February 20th, 2013
Black History Month, Blacks in Fashion
Black History Month on the Fashion Bomb: Nina Simone’s Influence on Fashion
By Faith

Nina Simone’s look and voice were truly one-of-a-kind–we’re still mesmerized by her effortlessly cool style and melodic delivery today.

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Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina in 1933, Nina began playing the piano at the young age of three, moving to the Big Apple at age 21 to study at Julliard. She took on her stage name that year by combining her boyfriend’s nickname for her, “Nina”, and the first name of French actress Simone Signoret. Though her only Billboard Top 40 hit was her rendition of George Gershwin’s “I Loves You Porgy”, you might recognize her distinctive voice on tunes including “Feeling Good”, “Misunderstood”, and “I Put A Spell On You”.

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Nina was always so naturally stylish, with her signature headwraps and African-inspired accessories.

Nina Simone 1965

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June Ambrose and India Arie are modern incarnations of Nina’s style with their predilection for printed turbans and statement jewelry.

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Fader featured the songstress on the May/June 2006 cover.
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Nina’s songs have provided the soundtrack for many fashion shows and editorial videos, including Latisha Daring’s Spring 2013 collection and Diane von Furstenberg’s Spring 2012 offerings. Watch Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn, and Melodie Monrose move to the sounds of “I Put A Spell on You” for Vogue Italia’s February 2011 issue below:

Most notably, Zoe Saldana has signed on to play Nina in an unofficial biopic on the songstress, sparking loads of controversy.
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Nina Simone was truly ahead of her time and almost a decade after her death, the long-lasting effects of her innovative style and music are still rippling through the popular culture today. With a whole new interest in her life and sound this year, I predict that a whole new set of fans will emerge, continuing Nina’s permanent mark on black and musical history.

SIMONE

See her perform here:

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15 Responses to “Black History Month on the Fashion Bomb: Nina Simone’s Influence on Fashion”

  1. Onyx says:

    Thanks for this feature! Nina is such an inspiration to me. Thanks for this BHM specials Claire.! Good job!

  2. nmillmich25 says:

    I love love love her version of “Sinnerman”

  3. Martinique_Fr says:

    Excellent! Love these types of posts.

  4. binks says:

    Nina will forever be a game changer. Most people wasn’t ready/use (and sadly still aren’t) to beauty like hers. A true unapologetic talented and beautiful woman.

  5. LawyerLady says:

    Put some suga in my bowl! I love me some Nina Simone!

  6. Pinkflame1983 says:

    Luv this feature will we see some Lauren Hill or India Arie? I went through a boho-chic phase in college because of them.

    Lisa Bonnett or Jasmine Guy? I’m in my Whitley phase now…

  7. Mildred says:

    Love Nina Simone beautiful black woman! HIGHLY disappointed that zoe saldana is to portray her in her film! zoe’s makeup is horrible she looks horrid like a halloween character during filming its a disgrace and embarrassment!

  8. Bella says:

    Beautiful woman indeed! One who was actually proud of her actual ‘natural’ black in all its entirety. One to certainly look up to.
    To have Zoe Saldana play her…ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. And yet she identifies herself as a black woman, does she not understand the significance Nina Simone had? Her legacy? What she stood for beyond her music? Does Zoe know what colorism is? Does she truly believe what she is doing is justifiable and right? Like she’s really making a positive contribution?…I guess everyone is black these days especially when it benefits them. Yet another slap in the face to dark-skinned women by Hollywood and sadly from another woman of ‘color’. *sigh* We need to do better than this.

  9. Bella says:

    Anyway, onto more positive thoughts, Nina Simone is a legend! A true QUEEN. (Not some fake calculating robot who is only concerned about her image always being perfect but that’s just my opinion.)

  10. Danielle says:

    Amazing!! love this!!

  11. Danielle says:

    I love the Black History month theme, and I think it’s a good idea to implement a throwback once every week. Maybe from 1999 and before. I would love to continue to see styles of all of these beautiful black women from the past more often. After all fashion does repeat itself…everything that’s being done has already been done by these amazing women. :)

  12. rudy says:

    That Zoe Saldana pic just made me sad all over again. Love Nina Simone and love the Black History Month Theme.

  13. Alexis says:

    Hi Claire,

    Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love these type of post! I wish they could become more part of the daily post, throughout the year! Instead of just during black history month.

    I couldn’t think of a better way to shed light on black history through fashion!?!

  14. GBaby says:

    I loveeeee her

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