Sunday, July 29, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Label

Label is a collaboration between designers Shawna Robinson and Natalie Sydoruk. Robinson is a freelance wardrobe stylist & aspiring artist while Sydoruk is a fashion design graduate from Ryerson & a model. Together, they dreamed of designing comfortable, sustainable and wearable clothes and Label became just that: an “au naturel” clothing brand dedicated to creating clothing ethically. Whenever possible, organic, renewable or reclaimed fibers are used. Label’s garments are even produced on Canadian soil in Toronto, “with t-shirt designs printed by hand”.
Their s/s 2012 collection was like looking at the ultimate eco-conscious hipster wardrobe. It was composed of neutral tones like whites, grays, soft pinks, lavender and teal. The garments contoured the body flowingly making every outfit seem extremely comfortable and light. The collection was Bohemian-inspired (models sported their hair loose on their shoulders) and nature-themed. Tree branches bordered the studio runway and once models were done strutting, they directed themselves to flat gray stones where they showcased their outfits. Among the outfits were a light pink drawstring dress with cut-out shoulders, a sheer maxi black dress and a black and silky drawstring shorts jumpsuit.  The outfits were paired with organic-inspired necklaces, wooden cuffs and geometric blocks. Every single piece was elegant, feminine and absolutely daytime wearable.  Plus, what’s not to like about designers who keep mother nature in mind  and who have an impeccable taste in music? When the song New Theory by Washed Out came on, Label and I became instant best friends.
– Claire Miglionico
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Tosca Delfino

Tosca Delfinos luxury swimwear show was a highlight of the week. Swimwear is sometimes not as easy to showcase as full attires but in this case, designer – Delfino – strived for a fashion show to remember.  Delfino has had “over 10 years of international experience working in the fashion industry”. She has worked at the prestigious fashion house of Missoni and with fellow Canadian designer Arthur Medonca. Her stint at Missoni is highly reflected in her choice of colours, prints and patterns of her swimwear and beach apparel for her s/s 2012 collection. Her “aquatic creations” are said to be inspired by her love of art and travel. As a result, Delfino has even developed her own prints. The runway show opened up with a video of a model in Tosca Delfino swimwear skydiving in the Cayman Islands. It made for an unusual but amusing opener. The choice of music was excellent with chills running down my spine when Adrian Lux’s Teenage Crime accompanied catwalking models down the runway. All models sported nude pumps and hair was loosely styled for the perfect beach look.
The collection had a vintage concept and a tribal indie chic-inspired look. Most two-piece swimsuits had hip hugging bikini bottoms that brought us back to the 60s. There were many tye-dye inspired patterns and a couple cute ocean blue swimsuits with prints of white whales. A maxi skirt paired with a black bandeau swim top and bottoms depicted the CN Tower in a canvas-like way. The tribal chic look was highly depicted with a similar maxi skirt on which a tribal women was printed. Each piece had a look of its own and the additional cute beach headwear, sheer tunics, sunglasses and skirts incorporated among one and two-piece swimsuits kept things fresh and funky.
- Claire Miglionico

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Ashtiani

The ultimate summer staple: the pistachio silk georgette maxi dress. 
Golnaz Ashtiani continues to wow the crowds with her sophisticated classic beauty influences and precision cutting.
In April 2011, she won TFI’s new label competition for her f/w 2011 collection based on Tamara De Lempicka’s art decoratifs paintings (a one-of-a-kind inspiration I might add).
Her s/s 2012 collection took on new explorations:  “1960’s-era fashion and lifestyle magazines” and the classic Hollywood blockbuster with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn Roman Holiday were Ashtiani’s creative sources. The final result was a 15-piece runway show filled with delicate drape detailings, shiny silks, violet and pistachio hues to die for and modern tailoring that gave authentic pieces a present-day approach.
I am not usually one to rave about the colour violet but Ashtiani changed my mind instantly: she made the colour look wearable. She coordinated the hue with vanilla whites, lemons and cream “crepe de chine” for a contrasting effect. A favourite violet-based outfit of mine was the belted violet silk vest paired with a vanilla white structured dress with soft pleats in lemon. I completely adored the perfect combination and the square-shaped vest Ashtiani crafted. I could go on and on about her designs because I surprised myself wanting to explore my ultra-feminine side I often repress. Another ultimate piece I must write about is the pistachio silk georgette maxi dress with soft pleats. It was the last run-of-show dress. Its delicacy, sheerness and the soft pleated cut-out front will remain imprinted in my mind for a good while. What a style-inspiring collection it was!
– Claire Miglionico
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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Amanda Lew Kee

