On Monday, the R&B artist R. Kelly was found guilty on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering, with the latter charge including acts of bribery and sexual exploitation of a child. Kelly was also found to be in violation of the Mann Act, a sex-trafficking statute that—in Kelly’s case—related to the transportation and coercion of two women, including a minor. Kelly could face up to life in prison at his sentencing, which will take place on May 4. “Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification,” said Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, acting U.S. attorney from the Eastern District, outside the Brooklyn courthouse where Kelly’s verdict was read.
A total of 45 prosecution witnesses were called to present evidence against Kelly, with many of his victims—including the singer Aaliyah, who married Kelly in 1994 when he was 27 and she was 15—identified as Jane Does. Accusations of engaging in sex acts with women under the age of consent have followed Kelly for decades, but it took the #MeToo revolution and the broadcast of the 2019 documentary Surviving R. Kelly for Kelly’s long-standing pattern of sexually abusive behavior to be definitively decried by the music industry—and, as of today, by a jury of his peers. Tucked away in a central Milan neighborhood that’s been home from the mid-’70s to refugees and migrants from Eritrea and North Africa, an old knitwear atelier serves as workshop-cum-headquarters to Vitelli. Vitelli is an artisanal creative community headed by Mauro Simionato, a creative director/cultural agitator with a hippie ethos. Since its inception in 2017, Vitelli has embraced holistic and sustainable production practices, a progressive social mindset, and a distinctive aesthetic, rooted in the Italian Cosmic Youth club scene of the ’80s and tinged with post-hippie, post-punk undertones. “We make experimental knitwear,” explained Simionato before the show held at Fondazione Sozzani during Milan Fashion Week, a first for the label.
“Doing the falconry made me think of Marianne North, who was an extraordinary Victorian botanist and amazing explorer at a time when women couldn’t travel alone,” Moralioglu tells Good Morning Vogue. “The strength and power of femininity is something that has absolutely inspired me again and again.” Elsewhere in his oeuvre, Italian activist and photographer Tina Modotti and American vaudeville child star Adele Astaire have come alive through designs that are worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna, and Oprah Winfrey. The day’s ornithological escapade unfolds in the name of celebration. Erdem is set to soar during London Fashion Week with a show that marks the label’s return to a real-life runway (in the British Museum’s impressive colonnade, no less) and its 15th anniversary. Moralioglu’s success is a feat that, last year, saw him awarded the MBE for services to the fashion industry in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. See Moralioglu’s impromptu avian 15th-anniversary celebration, above, together with a hint of what’s next for the fashion star.
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