Spalding dazzles at the Grammys 2013

Esperanza Spalding - 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards, February 10, 2013. Image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS On the red carpet promoting ethical fashion Oscar 2012 best-dressed in Prophetik Oscar 2012 dress #2 - Prophetik, Image: Kevin Winter, Getty Images London Jazz Fest 2012, Dress: Azin / Cityzen, Necklace: Micci Cohen, Shoes: Arcturus, Image: ©EmileHolba

By Kate | Women
Posted Feb 10, 2013

She wins again. Not only did Esperanza Spalding win 2 Grammies last night (best vocal jazz album and best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist(s)) , but she also added another notch in her ‘best –dressed list’ appearances, showing the world how stunning ethical fashion can be.

Last year Vogue put her on its “best dressed” list at the Oscars (alongside Natalie Portman and Gwyneth Paltrow) for her appearances in two Prophetik gowns by Jeff Garner (one for red carpet, one for performing). This year she is sure to be on the list for her Grammy appearance in a stunning dress by Eden Diodati.

Spalding is on a sartorial journey and is taking fans of music, fashion and philanthropy along for the ride. Renowned for blazing her own trail, the Grammy winning singer, bassist, composer, arranger, philanthropist and style-blogger is on a mission to change the world, through music and fashion.

A portion of Spalding’s record and performance income goes to the charity Free the Slaves, so it was a natural extension to ensure that her fashion be sweat-shop free. To help her in this mission, she found a kindred spirit in stylist Cassie O’Sullivan.

It started when Sandrine Lee (photographer and wife of musician Will Lee), a longtime friend O’Sullivan often worked with in New York, called and asked a favour. “Will had met Esperanza in a musical collaboration and Sandrine asked me if I would, just this once, do the style and make-up for this ‘young dynamo’ she was shooting [for the Chamber Music Society album],” O’Sullivan recalls. “I had given up styling and was not eager to take it up again, but when I met Esperanza, I wanted to light her up in every way possible. She is an angel.”

“It was Esperanza who brought me back to styling. I had moved to Nashville to teach yoga and was deepening my teaching practice when she called and asked me if I wanted to look after the gowns on the road with her.”

Spalding had a vision for the tour of her next album, Radio Music Society (which began a year ago) to wear fair trade, ethically made, sustainable and eco-friendly gowns for all of her appearances and wanted O’Sullivan to help her source and vet designers so she could wear a different outfit (and highlight different designers) for every show.

“Esperanza is a super conscious human being,” O’Sullivan shares. “She is aware of everything that surrounds her. She loves to share the spotlight and wanted to bring attention to young artists, and to the philanthropic works of these designers who are going above and beyond to ensure the makers of these garments are treated with respect. It seems everything Esperanza touches has integrity, and so it should be that everything touching her, should have the same vibratory quality.”

O’Sullivan agreed and began the mission of tracking down designers, packing the cases and accompanying Spalding and the gowns on the road. “I was grateful as I could finally work full time in fashion as a make-up artist and stylist without breaking the precept of yoga, the observances of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, non-greed, and neutralizing the desire to hoard wealth.” O’Sullivan states.

Spalding’s stunning Grammy dress, from Eden Diodati certainly fits the bill. All Eden Diodati garments are ethically made. The creation of each garment has been done through a cooperative serving those touched by physical and mental abuse, trauma or disability; providing an opportunity to rebuild lives through creating. Eden Diodati also has philanthropy at their core – 10% of Eden Diodati’s shareholder dividend is donated to Médecins sans Frontières, to relieve suffering on a global scale. ‘Couture that cares’, a perfect match for Spalding.

“Esperanza has such a unique style that is all her own, and I adore that,” O’Sullivan muses. “She makes every outfit sing. She keeps it moving all the time, and doesn’t like to overdo anything. Going from earthy to super hip and chic, then mixes in something of a specific ethnicity for the flavor of it. She is woman of the world, a classic beauty and a nature spirit all at once.”

Perfect words to sum up the entire Spalding Grammy ensemble: with shoes from Maiyet and a gorgeous Red Earth Trading Co ring and middle finger stacked rings in recycled brass by Natalie Fringo, her only accessories.

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