Rihanna + Balmain Paris Spring 2014

Words by Kate Wotherspoon
Photography by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin
Styling by Mel Ottenberg
Creative Direction by Atelier Franck Durand

RIHANNA-4

Rihanna + Balmain Paris… do I even need to say more? Rocking 90s inspired amazingness, Rihanna steals the show and is captured by high fashion photography duo, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Styled by Mel Ottenberg with the infamous creative direction from Atelier Franck Durand this shoot was destined for greatness. Honestly, could there be anymore superstars involved?

I think I will be adding a leather jumpsuit and a herringbone suit to my wardrobe any day now… And her hair? Ughh… perfection!  Don’t worry about drooling all over your keyboard or Ipad, you wouldn’t be the first when it comes to this campaign. XO

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Style Feature || Lenny Dela Pena

CALGARY,  NOVEMBER 2012
Photos & Words by Kate Wotherspoon

Lenny Dela Pena, otherwise known as Lenny Len, was an Island kid from Manila, Philippines and moved to San Fran in the early 80s and then Toronto at the turn of the millennium. You may have seen him as one of the resident judges on MuchMusic’s television show, New Music Live Best Dance Crew or caught one of his highly acclaimed Vimeo videos.  He is an established choreographer and Director with Alpine Music Group (NY/LA) and founder of the recognized Flavor Shop in Toronto. Lenny Len is a teacher, entertainer and director that has been elevating the knowledge through movement & dance, music and film over the last twenty years. Some of his credits include Ne-Yo, Rihanna, T-Pain, Ludacris, Melanie Fiona, Jeremih, Jrdn, Esthero, August Rigo, K-Os, Jodie Connor, Ron Sexsmith and he took part in choreographing the 2010 Olympic Closing Ceremonies in Vancouver. Lenny’s vision and work has also extended to his mentorship for artists like Nasri and August Rigo who are renowned for writing #1 hit records for Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Musiq Soulchild, and One Direction.

Yes, the list does go on and amongst all this greatness, I was able to interview Lenny over some breakfast at Galaxy Diner in Calgary. He stopped in for a week to teach classes at Pulse Studios and will be back by the end of the month before he heads to Egypt with his wife, Lauren.  Below are some shots of his laidback skater apparel and our interview. Enjoy. xx

Lenny Len

Jeans: Ksubi

Tank: Made himself || Check out that ink!

Boots: Burgundy Velour Dr. Martens

Hoodie: American Apparel || Sunglasses: Louis Vuitton

Kate W: What is your current state of mind?

Lenny DP: Happiness.

KW: What has been your main inspiration choreography wise?

LDP: Music. Always looking for the right music…good music.  Always looking for music that is stimulating, soulful, playful and music that makes me want to boogie. I want to be inspired.

KW: What are your top three songs right now?

LDP: I’m on a slow jam right now…bringing it back to my elementary school days in San Francisco. Milly Vanilli- “Girl I’m Going To Miss You”, Anquette – “I Will Always Be There For You” and Coming Of Age – “I’m Coming Home To Love”.

KW: What is your favourite dance city?

LDP: Toronto, Home of Do Dat Entertainment and School of Luther Brown – I’m a Lutheran!

KW: Do you have any other cities you feed off of for inspiration?

LDP: I always look to New York as the flyest state ever, but being from California and growing up with the beautiful and undeniable energy of the arts in San Francisco is also another mecca for me. Other than San Fran and New York,  it’s Toronto, because that’s what shaping me right now.

KW: What are some inspirations of yours, style wise?

LDP: I’ve always had an eye for it…Anything that makes me feel fly as shit. I don’t have a specific style, but I did grow up as a skater, so I feel I have that skater vibe in me, but at the same time I do like shit that fits and because of my ink, I like to express that as well. I like the classics and I’m a big Doc Martin fan.

KW: Do you dress mostly by your mood or the day’s events?

LDP: My mood and weather.

KW: If you were to dance in the outfit you’re wearing right now, would you change anything?

