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Latisha Chong, Hair Stylist Who Helped Change Fashion, Dies at 32



When Telfar Clemens, the mischievous Liberian American designer, attended the Met Gala in 2019, it was Latisha Chong who created his marcelled wig, which gave him the look of a siren from a silent film. In March, when Rosalía, the experimental Spanish pop megastar, appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Ms. Chong prepared her sleek, modern flamenco hairdo. For her photo on the cover of the September issue of Vogue, in which she announced her retirement, Ms. Chong gave Serena Williams honey-colored locks, like Botticelli’s Venus.

Ms. Chong, an innovative, effervescent hair stylist who created looks for fashion stars like Mr. Clemens, athletes like Ms. Williams and actors like Tracee Ellis Ross — as well as the stars of “The Real Housewives of Potomac” — died on July 19 in Manhattan. She was 32.

Her death, in a hospital, was not widely reported at the time. Her sister Afesha Chong said the cause was metastasized breast cancer.

“Latisha was part of what the critic Antwaun Sargent called the New Black Vanguard,” Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, the Vogue contributing editor who produced Ms. Williams’s shoot, said in a phone interview. (Ms. Karefa-Johnson is in that cohort, too; she was the first Black woman editor to style a Vogue cover when she put the model Paloma Elsesser, a full-figured Black woman, on the cover of the magazine’s January 2021 issue — and asked Ms. Chong to do her hair.)

“She was one of the tradesmen behind the fashion imagery — the editors, photographers, stylists and makeup artists — who are expanding the visual landscape to include the people who have always been at the forefront of style and taste but have been rejected from the modern canon,” Ms. Karefa-Johnson continued. “It’s a Pan-African ideal, with a lot of us from the diaspora investigating and interrogating our Blackness in a very white industry like fashion.”

Ms. Chong, she added, was the best in the business. She could do extraordinary things with hair, from geometric shapes that defied gravity to the most natural styles, working often with lace-front wigs — the go-to crown of many Black women — bleaching, coloring and plucking these natural hair creations to her own meticulous vision.

Ms. Chong, a former airman in the Air Force, had grown up watching her mother, a hair stylist, and others in the weekend marathons at the local salons in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn that catered to a largely Caribbean clientele.

“Black hair is a family thing in our neighborhood,” Afesha Chong said. “Everyone comes to the salons on Saturday, and you learn to nurture the hair but also the soul. Latisha picked that up quickly.”

Latisha Simone Chong was born on Jan. 23, 1990, in San Fernando, a city in Trinidad and Tobago, one of three daughters of Garrick Chong, who worked in construction, and Darlene Vincent, who was a homemaker at the time. When Latisha was 6, she and her sisters moved with their mother, who had separated from their father, to Flatbush, where she worked as a home health aide and, on weekends, as a hair stylist. By age 10, Latisha was helping out at a salon, sweeping the floors; she eventually worked her way up.

Ms. Chong was 19 when she joined the Air Force, a move that surprised her family. She rose to the rank of senior airman, working in hospitality in Charleston, S.C., before being deployed in 2011 to Qatar, where she volunteered for a special mission to assist the Army dismantling missiles, said Virginia Miller, who served with her in Charleston.

When she returned, Ms. Chong was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She left the service with an honorable medical discharge in 2014. In 2017, she graduated from Charleston Southern University, a Christian school, where she studied biology.

In addition to her sister Afesha, Ms. Chong is survived by her son, Malachi Chong; another sister, Tenisha Chong; and her parents.

Ms. Chong returned to New York City after college and began to dip back into styling. She worked for Michelle Jones, whose Thee Salon in Brooklyn is ground zero for pixie cuts and other staples of Pan-African beauty. Mr. Clemens was a family friend, and she began to work on his hair, too. (They liked to watch “The Real Housewives” while doing so, and had a particular fondness for the ladies of Atlanta and Potomac.)

