Judy, white woman on her wheelchair wearing beautiful silky red blouse with purple flowers, gold petals and crystals embroidered on her left shoulder side. Purple drop-shape and matching necklace complete the outfit. The woman is wearing red glasses and smiling at the camera.
When amazing singer and activist Lachi told me, worldwide reknown photographer Rick Guidotti wanted me to style Judith Heumann for the Oscars night, I was incredulous.
Judy Heumann is the International Disability Rights Activist, who served in the Clinton and Obama Administration and is a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation.
If you watched the Oscars, you have probably saw her on the screen and sitting in the parterre, when best documentaries were nominated, as she was featured in the documentary “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution,” directed by James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham, produced by the Obama Higher Ground Production.
As a personal stylist I investigate about what people love to wear, I take notes about what they would were if they did not have to compromise; what they feel confortable and powerful in and, what messages they would like to convey when they go public.
Rick, Lachi, Judy and I brainstormed on 5th April and by April 16th everything had to leave Milan and get to Washington DC.
As a color expert I started from there:
Red : a call to action used on shoes, blouse and jewellery.
Purple: a powerful color for the blouse and the jewellery.
Gold: the preciousness, the light and the hope towards the future for details on shoes and jewellery.
Styling Judy Heumann for the Oscars and the following interviews, was a real rush against time, tons of emails, Zoom calls and messages but an incredible dream come true.
Seeing Judy wearing what she likes in terms of shape, style and color is a challenge won not just by me, but by all those people and brands that believe Fashion, elegance and glamour should be accessible to all and are working hard to prove it everyday.
Here is what Ms Judith Heumann shared with me lately.
CRIP CAMP AND YOU, MADE A STATEMENT ON THE RED CARPET: WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO ALL THOSE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES OR FEELING LEFT OUT?
We need to recognize the contributions we make everyday small and large. Working with other people who share experiences of being perceived of, as being inferior to others, is very important. We gain power and dignity by working with others to change the way we are perceived of, from being negative to recognizing ouR value. Crip Camp demonstrates how bringing our voices together is making a difference in our lives and the lives of millions of others, with and without disabilities.
TALKING ABOUT YOUR OUTFIT ON THE RED CARPET: HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOUR FRIEND RICK GUIDOTTI TOLD YOU, YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE A PERSONAL STYLIST?
I didn’t know what that really meant. I felt privileged to work with people who took the time and care to design clothing that worked for me and was beautiful. For example, the beautiful bracelet I wore in Braille that says, This Is Me, made me so proud of the designer and I wore it with pride on the carpet and highlighted it in all the photos that were taken of me.
White woman smiling at the camera. Red matching lipstick and eye make up. She is wearing a champagne outfit with a silky blouse and matching short jacket with sequins and little beads in pink and red. She is wearing a gold bracelet with writing in Braille on her left wrist.
Outfit by Markarian
Red velvet sandals, crossing on the foot and around the ankle with higher black sole. Golden framing complete the model.
WHAT DID THE RED VELVET SANDALS AND THE BRACELET WITH BRAILLE WRITING MEAN FOR YOU AND THE PEOPLE YOU REPRESENT?
I have so many problems finding shoes that fit me at all, let alone ones that I would wear while at the Oscars rolling on the famous red carpet.
They fit wonderfully and made me feel regal.
The shoes combined with the bracelet, let me know that the Italian community was encompassing my whole being. While we didn’t take home the Oscar we did take home the memory that Crip Camp was nominated and that we, as disabled people, have been increasingly making our mark. Respect and valuing our work is advancing.
The bracelet with Braille writing (This is Me) engraved on it, is made by Milan Based jewellery designer Loredana Corallo together with activist and blind dancer Elena Travaini. The bracelet was made for a special shooting, THIS IS ME, we carried out last March, and is, at the time being, a unique invaluable piece.
I asked Judy to wear it on her left wrist, as a connection to the heart.
The red velvet sandals were made by Italian Designer Chiara Ferriolo (The Bigger Plans Project, 2020) by adapting an existing model. The sandals were made in 4 days, replacing the buckle with velcro and making the black sole higher for Judy’s feet to confortably reach the wheelchair steps.
The red, georgette, blouse was made by Milan based designer Paola Zegovin and took more than 10 hours to embroider the lace flowers, the gold petals with sequins and the crystals.
The picture shows a moment when the purple earrings are being personalized with red rubies.
The picture shows a detail of the red silky blouse showing the red lace flowers, gold petals with sequins and crystals. Purple undershirt and brand tag is visible on the right.
The amethyst and ruby earrings by Milan based brand Rubinia Gioielli were personalized for Judy, adding rubies to match the outfit. The purple necklace was chosen to add light to the face and the blouse.
Red shoes, and details of red and purple, were chosen in honor of the fight against violence against women in Italy and Turkey.
All settings and measurements were taken remotely and all the items were designed and produced in Milan or within the Lombardy region, in Italy.
YOU ARE A COLOURFUL WOMAN PROVING STYLE CAN BE ACCESSIBLE AND GLAMOUROUS! WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
Embrace us and recognize that your creativity can blossom working with those of us who others have devalued. Beautiful shoes, jewelry, and clothing not only enhances how we feel about ourselves but how other people view us.
Gold bronze bracelet with irregular frame and writing in Braille saying This is me
“As a vocal advocate for disability representation in music and entertainment, my mission has been for the mainstream to take disability as seriously as we take other diversities. So it was such a thrill to see Judy grace the carpet on Oscar night. While such an honor to have played my small part, there is still much work to be done.” Lachi
“It was a magical and joyous experience to watch Angela and her team in action. They truly listened to Judy and what she needed to roll the red carpet. Judy’s greatest need was to find a pair of shoes worthy of the Academy Awards and without fear of the logistic challenges of time and locations, Angela moved at lightning speed.
She introduced us to the sublime shoe Designer: Chiara Ferriolo, to create a custom made pair of exquisite sandals that not only thrilled Judy but the millions of folks watching. I am forever grateful.” Rick Guidotti
Thank you All for making this all possible!
Learn more about Judy Heumann:
Other online presence: https://beacons.page/judyheumann
Learn more about the Italian designer and brands:
Chiara Ferriolo https://www.chiaraferriolo.com/
Loredana Corallo (LoreArt Jewelery) and Elena Travaini (blind dancer and model)
Atelier Paola Zegovin https://www.paolazegovinatelier.com/
Rubinia Gioielli https://www.rubinia.com/