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Podcast guest Tracee Ellis Ross shares her 7 most memorable fashion moments

In the first of PORTER’s compelling new podcast series, Pieces of Me: My Life in Seven Garments, actor TRACEE ELLIS ROSS talks to SARAH BAILEY about the power of fashion and the momentous sartorial occasions that will stay with her forever – from being dressed to the nines as a child (by her mother, Diana Ross) to the show-stopping Valentino gown that beautifully conveys the trailblazing woman she is today. Here, we give you an insight into Ellis Ross’s life through fashion with an exclusive extract from our Pieces of Me podcast, which you can also listen to in its entirety from today…

Dress, Christopher Kane; earrings, Persée

Tracee Ellis Ross speaks the language of fashion. In fact, the actor, TV host and activist began her career as a stylist (at Mirabella and New York magazine). Born of show-business royalty, the 47-year-old daughter of Diana Ross has since carved a singular path as an actor, TV host and activist – her powerful social and political work ignited by a long-standing friendship with the Obamas. She says that Michelle Obama created “the space” for Rainbow Johnson, the role Ellis Ross plays in the TV comedy series Black-ish. “She brought to the White House the experience of a woman who was not just a wife – she was strong, powerful, awkward, giggly, fun, smart. And she wasn’t just surviving, she was thriving!” explains Ellis Ross. “I believe that our joy, and our ability to thrive, are the most revolutionary things we have; especially as a black woman.” And it is this unapologetic, life-affirming spirit that we find threaded through her seven Pieces of Me.

A velvet dress with a scalloped collar from my childhood…

Ellis Ross (center), pictured here circa 1976, with her mother, Diana Ross, and sisters Rhonda (far right) and Chudney (far left)

“I don’t know when exactly this navy-blue velvet dress appeared in the repertoire of my childhood closet, but it appears many times in photographs. It was one of the early markers for me of dressing appropriately for an occasion – and wearing your best for some of the most important moments of life”

A pair of Vivienne Westwood boots I bought to celebrate Girlfriends being picked up for another season in 2000…

“There was a Vivienne Westwood store in New York, in Soho, so I went there and they had to trace my foot on a piece of paper because the cobbler actually made them from scratch. I still wear them. They signify something extremely special to me.”

The gold, brocade Michael Kors dress I wore to the White House in 2009…

“I wore this dress the first time I was invited to the White House, when Michelle Obama started her mentorship program. I remember walking from the hotel I was staying at to the White House – in my gold dress, in my heels – and I was so awake to embarking on a new chapter in my life.”

The white Ralph Lauren gown I wore to the Emmys in 2016…

“I was nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy, for our second season of Black-ish. And it was the first time in some 30-odd years that a black woman had been nominated in that category. I felt like a goddess on that red carpet.”

The Zuhair Murad dress I wore to the Golden Globes in 2017…

“This is the dress I was wearing when I won the Golden Globe for my role as Rainbow Johnson in Black-ish – standing on the same stage where my mother had won a Golden Globe 44 years earlier. I just felt very humbled to be able to hold that moment and hold that space.”

The Saint Laurent suit I wore on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2017…

“I was asked to host Jimmy Kimmel Live! and I wanted to do a nursery rhyme about inappropriate male behaviour. So, what does one wear to host a late-night talk show and speak of such things? I thought a clean, hard-edged Saint Laurent suit with a soft, satin pink tie. This suit makes me feel like an Amazonian goddess-superhero!”

The pink Valentino dress I wore to the Emmys in 2018…

“I think the pink Valentino couture dress that I wore on the carpet at the Emmys really is a reflection of present and future Tracee – a symbol for the exuberance and the risk-taking and the sheer abandon and liberations that I want to walk forward with in my life.”

To listen to this and future episodes of Pieces of Me: My Life in Seven Garments, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, and many more

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