My name is Leilani Solema and I’m happy to be a new member of the Arizona Costume Institute Nouveau. I’m a current student at ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Hoping to turn my interest in fashion into something I could honestly never get tired of. While hooked on the art and history side of fashion, it makes me really excited to spread the word about this community that not many people of my generation know about.  

I attended ACI's March 11th, Second Wednesday program featuring iconic fashion photographer Roxanne Lowit and model Tatiana Sorokko. Below, I share my thoughts, observations and personal highlights from the event and encourage you to attend this monthly program if you haven't had the chance to before. Enjoy!


The event:

Fashion, conversation, and special guest Roxanne Lowit brought the Arizona Costume Institute together this past Wednesday on March 11th at the Phoenix Art Museum. Starting off this 2nd Wednesday Event, members gathered for a lovely luncheon. It was a chance to enjoy, say hello, and connect with other ACI members and new friends over fashion. Being seated next to some of the most stylish woman in town who love fashion as much as you do; you know you are in the right place! While waiting to attend the presentation, a few ACI members shared their stories about the necklaces they wore. Member, Robin Woodsworth shared her story about her necklace gifted from Afghanistan, another shared story about a necklace from Africa, and one from a private collection that member, Gayle Ray wore. Any interesting article of clothing or accessory can easily spark up a conversation in this setting, for sure!

 After the luncheon, the afternoon proceeded into Whitmall Hall to see Roxanne Lowit (legendary photographer) and Tatiana Sorokko (international super model) seated at the front of the auditorium ready to share the stories behind some of the most famous photographs during their careers. It was a pleasure, listening to Tatiana interview Roxanne as they both recollected their memories backstage working for the legendary designer, Yves Saint Laurent. Roxanne Lowit, who you may or not have known, worked behind the lens for YSL for many years capturing the souls of models and rare moments from the runway to after parties. When you have a picture of YSL backstage, it’s rare. Nobody can capture a moment like she does. She was very soft spoken with such a humble heart, which you can’t help but admire that about her. “You never see Roxanne Lowit, but you always see her in her photos.” Tatiana says.

 Projected on the screen, they shared several photos from Roxanne’s book, titled, “Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent.” Moments where Yves styled Tatiana wearing a babushka scarf to, late Kate Moss in YSL couture, to a perfect group shot of models at the end of a runway show that only took one click. Photos of YSL himself in New York City to candid moments of him working with, usually a cigarette in hand were highlighted as well. For Tatiana and Roxanne, this brought back memories of the glamour days. Cigarette smoke that would fill the fitting rooms and ash that would fall onto rolls of chiffons and fabrics while Yves French Bull Dog, Moujik was seen walking around everywhere. As much as Roxanne plays backstage during the day, she also plays at the clubs at night. I bet you didn’t know she was that cool! To conclude the event she then shared a short documentary of the nightlife that has always been an inspiration to designers to see the clothes the muses would wear when they weren’t backstage.

 You should do what you love and love what you do and not care what everybody else does.” -Roxanne Lowit

 After the lecture/interview I could not get passed these words of advice after she autographed her name in my book. It was definitely an inspiring time attending this event and meeting new people. As a student, it was interesting to learn that she was once a student too at FIT. Once a textile designer to finding herself on top of the Eiffel Tower and introduced to one of the most famous fashion designers. While at the time, she was just learning how to put film in a camera. Crazy! Well, I’m definitely glad I didn’t miss out on such a special program. If you share a love for fashion too, come and join the next event!