You start with one of the finest fashion photographers in the field, Atlanta based Rob Brinson, and thank your friend Jill, who told him to do this shoot for Ibu; then thank the stars that for some reason he said Yes. You add his equally talented sidekick, Alex Martinez, another star in the sky, and marvel at the light he brings.
You reach out to Alexandra Munzel to style and produce this magic, and count on brilliance. It happens. She brings in Shell Royster, who volunteers her talents in art direction. More shine. You contact ABP, the inestimable Ashley Brooke Perryman and her hair and make-up crew, who stand by your side with brushes and bandaids at the ready for 3 days, smiling. You count on Ibu Logistics Superstar, Austin Walker, to rent the RV and hold parking places at 4:00 in the morning, to finish insurance forms, and negotiate contracts. You turn to your friends, the encouraging Carter Hudgins and Natalie Titcomb at Drayton Hall, Kiara Balish of Anson Restaurant with her exquisite building that once held Saracen, and Freddie Hecht, renovating 1 Meeting Street - and fall on your knees as they say Yes to the use of their exquisite spaces, and furthermore, they say - Bravo.
But none of these Yeses are possible without Ali. That is, Ibu Ambassador Extraordinaire, Ali MacGraw. Last year, I approached Ali about designing a Capsule Collection for Ibu, Spring 2017. She knows artisan work, loves design, is shaped by years of service, and exudes iconic style. To my enormous joy, she jumped in. From that one Yes, the rest could follow, until this past week, a chorus of Yes surrounded me. And that is magic.
When the model we secured decided to jump ship the night before the shoot, we took a deep breath and found an even more spectacularly perfect-for-us model in a matter of hours. When Ibu ally, Marty Cornwell, heard about what was going on, she invited the whole team Ibu to her home for dinner and threw us a beautiful party. When Rob and Alex were about to depart town, we talked them into staying and shooting a video of Ali, speaking with passion for the urgent need and importance of the Ibu movement. All of this is the magic of Yes. When one person begins to move, create, dream . . . others want to be part of her Yes.
Ali MacGraw has designed, in collaboration with Ibu and our artisans, may I say, a spectacular spring and summer collection, including lightweight tunics and flowing caftans, handsome jackets and sassy pants, adorable skirts, shoes that shine and bags for the beach, wraps for a cool spring evening, necklaces, bangles, earrings - all. Ali brings muscle and imagination to her designs, which are now employing women from South Sudan to Peru and Madagascar, from Nepal to Colombia, India to Pakistan to Morocco and Madagascar, Kenya, Turkey, Tanzania, and China. Right now, needles are flying, as are the hopes of these women.
I celebrate the power of creativity to galvanize, as Ali has done, a whole caravan of global artisans, as well as artists in this country - joining the movement to elevate women, putting money in their hands and sovereignty at the center of their being. Ali said Yes! so that Rob and Alex and Alexandra and Ashley and Freddie and Natalie and Kiara and Olivia and so many more could also say Yes! Here’s to all brave souls who are game to become more than themselves by joining a creative band of strangers and moving toward YES for women everywhere. Thank you, thank you, all, for doing this with with the currency of the heart. In Goethe's words, for years affixed to my refrigerator door:
What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker