After a week of Fashion-focused blogging, here’s a round up of everything the Pink Mafia did and all the judgement that comes with it.
Let’s start at the beginning: the Holt’s party.
What’s new?: they moved it to the cheap floor, which let’s face it, is the only floor anyone really shops on. Peroni and Evian were flowing (Peroni sponsor everything lately if you’re wondering). The top Seven Designers to watch was trimmed down to 5, and Robin Kay made a flat and extremely sober speech that left us yawning for more.
What did we love?: The glass Evian bottles with straws, it’s like French-kissing your water and we are all about that. Denis Gagnon’s face. We want to fuck him ten ways to Sunday seriously. It’s the Elvis Costello crush, we get all teenage girl for geeky glasses and high tops mixed with a heaping dose of Daddy complex. Sarah Nicole Prickett becoming the voice of a new generation of fashionistas. Just wish there was more than one, but it’s a start.
What sucked the big one? That terrible LG branding on everything. It’s unfashionable, unappealing and uninteresting. Plus, we think it’s gauche to call Fashion Week anything but that. And the theme? Love? Are you kidding me? Robin Kay lead us right to where the meat was when she said “and that means unconditional love”, in her speech. “Unconditional-Love” is code for, “we’re totally desperate for your money in these tough times”. They should have just come out with it and called it: Give Us Your Money So We Can Continue To Reward Mediocrity Week. Plus, we think Robin Kay should get back on the bottle. She shouldn’t feel ashamed about last year, even though the media will never mention her name again without commenting on her liquor consumption (Pink Mafia included), it was probably the single event that announced Toronto Fashion Week to the rest of the world. We think she should become the bitchy over the top, alcoholic eccentric we all want her to be. And then she can tell us all to fuck off. Now THAT, we would pay for every year!
Not for nothing, but the Fashion itself was pretty flat. the models were identical with their slicked back ponytails that said less ‘recessionista’ and more, ‘lazy-pants’ to us.
We actually like Greta Constantine, Philip Sparks, Mikhael Kale, Denis Gagnon, and Jeremy Laing, we just think they can do better. One of us even has a toggle-jacket almost identical to one by Philip Sparks that she bought at Lavish & Squalor 2 years ago, and it’s by WESC.
Final Verdict: For a corporate party, it was better than usual. At least the media was there, which means there’s still something worth noting.
On to the shows…
What’s new?: Travis Taddeo just made Surface Magazine’s 10 Designers To Watch but he’s been one of our fav’s for a long time. The show was simple, and as with his past collections, there was lux leather detailing on jeans and party dresses as well as high end casual wear for men.
What did we love? Those fur throws on both woman and men, a fantastic pair of cotton leggings with leather thigh-high bottoms, and all the styling, by our main man, Cary Tauben. The shoes and sunglasses filled out the harsh urban-warrior look that Taddeo nails every time.
What sucked the big one? Honey, this is Travis Taddeo, nothing sucked at all. The only thing we woulda lost is some of the colour. the pieces that really showcase his talent are monochromatic: black, white or grey.
BETSEY JOHNSON @ The Brant House
What’s new? Nothing. At. All. Although this was the most buzzed about party all week, and we know, we did a giant guest list for it that was like a tsunami of girls clamoring to get in, it was Spring 2009, which means it’s the current collection in stores. Still, that didn’t stop anyone from dying to go.
What did we love? Unlike last season when they had this same party at the Brant House (also rammed to the tits), this time around Princess Superstar DJ’d, and we love her. Also, the bouncers were pretty decent people and were courteous under pressure. And, there were a lot of hot girls dressed to the nines, which is always good times by us.
What sucked the big one? A disappearing guest list that left a lot of people turned away. The show was also late by an hour and you couldn’t get a good sight line to save your life.
What’s new? Gone are the Mad Men inspired girlie dresses and in their place Kimberly Newport-Mimran has sprouted some tough-as-nails power women. Our boy Barletta did the Grace Jones mix for the show, and down walked a lot of fur, tight pants, power-suits and those sex-on-wheels fuchsia and black lace nylons.
If you haven’t read blogger, Brit Skelly’s interview with Kimberly last week, you should probably click here now.
What did we love? Duh, the music was dope. We also watched from the sound booth with Barletta and our buddy Jay for Bedouin Soundclash. We also noticed that Kimberly had some of the better models of the week, we’re not sure if she just has better taste, has been at it longer, or maybe she has a healthier budget to work with. Either way, girls could walk.
What sucked the big one? It was really packed. Like we almost got trampled packed. Not that that’s a shit thing. Every designer would love to have a packed house, it just got a bit crushing at times.
CHOP SHOP OPENING PARTY
What’s New? The boys behind SdnR clothing, Underground Republik promo company and Brennen Demelo Salon have moved up in the world. Yessir, they had the opening party, a sort of soft launch, during Fashion Week and invited friends by for a beverage (Peroni, told ya they were sponsoring everything) and a looksy.
What did we love? The new store front will bring a lot more walk-in traffic, and it’s an airy, gorgeous space, at least five times bigger than their last.
What sucked the big one? Anna Von showed up in a House Of Lords shirt. Everyone joked that she did it on purpose, but she’s sworn up and down that it was a matter of picking something clean to wear in the morning, and not a statement against the new salon.
We skipped the shows and went right to the party. Boyz Noize at This Is London was a welcome dance floor break to all the shmoozing with Peroni and background music.
What did we love? Cut Copy, who were in town for their show the next night at CiRCA came along for the ride. Boys Noize threw down some hard-ass house and techno to the fist-pumping crowd’s delight. Best set we’ve heard in a dog’s age.
What sucked the big one? We didn’t get there till one because of prior social engagements, like the Golden Girls EP Release party at The Drake Underground, and we regret we only got a couple hours to be dance dance danin’ machines!
What’s new? Evan Biddell is the one to watch ever since he won Project Runway last year. He’s known for dresses, but this season, he showed edge. The whole collection was centred around a traditional biker jacket and then weaved from there. We’re not gonna lie, the dresses were still the best, but man did he ever take that jacket all the way, turning it into everything from zipper-laden pants to jackets and even sack like dresses accented by tons of zippers.
What did we love? Stacey McKenzie hello! She was the centre piece at the heart of Evan’s show. We also liked the black on black pieces and although none of us are tall enough to pull off the deconstructed pants that strutted the runway, they’re still pretty damn hot.
What sucked the big one? Nothing we can remember. As usual, we prefer the black-on-black looks to any colour, but we’d say that about anything.
EVAN BIDDELL ENCORE SHOW AT ULTRA
All in all, Fashion Week this season seemed to take it up a notch. The country’s talent were all there, which was a breath of fresh air in comparison to a country divided with progressively worse shows as the cities unwind outwards from the Big Smoke. The parties were better attended, but as usual, the ones that had nothing to do with Fashion Week, kicked ass, and the ones that did, were a total snore. We feel very close to a breakthrough soon. Out with the old, in with the cool!
Once you read all about Evan Biddel you will be craving more. We have the solution for you! Head down to Ultra for the officially Evan Biddel after party. It’s only $15 a pop and you’ll even get a showing of his pieces.
Tucked away in a sleepy alleyway somewhere off of Queen West one could stumble upon designer Evan Biddell’s front stoop and most likely not even know it. After a few minutes of searching alleyways and buzzing disgruntled tenants, we found the designer’s loft-turned-studio and were invited in. The laid-back Evan Biddell was surrounded by his personal team who appeared to be discussing his upcoming show in LG Fashion Week. While Biddell’s crew wrapped up the meeting, the photographer Arkan and I had a chance to poke around. The main floor of the studio was chock-full of oversized drafting tables, sewing machines, sketches of and fabric swatches in every colour under the rainbow. Thrown in the mix were a few couches, a coffee table and a fantastic candy apple 50s refrigerator. Biddell quickly shooed the others away and took a few minutes to sit down with Pink Mafia to discuss all things fashionable.
B: Do you have any specific people that inspire you – designers, artists, friends?
E: Yeah, I am really into robots right now. I think they are cool. I have been seeing a pop up in street art and I think it is a result of all of us growing up in the 90s with Transformers. Also living in a city where people get up and do the same thing is almost robotic. It’s as if you don’t have to think about what you’re doing anymore because you have done it so much. We’re on autopilot.
B: Is that what we are going to see in your FW10 collection?
E: The attitude is still going to be strong Biddell; I can’t really take the Biddell out entirely. I am playing with a lot of shapes and geometry. I drew the silhouette from the logo from Transformers. The make-up is inspired by that.
B: Any colours in particular you are focusing in on?
E: They are going to be laser sharp punches of colours, a circuit board of colour if you will.
B: Why do you continue to stay and work in Toronto?
E: I am here because I am in Canada and I had a lot of exposure across the country. As we know, fashion happens in Toronto for Canada. So right now Toronto is the place to be for me and where I am at in my career. I definitely have a lot more exploring to do.
B: What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t won Project Runway Canada?
E: I was living out west so I would probably still be in Vancouver. I was working in a costume department for film so I might still be doing bits of that.
B: We’re you designing clothing for film?
E: Yeah, I was building clothes. I was a “custom builder”, sounds like carpentry instead of fashion. But Project Runway gave me a career out here and now I’ve got to work!
B: I’ve seen from your collection that sustainability is important to you as a designer.
E: Yeah, I’ve got elements. I have been exploring those fabrics and I feel like in the past two years I’ve almost used all the sustainable fabrics I’ve been able to find. There are about three options out there and I’ve used two and a half of them. Not to say that I’ve exhausted them but fashion is ADD and you have to keep it fresh. I have an appreciation for the fabrics; sustainable fabrics are great to wear every day. They make great pajamas, great sheets but its casual, it’s not as high end as I want to go. For this season if I’m going to be doing robots, I need a stiffer material. I am using this nylon I found with bright colours. I do have a line of sustainable basics coming out and that’s where I think it’s more important to be using those fabrics anyway.
B: So you haven’t attended any formal fashion school. How did you get to where you are today without school? Do you think it’s helped you or hindered you in any way?
E: It’s definitely hindered me now. We just finished our first production and in the factory it was hard trying to communicate technical ideas and speak the language. It’s a little bit tricky when you don’t know where to notch the pattern. There’s some terminology that I don’t know because I never went to school. As for as creativity goes, I know that I don’t make the most commercial clothes. I wasn’t taught a way to make clothes, so it’s a little bit more creative the way I do it. Say if someone taught me how to make a proper pair of pants, then that’s how I would be making pants rather than the way I make them now. I don’t think it’s been one or the other to the extreme.
B: Run me through a day in the life of Evan Biddell.
E: Lately it’s been waking up, brushing the teeth, getting my Starbucks and jumping on the TTC to the factory. I overlook production which means making sure my samples are being cut and seeing what’s coming back from the factory as far as sewing goes. Then I tag the clothes, stick stickers on the hangtags and pin them to the clothes. We just shipped our first order last week to Kuwait and we are going to be shipping our next order over to Queen Street West; Pho Pa has bought it. Then I come home to my studio that I live in. Right now I am working on my fall collection so I do my work until late in the night until two and then hit the hay.
B: Do you take a break after fashion week?
E: Yes. I usually work really hard for a couple months and then I take a couple of months off.
B: Do you follow trends? Do you believe in following trends?
E: I think trends are okay. I think it would be boring to be a little too trendy. I definitely pay attention to what’s going on out there, I think that’s what trends are. You need to know what the other guys are doing. For example shoulder pads are hot right now, so if I was to do shoulder pads next year when everyone had done them this year then I would be shooting myself in the foot. So it is good to know what’s happening. Same thing goes for doing something a little too early. I did the drop crotch and then all of a sudden it was everywhere, so then I thought maybe I should do it again. Last season I kind of had it across the board and now this season I only have a couple. I still think it’s cool and I am not just doing it for the trend, but I don’t want to exhaust it because people are getting sick of seeing it. I still think it’s relative to my brand entirely; it wasn’t just a seasonal thing.
B: Why do you like designing clothes for the female form?
E: That’s just the name of the game.
B: You would never venture into menswear?
E: No because I think you can have more fun with girl’s clothes.
B: Are there any designers you look up to?
B : My last question…are you planning on wearing a mask for the upcoming show ?
E : Possibly. Possibly a helmet. Right on.
When I was told I would be interviewing Kimberly Newport-Mimran, the co-founder, President and Head designer of the celebrated label Pink Tartan, I was hit with an overpowering sense of excitement with a healthy dose of the jitters. After interning in the fashion department at FASHION Magazine, I quickly learned that words such as elegant, sophisticated and polished were synonymous with this sensational homegrown line. Unbeknownst to many, she is also the designer behind the chic 60s inspired Porter airline uniforms, pillbox hat and all! Her recognition south of the border has led her to projects designing the garb outfitting those working at Hollywood’s coveted Tropicana Bar and the swanky rooftop watering hole 60 Thompson. Her timeless and ultra feminine label is a favourite for A-list celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Kim Cattrall and Maggie Gyllenhaal. In the fashion world, Kimberly is revered as a goddess of style and grace, hence my interview angst.
The photographer Arkan and I arrived at the Pink Tartan headquarters with a few minutes to spare. The warehouse turned open concept studio with its black painted ceilings, whitewashed walls and warm hardwood floors is as effortlessly chic as Kim’s designs. We were ushered into the Pink Tartan showroom where I got a chance to peek at the prim and proper SS09 collection. Seconds later, the effervescent Kim sashayed into the room dressed to the nines with a wide grin on her face. Her warm and welcoming nature quickly eased my nerves. We sat across from each other at a large black lacquered Victorian style dinner table. Immediately Kim complimented my glasses and asked if she could try them on. Try them on? Hell I would have given them to her if she asked! After deciding the frames weren’t for her, we settled down and got down to the nitty gritty.
B: When did you get big break in the fashion industry? How did you get your start?
K: I always wanted to go into the fashion industry and I was fortunate because I went into it knowing what I wanted to do. I went to George Brown where I studied fashion merchandising and management. I finished school on a Friday and started working in the buying office for the Hudsons Bay Company on the Monday. I went through the buying, assortment planning, merchandising areas and worked my way up. I then moved over to a design driven company called Club Monaco. I was much more involved in product development so I did the whole product end of things and that is where my passion is. I worked with a design team. I would execute and source fabrics and makers, put it together, merchandise it and buy it. I then had the opportunity to put a line together for the Caban stores. In doing that I got to direct the product myself so I got to do the design and the development of it. I loved it. There’s something to be said about being able to execute an idea. An idea, no matter how brilliant it is, if you can’t execute it properly then it sort of falls short. I had the background to do both and I understand the cycle of retailing from the first part of my career. That sort of pulled it all together.
B: When Pink Tartan opened in 2002 how large was your team compared to the size it is now?
K: I started with myself and one pattern maker. My team is about up to twenty now. I have two offices that we manage. Our headquarters is in New York and the design studio is here in Toronto.
B: When you started Pink Tartan did you feel there was a lack of Canadian designers?
K: I always think of myself as an international designer. It’s a collection that appeals to a lot of different women that have a specific sense of style. For me, I was always very passionate about product and designing and developing product. I do think that there is a need for really good product that fits into your lifestyle. You can travel with it and its beautiful quality and the integrity of the garment is there. That’s very important to me.
B: Would you mind running me through your average day on the job?
K: My goodness. Well today, I’ve already seen about twenty-five fabric collections. We’re co-coordinating for the fashion show. I was out of the office all week doing a huge store tour. We just launched with Neiman Marcus so I was in Houston, then I went to the Bloomingdale’s Boston store and then I was in New York. I am working as a lead sponsor for a charity called New Yorkers for Children. So I did fittings on underprivileged children that will be part of the event that we are sponsoring. Then I came home. This is my first day in the office after a few days so we are going through our guest list. We have media interviews today. The team is going to give me an update on where we are with our production bookings because we have to book all of our fall production that we are showing on the runways. I have to sit down with my controller and review our monthly financials and then I’ll sit with my Vice President of Sales just to see where we are with our numbers. Did I take a breath?
B: Last season your collection has been described as retro and ultra-feminine geared towards the modern day vixen. Are we going to be seeing that tonight?
K: No, it’s going to be completely different. This is where we get to do a little bit of theatre. Before [SS09 collection] I was very inspired by the whole Mad Men thing – hairdos, longer nails, pretty and polished. This collection is much different; it’s a much edgier collection. This collection is very androgynous. There are a couple big influences in this collection. As we know ‘love’ is the theme for Toronto Fashion Week. For me, I think love is a drug. I’ve got Grace Jones on the runway; I was very inspired by her look in the 80s. I’m feeling a little bit more built-up shoulders, but not as severe as in the 80s. I do clothes that are wearable, I’ll push it but I don’t like to push it over the limit. I push it so it’s really new but still very wearable.
B: Sounds like it’s going to be a little bit more structural?
K: Yes, the clothing is going to be more structured. It’s a little less pretty and a little more powerful.
B: Who would you say your clientele is?
K: It’s really a girl with a specific sense of style that likes Pink Tartan. I tend to like classic and couture. I like to take elements from both and mix them up and give women clothes that are day-to-dinner. They’re not casual.
B: I assume that some of your customers haven’t been hit by the recession. We’ve been noticing that there is a trend starting with people and their shame to flaunt excess. Did you factor this shame of excess idea in your upcoming collection?
K: Not really. I think that with Pink Tartan we are a sensible collection. It’s not about excess; it’s about luxury at an opening price point. They’re clothes that are necessary; it’s a great alternative to splurging.
B: Who would be the ultimate woman to dress?
K: I always like the classic, iconic women of substance. I tend to do a lot of referencing back. I love the way Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O dressed. These women really had a sense of style and would wear the clothes, not have the clothes wear them. But modern day, I always tend to like the more sophisticated movie stars. I think Uma Thurman has great style. I relate to women that take style seriously, so those would be the type of women I like to dress.
B: What is the reason for moving your show to be back to back with Joe Fresh’s show?
K: I am travelling the whole week. I am doing personal appearances all over the U.S. I didn’t want to miss Joe’s show. It’s kind of nice because a lot of our friends come and it’s back to back. It makes it a more fun evening.
B: Why do you personally choose to stay in Toronto instead of relocating to a larger fashion mecca?
K: Well, I’m back and forth to New York. With Porter airlines I can go almost once a week. I have an apartment in New York as well. I find Toronto is home and I love it here. But I really have the luxury of living between both cities.
B: Name one of your favourite and one of your least favourite parts of the job.
K: My favourite part is product. I find some of the admin parts and financial responsibilities to be tedious.
B: Last but not least, what does success mean to you?
K: I think success is really a state of mind. If you’re ambitious, you’re always pushing so I think it’s always a bar that you want to reach. I think true success is to be truly happy. I am always pushing because things could be better, stronger and faster but I do it in a positive way. I am a believer that you can’t take things for granted. You can measure success on a dollar figure but does that really make you successful? It’s about creating a balance which is hard to do. I work a lot so people naturally think, “Ooh you have such a great job”. I mean I work non-stop but thank god I love what I do. I’m happy and that’s what counts at the end of the day.
I don’t think Carrie Bradshaw or Anna Von Frances would ever have to wait two and a half hours for a fashion show to start. Since I am just a wanna-be Toronto fashionista I don’t get special treatment and I have to wait. To start the night off I try to put on my most casual cool outift on to impress the Betsey Johnson crowd. And the special effect of the outfit is obvious when i strap on my Betsey Johnson heels, purchased from winners!
I make my way down to The Branthouse, passing DRUNK ‘IRISH” people on my way. It’s 9:30 and the line is already huge to get into the Betsey Johnson fashion show. I try to pull my best ‘i’m with Pink Mafia seirous face” but it seems as though they are playing faovurites at the door and not honoring our guest list. Thanks guys. Luckly the wait passes quickly as i entertain myself by judging the crowd and their ready to be discovered outfits. My eyes are sore from seeing all the cheap Betseyville purses from winners. I eventually get in and stake out a prime spot in front of the runway. I’m riding high on my first Toronto fashion show experience. The high easily begins to fade as each half hour wastes away. FINALLY at 11:45 a lady comes over the intercom saying the show will begin at 12:00. I’m tired, cranky and my feet hurt like a bitch. God damn trying to wear heels. The catwalk lasts for 15 minutes. I feel like I have already seen most of these looks or versions of them while going through the Bestsey Johnson online catalogue. Cute girly pieces with a fierce edge by adding a skull denim jacket or a gun decorated cardigan. Needless to say I won’t be wearing any Betsey Johnson around town this summer and not only because I can’t afford it!
Since I was interviewing them the day of their show, finding time to meet with the masterminds behind the sought-after label Greta Constantine proved to be quite a tricky feat. At first I was to meet with them at The Courthouse where the show was to be held, t-minus three hours before the models took to the runway. But then last minute I was directed to a tiny two-story salon on Scollard. Thank god for staying on my toes.
I walked into a salon with no sign and was immediately hit with an overwhelming waft of strong hold hairspray, designer perfume and pizza (clearly the Pizza Pizza delivery boy had recently been summoned due to the pizza boxes stacked high on the receptionist desk). I immediately thought to myself, “So models DO eat”. Right! I looked around and concluded that I was definitely in the right place. The joint was crawling with leggy done-up waifs with Blackberry’s in hand looking less than impressed, PR reps ready to swoop in at any sign of trouble and beyond frazzled stylists, makeup artists and assistants trying get through every model. I head upstairs to find Kirk Pickersgill relaxing under a hairdryer surrounded by his posse. He wears a slight smirk on his face and is taking in the whole scene. Pretty calm for a guy whose about to show his collection in three hours. I introduce myself and he apologizes that his partner Stephen won’t be able to make it (at this moment he is still at the studio sewing). We sit side by side and briefly discuss the upcoming show, the duo’s goal to break into the New York fashion scene and how women are inspirational to them as designers.
B: Tell me about the meaning behind the name.
K: ‘Greta’ is derived from my business partner Stephen Wong’s mother’s name and ‘Constantine’ is my grandfather’s name on my mother’s side.
B: How do your roles differ in Greta Constantine?
K: Stephen is more technical. He does the drafting of the patterns and the draping. His hand is more into the technical part of it. But from the design part of it, we both work hand in hand one hundred percent.
K: To be honest it was exactly like being in Toronto, it was just a different city. We were afraid to do something in New York because we always thought of it as the mecca of fashion. When we got there we realized it’s almost easier than doing it in Toronto.
B: What was the reason for going?
K: Recognition basically. We wanted to get the name out there, market ourselves on an international level.
B: Why did you two decide to set yourselves aside from Toronto Fashion Week and put on your own show?
K: Honestly, or what we tell people?
K: We just feel that if you design a collection for six months, I think it’s only right that it should take on a full attitude, the full aspect of it. I don’t see showing under a tent after another person and before another person would be able to express the way the collection should be expressed. We also don’t agree with a lot of the politics involved in the Toronto Fashion Week.
B: Do you hope to break into New York?
B: Did you two go to the same school?
K: We didn’t go to school.
B: So you are self-taught. Do you think that’s helped or hindered you two in anyway?
K: I think it’s helped us because now we deal with a lot of students and we notice a difference between what we learned working in the industry as opposed to going to school. I am not saying, “Don’t go to school” but I think you learn a lot more hands-on.
B: Did you work for a designer before Greta Constantine?
K: I worked with Dsquared and Neil Barrett.
B: What can we expect to see in the collection tonight?
K: Expect to see three different types of women. We got frustrated to the point that with every collection and show the women started looking the same. All the girls have their own personality and look. We decided to separate them in three so you are going to see three types of makeup, hair, personalities and styles. It’s as if you will see three shows in one.
B: What is the inspiration behind the collection?
K: It’s called Women so it focuses on different types of women. It’s kind of like Sex and the City and how each woman is beautifully different.
B: Are you focusing on particular fabrics or colours?
K: We are introducing new fabrics. We used to mainly work in jersey, now we are experimenting with goldens, leathers and fur.
B: When it comes to designing are you two always on the same page?
K: Absolutely. We finish each other’s sentences. It’s strange because we think the same.
B: What is key to your partnership?
K: Non-communication. Just kidding. Stephen and I work separately, I work in the daytime and he works in the evening. We call ourselves Ladyhawk. The key to a good working relationship is communication and respect.
B: What are the future aspirations for Greta Constantine?
K: Like most houses, we become bigger internationally. Develop lines of accessories, perfume, children’s wear and house wares. The most important part will be staying true to ourselves and our brand.
B: What is Greta Constantine’s style motto?
K: Our motto is to follow our instinct.
A few hours later I am at The Courthouse along with hundreds of others without seats to the Greta Constantine show. Rather than being clear, my runway vantage point was more like looking through a smudged peephole. What I did see -flashy gold metallic trench coats, chic fur shrugs and structured leather bombers – was a fresh twist on the usual jersey draped designs the designers are famous for. The impeccably tailored and ultra-feminine looks really captured the idea that the duo painstakingly pays attention to the female form. In a blink of an eye, the show wrapped up and the awestruck crowd was shuffled out into the chilly street. I was left with little doubt that this designer duo will continue to impress international fashion critics and make it big in the upcoming seasons!
I have an obsession, and her name is Princess Superstar.
No, she’s not a drag queen, she’s a she, and she is amazing. I’ll admit that when I first heard the name way back when, I thought she was a tranny. Those days of naivety are far behind me, and I’m confessing my girl crush.
Miss Superstar is a DJ as well as a fucking kick-ass MC from NYC with numerous albums and singles under her Swarovski-studded belt. She cut her first demo at 17, and went on to collaborate with the likes of Moby, The Prodigy, and Kool Keith, also playing alongside Felix Da Housecat, Tiga, Miss Kittin, and so on.
Her lyrical stylings have been compared to those of Eminem, but I think she’s more of a female Mickey Avalon (strictly music-wise). “Bad Babysitter” is the perfect track to blast and sing along to infront of your parents.
On any given night, you will hear just about every dj playing mixes of her singles “Licky” or “Perfect Exceeder” (Princess Superstar vs. Mason), so much so that they have become my anthems. If these tunes don’t get you off the wall and dancing on the floor or nearest couch, I suggest you head down to Florida and go into early party retirement.
For those of you classy ladies and lads not quite at your peak, you can experience Princess Superstar’s mad dj skills in person at the Betsey Johnson fashion show, next to Siamese2Hearts and ViVi Diamond on Tuesday, March 17th at Brant House.
Let’s get licky!
To tie you over until next week, check out our 20 Question session with Princess Superstar!
1. What is your dream of happiness?
Doing music you love, being at the pinnacle of health, being in love, having amazing relationships with people, being of service in the world. Oh yeah, and looking hot.
2. Blonde or Brunette?
Finally went brunette after being a blonde for a million years. It’s so sexy and mysterious.
3. What is the quality you like most in a man?
4. What do you fear most?
My pet birds dying.
5. 808s or 909s?
6. What’s your biggest regret?
That I smoked cigarettes and drank for so long.
8. What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Green vegetable juice.
9. What are the 3 musicians dead or alive you’d like to see perform?
The Beatles. That’s 4.
10. What is your favorite decade in music?
11. If you had to choose, would you rather go blind or deaf and why?
Blind. Being in silence would be horrendous.
12. How old is too old?
Never too old.
13. Where did you see yourself in 15 years?
14. Who’s your hero?
15. What’s your favourite colour?
16. What song could you live without ever hearing again?
Caribbean Queen – Billy Ocean.
17. Metallica or Madonna?
18. What’s your most hated vice?
I just gave up coffee. It sucks.
19. Who is the most tragic figure in history?
Words by Melania Fedyna
Every stylish girl knows to change her make-up colour scheme to match the season. Spring is here, so let’s freshen up and introduce some bright, happy colours to our faces . When it comes to spring make-up, it looks like my favourite colour purple will be the hue of choice.
I spoke with the amazing make-up artist Margot who has worked with many talented recording artists including the Backstreet Boys, David Archuletta, the Hidden Cameras, Kids on TV, Peaches, Final Fantasy, Gentleman Reg, One Second 2 Late, Boy George, The Priests and Gloria Gaynor. She also knows MAC, Chanel, Dior, Armani and Guerlain(I Heart Guerlain) like the back of her hand.
Q: What colours will we see on fashionable faces for spring?
Purple is the colour this spring. Variations on purple for eyes and lips – nude, almost lilac colours have been seen on Lady Gaga and on the runways for Lanvin and Cavalli. Darker, dramatic, deep violets are popular on the lips with a high shine gloss for runway, but for high street wear, we will see more of the purple drama happening on the eyes. It’s a modern,Bridget Bardot eye – smoky, with winged liner and nude lips.
Q: Any tips on how to acheive the trendy look for spring?
If you want to do a dramatic eye with purple, try applying your eye makeup first, then wipe away any shadow that has fallen on to the cheeks and continue with foundation, blush and lips. This will help create a clean smoky eye that does not look bruised or tired. I like to start with concealer all over the eye lid, then a base colour like Shroom(MAC’s number one seller) and an eye colour over the lid and into the crease. If you’re a little shy on trying purple, why not use a purple liner? I like using purple eyeshadow with an angle brush. Add a drop of Visine to your angle brush and dip into the shadow to make it a waterproof eyeliner! You’ll never buy another eye pencil again!
Q: What is the must have make-up item this spring?
If I had to choose one, I would have to say a beautiful sheer lip colour like Dior Addict High Shine in Couture Pink #260. It brightens up that nude day look with a light flush of colour and the packaging is glorious. It’s a treat that every woman looks good in. It also pairs wonderfully with the purple eye.
Q: What have you seen on the runway lately?
There are three key looks for spring:
1>>One which is a combination of ‘recessionista’ fashion and eco-consciousness – very muted, natural looking makeup, moving into natural ingredients as well. Lines like Dr.Hauschka,Jurlique and Korres, which were once deemed ‘health food brands’ are now in demand and carried at boutiques such as Holt Renfrew, Pure and Simple and even Shopper’s Beauty Boutiques. The over all look is fairly matte skin, eye colours which are variations of brown in satiny shimmers on the eyes, long, curled eyelashes, structured faces with natural bronzer over the cheekbones and a new nude lip. Get rid of your old C-thru Lipglass by MAC and move into a creamy, beige lipstick like Blankety, also by MAC.
2>>Purple is the strongest colour on the runway for spring. Whether you choose to do a strong, dramatic purple eye (if it’s applied correctly it will not make you look bruised or tired!), or a romantic deep violet lip with shine, purple is it!
3>>Spring is also the season to wear focus on both your eyes and lips. This is the opposite of our eco-conscious kind of girl, this is the strong resurgence of 1980′s Robert Palmer girl decadence! Pair that shimmering brown eye with an unapologetic red lip! Save the gloss for Fall, and keep your lips matte!
Q: Where do you love to shop for make-up?
I am very partial to MAC. I usually go to the Queen Pro location for all my wild glitter and pigment. I also love going to Tutti Frutti, the health food store in Kensington Market. That’s where I buy all of my skin care. Sussman’s Bridal on Queen West has a great selection of reasonable priced lashes. I rarely go into department stores of any kind, but will occasionally pop into the Chanel Boutique on Bloor and Sephora.
Q: What do you think of the Hello Kitty Mac line?
I am a MAC girl at heart and worked for them for many years. The Hello Kitty line is fun, cute, colourful with great packaging. I loved the Dame Edna Collection,which featured a lot of violets and mauves (Drag Queens are always a step ahead!). I blogged the Hello Kitty video by Floria Sigismundi on my site, which you can check out here: http://apps.margot.ca/blog/
Q: As the world celebrates Barbie’s 50th, what make-up techniques can we use to celebrate our inner Barbie?
Barbie is looking pretty flawless for 50! There has been so many incarnations of Barbie! My old favorite was the Cowboy Barbie who could wink and in this case I would recommend wearing Brill Eyeshadow by MAC for that frosty, light blue hotness, a giant pair of false eyelashes to amp up your wink, Refined Golden MAC Bronzer because it has a little shimmer, that makes your skin look a bit surreal and doll like, and my favorite lipstick Sandy B. which is a light pink frost. I used to wear Flavour all the time which is the perfect Barbie pink, but it is discontinued now! I think the one thing everyone can do to bring out their inner barbie is to put a pair of false eyelashes on! It is hard the first few times you do it, but once you get the hang of putting them on yourself it is easy! And do not be afraid of wearing pink blush! It adds a lovely
glow to the skin, making us look revived and fresh.
Check out Margot this Fashion Week where she will be doing makeup with Agency Vert - Canada’s first eco-conscious makeup and styling agency for Evan Biddell and Aime Luxury. Click links for more Margot www.margot.ca and www.agencyvert.com.
Winter 2008 I began a love affair with leather. It was quite simple at first. Leather boots, leather jacket. Only the basics. Well today, I found my soulmate in leather. Natalia Brilli. She dips everything into leather for fashion. I mean everything. Including drum sets and amps. I want her to dip my body in leather.
Sustainable fashion, “Is there really such a thing, Kim?” A co-worker of mine asked me as we walked to get a much needed 3 o’clock java hit. We were discussing the growing amount of environmentally conscious clothing lines that are out there. She then pointed out the irony in the fashion industry’s claim to change the world, one Roots bamboo cotton top at a time, “but isn’t the fashion industry the people who tell you to change your clothes every season, every year. You know, that what you’re wearing is out of style and that it’s time for you to buy what‘s in?”
I smiled politely, accepting the fact that nothing could change this bird’s mind. But did this cynic have a point? Was this all yet another bandwagon to hop onto?
Soon after, I attended the Green Show and I didn’t lose that conversation. The Distillery’s Fermenting Cellar provided the perfect back drop to the event, a perfect juxtaposition of industrial and ecological. An eclectic array of Toronto’s fashionistas and bohemian save the Earth types all gathered around the also eco-friendly bar, where everyone sipped local vino and did as told, “please save your glass.”
As I grabbed my seat for the fashion show, I was excited to see what designs could emerge out of sustainable fabrics. Some designs, were truly one of a kind, others were, “hmm, I’ve seen that in Chinatown before, and some were really, ‘Wow!’” But all in all, amongst all of Toronto’s glitterati and really cool lighting, I was torn.
Is the attraction to green fashion, the designs themselves, that it’s eco-friendly, or that it’s the new trend?
I must admit though, that sustainable fashion has certainly come a long way from simply hemp and burlap, remember the ponchos? It has truly evolved into ready to wear clothing. But then another question was evoked, was the wow factor the designs themselves or the idea that you could feel good and thus proudly say, “Madams et monsieurs, I am saving the planet by wearing this. What are you doing for our environment and the future?”
I thought back to my conversation at Starbucks with my well witted office compadre and thought about the coffee tumbler that I had bought that day. It was made out of recycled material, and it had “Recycle, Reduce, Reuse” written all over it. I don’t know if I bought it because it looked good, or because it was a responsible choice, or both.
So, maybe that’s just it, sustainable fashion maybe here to stay, it may be a fad, as some see it. It may be a bandwagon to jump on, but as I see it, isn’t this a good one? Call it a fascination about being green, that it makes us feel better, or even funky with some of the designs out there. In response to my coworker’s remark, fashion does tell us to change up our style. It continues to tell us what is out, and so last season. But fashionistas and non-fashionistas alike, anything sustainable is totally in, so figure it out whether you’re on, off or running beside the wagon, because it’s going.
Having a love/hate relationship with American Apparel is natural I think. We all shop there, yet pretend it is over-rated, OVER PRICED and highly over worn by every hipster in town. But I must admit, right now my scale of love/hate for American Apparel does seem to be tipping highly onto the love platform. I was scanning their website out of boredom and found this dress.
I don’t think I need to say anything else. This dress explains it all. Hope to see you all wearing it soon at the next Pink Mafia event!
After talking with the lovely ladies at Pink Mafia I have decided to begin writing about the “Who’s Who” in the current fashion industry. For the past few years I have expressed a strong desire to work within the industry but like many, found it difficult to learn about the many positions that exist in the fashion world. In my upcoming articles I hope to cover stylists, designers, fashion directors and any other influential players in fashion to keep you all informed on the many different positions out there.
For my very first article I decided to interview well-known shopkeeper Kealan Sullivan, proprietor of the popular 69 Vintage. And new kid on the Bloor block Buy the Pound. 69 Vintage, located at 1100 Queen Street West, is what I like to call a one stop shop for all your vintage needs. From 20s beaded flapper dresses to 90s neon windbreakers, one is bound to find a unique piece of clothing they will covet for life. And side note to those who can’t stand the smell of their local Value Village, Kealan takes pride in the fact that each item of clothing is washed ensuring you don’t go home smelling like Grandma’s closet. Also before the items hit the racks, the team takes time to fix broken zippers, sew on missing buttons and patch up any holes. Regardless of the extra mending and tailoring, the prices remain reasonable ensuring you won’t be dipping into your weekly booze budget.
Even easier on the pockets is the not even year old Buy the Pound, located at 1234 Bloor Street West. The basement store is a goldmine of vintage duds which are fairly priced at fifteen dollars per pound of clothing. Unlike the old Goodwill By the Pound, clothing hunters don’t need to be equipped with latex gloves and doctor’s masks to find what they are looking for. Actually very little digging is involved as the majority of the clothing is organized into categories on racks. This store is reserved for the more laidback vintage shopper who could care less about a hole in their 60s minidress.
Late Monday afternoon I met the bright-eyed, fiery Kealan Sullivan dressed in a Canadian fur trapper topper, army button up, ripped jeans and combat-style boots.
We met in her cozy store 69 Vintage to discuss everything from the recession to Mark-Kate and Ashley Olsen to being referred to as the godmother of the Toronto vintage clothing scene. So without further ado…
B: When did you open the store? Because I was here five or six years ago and it was totally different.
K: We opened the store in 2004. It was very sparse, very cold, twice the size. It was myself and two guys who now own The Social who opened together. I had a vision for the store and they had a vision for the store. They wanted 80s chic and sparse and I wanted to build a store that was going to bring everyone in and have something for everyone, which I have successfully done. I still do get the edgy cool kids come in but I also have their parents come in. At the time we met I was trying to open a store in Kensington. They had a successful online business, they were selling mainly t-shirts and they were wholesaling. One of the guys started dating my roommate and the rest is history. I started working with them doing eBay which lasted 48 hours before I was like, “This is so not me”. I knew I wanted a store and they wanted a store but they didn’t run one. They didn’t want to be Retail Guys. So it was actually perfect and then I bought them out because they were so immersed in The Social.
B: How long were you collecting this stuff for?
K: With the focus of having a business and reselling it, about three years. But I was also collecting certain things forever. Except jewelry, I sold through my whole collection of jewelry which took me about four years to build it and it took me about 6 months to sell it, which I regret. I had suitcases and suitcases full.
At this point a customer comes in to return a dress she borrowed for a staff party at the Drake. They chit chat while I peruse the store for hidden gems. Just before Kealan returns she says to the girl in a jokingly manner “Thanks for bringing back the dress”!
B: So you rent out the clothes?
K: I do it mostly for artists. It’s different, if they want the dress for an event, I don’t generally rent like that. I rent for photo shoots.
B: Do you get magazines and stylists calling you to pull samples for photo shoots?
K: Yeah, I’ve done really well with the stylists, that’s the coolest part of the business. Again I don’t charge as much as other places do and I am not as strict. If it is an artist starting out I am a lot more generous as they don’t have a budget. Also lots of musicians have come to me and been like “We’re doing this shoot and we don’t have anything” and I’m like “Just bring it back tomorrow”. I love this stuff and I want it to be worn. Just because someone isn’t buying something doesn’t mean they don’t love it. Not everyone can afford a beaded lace full length dress for only a day, so then I try to use my best judgment.
B: Why did you pick to have the store down here?
K: Actually to be honest I was terrified of having the store here but it was the only logical/affordable place to do it because east of the park was outrageous, and east of Bathurst was even more ridiculous and east of Spadina was obviously not to be even touched. So five years ago this area was still pretty rugged.
B: I came down here five years ago and I remember thinking I had never been to this area before.
K: I had never really been here either. I had never been past Ossington especially for shopping. I used to sit outside in the car and stare at this building and watch people in the neighbourhood and I would bawl. To make matters worse we took the lease over in December and the store opened in May. I kept thinking “This is the biggest mistake of our lives”. The Drake hadn’t opened yet, there was obviously no Starbucks. There was nothing. There was Friendly’s Burgers and art gallery after art gallery. Luckily we had done our research. We knew what was happening in the neighbourhood, we just had to make sure we could hold on that long for customers to catch up.
B: Once it opened, were people coming right away or did it take time?
K: At first it was a wave of curiosity. May and June were good, July was still promising, August was terrifying as summer sucks for retail. Then September and October got busy again so after that we had the confidence that everything was going to be fine. At first it was scary because we hadn’t built a nest egg, you don’t really have the client base, you don’t have a reputation, so really you are no one. The thing that was cool is that really this was the first store like this in city.