Amanda Lew Kee graduated from Ryerson University’s bachelor of design in 2010. In 2008, she started her own jewelry line which then progressed into women’s ready-to-wear. For her s/s 2012 collection, she incorporated green plastic visors that instantly made me think of Lacoste. Lew Kee’s designs were no where near Lacoste’s conservative cuts but the tennis/sporty influence was there. It was as if Lew Kee had raided Lacoste shops across the country and revamped its collections entirely with gold zipper detailings, kaleidoscope-inspired prints, electric blues and silks.

Amanda Lew Kee, photo by Jenna Marie Wakani for Toronto Life

The runway show was composed of fifteen summer-ready outfits of various kinds. I liked how Lew Kee thought of creating an entire and exciting wardrobe instead of focusing only on key pieces such as dresses or dress shirts. Dress shirts were present and so were tennis skirts, biker shorts, pants, maxi and razor back dresses. This collection was by far one of my favourites because of its nifty designs. A model strutted in a silk dress shirt and white leather front biker shorts. The details were simply amazing: from the bust up, the shoulders were covered in sheer white silk while the rest of the dress shirt was patterned in blue, orange and purple kaleidoscopic prints minus the cuffs that were also kept white. As for the biker shorts, the white leather surrounded a centered band of see-through material on each thigh front which fitted tightly around the thighs hitting right above the knee. Each outfit was paired with glossy all-black saddle- or brogue-like shoes.
Lew Kee has already worked closely with the entertainment industry. She has worked with HBO’s True Blood, Deadmau5 and has been recognized as “a designer to watch” in publications such as The Globe and Mail, Teen Vogue and FLARE Magazine. We might as well start watching her closely too!
– Claire Miglionico

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Designer Dimanche: Chloe Comme Parris

The name Chloe Comme Parris  has a poetic ring I’d love to give to a fashion house of my own. I quickly got attached to the name and then to its contemporary designs. Earlier in the month, I had read a story by Sarah Nicole Prickett in the October 2011 issue of FLARE Magazine which labeled Chloe and Parris Gordon, 23 and 21 in age – the Toronto-based sister duo behind Chloe Comme Parris – “up-and-coming designers." A few photos from the fall 2011 collection had me instantly hooked. A breezy long-sleeved and loose-fitted almost floor-length black dress made me think of Mary-Kate Olsen’s sense of dress. In the story, Chloe explains she’s always had a fascination for Louis XVI fashion: “[the men] wore velvet leggings with coattails and vests. So they had structure on top and then a skinny leg. I think that’s how women want to look today – or at least, we do”.
Chloe Comme Parris’s s/s 2012 collection took on a different influence than that of Louis XVI. Some say the collection gave off a modern-day Victorian vibe. The audience was greeted to a multicolored splash-painted runway and a few paintings which hung on white walls. The “artist”-inspired decor gave the initial thought of a paintbrush-inspired wardrobe, but instead guests were greeted to either head-to-toe outfits in soft hues, dark hues and sometimes mixed and patterned hues. The collection had great diversity from all-white cropped pants paired with a buttoned collarless jacket to flowy Victorian blue outfits to a comfy grey sweater with a long patterned prairie skirt in soft hues paired with the “must-have” backpack the sisters fight over. Each outfit had jewelry designed by Parris while Chloe focuses mostly on textiles. Chloe Comme Parris’ s/s 2012 collection sometimes resembled Denis Gagnon’s similar fun and youthful inspirations he had for his s/s 2012 collection.
- Claire Miglionico  

Photo credit by Jenna Marie Wakani for Toronto Life