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Thursday, October 23, 2014

#WMCFW: Target Canada's Toronto Fashion Week Show

target toronto

Most fashion week shows are for the media. The Target runway for World Mastercard Fashion week was meant to appeal to true customers.  The clothing was pulled from current fall and winter offerings now available in the stores.  The catwalk was dressed up like a big red carpet, decorated with home accessories.  Live musicians gave it a party atmosphere as well as the big shower of confetti at the finale.

The clothing itself ranged from back-to-school looks, warm cozy street wear to dressier holiday party looks for men, women and children.  While the diverse range of models was game, I can’t say I was all that impressed with the fashion itself.  While some looks were appealing, a lot of it looked like generic, budget-friendly clothing that catered to Canadian clich├ęs of anoraks, chunky knit accessories and quilted jackets. I would have thought that a splashy Toronto Fashion Week event would have been the perfect opportunity to showcase the big-name designer collaborations that gets the fashion crowd geeked out in the United States.  Are they not offering these designers up North? Why not? Why deprive Canadians the likes of Joseph Altuzarra?  The only collaboration I saw represented here was with TOMS.

The only guest “star” or celebrity appearance in Toronto was “Bullseye” the Target mascot dog.  The cute factor is a crowd pleaser, but does it get people shopping?

Target has been supporting Toronto fashion week in some way for the past few seasons.  Even before they had a retail presence open, they offered up a nicely catered lounge to fashion media during World Mastercard fashion week.  They have been putting a lot of effort in announcing their arrival to Canada, which is why I am surprised they did not showcase more fashion forward looks.  Why show current season clothes if they aren’t going to drive people straight to the stores?  Don’t underestimate the Canadians, they gobble up the top designers the way they do poutine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#WMCFW: Sid Neigum - Mercedes-Benz Start-Up Winner

mercedes benz startup winner
Congratulations to a new fashion designer to win the Mercedes-Benz Start-up competition at Toronto Fashion Week.  Sid Neigum presented a solo collection that earned him a $30 000 prize, mentorship and a fully produced solo show at the next World Mastercard Fashion Week with magazine spread.

His winning looks were a polished, clear vision with asymmetrical hems shapes and interesting use of laser cutting techniques.  He had dresses and separates with pretty modular motifs cut out of them.  
His truly sculptural pieces though were tops, capes, dresses that comprised of modular origami forms that were also created with a laser cutting process.  This is the first time I have seen the technology used this way in fashion.  Keeping the palette to basic black, white and neutral grey helped to highlight the architecture of his pieces. 

The Mercedes-Benz Start-up competition has chosen a lot of the top emerging designers to succeed in Canada.  Alberta raised Neigum also previously won the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New Labels competition two years prior.  Judges of the competition make their decision not on this runway presentation alone.   The judging panel selects their winner over a series of interviews, business plans, marketing strategies and past seasons as well.

Congratulations Sig Neigum! I look forward to seeing your next collection!

sid neigum
photos by David TW Leung


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#WMCFW: Pink Tartan Spring 2015

 Get your hustle on.  Pink Tartan’s Spring 2015 collection took a lot of inspiration from the 1970’s.  Designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran brought the decade to World Mastercard Fashion Week in Toronto with a nod to the disco era.

There were a lot of plunging necklines and jumpsuits.  There were elongated jackets and sharply pleated pants.  I can’t say I was a fan of the high waists on some styles, they made the models look dumpy and that’s quite hard to do.  Swimwear was introduced on the runway, which in the chilly, damp temperatures of Toronto, I wasn’t in the right mind frame to appreciate.

Stark black and white dominated the runway for the first half of the show.  I understand that no matter what the media and buyers claim they want to see in bright colors, they do always make the most buys from a collection from these two shades.  However, this doesn’t make a dramatic presentation.  I perked up when updated graphic prints arrived on the catwalk.  At first glance, the colors and patterns looked like they were a throwback to the 70’s as well.  However, a closer look showed an abstract, modern floral.  The other print I really liked was an over-sized paisley in gigantic foulard print.  I love seeing traditional motifs being re-interpreted and re-mixed.  The freshest way to do that is to change up the scale.

