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Friday, September 8, 2017

NYFW: Greta Constantine Spring 2018

greta constantine ss18

greta constantine nyfw

We're back at NY Fashion Week. Like last season, I start the reports with Toronto-based designers. Greta Constantine is a label founded by Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong, self-claimed "Jersey Boys of Toronto".

Their Spring 2018 collection was a celebration of bold, sexy women. While the clothes aim for the future, There were a lot of retro influences. Backless tops, flowing skirts reminded me of 1970s disco. Constructed shoulders in jackets and ruffled skirts brought memories of 1980s glam, glittering in sequins and lame. Lots of legs, lots of skin were shown. The fabrics were quite luxurious. Silk tulle, satin and silk wool were the top fabrics among the sequins.

Greta Constantine, named after Wong's mother and Pickersgill's grandfather, has earned a celebrity following. The designers call Taraji P. Henson, Frieda Pinto and Tatiana Maslany as fans. The collection is sold all over the world, including boutiques in Qatar, Ireland and native Canada.
photos by Mariana Leung

Thursday, September 7, 2017

NYFW Preview - Fashion Designer Sketches

Welcome to another season of NYFW! Spring 2018 launched this NY Fashion Week. Here are a few fashion designer sketches to give you a taste of what the shows have in store for you.

Designer Taoray Wang's collection has the theme of Baroque in Shanghai. Her muses were musicians Purcell and Handel. Irina Vitjaz looks to have designed lots of body curve-hugging sleek silhouettes based on the sketches I have seen.

The design team behind Cushnie et Ochs were inspired by the painted flowers of Frida Kahlo. Also inspired by painted flowers was the designer Mijia Zhang who looked to the art of Marc Quinn. Both Pamella Roland and Adeam were inspired by recent travels. Roland with Monaco and Adeam with Hong Kong.

Bibhu Mohapatra and Han Chong both incorporated graphic stripes into their looks. Ji Oh took simple tailoring to redefine the woven shirt.

As you can see, there is something for everyone this NY Fashion Week for the Spring 2018 season. There were many changes this time around as far as format and location. I myself am only attending a few presentations as they are all over the city. Many designers opted not to show a full runway, preferring intimate presentations or appointments. Luckily, for every designer taking it easy, many up-and-coming designers will take their place.
Sketches provided by the designers.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Best Cosplay from Fan Expo Canada 2017

fan expo cosplay
disney bound cosplay

two face girl cosplay

Hail Geekdom! Fan Expo Canada is a celebration of all things pop culture, comics, and gaming. Cosplay is the reigning fashion statement where fans dress as their favorite characters. What once started as a few themed t-shirts and store-bought costumes has evolved into an art form.

At Fan Expo Canada in Toronto, the organizers have catered to this group with everything from a multi-backdrop “play park” for themed selfies to high-stakes competitions. Harley Quinn, Doctor Who, and various companions were the most popular characters this year. Rocky Horror Picture Show fans came out of the dungeons, no doubt boosted by the appearances of the original cast of Tim Curry, Meatloaf, and Patricia Quinn. Other Batman villains made multiple appearances. Surprisingly, gender swapped Two-Face was a popular choice for women.

I did not see too many Goths; they were replaced by Steampunk looks, including Steampunk versions of popular comic characters like the Joker and Wonder Woman. Star Wars is as popular as ever with many variations of Rey and BB-8 as costumes. Of course, a massive march of Stormtroopers makes a great visual as you walk through the halls of the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

Disney has inspired two rapidly growing cosplay movements. First, there are the fans who create elaborate costumes for Disney Princess or Disney characters and take on their persona. The other is what is called “Disney Bounding,” a phrase coined by Leslie Kay, a Canadian local which has spread internationally. Dinsey Bounding is where fans style regular street clothes to fit into the looks of their favorite Disney characters. Both groups were well-represented at Fan Expo. Apparently, they gravitate towards each other and have formed a tight-knit community. My friend at DragonCon in Atlanta said the same groups found each other in that city as well.

Gaming and Anime characters inspired the most elaborate props on the Fan Expo floor. While the Walking Dead’s Negan cosplayers mostly had their baseball bats confiscated, the gaming fans had more theatrical (aka less threatening) props to wield during photo shoots.

So what character do YOU dress up as for your local Comic-Con? Did Fan Expo Canada’s cosplay inspire you?
Photos by Mariana Leung

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Taoray Wang and Tiffany Trump Fall 2017

Sorry I have been MIA for awhile. With everything going on in this country, I was having a hard time writing. Taoray Wang's Fall 2017 fashion show at NY Fashion Week was an example of how fashion can transcend politics.

An up-and-coming designer from China, Wang presented a sleek, sexy collection of tailored looks, bridging suits and evening wear. She took classically constructed jackets and gave them fashion-forward closures and silhouettes. The jackets were paired with asymmetrical dresses, mixing lace, zippers, for a sexy look.

Tiffany Trump, despite all of her father's anti-China rhetoric, chose to sit front row and show her support. She wore the designer's work prominently at major events. Most social climbing politician's daughters would choose to wear more famous labels for prestige. Tiffany Trump chose to attend several shows of unknown designers, despite the unwelcome reception she received from other guests.

I am NO fan of the current president or his administration, but that does not carry over to the entire family. While I can't say I am a particular fan of Tiffany either, I do respect that she supported designers of color and chose talent over prestige in her wardrobe choices. Whoopi Goldberg, also no fan of the president reached out to make Tiffany feel welcome when she saw her being poorly at a different show.

We like to think of fashion as art and not political, but this season, more than ever, proved that this is not true. Many designers made a political statement with their presentations. Some were subtle, in their music choices or support of social causes. Other more outright with models carrying protest signs or wearing clear statements on their body.

On the flip side, Tiffany Trump, as a political representative, official or not made hers by supporting the fashion industry underdog, regardless of the designer's country of origin.

Interesting, for a collection that was a stark color palette of black and white, would prove to be a showcase for situations that were neither. Let's see what Taoray Wang brings us for the upcoming NYFW season...
Photos by Mariana Leung

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#NYFWM: Christopher Lowman Spring 2018- Harvard Punk'd

Who's in for scholarly chic? Indie designer Christopher Lowman styled his Spring 2018 collection along with a collegiate theme. While the academic-inspired look is a hot trend, there was something darker and in tune with current times. 

There were team jackets and sweaters. Cropped pants were paired with New Balance Athletic shoes. Intellectual glasses were by Vivid Eyewear. The "nerd" specs are a particular weakness of mine when guys wear them. Fabric choices included leather to French terry, silk to suede. Raglan sleeves and denim all gave a look of an intense student who was also plotting a rebellion. The intensity of emotion of Lowman's muse. Specifically, that student who was battling anxiety of financial instability and mental health issues that lead to the possibility of becoming a college dropout. I thought it was an accurate snapshot of how the country worries about in general right now. Anxiety of money, health and failure is on the minds of many.

This was my first show of New York Fashion Week Menswear #NYFWM for this season. I wondered if the vibe this show created would be in tune with other collections to come. Fall 2017, the theme of protest was prevalent. Will Spring 2017 be the season of fear or anxiety? Christopher Lowman found his therapy in his clothes. 
Photos by Mariana Leung.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What She Wore - BlogHer '17 Street Style

It has been over a week and still on the inspiration high that is the BlogHer 2017 conference. I love the diversity of women that I meet here. For 2017, the conference was in Orlando, so many of the bloggers were accompanied by children and partners than I have seen in the New York conferences.

By diverse women, I mean that influencers, writers, bloggers of all types were represented. Popular categories include parenting, tech, and style of course. There are lifestyle bloggers, political bloggers, bloggers that write about specific medical conditions, philanthropic issues, entrepreneurs, food, you name it, it was there. I was also excited to see all ages, ethnicities, sizes, and shapes of women and those who identify as women. One thing in common among most of the attendees though, is that everyone put a lot of thought into their outfits. You would think these were all style bloggers. Participants brought their A-game in styling themselves as a billboard to their personal brand.

Talking with Tami blogger (top) came to represent curvy silhouettes and also a designer she loved in Atlanta. I found my Geek fashion crowd. There were several unicorn fans. I hunted down several bloggers who were big Disney, Star Wars, Wonder Woman and Harry Potter fans. They were a trifecta of Geek model/stylist The Lady Nerd,  Superheroine chef The Gluttonous Geek and Geeky Bootcamp founder Nerd in the City. I found Ms. Candy Blog who DIY styled herself with candy dots on her leather jacket and handbag. Of course, get a load of that light-up skirt!

Otherwise, ladies brought their individual style, from jet-setter to resort-friendly to vintage. Everyone looked fully accessorized with their favorite handbag in addition to the multiple tote bags that guests received from BlogHer sponsors.

I admit I was feeling a bit of a creative slump this year. However, BlogHer '17 revived and inspired me with their expert panels. Meeting fantastic women who were all following their passion and open to sharing and learning with others restored my love of blogging as well.

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