Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Amazon is a dangerous, dangerous site

Today at work I started browsing Amazon to get Christmas gift ideas. Naturally I found books and dvds that I wanted to get for myself so I started picking out a bunch of stuff and added them to my cart. When I checked on my cart I realized that I had picked out 17 items, most of them books about fashion. What can I say? I'm obsessed. Since I knew it would be hazardous to spend several hundred dollars when I have unpaid credit card bills, I emptied said cart, and bought one book: Influence by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

There's been a lot of press around this book, especially today when both twins did a bunch of interviews and a book signing (the one with the list of peculiar rules. ) I had no intention of buying the book until the media flooded me with images of the twins and my stupid brain fell for their marketing scheme.

But if you can believe bloggers, the book is supposed to be really good. The twins don't talk about themselves (a relief because I am thoroughly sick of them now) instead it talks about, duh, their influences. They talk to Chanel master Karl Lagerfeld, actress Lauren Hutton, John Galliano, Diane von Furstenberg and more fashionable people. These are people who I admire greatly and so I'm excited to see what they talk about to MK and Ashley, who, like it or not, are fashion icons.

I was never a fan of MK's boho bag lady look but she inspired a whole new movement who will now only wear sack dresses that look like they came from the attic, bug sunglasses, unkempt hair and gladiator sandals. That look defines our time. Well maybe not anymore, but it did.
I loved it when the sisters were photographed at the Chanel show last season decked out in head-to-toe Chanel. They were so glamourous.
And the fact is they are influential. Everything they wear gets copied. It's undeniable.

Here is Ashley's interview on Good Morning America.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

L'Oreal Fashion Week: RUDSAK

I already stated that Morales was my favourite show of the week, but RUDSAK came in second with gorgeous leather jackets, pants, to-die-for bags and the hottest male model I've ever seen.
My co-worker whispered to me after the first couple of looks came out, "This is so you." And it really was. Short and tight leather bomber jackets in black, brown and best of all, coral; super short leather shorts; colourful scarves were wrapped tightly around the neck; white and black leather skinny pants; belts with large, shiny silver plaques; classic white blouses; mini vests; fingerless leather gloves and leather fedoras. It was all very rock n' roll and all-out sexy. Definitely my style.

And the bags. My favourite was a leather coral handbag which looked so buttery soft I wanted to take it from the model right there. The designs were so simple and classic. White shoulder bags with outside pockets and adjustable straps; black leather clutches with ruching in the middle; satchel bags that could also double for handbags; and for men, large carry-on and travel bags and beautiful side-bags.

My other favourite part of the show had nothing to do with clothes or accessories: a gorgeous male model who smirked his way down the runway had all the girls (and guys, including Project Runway Canada winner Evan Biddell,) swooning in their seats. He had blue bedroom eyes, perfectly chiseled cheekbones and a swagger to knock us off our seat. Hot.

My camera was dying at this point so I'll put up CP photos instead.

L'Oreal Fashion Week: Morales

I'm going to say this right off the bat: Morales was my favourite show of the week.
Gorgeous ruffled chiffon dresses in canary yellow, lilac, white, black and eggshell blue; textile prints of city landscapes, cherry blossoms and trees on flowing silk dresses; organza and shredded and pleated tulle mini dresses in light blue and vivid orange; and the best look, long silk dresses with prints of animé children designed by Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara.

Chiffon dresses had sheer backs as well as keyhole backs. There were some 20s flapper references on the bottoms of some of the dresses and sequin underlays.

But the real show stoppers were the hats, or headbands, as I later realized: Silk flowers cascading down in front of the head. They reminded me of a Philip Treacy design. They were so beautiful I couldn't stop staring at them.

Some beautiful accessories too: Coiled gold necklaces, long, blingy gold necklaces with crosses and peep toe black ankle boots.

To me, this is the Canadian couture. All of that detail, the quality materials, the innovative designs, the luxurious fabrics have the making of haute couture.

For better quality photos go here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My amazing finds

I've been doing a lot of shopping recently, party for fashion week and partly because I need new clothes for winter.

After I picked up my pass for L'Oreal Fashion Week at the Drake, I came across a vintage shop called 69 Vintage. They had amazing clothes: Soft men's leather jackets, military-style coats, poofy dresses, sparkly clutches and other great finds. I wasn't looking for anything in particular but a bomber fur coat caught my eye and I decided to try it on. Now fur is not a look I normally go for. I think it takes a lot of confidence to pull off an all-fur coat (those jackets with fur trims on the collars don't count.) But this was so soft, warm and in excellent condition so I bought it for a bargain of $70. I haven't worn it yet because I'm a bit worried that people will throw things at me so I'm going to wait until it gets colder. But it's magnificent.

My second amazing find is a Elie Tahari black lace cocktail dress I got at Winners for $200. It's stunning. The top has lace detail with a cream lining so you don't see through it. It has a square neck line. The fabric just below the bust is ruched and then the rest of the dress just sits perfectly on the body. It reminds me a bit of Audrey Hepburn.

There are a ton more clothes I bought but I don't have the time to photograph them all so I will list them:

- Dark wash Silver skinny jeans
- H&M vest
- H&M purple taffeta dress
- H&M men's graphic tee
- H&M studded belt
- H&M purple and black tights
- H&M lace skirt and lace top
-Zara men's Superman tee
- Black Danier leather jacket
- DC Comics Batman tee
- Jones New York men's classic white shirt
- GANT navy blue blazer with crest

And I'm sure there is more but I can't remember. And now I'm done shopping for myself for a long, long time.

Friday, October 24, 2008

L'Oreal Fashion Week: Joe Fresh Style

I have been so busy with work and all the fashion shows that I've had no time to update this blog as often as I would like. I hope that will change now that fashion week is over!

But now it's time to talk about fashion week.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Fresh Style designer, Joseph Mimran. We talked a lot about what our bad economy means for his label and how he factors Canada's economic situation when he thinks about the clothes he designs.

We also talked about the lack of diversity on the runway as well as the future of Canadian fashion. Joe is very articulate and well informed of world events; he doesn't live in a fashion bubble although it is obvious that he cares very deeply for fashion and Canadian fashion in particular.

I got to interview him while the models were doing the run-through for the show that night so it was really cool seeing how a show gets put together. There were a few models who needed a lot of work in terms of their walk; a couple were walking too slowly during the finale walk and I could tell the coordinators were a bit frustrated. That's one thing that irritated me a bit while watching all the shows; the fact that the models aren't the greatest walkers. There were quite a few slow ones, as well as those who flapped their arms awkwardly and then those who were too stiff. These girls need more practice.

Joe decided to cast an all-Canadian model roster and he told me he thinks Canadian models are the best in the world, citing Coco Rocha (who opened for him last season) as one of his favourites.

About the show:

Joe focused on meditation and relaxing, playing Dr. Andrew Wheeler's meditative tape before the models walked. The lights went out, and a soothing voice told the pumped up audience to close their eyes and breathe slowly. It was a nice change of pace from the usual hectic goings-on at fashion week.

The clothes:

This was a very sporty collection full of shorts (nylon, boxer and terry,) striped tees, taffeta blazers, yoga pants, leather brogues and clear pvc totes and belts. The glasses were large and see-through à la Balenciaga Spring 2007.

The clothes fit loosely but you could still see shape. This is a woman going for a stylish stroll on the Boardwalk. Men wore bow-ties (love the Chuck Bass reference), wool sweaters, button-up knit blazers, boxing shorts and slim pants.

There were very pretty blouses with ruffled shoulders, ruched peacoats, nylonbubble skirts and dhoti pants for the very adventurous.

Most of the colours were neutral; black and white; with some bright dashes of yellow and green. Some pastel lilac was thrown in.

My favorite piece was a gorgeous long green shift dress that just floated around the model.
Most of these pieces are very easy to wear, even for us non-models. Joe made an interesting comment to me about the runway; he told me it's not real, that it's not meant to reflect real people. We were talking about the lack of ethnic people, but I found this poignant coming from a man who designs affordable clothes that are meant to be sold to "real" women.

I think Joe accomplished what he set out to do: He created classic, affordable clothes that are well-designed but not too innovative.

Spotted in the front row: Dan Levy and Jessie, the hosts of the After Show in MTV Canada. Also model/Canada's Next Top Model judge, Stacey McKenzie, showing off her gorgeous, long legs.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fashion Week news: Drunken ramblings

Apparently I missed the most talked about event at L'Oreal Fashion Week.

It wasn't about famous models or celebrities or a collection. Rather, it was Robin Kay, the woman behind Toronto's biggest fashion event, who had gossip mills running.

Kay made a huge fashion faux pas: making a speech while drunk in front of the country's fashion elite.

