Duty Free Critic is a blog site about a lady's love of music, fashion and style

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Rihanna for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia

This is a bit delayed, but last month Rihanna did an editorial spread with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia that I thought was exquisite. The art direction and clothing pieces made this spread look like a work worthy of a gallery showing. I honestly thought this was one of the best spreads she has ever done.

My only quip is that I wish there were a few more photos of her doing a more high fashion poses like the one below because she has a knack for it. The only photo I wish she had a better pose in is the second one below. I thought she didn’t quite get comfortable there. Otherwise, this spread is great.

I’m thinking that the magazine tried to focus a little bit on her celebrity because most of the photos are just of her face. I get that she has a recognizable and beautiful face, but I hope if she ever works with Harper’s Bazaar again, they will allow her to really do some great poses.

What also struck me was that she was very respectful of Middle Eastern culture in this shoot. She was fully covered up in all the photos and in doing so it really brought the beauty out in her hand tattoo, which looks very much like a mehndhi (henna) tattoo. Don’t misunderstand me, though. I don’t mind her bare all fashion sense. Actually, I really enjoy it, but this is a nice reminder that she knows how to be courteous and mindful of other countries’ cultures.

Photos Courtesy of NY Daily News

Pitchfork Interviews FKA Twigs


Recently, Pitchfork interviewed FKA Twigs and I thought it was a very professional and just generally enlightening interview about her. I find FKA twigs to be a really interesting person and since I recently talked about her music video, it only made sense to bring it up here.

Something that really surprised me was that despite her fame, she doesn’t have a lot of money coming in. I think that’s one of the most interesting and sort of saddening things about social media fame. Hardly anyone makes any money off of it. For instance, her music video ‘Two Weeks’ now has 1 million hits on YouTube. That brings in about $10,000 in ad revenue, yet since it looks like a lot of people worked on and appeared in the video, she probably has a lot of people to pay. It’s no wonder that even with the fame she has gotten, she still has to ask her folks to help her out with rent from time to time. I vaguely remember fashion blogger, Gary Pepper Girl saying in an interview that for three years she made absolutely no money from the monthly traffic on her blog, which at the time numbered in the millions. Isn’t that insane? We spend all this time trying to gain followers when, unless you have business acumen and can collaborate with reputable names, doesn’t mean more than a number on a page.

Check the interview out. It really showed me a more intimate side of FKA.

Photo Courtesy of Pitchfork Magazine

Artistic Impressions: Bishop Nehru



I really like what they did with this page layout. Nicely done.

I never realized how intriguing of a face Bishop Nehru has and it got me to watching some of his old music videos. ‘Fickle Mind$’ in particular, has a really interesting  concept and I urge you all to check out.

Of course, he talks about hoes just like so many rappers, which is.. tiring. Why does that even need to be talked about.. still? And honestly, what does a 16 year old know about this? I’m just tired. Why is there still such a demonizing and condescending manner taken towards women who desire exactly what men are praised for and sometimes, even pushed to be? Even so, he has a nice flow and the kid is only 17 (at the time of the video, 16). I’m impressed.

(Source: niyazahmad)

Tune of the Day: ‘The Pressure’ by Jhené Aiko


Jhené Aiko’s latest single, ‘The Pressure’ comes at the perfect time. Vibe’s 2014 Cover Girl gives us something to tide us over until her much awaited debut LP, which she finally has announced will be released on August 25. However, it may be pushed back depending on how this new song plays out on the airwaves. Although I’m anxious to hear her Souled Out LP, pushing it back may be a smart move as she is teaming up with the Weeknd and Schoolboy Q for the King of the Fall tour in September. With that being said, Jhené will have to pick carefully not to release the album too late. Timing is everything.

The song opens up with metallic slaps and a somewhat shaky beat, with Jhené lightly treading with her soft voice. What I really love about her though, is that she knows when to sharpen her voice and when to sing ever so lightly. I feel like I can sometimes be lulled to sleep with her in the background, but also perk up and really pay attention to what she is saying.

The downside is that although the production is great and makes for an infectious beat, the song itself never seems to pick up. I was hoping for a refrain that packed a bit more of a punch, but I never really got it. I still enjoy hearing her melodic lyricism on the track, despite that lack of energy. She can always deliver on that front.

Listen to the song below and let me know what you think.


Photos Courtesy of Vogue and Vibe Magazine

Kanye West for GQ Magazine


Kanye West recently appeared in GQ magazine and he looks great. I thought this was perfect timing because if you follow me on Twitter (@dutyfreecritic) you will know I reblogged a GIF from Tumblr of Kanye rapping in 1996 just yesterday. Yes, you read that correctly. People forget (myself included) that he’s been in the game since the 90’s, pushing and hustling along. I have great respect for him even though sometimes, he goes a bit overboard with the social and personal commentary and his GQ appearance only reinforces his fresh style and relevance in the game. Although high fashion hasn’t quite accepted him, I do. Do you, Kanye. You still have a fan over here.

I apologize for the low-res photos, by the way. It was the best I could do.


Photos Courtesy of Necole Bitchie and GQ

Rita Ora for Roberto Cavalli


So many music artists have been doing high fashion collaborations in the last seven months. Just last week, Rita’s collaboration with Roberto Cavalli surfaced online and I have to say, I almost didn’t recognize the girl. Don’t get me wrong, these pictures are flawless and setting is very ‘Cavalli’— which is to say, it’s exquisite, but also flamboyant and unique.

However, the other point I am trying to make is that Rita’s features seem to have been washed out a bit in these photos. Don’t you think? Perhaps, that was the look intended, but I think she’s a really interesting looking person and was disappointed to think that her facial features may have been altered. I also never realized she was this slim. Again don’t get me wrong, the photos look amazing, but I hope they didn’t Photoshop her body and face.

Other than that, a very cool collaboration. Rita Ora has a quirky personality and it doesn’t surprise me that the Cavalli brand tapped her to be their next ambassador.

Side Note: I thought I would now title high fashion collabs as “A for B brand” instead of “A x B” because it strikes me as a more professional thing to use, especially since we’re talking about high fashion.


Photos Courtesy of Mirror.co.uk

'Kicking Down Doors' by Santigold

I’ve been on a music video kick lately. Recently, I’ve been pressed for time so reviewing albums has been a bit more difficult for me to do and I thought in the meantime I would show you some of the music videos that I’ve stumbled upon. I didn’t title this as a ‘Video of the Now’ post because there are a few critiques I have from absolutely loving it. However, it still is a very interesting video.

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A Vintage Affair



Age: 24

Location: Tri-state

Instagram: Dutyfreecritic

Tumblr: dutyfreecritic.tumblr.com

I was recently published on the Black Fashion tumblr so I thought I would post the photo here, plus a few of the photos from the shoot taken by photographer, Peter and his friend Iris. The two shoots were done in the same day and in the same dress, but resulted in very different vibes. Here are some of the photos from my shoot with Peter. We tried to go for a very classic look and this white dress that he found at a second-hand store seemed to work perfectly.

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'Lover's Eyes' by Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons


Music Video: Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons – Lovers’ Eyes (Mohe Pi Ki Najariya)
Damian Lazarus has never been one to create run of the mill music and as his new release from his very own Crosstown Rebels label is anything but predictable.

I have to show some love to my South Asian music heads. Damian Lazarus hails from London and really kills it with this video. The man has made quite a name for himself in dance circles all around the UK and is making a daring new jump with this collaborative effort building towards his 2015 album. My only quip is it doesn’t quite fit with the high energy of the song, but separately the music video and the song are amazing— a must watch.

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