LDP: Probably my Docs, because they’re heavy as shit! I would rock the jeans if it was a performance and it called for it, but if it’s a dance class, I would want to be comfortable and I would change that too. Comfort is huge to me, and the way I feel is the way I’m going to look. If I feel good, I’ll look good and if I look good, I’ll feel good, right?

KW: What’s next for you?

LDP: That’s a good question. What’s next for me is the next level, the next discovery, what am I going to discover next? As a career, I’m always learning and figuring out what the best lane is for me.  I’ve been mastering the art of direction where videos and music are concerned but that’s still a long time coming. I’ve been doing it for a minute, but I still have a lot to learn.

KW: What has been your greatest extravagance?

LDP: I think my biggest accomplishment was getting a puppy! Little Jamie Foxx! The way Jamie makes me and my wife feel, gives us a new responsibility, a life threatening responsibility. My puppy is a life form, a life force that I have to be responsible for. Everything else is easy.

KW: Which artist or choreographer would you want to collaborate with the most?

LDP: Well, I would always like to collaborate with my teachers, those who showed me the way, and enabled me to where I am today. I’ve had the best teachers on the planet, so I would always go back to them. From Luther Brown, to the Flow Master, my choir teacher, Norman and my dad. As for an artist, it would be my homeboy, August Rigo from Def Jam/Alpine Music Group, he’s my fav writer and singer in the game.

KW: Black or white?

LDP: “Blite”.

KW: Which shoes do you wear when you dance?

LDP: Air Force Ones! I used to rock converse and was always wearing all kinds of skater shoes and Luther Brown was the one who told me to get a pair of Air Force Ones. He said “fix your shit” and that changed the game. Now my shoe playlist is on point!

KW: What is your signature drink?

LDP: Diet Pepsi.

KW: Signature breakfast dish?

LDP: Eggs, bacon, tomato slices and white bread with butter on it.

KW: How do you take your coffee?

LDP: Double, double!

KW: What are some of your favourite brands?

LDP: Alexander McQueen, even though I can’t afford it right now because I have a puppy! I used to like Louis a lot, but gear wise I like to support the locals. Gabe Angelo has a new clothing line that I’m feeling, called 4i Clothing and John Varvatos always has some good stuff too. Material wise, it always comes down to comfort and fit.  If that shit is right I’ll rock it out. It’s not about a major brand, it’s about if it’s me.

KW: What are some qualities in clothing that stick out to you?

LDP: The fit, graphics are secondary and if it was made nice and the material is comfortable.

KW: What was the last thing you bought?

LDP: Some Nike Air Force Ones from Chinook Mall.

KW: Favorite fashion city?

LDP: NYC, always.

KW: Do you have any fashion idols?

LDP: Pharrell and Kanye. But because I have all this ink, I like to keep it classic when it comes to my clothing. The island and skateboarder style is very laidback and comfortable. It doesn’t matter what I wear, it’s how I wear it and how I feel. My energy will exude and transcend into what I have on.

KW: Thanks so much Lenny!

Click on this video to watch more from his channel!

Follow us on twitter: @Keightw @LENNYLENZZZ 

Share, re-blog, comment! Thanks for reading.

Skin || Kyle Hanagami & Koharu Sugawara

I. Can’t. Handle. This.

Such a hot piece of choreography and executed beyond perfection. Always inspired by these two.

Choreography by: @kylehanagami & @koharusugawara

Style Feature || Gianinni Semedo Moreira

VANCOUVER, AUGUST 2012
Photos & Words by Kate Wotherspoon

Try saying his first name five times fast! Yes, I end up saying panini by the end of it too…

Funny story on how I met this talented individual… A little while ago I blogged about one of his youtube videos, check it out here…  I of course tweeted about the post and then he retweeted it and added me on facebook. Weirdly enough, one of his status updates said he would be in Vancouver soon so I messaged him hoping he would set up a dance class at Harbour Dance Centre. Sure enough the class was set and we organized meeting for an interview at the time too. Weird right? Ya, we think so too.  Oh the fancy ways of social media!  Anyways, he was more than willing to sit down with me and discuss dance, style and anything else that gets us thinking on the creative side.  Here’s a little on his background…

Gianinni is originally from a small town just outside of Amsterdam, Holland.  He started breakdancing at the age of 15 just for the fun of it.  But of course, the love of dance took over, and he soon realised nothing else would make him as happy.  After gaining more experience on the technical side of dance, Gianinni took a chance and auditioned for the So You Think You Can Dance Holland television show.  He not only made it on the show, but went straight through to the finals!  With that under his belt, he decided it was time to move to Los Angeles to further his dance career.  Just a short time after he moved to LA, he booked an Australian tour with Rihanna, danced with Shakira and then was offered a three year contract for Cirque du Soleil’s “MJ Immortal Tour”!  It’s now just been over a year since he’s been with Cirque, has travelled the world dancing and did I mention he’s only 24 years old?  Yes, I know, I would like to be in his shoes too – definitely my kind of job.  But if that’s not enough, this guy is also an aspiring movie director!  His downtime on the tour is filled with producing short film series and creative dance videos.  You can check all of that on his website, www.gianinnidance.com. Enjoy his stylish pics and interview below.

Gianinni Semedo Moreira

Because he can…

Shirt: H&M || Sunglasses: Ray-Ban || Tuque: Reckon (handmade by a friend)

Belt: Guess || Denim: Levi’s

Kicks: Nike Flights

All smiles.

Kate W: What is your current state of mind?

Gianinni SM: I’m very happy and grateful. I try my best to stop and realise where I am and where I’ve come from. It’s important to appreciate your progress but I also don’t want to get comfortable and I’m staying ambitious and I’m excited for more.

KW: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

GSM: “Do your best and God will do the rest”.

KW: What’s your greatest fear?

GSM: Not becoming the best man I can be.

KW: Which living person do you most admire?

GSM: My mom. She has such a positive and strong mindset. When things get tough, she never strays off track.

KW:  What is your greatest extravagance?

GSM: Moving to the USA from Holland. That move opened a lot of doors for me.

KW: What was the last thing you bought?

GSM: A white tuxedo blazer with black trim.

KW: What was the last film you watched?

GSM: Sunshine.

KW: What makes you cry?

GSM: Things that have to do with love.

KW: Which dancer/choreographer/artist would you want to share the stage with the most?

GSM: Justin Timberlake. I have a lot of respect for him as an artist and person.

KW: Dunks, Jordan’s or boots for dance class?

GSM: Jordan’s.

KW: Suspenders or bowtie?

GSM: I like suspenders! But I have a bowtie so I’ll go with bowtie!

KW: If you could be in any music video, which one would it be?

GSM: “Smooth Criminal” – Michael Jackson

KW: Your favorite fashion city?

GSM: Amsterdam, my hometown.

KW: Your favorite dance city?

GSM: Los Angeles – It has a lot to offer; there is the underground scene and then the commercial world. Everyone is there for the same reason and are all sharing the same passion. It’s good to have that energy around you.

KW: Do you dress mostly by your mood or the day’s events?

GSM: My mood for sure.

KW: Dark, milk or white chocolate?

GSM: White chocolate.

KW: Your go-to breakfast dish?

GSM: Eggs Benedict!

KW: What’s your favorite scent?

GSM: Hugo Boss, Boss Eau de Toilette.

KW: Your colour?

GSM: Bright, aggressive red!

KW: What are some songs on your playlist right now?

GSM: “Where Did It Go Wrong?” – Anthony Hamilton, “Free as a Bird” – Dwele, “Blind to You” – Collie Buddz, “Wayfaring Stranger” – Ed Sheeran, “Those Who Wait” – Daley.

KW: What’s next for you?

GSM: I’m keeping myself busy on the tour by directing short films. I’m shooting my new short film series throughout the next three cities we visit!

KW: Thanks Gianinni!

Thanks for reading. Please re-post and share if you like what you see.

Follow @KeightW & @gianinni1