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International Style Queens of African Heritage: Iman Bowie

Ijeoma Balogun

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Last week, we kicked off an exciting  series on women of African heritage that have been killing it on the international red carpet by featuring Nigerian model Tolula Adeyemi.
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This week, we continue with Somalian supermodel, mother, actress  and entrepreneur Iman Bowie.

Iman began her career as a model in 1975 when she was discovered by American photographer, Peter Beard while as a student at Nairobi University. Subsequently she moved to the United States to pursue a modelling career. Her first modelling assignment was for American Vogue in 1976; her appearance in such a prestigious magazine challenged the prevailing notions of beauty and opened the door for other women of colour in the fashion industry.

Iman’s striking features made her an instant success in the fashion industry; becoming a muse for several fashion designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Versace. In her fourteen year career as a supermodel model she worked with the top photographers including Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Annie Leibovitz walked the runway for the most influential designers and covered countless magazines.

After a successful career as a model, she went on to start her own cosmetics line; IMAN Cosmetics which was the first cosmetics and skincare collection designed for women of colour. She launched an accessory line IMAN Global Chic and has written two books; I AM IMAN (Universe, 2001) and The Beauty of Colour: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Colour (Putnam Adult, 2005).

In addition to running her global beauty company, Iman is also actively involved in several charities, acting as the global Ambassador for the Keep a Child Alive program as well as working closely with the Children’s Defense Fund. She is currently the host for Project Runway Canada.

Iman believes style is about longevity; being able to stay true to yourself and also, being “classic”. She considers accessories as “the stars of our wardrobes” and she is all about more, but with the notion of balance in check!  Her red carpet style is consistent; as she always wows with the dresses; highlighting her enviable figure and the lush of her ever glowing brown skin!

In Oscar De La Renta

In Oscar De La Renta

Iman looks AMAZING in this dress. She is styled to perfection, her make-up is flawless and so is her skin. She pulls off this dramatic piece graciously.

In Jason Wu

In Jason Wu

This is a fun look for her.  The feathers, the flirty short length and her side swept bob make it very contemporary.

In Angel Sanchez Resort 2010

In Angel Sanchez Resort 2010

Iman loves her some colour green and I am guessing it’s because it looks great against her skin. Here, in minimal accessories, she ensures her dress is the primary focus of the look as she also has her hair pulled back, so it doesn’t compete with the panel details on the bodice.

Spotting an Iman global chic bag

Spotting an Iman global chic bag

This is casual Iman and don’t you just love the look; jeans, a simple white tee and a blazer…nothing fussy yet very chic in the city!

In Marchesa

In Marchesa

Iman wows in this red dress, her hair and make-up is always on point!

In Donna Karen

In Donna Karan

Iman sparkles in this plunging dress. Does this woman ever age?

In Michael Kors

In Michael Kors

This dress gently skims through her delicate curves and emphasizes her enviable figure. It’s an elegant choice for her!

In Magnenta floral dress

In Magnenta floral dress

This is a very pretty dress! The pop of colour, the floral print and the brooch on the shoulder. This is a soft feminine look on her.

Iman with husband, David Bowie

Iman with husband, David Bowie

It seems as though Iman favours ravishing red when she is out with husband, rock legend David Bowie. The colour is stunning and totally complements her glowing skin.

At the New York Women's Foundation Gala

At the New York Women's Foundation Gala

Totally love this dress on Iman. Its a strapless deep-V yellow-and-white dress. The simplicity of the design and the draping totally work for Iman’s statuesque figure.

In Thakoon Fall 2009

In Thakoon Fall 2009

I like how Iman wears shorter length dresses.  I particularly like the tulle bow detail on this dress, which she combines with a sleek bob.

 In Monique Lhillier spring 2008

In Monique Lhuillier Spring 2008

This is typical Iman on the red carpet; a stunning dress and a superb finish!

In Donna Karen

In Donna Karan

Her beauty radiates in every dress she wears. It’s always understated glam with Iman.

Credits:  Life, Zimbio,i-iman

Ex-Style Editor at Large - BellaNaija.com , Now Founder/CEO Redrick Public Relations Limited. @ijeomabalogun

15 Comments

  1. Bola #1

    March 9, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    much respect to IMAN. She’s truly a legend.
    I mean can you believe she’s over 50 years yet she looks so youthful and gorgeous!

  2. Elpee

    March 10, 2010 at 4:39 am

    LOVE THIS WOMAN

  3. sweetie

    March 10, 2010 at 5:28 am

    HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. roundrobin

    March 10, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    i want to look like that when im 50!

  5. Ync

    March 10, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Sexy, pretty, hot, gorgeous, words can’t describe this woman, love you everyday and always will. I hope to look this sexy in my fifties, you always inspire me everyday.

  6. missbonnie

    March 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I really dnt mean to hate…but she looks…SKINNY.. esp in that red dress.

  7. mac ripe peach blush ombre

    March 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I want to look like that NOW not when im 50…lol
    Iman is a perfect looking woman, and her dress sense…impeccable. Looks perfect either on the red carpet…or just casual. Wow.

  8. Bisi

    March 11, 2010 at 12:17 am

    WOW! She’s in her fifties, how has she manage to keep herself looking so young and in good shape, im in my thirties and i dont even look half as good……..i need to hit the gym…. fast. lol

  9. gbemi

    March 11, 2010 at 2:28 am

    hmm….what shall we do to make people happy? she’s skinny, so? If she was overweight, we’ll say she let herself go… I’d love to see how you’ll look @ 50 :/

  10. duchess419

    March 11, 2010 at 11:30 am

    classic beauty … Naomi should and could learn a thing or two. But then again she is NOT african abi. Love love love IMAN..

  11. Princess

    March 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    She’s truly a legend… I love her, she is my role model

  12. fokasibe

    March 12, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Woot? Naomi’s not African? Guess again!!

  13. ASAKE

    March 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    she is sooo soooooooo hottttt. i think our Agbani might look same in her 50s too only if she does not marry an african oriented man!!!!!

  14. Funmi

    March 18, 2010 at 1:56 am

    Na wa o… The woman’s youthful look isn’t exactly a mystery… Money + Healthy diet/exercise plan + “Doctor’s help” = Forever young. Anyone with sense, good stylists, a healthy lifestyle and a few nips and tucks here and there can look awesome at any age. I’m not knocking Iman o! Before all the “hater” accusations start flying around… It’s just a fact. Like Nike Osinowo… NA MONEY MEN… You think say if dem dey run up and down dey find wetin dem go chop, dem go fine like this??? Give me a break.

  15. Pingback: International Style Queens of African Heritage: Thandie Newton | Bella Naija

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