By: Brennan Carley, Taylor Cavallo, Dan Siering
No one worked harder in 2011 than Ms. Chastain. The red-headed actress starred in seven feature films, nearly all of which were met with critical success. Chastain kicked off the year with a bloody modern take on Shakespeare’s classic Coriolanus, which put the young starlet firmly on the map. She then hit the film festival circuit with a triumvirate of critical gems: Terrance Malick’s ambitious life drama The Tree of Life, the psycho-apocalyptic thriller Take Shelter, and-perhaps the most surprising hit of the year-The Help, for which the actress was awarded an Oscar nomination. Chastain has settled into selecting roles that depict good-hearted, caring characters, such as The Help’s sympathetic Celia Foote or the maternal mother in The Tree of Life.
At New York Fashion Week, Chastain displayed her classy elegance through her simple, yet chic, wardrobe. At the Altuzarra Spring 2013 show at La Venue in NYC, Chastain sported a camel colored, curve hugging dress with crisscross detail around the bust line. Her wavy red hair, a staple of the starlet, was pulled back into a ponytail and added a refreshingly simple touch of sophistication to the outfit. The clincher was a white and silver belt with a gold accessory clip at the front to give the dress a tailored finish. Although potentially risky against her pristine porcelain skin, the flesh colored dress popped against the star’s striking red hair and rosy lips.
Chastain’s style hasn’t gone unnoticed-the star posed for the highly coveted pinnacle of fashion, Vogue Italia in 2012. While Chastain was certainly not the flashiest celebrity of the stylish week, her subtle sense of chic went a long way and stayed true to her classy persona, exhibited through her roles and her wardrobe.
While a usual actor would take a break after such an arduous year, Chastain has showed no signs of slowing this year, having starred in four flicks this year-including the recent rugged western Lawless. Later this year, the red head will take on her first leading role in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, the much anticipated thriller that centers around the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Look for Chastain to be hitting the talk show and red carpet circuit hard this fall, where she can continue to show off her stunning wardrobe. With a strong canon of work, keen eye for fashion, and classic good looks, Chastain seems to be well on her way to a prolific career as both a trendsetter and a leading actress.
If you lived in a metropolitan area this summer, the odds are that you encountered the sonic burst of banjee rapper Le1f, a the New York born and raised wunderkind who quietly released the supersonic mixtape Dark York in April to little fanfare outside of the circles in which he already rolled. Although big time blogs largely ignored the tape at the moment of its release, Le1f had a back-up plan to get noticed.
The low budget, high thrills video for “Wut” catapulted the rapper into the mainstream upon its July release. Pitchfork, Gawker, and even NBC all picked up on the hypnotic video, which features (in turn) a shirtless man in a Pikachu mask, dance sequences that scream “GIF me,” and the most ratchet backup dancers this side of 125th Street. It’s funny, it’s original, and it’s completely unexpected, with the kind of moments that take viewers by surprise and entrance them at the same time.
It comes as no surprise that the fashionably fascinating rapper-who happens to be gay, but makes note that it shouldn’t define his career-made his mark on some major fashion shows during New York’s Fashion Week. Asher Levine, a 22-year old fashion maven who has designed for Lady Gaga and fellow clothing connoisseur Nicola Formichetti, personally invited Le1f to perform at his Spring 2013 Menswear Show. It makes sense: Levine describes the collection as “shapes that accentuate the human form in ways that you would look at it and not understand what it means”-much as Le1f has taken the art form of rap and bent it in new ways.
Additionally, Le1f found himself invited to view some prestigious shows during the weeklong festivities. “They got me and mom seated across from Diane and Anna lol,” he Tweeted on Tuesday afternoon, referring to fashion icons Diane Von Furstenberg and Anna Wintour. He DJed for Patrik Ervell’s show and Narciso Rodriguez’s afterparty at the Standard. His most prestigious slot, however, came when he played alongside the queen bee, Lil Kim, at the Opening Ceremony’s first night party.
Though Le1f has maintained almost an entirely New York presence since the explosion of “Wut,” he’s now signed on to open for Brooklyn rap group Das Racist’s fall tour across the country, bringing the phenomenon to Boston’s Royale in October. He dyes his hair whatever color pleases him when he wakes up, and matches it with patchwork tank tops, thrift-store chic hats, and bottoms shorter than most men would even consider wearing. He is, in a word, unique.
Le1f has alluded to desiring to work with rappers like Azealia Banks and Sasha Go Hard-with whom he’ll play at New York’s Santos Party House later this month-and it seems like nothing is out of the question for the lyricist.
Le1f is both a fashion forward star and the voice of a generation previously repressed in mainstream rap. He represents both old and new schools of rap music, inverting expectations and defying conventions.