Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ain't that the truth?

“Designing to me is an art in itself with all arts participating. You must be an architect for your sense of measure, a sculptor for your silhouette, a painter for your palettes and a musician to realize the rhythm and movement of the dress.”

- Deepika Govind

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yes, it takes more work than draping sometimes.

Coco Rocha's perfect avant-garde jacket from Greta Constantine, with its exaggerated shoulders (worn at Toronto's LG Fashion Week) might be one of the most technically masterful and clever sculpted jackets out there. Balmain's Fall '09 jackets proved that those eighties shoulders are going to make a huge comeback, having done it in an incredibly unpretentious manner by pairing them with slim but loose-fitted pants. Draping has seen it's day, and it's not to say that it is out or ever will be, but sculpted clothing such as Coco's (built with very architectural foundations I'm sure) proves that there are new and risky approaches to tailoring which people have been afraid to venture into till now. I'm not sure about you, but these days the new job occupation is architecture, so it's no secret that a desire for shape, form and modernism is on people's minds.

photos taken by James Kachan from

In a sense, I've been feeling the inspiration from sculpted clothing as well, having created a mini shift dress with elevated shoulder straps a good couple months ago. The process is daunting, but the results are rewarding in the sense that what you gain from creating something so difficult, from manipulating something as malleable as fabric into something rigid, is ultimate satisfaction in the personal developmental procedure of design, which is more than one can say for beauty that's on the surface. Now, weren't those 200 hours of dressmaking worthwhile?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Feminine shifts are in the air...

For all the Edmontonians that love feminine dresses in classic shifts, this would have been a killer show. The lineup for the night was a list of designers that showed dresses, and dresses, and dresses for spring: Laura Dreger, Andeo Hats by Michelle Djonlic with Sabrina Butterfly Designs, Patricia Glanville (from Calgary), Tressa Heckbert, and Laura Presber (from Calgary) presented by Edmonton boutique My Filosophy.

Andeo Hats made a huge shift from last season's pillbox hats and veils, creating a line of wide-brimmed, straw and felt hats in beige with a Southamptons feel. A few other hats took on a more cylindrical feel, and was adorned with ribbons, flowers and such. All in all, the line created a 1900's vibe remniscent of My Fair Lady.

Patricia Glanville's collection was probably my favorite of the night, taking on the popular Grecian-goddess trend, but adding her own elegant twist with fifties-style head scarves, and large rosettes, romantic white fabrics (some damask), and one-shoulder dresses.

Although Tressa Heckbert's garments still show that she is relatively new in her game, she created the most interesting runway theme and show. Models walked out wrapped in a large plastic shields, and pose in statue-like poses at the end of the runway, contributing to the sci-fi inspired, sculptural commentary of the clothes in the collection.

At the end, Tressa herself stands in the middle of the stage at the back, taking off the plastic shields to unveil each model. My favorite piece from her collection had to be a Lanvin look-alike:

In its entirety, Tressa Heckbert might have lacked a little consistency in terms of a colour scheme for her collection as whole, but she didnt' deny her careful attention to tailoring that is fitted and womanly all at once. Exhibit A: the photo below shows all the models in one consistent silhouette, the shift.

As for Laura Presber, she didn't display anything new and exciting, but she did what she did best, which was stick to marketable, work clothing done in absolutely beautiful and wearable fabrics. She made her target market blatantly clear with the long, center-parted, straight hair of the models marching down the runway to a cheery, Spring song. The key item for this collection was the finale, a black trench coat.

(By the way, I do promise to have a better camera as soon as possible. The lighting is so poor in all these photos)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

At Odd's Ends - April 3rd Designer Collections at EFW

The second designer collections night was a mish-mash mix-up of bridal gowns, avant-garde clothes, bikinis, and evening wear, just the way Edmonton Fashion Week has been doing it for four years. Since it's still a relatively new pet project of Creative Director Sandra Sing Fernandes, it's focus is less theme-based, and is more centralized on the large range of Edmonton fashion designers. To think of it, the amount of local talent that can be mustered up in one night for a city with a moderate population of about a million is quite extraordinary. In terms of a marketing perspective, a large mash-up such as the one seen Friday night is just perfect for the usually fashionably unconscious Edmontonian who pays tickets to see these shows. The ultimate result: a satisfying tit (no pun intended) for tat compilation of collections that quenches the Edmonton thirst for more local creative talent in the fashion industry.

Kathryn Neuman
I've taken a couple of courses with Kathryn before, a University of Alberta Human Ecology alumni, and it's safe to say that even a year ago, her work proved that there was nothing short of her talent. Seems pretty fitting that this girl with a Poiret aesthetic for colours like burgundy, canary, sky blue, and mint green, and a style that is whimsical and flirty, should work for local Edmonton designer Maggie Walt. One of the great things about her collection on Friday is that she escaped her safe zone of tailored, fitted garments, and ventured into the territory of fabric draping, as seen in a burgundy asymmetrical dress with a little teasing cleavage on the right side. Her small, ten-piece collection is consistent, new and a great kickoff to the other collections.

Nazila Couture
Of all the designers that evening, Nazila Couture was probably the most marketable for her conventional taste on high-glamour, high beauty, high heels, high slits, and high impact. Roberto Cavalli said something once that a woman is most beautiful in her difference to men, and that women just want to feel sexy. Nazila Couture nails that mark, and several of her dress designs even take after Cavalli, like a long, blue, yellow and red printed maxi dress. However, the most noticeable dresses from her show were the ones that were based on her Indian roots. The Bollywood, tummy-flaunting, floor length sequined gold gowns at the end were the highlights, with one model wearing a fabulous gold crystal flower headpiece on one side. It's almost just like Cavalli said too --- Nazila's opening dresses were beautiful but common, and it wasn't until her Indian-inspired dresses at the end started coming down the runway did we remember how promising and unique she can be in future shows.

No doubt the most high-energy collection of the night, thin, sixteen-year old girls marched bare foot down the runway to rock music in Hawaiian print bikinis. This collection didn't showcase anything remarkably new, but reminds us of what it's like to be young, beautiful, sixteen, blonde, and going on Spring Break. BodyGlove's show had a lot of in-your-face attitude with the large floppy straw hats and sixties-inspired sunglasses. Oh, to be sixteen again and not care what other people might think of you.

Lani Van Rooyen
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Lani's bridal wear was calm, and the models waltzed out slowly with flowers, as if playing out some harmonious but tragic poetry in their head. Although the mix of bridesmaid dresses might have been a bit confusing in terms of a central theme or story, Lani's highlight is her Chanel-like couture wedding gowns, one notably with three-dimensional flowers made from chiffon that appear to come off the gown, resembling the shadow butterflies in the background. Her crinoline dresses were also a high mark.

Stanley Carroll
A veteran in the fashion industry, Edmonton's favorite Stanley Carroll once again closed the evening with the most exciting show. Inspired by what appears to be vintage photographs and drawings of a 1930's flood, models came out in wet hair, blue eyeshadow, and pale lips, wearing dresses made from knit fabrics with thin vertical stripes a la Missoni. Carroll puts his usual avant-garde twist by cutting his clothes in boxy shapes, oversized tailoring, and biker pants for men. For women, the focus was on dresses that draped and dripped like muddy water. One of the most memorable stylings was the trenchdress mixed with a garish blue pair of rubber construction worker boots. Carroll's show is always exciting because he has a way of mixing both men and women's clothes together in a theme that is consistent, and in garments that are shocking yet beautiful and incredibly unpretentious. Now that is something all designers should look towards.