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Archive for November 25th, 2009|Daily archive page

Then and Now: When Fashion Was Cool

In culture, designer, Fashion, Fashion Heat, Flash Back, Good Look, London, Trend on November 25, 2009 at 9:18 pm

British Vogue‘s December issue brought on a strong sense of nostalgia for me. A specific article, The Secret History of London Fashion Week, chronicled LFW from the `80s to present. After reading the piece, an abundance of emotions got my creative juices flowing, and a whirlwind of images fled through my mind. Truth be told, I had not really known LFW until recently but I remember the iridescence that fashion had as a whole. In the article, a series of designers, supermodels and buyers went into detail about the many tribulations the show endured over the years. But the focal points – Lynne Franks, a major PR Director and Stevie Smith – the mastermind behind collection Body Map, were the most inspiring. It was they who- with the exception of Vivienne Westwood and her line – were trailblazers for what London fashion was to become.

“Our LFW debut was called Cat in the Hat Takes a Tumble With the Rumblefish,” mused Smith. “We created a way of dressing using jerseys and sweatshirts that wasn’t just for skinny people, we had old, young, fat and thin on the catwalk. Even my mum.” His vision was beyond making pretty clothes and being conventional. Body Map was a breakaway from the norm other Fashion Designers were concurring with at the time. Even Franks’s concept was avant-garde “I persuaded one my clients to sponsor a tent [in Olympia] and up it went. The lawn collapsed after a few seasons and we had to move, but this marked the start of a new mood in fashion – it was fun and funky and young.”

Though it’s not quite as prestigious as fashion week in Milan or Paris, London Fashion Week is still the best place to showcase collections of both old and young. Matter of fact, London is ahead of all fashion corners for cultivating fashion design.  But the `80s and early `90s were a pivotal moment in fashion, as most designers of today who are creatively schizophrenic draw inspiration from fashion of that time. And not just London, during the `80s fashion on a global scale became so baroque that the concept of colours and shapes held no barriers. The more abstract your dressing, the better. This was a philosophy that resonated with the fashion elite, rock stars and the hip-hop scene.

Body Map is a proven testament of playing with design concepts waywardly, and boldly. There’s fierce determination to make a statement in the collections. A great prime example of this is this piece worn by Uma Thurman:

and this punk-inspired pink, green and blue outfit:

As we move into modern times, Body Map’s concept was applied rather unconsciously by Toronto-based fashion designer Blaine Degannes of Rain Anthology:

Considering Dagannes had no background in fashion, I reckon his fashion history was extremely limited. Maybe if he did more research, it would have been easier for him to connect the dots. A reviewer of Toronto Fashion Week (where Dagannes debuted) stated his line Caribbean influenced, I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing, but it’s good when a fashion designer is influenced (much like Stevie Smith) but their upbringings. Degannes has the right idea, just not at the right level.

I do feel sorry for the pioneers who scavenge for talent now, the problem with a lot of fashion designers (much like aspiring fashion journalists) is that they’re too consumed with being something they’re not. They’re either overly processed and pretentious or stiff and dull. But all isn’t lost.

Russian designer Alexander Terexov takes the same concept and adds a resort feel to his Spring/Summer 2010 collection.

It’s safer, and glossier. But it doesn’t stand out. It’s a collection constructed for fashion-conscious pretty girls who like pretty things.

However, my when eyes trail to UK-based Ziad Ghanem‘s spring/summer 2010 collection and it gives me hope. Not just because I like punk, but because his collection is a sign of the times. With the state of the economy, we’re looking for inspiration and he gives us that by taking the Body Map concept and revitalizing it:

Very British, very fun. That’s the word! Fashion was supposed to be fun. It’s okay if historic elements are prevalent. But while art and fashion are merged together, you’re supposed to enjoy wearing the garments.

Another favorite of mine is Berlin-fashion line C.Neeon who know how to the colour and print concept seamlessly.

Bare in mind they’ve been around for a long time, but the vision was there from the beginning, that’s why they’ve come this far.

Admittedly, I have a lifetime of fashion purgatory ahead. Before allowing my inner fashion feline to emerge, I held on to what I thought I knew: Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Balmain. I liked what I thought I liked, and that was what I knew, but thanks to discovering Body Map, the eccentric world of British fashion has given me a new outlook. Not just for what to wear, but for my fashion life in general.

In The Know: Because Magazine

In Fashion, In the Know on November 25, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Tank/O Guru Caroline Issa and her team love fashion. So much so, they created Because, an online magazine on their musings. But it’s not your run-of-the-mill, cut-and-paste source. It’s more like a buyer’s guide to what’s hot in fashion, accessories, shoes and all things related that allows you to click-to-buy directly to the item’s retailer. Each entry is composed of fashion shoots, video uploads and commentary giving the magazine an exclusive angle.  The Because team are a specialized group of fashion industry leaders; it’s their unrelenting job to know what’s hot. Because they said so, you should trust them.