The Toronto Star reports:

"I was exhausted and I didn't realize what was happening to me," said Robin Kay, president of the Fashion Design Council of Canada, who made the drunken speech on Monday night. She admitted she had had too much to drink.

Just before the Mango fashion show that night, Kay was called up to welcome guests and sponsors in the tents set up in Nathan Phillips Square. Instead, she delivered a rambling, incomprehensible address that had many of the hundreds of guests squirming in their seats and shading their eyes from the embarrassing display.

One of the L'Oreal Fashion Week sponsors is Holt Renfrew, whose vice-president of fashion direction, Barbara Atkin, said Kay's conduct was hard to overlook.

"This kind of bad behaviour is the equivalent of wearing a bad accessory. The problem is no matter how beautiful your outfit is, everyone is looking at the bad accessory."

What I would give to have seen this. This is so bad in so many respects. L'Oreal Fashion Week is trying to establish itself as a stylish event that the fashion world will take seriously. The goal of course is to compete with New York and have the event covered in international fashion magazines and media.

Now, Toronto and certainly Canada are not known as the fashion epicentres of the planet, so this event is so important for the city to be seen as culturally relevant, hip and fashionable.

The fact that Robin Kay, who is the face of L'Oreal Fashion Week, made such a stupid mistake, could have huge ramifications. I'm sure the sponsors were not pleased. And what about the international media? How does that make us look to them? It's putting it mildly to say that that behaviour is unprofessional. But it also makes us look like amateurs. This behaviour does not make us look like a serious contender in the fashion world. It's an embarrassment.

(Photo: The Toronto Star)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pink Tartan S/S 09: It's a Mad Men world

This is what I wrote down in my notepad while watching the Pink Tartan S/S 09 collection at L'Oreal Fashion Week:

- MAD MEN (in caps)
- 50's
- Scarves (wrapped around the head à la Grace Kelly)
- Jackie O sunglasses
- Hermès
- Short shorts
- Nautical
- Yellow
- Collars
- Pleated skirts
- Cardigans wrapped on shoulders
- A-line dresses
- Pearls
- Wasp waists

That was the collection in a nutshell. I felt like I had transported back in time to the 50s where women cared about the way they dressed and weren't afraid to show off their waists (or their Hermès arm candy.)

Speaking of arm candy, for a minute I thought I was watching an Hermès show because every model was carrying an Hermès bag (a crocodile Birkin drew gasps) and Hermès scarves wrapped around their heads. I am not exaggerating when I say that there must have been hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Hermès merchandise in that collection; definitely worth more than the entire Pink Tartan clothes!

The collection itself was beautiful, easy to wear and safe. I was hoping that the collection would stretch the boundaries a bit more and do something different but I found that it wasn't inspired; rather it looked like a copy of the costumes from the TV show Mad Men.

Perhaps Kimberly Newport-Mimram was thinking that she needs to sell her collection to the buyers in these economically troubled times and so played it safe, but it would have been more inspiring to see her take the collection to the next level. I think the Hermès bags got more attention than the clothes.

The upside of this is that Newport-Mimran's pieces are all wearable together and as separates. They are very classic; collared shirts and blouses in pale pastel colours, full pleated skirts, trench coats, big prints and thigh-skimming dresses.

My favourite pieces were the bathing suits; a modern twist of the 50s one piece suits but with ample breast popping out. They were very sexy but somehow modest at the same time.

The Fashion Week crowd was very stylish tonight- lots of leggings with either super high heels or booties; beautiful jeweled dresses, lots of hair pieces (I saw a man wearing a black silk twist of a hat that reminded me of something Philip Treacy would make) and brightly coloured coats.

The biggest (and best) change in the tent was that we weren't allowed to line up until about 10 minutes before the show was supposed to start. Last season people started lining up right after the previous show finished, which resulted in massive line-ups and the stress that you had to be first in line to get a seat. This way was much more relaxed and organized.

And I saw my first celebrity of the week: Monica Cruz, Penelope Cruz's sister, who is in town for the MANGO fashion show, which I did not attend. She is very beautiful and glamorous and I only got a photo of the top of her head.

They were also handing out copies of The Daily Front Row, which was a nice surprise and gave people something to do while waiting for the shows to start.

I saw the usual fashion people there and other media types: Jeanne Beker of course, Adrian Mainella of Fashion File, stylist Phillip Bloch and National Post gossip columnist Shinan Govani.

I wasn't in the front row, but at least I got a seat in the fourth!

And for good measure, a bad photo of Monica Cruz: