Press Pass: The NBAF Fine Art + Fashion Event at Neiman Marcus


All I can say is if you weren’t at Neiman Marcus Lenox Square in Atlanta last night…you missed an awesome event put on by the National Black Arts Festival. It was an evening of Fine Art + Fashion and The Atlanta Tastemakers were out in full force! I arrived a little after 5pm and to my surprise the entire store was empty to “regular” clientele in order to set the stage for the attendees of the evening event. The NBAF celebrated their 5th year of  Fine Art + Fashion in a new space, in the previous three years, the event had been held at Saks, but from the conversations I had throughout the night, Neiman Marcus clearly understood what it meant to host this diverse event. 

Mark Fillion, VP + General Manager of, Neiman Marcus

I spoke with Mark Fillion,Vice President and General Manger of Neiman Marcus, to find out why Neiman Marcus wanted to participate in the Fine Art + Fashion event last night and he stated

It was an obvious decision to get involved with an organization that supports the arts and fashion, as well as it reinforces our commitment to the designers we carry throughout our retail store as well as our commitment to give back, in addition to listening to the feedback of our clients.”This is an event and organization that our clients love and support and we want them to know we are showing our support as well.

Evern Cooper Epps, NBAF Board Chair

Evern Cooper Epps is the NBAF Chair and a retired VP of UPS Corporate Relations. Speaking to Epps was like chatting with my Aunt {she is cool as a fan} , after we had a few laughs and compliments about each others attire, I asked Evern how she felt about Neiman Marcus partnering with NBAF and what people miss by not supporting the NBAF.

Neiman Marcus stepped up. Mark Fillion really wanted to demonstrate Neiman’s commitment to give back, and honestly at least for a decade I know that some of the Neiman Marcus associates have been speaking to management about hosting this event. I believe in supporting those who support you, it’s the right thing to do..not everyone does that, not to mention some of the largest supporters of NBAF are also clients of Neiman’s, including myself …so it’s hot Neiman Marcus stepped up! In terms of what people miss..Art is life and I think that is what people in general miss. NBAF is relationship building and education.  NBAF is one platform that bridges all walks of life, all ethnicities and genders, for that reason I think that is what people miss. Unless we invest our time and money it could go away, and we have been around for 23 years.

It was a fashion event so Ms. Cooper didn’t leave without letting me know that the must have item of the season was a hot pair of nude shoes that you can mix and match and of course vibrant colors to show off your beautiful skin tone! She gave me a high-five for my dress! {Owww!} I was off to chat with more tastemakers and I stumbled upon Mr. Neil Barclay, NBAF President and CEO.


Neil Barclay, NBAF President and CEO

Mr. Barclay has such a pleasant personality! Before we started to chat I told him I needed to straighten up his tie {It was only right}. He said when you think about fashion, style and art, you think about a store like Neiman Marcus. He stated what took it over the top for them in making their decision to partner with Nieman Marcus was the fact that their sister company Bergdorf Goodman carried CD Greene, one of the leading African-American couture designers in the world, knowing this was a win win situation for them. When I asked him about what go seers could expect for the evening…he had this to say:

This is what we call a New York style, couture runway fashion show. If you went to New York Fashion Week and saw the revealing of some of the new lines, that’s kind of what this is like. Really high-end, beautiful hand-made fashions with male and female models. Also our emerging talent awards where we are giving scholarships to three young designers and they are extraordinary!


John+Vicki Palmer Co-Chairs

You never know who you’ll run into at an event such as this…I saw my church members John and Vicki Palmer who are also Co-Chairs of the event. Mrs. Palmer was EVP, Financial Services and Administration at Coca-Cola Enterprises where she joined the company in 1983 and retired in April of 2009, so its apparent why her cute little Coca-Cola clutch made it’s debut at the event. The Palmers are super sweet and I loved chatting with them both about the nights festivities! Mrs. Palmer stated that it was an amazingly good idea for Neiman to show this kind of support that they would literally close down the store which shows a tremendous amount of support and respect of the efforts and work of the NBAF. Mrs. Palmer went on to say:

It’s critically important to support the NABF because there are so many African-American artist that go unrecognized, whose work is never seen by anybody. This festival gives the entire community the opportunity to see touch, feel and experience the work of some tremendous artists whose work they may otherwise never see.

Mrs. Palmer added her opinion on what she thought was a must have for the season. She stated  for her it’s always a little black dress, but you can spice it up a bit with color, color and more {Two Points for color}. She stated for both men and woman, patterns are fun to mix and match…being matchy mathchy is out!  Mr. Palmer  chimed in for the men by telling me that color is a must and that the fitted form based on the european mindset is what’s in and to make clothes fun..don’t be afraid to have fun with your clothes {as Mrs. Palmer was walking away Mr. Palmer said to me “I like to add.. I like matchy matchy”…lol}. Mr. and Mr.s Palmer introduced me to Courtney Vance and what did they do that for! We chatted for about 15 minutes!


Courtney Vance

Vance was in attendance for the NBAF to support his friends John and Vicki Palmer, but is also in Atlanta filming for Joyful Noise starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Pardon. He stated that he and his wife, Angela Bassett, are huge  supporters and collectors of black art. He said he is filled with Joy that Neiman would shut down for NBAF. He also stated that this type of event wouldn’t happen in New York or LA because they don’t have that type of support in those areas. I asked Courtney does he shop at Neiman Marcus and he said “My wife does” I giggled and said so technically you do too and he agreed! He plugged the movie a little and stated make sure you go see it, it’s going to be fabulous. He stated he’s been here in Atlanta for about a month and leaves on Sunday. I asked him about fatherhood and the one thing he loves about being a father and he had this to say:

The kids are five now, big girl and boy. I love teaching, setting examples and seeing the results. I love seeing them start at one place, they have a great foundation because we spend a good amount of time directing short cuts and we are instrumental in that.


John Palmer, Me, Courtney Vance

Imagine all the years my mom told me I smiled too big and after chatting with Mr. Vance he says “You have a beautiful smile” Thanks Mr. Vance, I’ll make sure I smile all the time…that’s one comment I’ll take to the bank!

Su + AL Longman Honorary Chairs

Meeting the Longman’s was a pleasure! At first sight you can’t help but notice the confidence they both exude and watching them make their entrance was like you were at a good ole’ fashion family reunion…they knew everybody! I moved across the room to greet them and upon my approach I was greeted with a smile. Su Longman quickly said “I’m not the best with interviews..english is my second language.” I couldn’t tell she did most of the talking she stated this was the first time she and her husband attended the event but they both knew that they wanted to be apart of an event that celebrated diversity.

She mentioned that for Atlanta to be so diverse you don’t get to see the diversity in events and this event exuded diversity so it was important for she and her husband to be apart of the evening. I proceeded to ask my staple question of what is the must have item of the season and she said…

“I hate to sound vain but I have everything so I’m sure whatever the “must have” item is…I already own it”!

Wow…okay…must be nice! So she called over Mark Fillion to get his help on suggestions for must haves and he proceeded to say a great Military style jacket….but oops she already has that Mark! So he says a grey handbag….Mark…she has a ton of those! Mr. Longman stepped in to save the day and said…

Accessorize with jewlery..specially for men. You don’t have to be goddy with it. I say a nice timepiece speaks words. The timepiece says something about the type of man you are! So go get you a good timepiece.


Thanks Mr. Longman for helping us out…I was beginning to think we’d never get an answer! LOL. The cocktail hour was about to wind down and placement for the fashion show was about to start, so I wanted to quickly find the Emerging Talent Honorees for a quick chat! I found Azede Jean-Pierre and Stephanie Waldrip, two of three students who received the M. Jack Anderson Emerging Talent Awards.

Azede Jean-Pierre, Me, Stephanie Waldrip

The ladies were really excited to be in attendance for the evening. Azede is wearing a vintage dress but she told me that she made some alterations to the bottom of the dress to fit her own personal style. Stephanie advised me that anything asymmetrical and flowing is what was going to be in for this season, Azede agreed…so I guess color, asymmetrical and flowing is key {Got It}!

