Macy's Celebrates "The Soul Era"

In celebration of Black History Month, artists gathered at an inspiring meet-and-greet

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Academy of Art University fashion journalism student Dairia Kymber Harvin with celebrity stylist June Ambrose. Photo by William Rivers.

There is something magical about being surrounded by black excellence. On Wednesday, February 25, “The Soul Era” tour, created by Macy’s in order to celebrate Black History Month, graced San Francisco’s Macy’s in Union Square. Select Macy’s stores held a panel discussion, fashion presentation and an exciting meet-and-greet, creating an empowering atmosphere and fantastic event.

“The Soul Era” is a nationwide tour featuring celebrity stylists June Ambrose and Johnetta Boone. Ambrose and Boone shared their opinions on prominent designers during the 60s and 70s, trends from those eras that are still popular today and gave general fashion advice. Ambrose spoke about the decline of African American designers. “We’re artists and artists need funding,” she said. “It’s a crisis right now.”

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A model poses in a 70s inspired ensemble. Photo by William Rivers.

Renel Brooks-Moon, moderator of the panel, urged attention to fundraising ideas such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe. Boone made a beautiful statement that resonated with many people. “Well, we also know that if we stand together and support one another, that is our kick starter.”

When it comes to fashion, the 60s and 70s were full of happiness. Fabrication changed, color changed and as stated by Boone, “The corset came off.”

Infamous singer Eartha Kitt was mentioned as an influence on women’s sex appeal during this time. “She was oozing sex and the idea of being bodacious,” Boone said. Among the women mentioned, one that stood out was Diana Ross. “Nobody does it like Diana,” Ambrose said. “She was unapologetic for being glamorous.”

People from surrounding cities and within the Bay Area came to hear the phenomenal women share knowledge. Tavia Garland, native of the Bay Area, was excited to be at the event. “I’m obsessed with June Ambrose,” she said. “She’s the reason why I started my business.”

Robin Mondy from Hercules, California traveled an hour to attend the event. “We don’t have many experiences like this,” she said. “Just the experience of being here around my community is important.”

Following the discussion there was a presentation with models dressed in present designs from prominent designers who received their influence from the 60s and 70s. Model Sydney Reed wore a Nanette Lepore pantsuit. She was honored to be a part of this event. “I think it’s been a long time coming,” she said. “It’s amazing to see the support from Macy’s.” Indeed it was.

The best part of this event was how relaxed and conversational it was. There were servers walking around with hors d’oeuvres including mini chicken and waffles, red velvet whoopie pies and there was wine. You almost forgot that you were in Macy’s. Special Events Manager Monica Gubrud was the conductor for this beautifully orchestrated event. “It’s very worthwhile and a very comforting feeling to fit it all together and see people are coming and having a good time,” she said.

Bravo, Macy’s. Encore.

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Celebrity stylists Johnetta Boone and June Ambrose pose with a guest during the meet-and-greet. Photo by William Rivers.