Before long, Ms. Chong was the hair director for Mr. Clemens’s popular company — his Telfar tote bags are known as “Bushwick Birkins” and come with the slogan “It’s not for you. It’s for everyone.” When Mr. Clemens appeared on the cover of Time magazine in March of 2021 as one of that year’s “Next 100,” it was Ms. Chong who styled his trademark braids. In 2019, when he introduced his unisex collection of deconstructed haute street wear in Milan and Paris with an army of models, friends and family, she was in charge of their eclectic looks. When he outfitted the Liberian team for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, she worked on the athletes’ hair. And in 2021, when he collaborated with the shoe company Ugg and invited his beloved Potomac Housewives to model, she styled their hair, too.

“Every milestone I’ve had, she’s been there,” said Mr. Clemens, one of the fashion world’s most sought-after designers in recent years. “She did everyone’s hair, not just the models. When my mom and my aunt showed up, she would do them too. She did it because it was going to make everyone feel better.”

The Serena Williams Vogue cover, which captured a star at a pivot point, would be Ms. Chong’s last job. Ms. Karefa-Johnson had imagined Ms. Williams undergoing a baptism, posed on the beach at the ocean’s edge. She chose her production team carefully, and it mattered that Ms. Chong was among them.

“I needed a team that believed Serena belonged on the cover of Vogue and understood Black beauty and hair,” she said. “Especially hair. It had to be Latisha.”

But after years of remission, Ms. Chong’s cancer had come roaring back. By May she was in a wheelchair. Her family did not want her to fly to Florida, where the shoot was to be held on May 19, because she was so weak. Yet she was determined, and she worked for weeks beforehand, finding the right wigs for Ms. Williams and spending hours customizing them to the right shape and color.

Her assistant, Tav Kinard, accompanied her to Florida, and together they worked on Ms. Williams, carefully braiding Ms. Williams’s own hair into cornrows to prepare it for the wigs, and taking their time doing so; Ms. Chong was typically fastidious. Ms. Karefa-Johnson began to panic: A thunderstorm was headed their way.

Finally, Ms. Chong was done. Ms. Williams walked out to the beach, and Mr. Kinard carried Ms. Chong and placed her in a director’s chair. Luis Alberto Rodriguez, the photographer, began to shoot as Ms. Williams, the billowing train of her sky-blue Balenciaga gown scooped up in the arms of her daughter, Olympia, moved gracefully at the water’s edge.

As the wind blew and Ms. Williams turned this way and that, Ms. Chong, with Mr. Kinard at her elbow, adjusted her flowing hair so that it was just right.

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Love Letter: A Mysterious Delivery



After Charlotte Maya lost her husband to suicide, she and her young sons were used to unexpected visitors. But when her doorbell rang one mid-December evening, nobody was there.

Instead, on her doormat was a kit to make a gingerbread house with a note that only said, “On the First Day of Christmas. … ”

In this week’s Modern Love essay, “When a Doorbell’s Ring Means Hope,” Ms. Maya describes how a series of mysterious deliveries buoyed her family during their darkest days.

Join the 7-Day Happiness Challenge.

Research shows that the single most important driver of happiness is the strength of our relationships. Sign up for a week of exercises from the New York Times Well desk that will help set you up for a happier, more connected year.

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How One Japanese-American Designer Is Revitalizing Vintage Kimonos



In her Brooklyn studio, designer Sara Sakanaka keeps a small drawstring bag that her grandmother made for her decades ago. Sewn from textile scraps, the striped pouch is one of Sakanaka’s oldest keepsakes, an heirloom representing a generations-old philosophy. “My mom used to tell me this story. It was about how if we treat objects with love and care for one hundred years, they can obtain a soul,” she shares as pours each of us a cup of Mugicha, a Japanese Barley tea that she grew up drinking. We met at her studio on a gray Tuesday morning, where a collection of silk separates, each made from reclaimed Japanese kimonos, hangs neatly. On a shelf, folded piles of salvaged textiles wait for her to sew them into something new, just like her grandmother once did as a hobby. “There’s this whole idea that objects have lives,” she says. “I like to see every piece as a true considered object in that way.” 