Rising Stars: Canada’s next “it” fashion bloggers

In blogger, Fashion, Fashion Heat, Good Look, Rising Stars on November 25, 2009 at 1:06 am

You name them, we follow them. Whether it’s the self-imposed muses at Kingdom of Style, or the king of street stalking Sartorialist, fashion bloggers are the future.

We’ve shown our admiration for the Susie Style Bubbles, Bryan Boys and Tommy Tons, and Journalists from industry fashion bibles continue praise the mantras of those already on top. But fashion leaders must always be on the lookout for what’s new – what’s hot. Especially when a majority of the fashion bloggers shop at the same places.

The creme de la creme of High street retailers: American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, H&M, and Topshop are forever indebted to the fashionistas who consistently create looks on their blogs that inspire a growing batch of followers. Without this new school of “unofficial” spokespeople, fashion retailer’s net profits would plummet at jet speed.

This post is an ode the new generation of bloggers. They’re young, fashion-forward, and proudly Canadian.

Regardless of how different they are in content, the selected fashionistas have three things in common: high street style, thrift shops and character.

So here we go.(And by the way, all images are properties of the blog owners.)

The Dreamer: Rachel, 16, Serva Me, Servabo Te.


This young blogger loves pretty floral print dresses and far away places. In July 2008, Rachel founded  Save me, And I Will Save You. With piercing green eyes, fiery red hair, and a direct sense of fashion, Rachel updates her followers about fashion finds at Toronto’s vintage shops, and has a knack for binding art, fantasy books and music into her fashion entries. Though she has a passion for fashion, it’s easy to see her cultivating a career in the literary world, maybe with Penguin Books.

The Fashion Creator: Katia, 17, Blinding Bright Lights.

Whether Katia’s venturing european countries or strolling NYC, this Montrealer/Student  is a self-proclaimed “fashion-obsessed vegetarian with extremely high hopes for the future.” Fashion through her eyes is a cluttered barrage of colour, and putting looks together is much like changing underwear – she does it often. Her posts garner a legion of responses, which means she’s becoming a prominent voice within Canada’s fashion blogsphere. Maybe she’ll launch her own line, land a job at Colette or French Elle.

The Fashion Editor: Lea, 13, Lea Likes Fashion.

Don’t be fooled by the pouty demure in this picture; there’s nothing emo about Lea’s blog. In fact, it’s along the lines of UK’s Grazia. At just 13-years-old, Lea’s one of the most underrated yet promising personalities in Canadian fashion – literally. She’s a woman of little words but high on visual content. Noting Alexander McQueen as one of her favorite designers, she’s quick to post pre-season haute couture collections and one-on-one guides of her own daily looks. She’s got the look that will land her in front row of fashion weeks, and she’s got lifestyle flair; she posts food recipes and tips making her a well-rounded blogger. Word to the wise Lea, have you seen MCQ’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection of to die for bags?

The Society Girl: Olivia, 21, Stylestruck.ca.

She’s got a cute cropped cut and kick ass heels. And when she’s not giving the low down of what’s in her closet, Fashion Blogger Olivia does her own rendition of street stalking. She’s all about who’s who in the Vancouver’s (and abroad) fashion scene. She’s got a positive attitude and wears a bright smile to match. She’s definitely one of those fashionistas you’ll see working the PR circuit for a well-renowned fashion house, maybe Diane Von Furstenberg?

The Glam Girl: Abbey, 16, Abbey Karson Blog.

Abbey’s got enough style to be apart of the team behind über-fashion mags like Pop, or Katie Grand’s Love. Note the british mags mentioned; that’s because she’s cool, maybe too cool to be in Canada. With her doll-like features and semi-beehive hairstyle, Abbey is essentially Britpop to-the-max. The quality of the images on her blog are stunning and the fashion-girl-against-rural-backdrop (except when she is in front of her magazine poster plastered wall) is fresh and exciting.

The Indie Fashion Maven: Siân, 23, Good Stuff Here.

Out of all the bloggers, Siân would probably be the most anti-mainstream, though she genuinely is the most avant-garde. This Makeup Artist from Toronto’s style resonates throughout her blog; she’s one of those personalities you can see getting in with weekly indies like Toronto’s Now! Magazine, or working her magic through commissions from Creative Agencies. She’s an unapologetic blogger, not afraid to voice her dislikes which gives her platform a niche following. And, considering a lot of the fluff bloggers tend to do (myself included), that’s not such a bad thing. If all else fails, she can always become a spokes model for Carri Mundane’s Cassette Playa collection.