empire with multi-faceted company, HOORAE

her ownership in hilltop cafe + kitchen provides much-needed jobs and opportunities for local residents as well as a space for creatives to unlock their potential; she is also co-owner of the hair care line, sienna naturals

paula kelly

Supremely accomplished American actress, singer, dancer and choreographer, described by legendary choreographer Bob Fosse as “the best dancer I’ve ever seen"

bell hooks

a passionate scholar, hooks was among the leading public intellectuals of her generation

she published over 40 books and scholarly articles, on topics such as masculinity and patriarchy, self-help and engaged pedagogy, feminist consciousness and community creation, and representation and politics.

octavia butler

a groundbreaking science fiction author and credited with being a prophet of socio-economic and political movements

an award-winning author of thirteen books; a shy loner, she found solace and company in words

many in the literary world regard her novel, kindred, as one of the modern classics

toni morrison

One of the most celebrated authors in the world inspiring a generation of writers to follow in her footsteps

a nobel prizewinner whose stories have a strong historical and cultural base and a style, structure and tone that is specifically african american

betty white

A pioneer of early television, with a television career spanning more than 7 decades

a warm and popular presence on the small screen, with a career that dated back to the early days of the medium

her passion was always animal welfare; the dues for her fan club, went to animal rescue charities, and she received many accolades for her work for animals

jackie shane

a canadian soul singer who packed nightclubs in 1960s toronto, before she stepped out of the spotlight for decades, only to re-emerge with a Grammy-nominated record in her 70s

known for her conviction, phrasing, power and range, and poise

ma rainey

businesswoman and entertainer known as the Mother of Blues, was the most popular blues singer/ songwriter of the 1920s

considered to be the first woman to introduce blues into her performances, she incorporated both drama and comedy routines as well

she established her own entertainment company in 1917 and after a successful career in vaudeville managed theaters in her home state of georgia

angela davis

an activist, educator and author focusing on prison abolition, and exploring new ways to de-construct oppression and race hatred

she is most famous for her involvement with the soledad brothers, who were accused of killing a prison guard

frida kahlo

a mexican painter best known for her uncompromising and brilliantly coloured self-portraits that deal with such themes as identity, the human body, and death

she is celebrated in mexico for her attention to mexican and indigenous culture and by feminists for her depiction of the female experience and form

zazu nova

an activist at the forefront of fights with police at the stonewall inn, fought for gay and trans rights

she was also a founding member of the new york gay youth, a safe haven

she was also involved in the gay liberation front that was founded after the riots

ruth ellis

at 101, she was known as the oldest lgbt rights activist

starting in the 1940s, her detroit home served as a haven for gay african americans

she was known for giving everything she had to those in need, from books to food, to assisting with college tuition, inspiring detroit’s Ruth Ellis Center, which provides social services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lgbt youth

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