Styles by June

By
By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

 
Selima Salaun (l) and June Ambrose (r).
It is hard to imagine a time when fashion and music weren’t irrevocably intertwined. Though her name may not be a household name just yet, one of the people responsible for indelibly linking the two is June Ambrose.

She has been the mastermind behind some of the most iconic looks in hip hop. She put Sean Combs in custom metallic leather for his “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” video, engineered Missy Elliot’s inflatable latex jumpsuit in her infamous debut video “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” and is the woman responsible for Mariah Carey’s new look for the singer’s groundbreaking comeback album The Emancipation of Mimi. She is founder and CEO of ModeSquad, a full service, NYC-based styling agency she began in 1994 and in 2006 she wrote Effortless Style published by Simon & Schuster. Last year she was named the Style Architect for FOX Television’s X Factor USA and this month her own show Styled by June premieres on VH1.

A stylist for more than two decades, she has dressed everyone from Busta Rhymes, Jay Z and Mary J. Blige to Will Smith, Kim Cattrall, Zoe Saldana and Kelly Ripa. And now she has set her sights on the eyewear world thanks to a capsule collection of sunglasses with Selima Optique.

“Eyewear for me has always been what I call ‘glamour-flaging.’ It’s always been face makeup for me, a shield, the punctuation to my look,” Ambrose told Vision Monday. “Some girls don’t leave home without their phone. I don’t leave home without my glasses.” With an explanation like that it is easy to see why Ambrose chose to introduce eyewear as the first product category that bears her name; a contemporary women’s collection is also in the works.

 
 
 
 (Top to bottom) The Chance, Summer and Hi Brow.
“I was always promoting other people’s frames, as a celebrity stylist I would always use Selima’s stuff, whether it was for editorial or life for my clients, and Selima [Salaun] said, ‘You always wear glasses, you should do your own collection,’” explained Ambrose. “We talked about it for maybe three years and I had brought so much attention to this one particular brand that people kept asking if they were from my own collection. Finally she said, ‘This is ridiculous. Let’s just get it done.’”

Ambrose started by finding things that inspired her and by going through Salaun’s extensive archive of frames. “I spent two days in her archives, just in heaven, trying on different frames and this is what was born from the inspiration of a number of frames in her collection.”

“This” is a three-style sunglass collection titled Selima for June Ambrose. The three frames, all of which are Rx-able, were produced in limited runs of four colors each that Ambrose describes as “cocky” and “not for anyone who wants to blend.”

“I’m at the phase of my career where I should be leveraging all of my relationships and the things that I have done to move on to other things,” she said. “Publishing my book was a platform to prepare me for becoming more in touch with the consumer and to have more mass appeal. Now with the show I am doing with VH1, Styled by June, it’s not only lending me credibility as a stylist, but helping me get to where ultimately I want to be. Why not give the consumer the kind of access to the things I have done for celebrities? What I am doing is for the person who wants to reinvent themself, who dreams about standing out in the crowd, who wants to be noticed.

“I want this collection and anything that’s born from me from this point forward to be about dreams and possibilities,” Ambrose concluded. “I want people to dream with their eyes open.”

Preferably wearing a style by June.

dcarroll@jobson.com