Mrs. Harvey front row

After my chat with the girls, it was announced that the fashion show would be starting..everyone quickly went to find their assigned seats for the sold out show! I noticed Mrs. Harvey looking so pretty as she took her front row seat anxious to see what couture styles rocked the runway! Steve Harvey was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, so you know he cracked us all up with his jokes! All the styles that graced the runway were amazing! I chose a few of my fav’s to share with you..enjoy!

Steve Harvey MC for the evening

check out those pockets!


love the shoulders

Satin Jumper

love this jacket!


Now this is BOSS attire!

The show lasted about 45 minutes if that, and afterwards I stayed around a little for the post party to see who I didn’t get to mingle with before the show and with hopes of getting an interview with Steve Harvey!

Check out who else I spotted throughout the evening!


Artist Daniel "Danny" Simmons

JaQuitta Williams + Jovita Moore

Me + Victoria Rowell

Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed

Designer Jada Loveless and Husband Tom Loveless

NBAF Contemporary Circle

Jason Mcglothin + Millie Smith

Gordon Laro, Charmaine Ward

Steve and Marjorie Harvey

Tamara Bowens Host Co-Chair

L-R Neil Barclay, Azede Jean-Pierre, Stephanie Waldrip, Steve Harvey, Marjorie Harvey, Nathaniel Keith (Emerging Talent-CAU), Evern Cooper Epps

Jerome Bettis + Me

Okay, so as you can see I spotted a  lot of people…You’ll have to stay tuned for more pictures of the evening! You will see more…trust me! Before I left for the evening there were two more people I had to speak to…CD Greene and Steve Harvey! I finally found CD Greene and chatted with him about how he feels about him being honored and him styling for the movie Sex and the City.

Greene stated although very honored this was a bitter-sweet event for him because he just lost his mother last week. My prayers are with he and his family! I asked who has inspired him in his career and he said many people but he named Ms. Johnson of Johnsons Publishing Company. He also told me about his designs from the movie Sex in the City. Greene designed two dresses for Samantha in the movie and his design was used in the promotional material of the movie as well. When I asked him about why is it so important to give back to the emerging talent  Greene stated:

it’s important to help emerging talent because there were so many people who helped him and it’s important to do the same for others.

When asked what is the must have item for the season he stated:

The must have “thing” for the season is color. Something like what you are wearing. Even if you are not a person that likes to wear a lot of color, a colorful scarf, a bold colorful pair of shoes or a colorful bracelet will work nicely. But color is back for the season!

Well ladies and gents….I think color wins for the evening! I had one more mission and that was to chat with Mr. Harvey before I called it a night! It almost seemed IMpossible, media were standing around trying to figure it out and no one really wanted to approach him..but I said I’m sure he’s not going to walk up to me and ask for an interview so when I saw a clearance I approached him! I asked Mr. Harvey why he decided to host the NBAF event, and he stated:

It’s a great event, I love the arts, I love young people and I like helping to raise money for worthy causes.


Whew...Steve Harvey talks to The Atlanta Go To Girl!

As Mrs. Harvey joined Mr. Harvey, I stated that this is a fashion event, so what fashion item can you not go with out this season?Steve stated:

Tom Ford Shoes

Mrs. Harvey stated:

Louboutin (laughs)

Well there you have it folks! Don’t miss this event next year! You may not be so lucky as to get the play by-play! Just buy the ticket it’s worth every penny! Hope to see you this summer at the 2011 National Black Arts Festival’s International Marketplace at Centennial Olympic Park July 14-17.

Photography: Phoenix Photos & G. Paras Photography

How Do You Support the Arts?



6 Responses to “Press Pass: The NBAF Fine Art + Fashion Event at Neiman Marcus”
  1. Hey Lady!! It was such a pleasure to meet you at last night’s event! You were a joy to work with!! Your article turned out great! Take Care!

  2. Looks like a great event!

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  2. […] that they were able to get Neiman Marcus Lenox, in Atlanta to close their doors for an evening of Fine Art + Fashion, as Tastemakers gathered to nibble on noshes and support the local fashion and fine art […]

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