Nick Krasznai / courtesy of Considered Objects 

It makes sense then that Sakanaka would name her own label Considered Objects. The 39-year-old launched her line—a collection of hand-sewn jackets, dresses, and shirtings that are made entirely from reclaimed Japanese kimonos and textiles—just two years ago. “I never had the dream of starting a business,” she shares. “I was happy working toward someone else’s vision. But at some point, there’s this part of you that wants to explore what you want to say. It took time for me to be able to discover that.” 

Sakanaka has a lot to say. With 20 years of experience under her belt, she has developed a design philosophy of her own. “I have no interest in buying new materials or producing with mills,” she says while showing me the intricate, hand-stitched panels of a vintage summer kimono. As she points out its cotton lining and hand-painted family crests (her own paternal and maternal family crests are tattooed on each of her arms), it becomes clear that she is not just making clothing; she’s stitching age-old stories into contemporary garments. “After years of working at different fashion brands, I found that you can get stuck on this hamster wheel. What has always grounded me was the question, ‘how can I not only find true meaning in these things, but how can I offer connection through these pieces?’”

Nick Krasznai / courtesy of Considered Objects 

Nick Krasznai / courtesy of Considered Objects 

An FIT graduate, the apparel designer previously worked for fashion label Imitation of Christ, luxury line Ports 1961, bespoke womenswear collection Honor, and the Japanese fashion house Foxey. In 2020, after spending nearly four years traveling back and forth between New York and Japan for work, she felt she was ready for something new. “I started to wonder how I would mentally, physically, and creatively sustain. I was burnt out.” she tells me. Around that time, her grandmother, the one who gave her the collaged drawstring bag and taught her how to sew, passed away. “This was during the pandemic, so I wasn’t able to attend her funeral in Japan. I had previously inherited her collection of kimonos and rediscovered them during that time. I had completely forgotten about them, but learning about them became part of my grieving process. Having those made me feel close to her,” Sakanaka reflects. 

It was then that she took a page from her grandmother’s book. “Studying these shambled garments and giving them new life through reconstruction was a way for me to heal while reconnecting with myself and my culture,” she says. Preserving the original rectangular panels and stitching style from each kimono, the designer began dismantling and reassembling each one. Her first design? A classic, collared, button-down shirt. Inside each shirt she constructed, Sakanaka sewed a layered patchwork flower made from leftover silk scraps. “That flower, that mark, it was sort of my way of memorializing the whole experience of my creation and of finding closure. It was a way of bestowing my honor upon each piece.” 

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Here’s How to Style 5 Luxurious Loungewear Sets This Winter



All products featured on Vogue are independently selected by our editors. However, we may earn affiliate revenue on this article and commission when you buy something.

Cozying up for the winter has never looked chicer courtesy of luxurious loungewear sets from The Row, Wardrobe.NYC, Éterne, and more. Crafted from ultra-soft cashmeres and sultry silks, these matching sets are as indulgent as it gets and can be worn in the comfort of your own home or out and about for casual coolness. As the newly appointed foundation of your winter wardrobe, styling a luxe loungewear set properly can offer both ease and elegance at the same time. 

For an elevated errand ensemble, The Row’s ‘Jaspar’ hoodie and matching ‘Anton’ wide-leg pants are knitted from the softest of cashmere. The chic combination is so comfortable that you won’t want to change once you get home. Enhance the look with stylish sneakers from Nike, plush cable-knit socks from Johnstons of Elgin, and Nothing Written’s minimalist bag. Loungewear sets, like this cashmere turtleneck and midi skirt pairing from Altuzarra, also have the power to be dressed up for festive evenings out, especially when adorned in jewels from Missoma and Laura Lombardi. A matching activewear set from Sporty & Rich ensures that you arrive at any workout in style. Sofa-ready outfits from Wardrobe.NYC and Olivia Von Halle help curate the perfect night in this holiday season and beyond. 

This winter, investing in a loungewear set has never looked better. Below, here are five ways to style luxe loungewear sets that are as comfortable as they are chic. (Plus, also find a few more statement sets to add to your winter wardrobe.) 

The Elegant Errand Runner

Nothing says chic errand runner like this matching cashmere hoodie and pant set from The Row. Knitted from the softest of cashmere, it’s a chic combination so comfortable that you won’t want to change once you get home. Enhance the look with stylish sneakers from Nike, plush cable-knit socks from Johnstons of Elgin, and Nothing Written’s minimalist bag. Jewels from Mejuri are welcome embellishments. 

The Row Jaspar cashmere hoodie

The Row Anton cashmere high-rise pants

Johnstons of Elgin cable-knit cashmere socks

Nothing Written Ferry bag

Mejuri bold Croissant dôme huggies

The Cozy, Yet Chic Evening Look 

A loungewear set doesn’t have to be confined to the comforts of your own home or even resemble a traditional sweatsuit, for that matter. Case in point: find this dazzling skirt set from Altuzarra that is crafted from pure cashmere. Complete the elegant evening ensemble with Saint Laurent’s croc-effect pumps and Anine Bing’s minimalist handbag. Drip in gold thanks to Missoma hoop earrings and Laura Lombardi’s cult-classic necklace. 

Saint Laurent Blade chain croc-effect leather slingback pumps

Anine Bing Colette shoulder bag

Missoma x Lucy Williams chunky entwine hoop earrings

Laura Lombardi Calle gold-plated necklace

The Statement Sporty Attire

When it comes to activewear, a matching set, like this one from Sporty & Rich, will ensure that you arrive at any workout in style. Go one step further and tie the brand’s ‘Wellness’ sweatshirt around your waist for extra comfort. New Balance ‘Core’ sneakers are a staple in any workout wardrobe, as are these Bala Bangles and Stanley’s tumbler to keep you nice and hydrated. 

Sporty & Rich appliquéd cotton-jersey sweatshirt

Sporty & Rich cropped printed stretch-jersey tank

Sporty & Rich printed stretch-jersey leggings

New Balance 574 Core sneakers

Stanley Quencher H2.O travel tumbler, 40oz

The Luxurious Loungewear Set

Wardrobe.NYC x Hailey Bieber’s simple grey sweatshirt and sweatpants are prime examples of luxurious loungewear. Wear with a coveted pair of Birkenstocks—or even heels for an elevated athleisure look. But because we’re sticking with loungewear, cozy up even more courtesy of cashmere socks from Raey and Brunello Cucinelli’s alpaca-blend blanket. Loewe’s scented candle is an immediate ambiance enhancer. 

Wardrobe.NYC x Hailey Bieber cotton sweatshirt

Wardrobe.NYC x Hailey Bieber wide-leg cotton sweatpants

Birkenstock Boston shearling clogs

Raey ribbed cashmere-blend socks

Brunello Cucinelli speckled-jacquard fringed alpaca-blend blanket

Loewe Home Scents Honeysuckle medium scented candle, 610g

The Perfect Pair of Pajamas 

Olivia Von Halle’s ‘Coco’ pajama set is crafted from the finest of satins to create a soft-to-the-touch feel you’ll never want to take off. Meanwhile, Ugg slippers are the perfect accoutrement. Continue to wind down with the help of scented bath salts from Maude and Augustinus Bader’s luxurious face cream. Reflect on your day with The Five Minute Journal and finally get some shut-eye thanks to Brooklinen’s silk eye mask. 

Olivia Von Halle Coco silk-satin pajama set

Ugg Scuffette II slippers

Brooklinen Mulberry silk eyemask

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream with TFC8® face moisturizer

Maude Soak No. 2 nourishing mineral bath salts

Shop More: 

Leset Lauren cropped stretch-knit cardigan

Leset Lauren stretch-knit wide-leg pants

Éterne oversized crewneck sweatshirt

Éterne classic sweatpants

Lisa Yang Jonny cap-sleeved cashmere sweater

Lisa Yang Sierra wide-leg cashmere trousers

Zara basic hoodie sweatshirt

Girlfriend Collective ReSet cropped stretch recycled top

Girlfriend Collective compressive stretch recycled flared leggings

Le Kasha Etretat organic cashmere sweater

Le Kasha Sumbal cashmere wide-leg pants

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