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Angela Bassett in Black Panther, costume designed by Ruth E. Carter.

Remembering Kate Spade 6 MIN, 4 SEC

Fashion designer and retail icon Kate Spade was found dead at her Manhattan apartment today. The cause of death was an apparent suicide. She was 55 years old. Spade was “an American fashion heroine,” says Booth Moore, style and fashion news director at The Hollywood Reporter. She launched her line of boxy, neon bags in 1993 and found overnight success, becoming a status symbol for a generation of women.

The bags were priced from about $200 to $500 and had a “modern, preppy, peppy aesthetic.” She and her husband, Andy Spade, soon extended the brand to clothing, jewelry, shoes, and home products.

Spade has had less business success recently. After selling her eponymous fashion line to Neiman Marcus -- which was later sold to Liz Claiborne and then Coach -- she lost the ability to use her own name in business. She even changed her name to Kate Valentine after launching her new line Frances Valentine in 2016, which has not had the success of her first venture.

Political figures from Chelsea Clinton to Ivanka Trump have weighed in on Twitter with their condolences and recollections of their first Kate Spade bag, as well as Hollywood celebrities like Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling.

Moore tells DnA why Kate Spade’s death has come as such a shock to so many.

“I think it’s a beloved American brand. What’s sad is that the sunny aesthetic she created couldn’t be farther from this tragic end to her life,” Moore said.

A Kate Spade handbag. Photo credit: Ambedo.

Booth Moore, Fashion Critic, Los Angeles Times

Kate Spade Inspired a Generation of Females — and Female Designers
Kate Spade’s aesthetic was the happy answer to fashion snobbery
Kate Spade, Whose Handbags Carried Women Into Adulthood, Is Dead at 55

Even Santa Monica needs the car 9 MIN, 44 SEC

Autonomous cars will bring a utopian future: an end to car collisions, no need for parking lots, smooth-flowing less congested streets. But even as cities embrace those possibilities, they fear the loss of revenue -- from cars!

The City of Santa Monica, famed for its commitment to sustainability, its bike lanes, parks and public transit, turns out to be as dependent as any other municipality on the human-driven car economy: sales tax from car sales in the city’s many dealerships, revenue from parking lots and garages, and from parking tickets and driving infractions.

It is not only autonomous cars that are causing anxieties. Consider also the transformation in brick and mortar retail; the rise of online shopping is sapping street life and eating into sales taxes.

All of this has the city’s director of Housing and Economic Development, Andy Agle, thinking ahead to how Santa Monica will continue to support its housing, schools, public transit and numerous other civic services.

Tech, he says, is bringing “an Age of Disruption. So many of the elements of what we think the economy is about are undergoing pretty significant shifts and we want to take some time to think about how do we prepare for that economy.”

Agle has assembled a group of leading thinkers for a forum on Disruption and the Economy. It will be live-streamed here.

“Getting to that more utopian and equitable future requires us to have this discussion now,” says Agle, adding, “how do we help frame the not only the debate but also these technologies in a way that allows us to support equity, allows us to support sustainability, allows us to be true to who we are as a community?”

Traffic in Santa Monica. The city derives much of its revenue from auto-related sources. Photo credit: Alex Proimos.

Avishay Artsy, Producer, DnA: Design and Architecture (@heyavishay)
Andy Agle, Director of Housing and Economic Development at City of Santa Monica

Live Stream the City of Santa Monica’s Discussion on Disruption and the Economy
How Driverless Cars Could Be a Big Problem for Cities
Autonomous vehicles will have tremendous impacts on government revenue
Live Stream the City of Santa Monica’s Discussion on Disruption and the Economy

Dressing Wakanda: Ruth E. Carter, fashion and black empowerment 11 MIN, 18 SEC

Ruth E. Carter has been celebrated for her bold, colorful costumes for Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther.”

She has worked on a number of films that tell aspects of the African-American story, including Spike Lee’s movies; also Malcolm Lee’s movies, “Selma” by Ava Duvernay, “Malcolm X,” “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and many others.

“I think I've always wanted to rewrite or recreate black history,” Carter told DnA.

She joined “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler and production designer Hannah Beachler to create a believable Afrofuturist vision, based on a “Wakandan Bible. It was like 500 pages, and we knew what each district of Wakanda was called. It had its own Wakandan name. There was a Wakandan language. There was a vibe to each district.”

She used the red, green and black colors of the Pan-African flag as “a celebration of black empowerment and black authorship.” She also tapped contemporary fashion designers of African descent, like Ozwald Boateng and Walé Oyéjidé, founder of Ikiré Jones, to bring the fictional world of Wakanda to life.

Wakanda, she said, “was a celebration not only for African-Americans but also for Africans. Because we not only celebrated the African diaspora here in this country, we celebrated the cultures of Africa which I think are also disappearing.”

This week she’ll be given The ICON Award at the Los Angeles Design Festival. It’s an honor that “recognizes a singular woman for her contributions to her industry, city, and society at large.”

DnA spoke to Carter about her costumes for the citizens of Wakanda, and what it means to be creating an identity on screen for a community that has long been left out of the picture.

Ruth E. Carter, costume designer for “Black Panther” and many other films, will be 
recognized with the ICON Award at the LA Design Festival on Thursday, June 7. Photo credit: Frances Anderton.


Ruth E. Carter, costume designer, “Black Panther” (@iamRuthECarter)

'Black Panther' Costume Designer Draws On 'The Sacred Geometry Of Africa'
The wardrobe of Wakanda: a costume designer’s dream
Learn about the Los Angeles Design Festival and the Icon Award that will be bestowed on Ruth E. Carter

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