Are you looking to boogie? There was a top and jumpsuit that featured fringe that swayed when the models walked.  You can’t have a 70’s inspired collection and not have a few looks ready for the dance floor… I wonder where Kimberly Newport-Mimran and Pink Tartan were when Studio 54 was open… 

photos by David TW Leung

Monday, October 20, 2014

Farewell Oscar de la Renta

oscar de la renta studio

With sadness, I say good bye to one of fashion’s greatest designers.  Oscar de la Renta passed away tonight after a long fight with cancer.  He was an American icon, dressing First Ladies and Hollywood legends alike.

My personal recollection of him began in high school with me discovering we shared a birthday.  I poured over the glamorous coverage of his fashion shows, hoping to experience his world when I got to New York to work in fashion.

oscar de la renta balmainThat ambition came true in 1997 when I started working as an embellishment designer.  He designed not only his own collection but the Balmain Haute Couture collection as well.  He used one of my first embroidery designs of a vine-like sequin and bead pattern on a sheath in his show.  He later used another one of my designs, where I had experimented with spray-painting gold fleur-de-lis patterns across sheets of copper sequins.  I was overjoyed to see my work as a part of my idol’s runway. 

Visiting his studio at 550 7th Avenue was a treat.  He and his close staff always looked impeccable.  I would have been intimidated if it were not for his warm demeanor.  One appointment I had there was cut short expectantly.  I was shooed out for security clearance as then First Lady Hillary Clinton was coming in for a fitting.

  I remember one instance where his son Moises was doing homework in his office.  Everyone knew that whenever Oscar had his family there, he would be in a great mood.  Oscar was in the middle of fitting a gown on a model a few weeks before his runway show in the studio.  He came back to the office to ask his son if he wanted to watch the fitting.  Adolescent boys generally don’t jump at watching their fathers pin clothing.  However, Moises could see the enthusiasm in his Dad’s eyes and reluctantly joined him to make him happy.  Love trumped the need for teenage cool.

In recent years, Oscar de la Renta created memorable looks for pop divas like Beyonce Knowles and sartorial fantasies for Sarah Jessica Parker and Sex and the City.  I hope he is surrounded by love and beautiful things like what he himself gave to this world.
 portrait by DAVID LORD DE LA RENTA, magazine clipping from officiel magazine 1998

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#NYBW: Pamella Roland Bridal 2015

I’m going to end my NY Bridal week coverage with the glamour of Pamella Roland.  Sprawling, romantic silhouettes and trumpet shaped skirts were the preferred look of this penthouse presentation. 

The designer worked her magic with fabric manipulation and embroidery.  I loved the more fashion forward use mixing irregular large crystals and jewels to encrust necklines and cuffs onto a very delicate lace dress.  This pattern was then interpreted with matte pearl sequins also cut irregularly and encrusted with stones and beads. 
Metallic stud embellishment was a big trend in streetwear.  Pamella Roland reinterpreted that trend into elegant bridal wear by creating spikes of crystal rondelles on top of long bugle beads and clustering different sized pearls to create the studded effect concentrated around the shoulder. 
 The final effect was an edgier nuptial look perfect for brides who prefer to mix street style into their ultra-glam wedding day.

Almost a pre-requisite for showing at NY Bridal week, Pamella Roland too had her Frozen-inspired “Elsa” dress.  There was a beautiful pale blue gown worn by, (surprise surprise) a blonde model with her hair pulled back.  The dress had sheer cap sleeved shoulders and was embroidered with crystal beaded vines that looked like cracked ice.  The pale sequin embroidery also looked like flakes of frost and snow on the body, culminating into long sheer godet panels at the skirt. 

Well there you have it. I didn’t cover a lot of bridal shows this time around, but I think I spotlighted some of the best.  Down the aisle or on the runway, don’t you love see a swirl of tulle?
Photos by Mariana Leung

Blogger Love: Fall Girls


With fall in full swing, we're all breaking out the sweaters, getting the coats out of storage. And of course, doing a bit of fall shopping. Now is as good a time as any to investigate where the trends are headed so you can make the most of your fall fashion budget. This week the community at IFB has a great roundup of fall hauls, trend reports and outfit inspirations to help you decided which way you're going to fall this year: