Fashion was never in my genes. After growing up in the Kenyan Highlands, I spent my childhood in villages inhabited by more cows than people, dressing in stone-washed jeans and ankle-high trainers. Early forays into experimenting with fashion – such as buying tartan tights – were met with scorn by my surroundings: “I wish more than just your fashion-sense were remarkable,” a teacher once told me (no, really).
Aged 18, a so-so degree in my pocket, I moved to Paris. It was an epiphany: the elegant pared-down style of the Parisian girls shocked me into action.
But it was during a visit home that I started to fall in love with vintage fashion. My mum whipped out a super-stylish, belted, knee-length, classic trench – ‘Burberry’s’ the label still read, while the brand had long since ditched the ‘s’. What a wonderful vintage piece, it was stunning! Who wanted to buy anything new, I thought.
Back in Paris, I begun trawling the lesser-known flea markets. Every weekend was spent at Marché de Montreuil – I still treasure the butter-soft ‘Escada’ black leather capri pants I bought there for the equivalent of £1. Worn with my mum’s trench, I feel like Audrey Hepburn.
Renting your clothes has just been called out as the least environmentally-friendly fashion option – but is rental fashion *really* worse than binning your clothes?
I moved to London and became a TV anchor, a fairly spectacular graduate job, yet linked to hard working conditions. My Swedish fiancé had followed me: We planned our civil wedding on the Stockholm Waterfront, outside the City Hall, where the annual Nobel-Prize party is celebrated.
But what to wear? I had saved up and trailed many a glamorous shop, but to no avail. We planned another service, our religious wedding in Bavaria, for which I nabbed a ‘Victorian’ style sample dress by Amanda Wakeley, which a tailor altered for me, so I knew I wanted something different for our Stockholm ceremony. No traditional white wedding dress and veil this time, and I just couldn’t picture myself in a skirt-suit or jumpsuit. I wracked my brain and searched high and low for weeks trying to find something that would feel uniquely ‘me’, that I would remember forever.
When walking home after another nightshift, I glimpsed a turquoise shantung sleeve gleaming amongst the crammed rails of the Westbourne Grove ‘Oxfam’ shop. In a flash, I was inside – but too late! Another woman had already seized the vintage Yves Saint Laurent silk kaftan, its collar and seams embroidered with gemstones and crystals.
These are the best charity shops to visit for a brilliant (and sustainable) second-hand bargain
Images flashed in front of my inner eye – Verushka wearing the iconic YSL laced Safari Jacket; Khadija Adam Ismail sashaying down the catwalk in hallmark YSL. I needed this dress. Who might have worn it, and where? Possibly Jane Gainsbourg during her Kings Road days, or Talitha Getty, dressing up after THAT iconic Marrakech rooftop image! I was immediately obsessed with the story it held, and it was a story I wanted to continue.
Overwrought after weeks of poor sleep, I burst into tears: “Please, give me this dress. It is for my wedding,” I begged. The other woman hesitated, then gave in. I am eternally grateful to this unknown saviour for a glorious day, all sunshine, friends, and family from all over the world, uniting in Stockholm.
I have never worn the dress again; yet sometimes I let it breathe from its dustcover, touching the grainy Caribbean-sea-coloured weave, brushing the studding’s sharp edges, remembering the intense, simple happiness of the day. Yet I feel its story can’t end there. I have no daughter, but would gladly offer it to any of my son’s brides, if they wanted it. Why shouldn’t the ‘something old’ be the wedding dress? A gown that brought happiness before will do so again. Charity shops are treasure troves and many a stunning robe can be adapted for going to the chapel. And the best part is that they each have their own story to tell; a story that is now yours to continue.
Ellen Alpsten is the author of ‘The Tsarina’s Daughter’, out now.
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Academy Award winner Viola Davis has been happily married to Julius Tennon for 18 years. Here’s everything to know about the actress’ husband.
Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s marriage has a spiritual backstory — one that could, quite frankly, be the plot of a romance film. The Academy Award winner, 55, has been married to her fellow actor husband, 67, for 18 years now. The couple adopted their daughter Genesis, 11, back in 2011, completing their family of three. Viola and Julius have since become one of the most formidable A-list couples in Hollywood, supporting each other both on and off the red carpets.
Julius’ entry into Viola’s life occurred by cosmic fate. As the story goes, the actress found her life partner by way of prayer. “I was the loneliest woman in the world and someone said, ‘You should just pray for a husband,’” she told Page Six in 2013. “I said I wanted a big Black man from the South who looked like a football player, who already had children, who maybe had been married before.” Three and a half weeks later, Viola said, “I met my husband.”
Enter: Julius, a man who quite literally checked all of the boxes. Former college football player. Texas native. Previously married. Adult children. Below is everything you should know about the answer to Viola’s prayers.
Viola Davis And Julius Tennon
Viola wed Julius in June 2003. The two share daughter Genesis together. Oprah Daily reported that Julius had been previously married before, sharing two children Sheavonda, 44, and Duriel, 41, with his former partner. Julius is an actor and producer, appearing in films like Dazed and Confused and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He has a noteworthy TV career, too, appearing in Friday Night Lights, Moesha, Criminal Minds, and even his wife’s How to Get Away With Murder. His pre-Hollywood life is just as impressive: during his college years at the University of Tulsa, Julius became the first African American to graduate from the university’s theater department.
How Did Viola And Julius Meet?
No surprise here, but Viola and Julius met in Hollywood, on the set of the CBS series City of Angels in 1999. The actress told InStyle last November that she was immediately attracted to Julius. “I was like, ‘He’s sooo cute.’” During a joint interview on the OWN series Black Love in 2017, Julius recalled the day he asked Viola out. “I just overheard her talking to a girl in front of her saying, ‘I don’t like L.A. I don’t know anybody.’ She was kinda complaining,” he said. “I was dating a girl, who was a little bit of a monster, and I was kinda like, ‘She seems like a nice lady. She doesn’t know anybody. I’m kinda ready to meet somebody else.’ So at the end of the day, I gave her my card.”
Viola later added, “After my first date with Julius, my life got better. Anxiety went away, fear went away. He just made my life better.”
Viola Davis’ Past Relationships
Given that she and her husband have been married for decades, not much is known about the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom star’s previous relationships. In her interview with InStyle, however, Viola joked about trying to pick up men at the bookstore pre-Julius. “The moment I met my husband, my life got better,” she said. “Before I met him, I was trying to date, but I didn’t know what I was doing. People told me to go to Barnes & Noble at Columbus Circle [in New York] because they said that was the way to pick up dudes.” She added, “I put on some makeup, but it didn’t work for me. Finally, I remember someone said, ‘Just find someone who loves you, Viola.’ And I met my husband. I found someone who loves me. That’s it.”
Viola Davis’ Top Moments With Her Husband
On Valentine’s Day weekend in 2016, Viola and Julius renewed their wedding vows in an elegant ceremony in front of loved ones. The actress’ How To Get Away With Murder costars Matt McGorry, Jack Falahee, and Karla Souza were also in attendance. Viola shared her speech in a Facebook video, in which she declared, “I really feel alive. This really makes a life. If I had to look back on my life, this is the moment that would play out and I would think, ‘Well done.’”
Last month, the happy couple celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary. “Happy 18th Anniversary to the love of my life!!” Viola captioned her Instagram tribute on June 23. “Love you Julius.” And the year before, Viola shared a rare glimpse into their wedding day for their 17th wedding anniversary (above) with snapshots from the big day and the vow renewal. “You have made my life sweeter and my heart bigger,” the actress captioned the post. “I prayed for you and God said, Yes! I have just the right person for you!!!!’ Happy Anniversary my love… The best is yet to be.”
With 18 years now under their belt, one could presume that there are only 18 more ahead for Viola and Julius. In an interview with Glamour in 2015, Viola reflected on marriage with a quote from mythologist Joseph Campbell. “It’s Joseph Campbell who said [something like], ‘When you get married, you die to yourself.’ I know that’s probably taboo in 2015, but truly, you die to yourself,” Viola mused. “Everything is for the good of the whole. My marriage enriches my life. It’s more important than my career, more important than anything. I have to prioritize it.”
As for what the next chapter of her marriage and life with Julius will be, the actress will pen a memoir, Finding Me, due out in April 2022, that will likely offer more insights on that. It will chronicle her life and illustrious career, from navigating poverty as a child in her home state of Rhode Island to becoming an award-winning actress. “I believe that our stories, and the courage to share them, is the most powerful empathetic tool we have,” Viola said in a statement. “This is my story… straight no chaser.”
Steven Spielberg‘s daughter is weighing in on a debate about nepotism that was spurred by her short film.
On Tuesday, July 27, Deadline reported that actor Hooper Penn, son of Sean Penn, had joined the cast of upcoming short film The Rightway. The project, which soon starts production in New York, is directed by Destry Spielberg, the 24-year-old daughter of the legendary Oscar-winning filmmaker, and written by Owen King, son of Stephen King.
Film producer and The Black List founder Franklin Leonard responded to a tweet announcing the film by quipping, “Hollywood’s a meritocracy, right?” Franklin was making a point about the numerous individuals involved in the film having familial connections in the industry, and he has previously been vocal about the ways in which the Hollywood system tends to keep underrepresented groups from getting work, particularly behind the camera.
His tweet led Ben Stiller, whose late parents Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara were both prominent performers, to chime in with, “Too easy @franklinleonard. People, working, creating. Everyone has their path. Wish them all the best.”
Lenny Kravitz is ready for his “Magic Mike” debut.
The rock star posted a photo of himself showing off his six pack while building a deck outside. The photo caught the attention of many fans, but also of his daughter, Zoe Kravitz, who couldn’t help but poke fun at her dad.
Tagging Channing Tatum, Zoe commented, “You auditioning for MM3?” seemingly referring to a potential third “Magic Mike” movie.
Lenny was all game as he replied, “I’ve been ready!”
It only got better when Channing also left a comment on Lenny’s post, commenting that the rocker is more than welcome to join the cast.
“Oh sh*t!! Doing the lords work i see!! Will be calling you shortly to get into your schedule my friend. Hehehe,” Channing wrote, to which Lenny replied, “Peace my man.”
Channing starred in 2012’s “Magic Mike” and its 2015 sequel, “Magic Mike XXL”. The actor is next set to star in romantic comedy “Lost City of D” alongside Sandra Bullock.
In the film, Bullock plays a reclusive romance novelist who was sure nothing could be worse than getting stuck on a book tour with her cover model (Tatum), until a kidnapping attempt sweeps them both into a cutthroat jungle adventure, proving life can be so much stranger, and more romantic, than any of her paperback fictions.
As for Lenny, he’s co-starring alongside Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel in “Shotgun Wedding”. In April, J.Lo celebrated the end of filming the rom-com, in which she stars in and produces.
“That’s 👏 A 👏 Wrap! 👏 #ShotgunWedding,” Lopez captioned a series of photos from the set in the Dominican Republic. In the pics, she’s posing with her co-stars. “Shotgun Wedding” follows a couple’s destination wedding that gets hijacked by criminals and features Lopez as bride Darcy.
Lenny also posted a photo of him and Lopez, captioning the shot, “Jennifer, after knowing each other for so many years we finally got to work and be creative together. It was an experience that I will always cherish. Love and respect. Xxx #ShotgunWedding.”
For more on Lenny, see below.
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