B: Do you kind of feel like you are the godmother of the Toronto vintage scene?
K: Well it wasn’t a new concept. I had been to lovely stores in other parts of the world.
B: But here in the city…
K: But here in the city it was a risk. The attitude five years ago was very different. Most people wouldn’t notice how differently girls dress now, but I do. When I first opened nobody wore plaid, nobody wore tights, and nobody wore tights with a shirt [referring to my ensemble]. A lot has changed in terms of the way people dress. It’s hilarious to see. Years ago I was interviewed by Much Music as a style icon and I predicted it’s going to be plaid plaid plaid and wearing an element of every decade. That’s what it’s really about right now. If you can do the 20s dress with the 80s stilettos and the 50s bomber fur and really take all the best elements and make them work, that’s cool.
B: So your new store Buy the Pound…what’s the deal?
K: So there I am selling the stuff that I could maybe sell in here but at 69 Vintage I don’t want to see things with flaws but these days girls don’t give a fuck if there is a hole or a run, they think that’s cool.
B: Quick rundown of Buy the Pound.
K: I fully saw the need in that. I was so tempted to buy things and sell them cheap in my store. I started with the ten dollar bin and then the ten dollar rack and then it was getting a little crowded. I thought that this could be a concept. Even though the items can be slightly damaged or they’re not in demand or they’re oddly sized, if I can negotiate reasonable prices for the items then I can sell them for cheap in the store. Fifteen bucks a pound is actually really good, if you weigh a dress it doesn’t even weigh a pound. Every month now I have been adding more sewing machines there. We just started a whole program teaching people how to sew, how to cut stuff and so on. You can go buy a dress and be like “Can you help me this shorten the dress and fix the waist line”. It’s gives people something to do there.
B: Wow, what a great idea.
K: For Buy the Pound I can buy much crazier styles and I can see what people are into. I’ve been surprised.
B: So you find the clientele is different here as it would be there?
K: There’s a lot of cross over, a lot more than I would have thought. But I don’t work there so I don’t really know. Irene who works there would know. When I hired her in September I explained to her that I opened this because it’s smart but I needed someone with a personality to take it on because I’m here [69 Vintage] all the time. I’ve been here for five years and if I am not here, people are like, “You’re not in your store”. What people don’t get sometimes is that I am working buying clothes while everyone else is working and shopping in the store. Buy the Pound is a year old in April and it’s needed that year of settling itself in. More and more people are calling me about it. I could have done two things. I could have put a lot of money into promoting that place or I could have just given it the whole year to establish itself. You never know how effective advertising can be anyways. This spring I am probably going to put a much bigger promotional push because every kind of company needs. You know, I didn’t anticipate the recession but that store is doing quite well because of it.
B: I think people are foregoing buying the expensive stuff and instead buying classic items that will last. Like we mentioned before style is becoming more and more recycled.
K: For sure. We have entered the era, and I am going to thank Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, where girls feel they can pile on whatever. That’s very independent. I say to girls, “Don’t worry, if you want to be a diva, be a fucking diva. If you want to dress like a slut, dress like a slut. If you want to look like your boyfriend, then so be it”. There are no rules anymore.
At this point my tape recorder craps out and I am left to ask Kealan the one question I have been waiting to ask her.
B: When you are out vintage hunting, how do you decide what to keep for yourself and what to sell at the stores?
K: When I am out shopping and I see something, it’s not a question of should I keep it for myself or should I sell it. It just either is or it isn’t.
Meeting with Kealan was a wicked experience. It’s evident from the non-stop phone calls and customers coming in during the interview that the girl has a million things on her plate. She manages to take them on with passion and little fear. She is truly in her element welcoming new and old customers into the store and giving style advice like it were food for thought. Now to those who haven’t yet ventured out to the west end to check out these two vintage gems, please take my advice and go, you never know what you’ll end up with.
2008 is behind us. Almost.
This is the part where we predict the trends coming up in the new year, the new decade, the new economy, this new life. Around these parts, we’re excited to say goodbye to the bloated, over the top, mashed up 00′s. We know it’s not quite done, this decade, but we’re kissing it goodbye anyway.
Supras. You were nice for a minute, but you’re starting to make me feel more like a geeky teenager who hasn’t hit his growth spurt yet. When I think of a 13 year old boy, I think of scrawny narrow shoulders and big-assed feet. The feet tell of the height to come. And Supra, you only draw attention to that.
80s throwbacks went along nicely with these flipper shoes and we were all about fades, door knocker earrings and oversized shirts paired with tight knee-length jean shorts. Oh god, and acid washed. But it’s over. Seriously. We’re done here.
Similarly anything neon and oversized with cartoon characters on it just has to go. Like go forever ever. Personally, I’ve hated this shit for a while now, it’ a little candy raver without the soother no? What were we thinking?
Beards. It’s the death of the beard boys. Real men have real haircuts and shave their damn faces.
In these harsh economic times, we have to get tough, pair it down, clean it up overall. Clean lines, black and white photos, harsh shapes, little colour and that “goth” word that’s on everyone’s lips.
For men we predict there will be a resurgence of the man’s man alongside a clan cut 50s throwback. It’s real simple to dress hot if you’re a man: Plain white tee. Good pair of jeans. Chuck Taylors or loafers. No earrings, bracelets or rings. Watch, wedding ring and a plain chain are fine.
What to throw away honourable mentions: V-necks for boys, patterns, visible name brands, chunky bracelets or earrings, spandex, metallics, tanning and anything from American Apparel. In 2009 it’s going to be about classic quality pieces that lean towards a clean cut vampiric punk. You’ve gone too far when you hit skin head or heroine addict, everything in between is a go. Also on our list: uniforms, especially military and decent, narrow-shouldered suit or tux jacket; that’s here to stay.
Mashups. Emo. Celebrity DJs. If it’s two original songs mixed together or if it requires boys straightening their hair, it’s out. Also, any form of pop-something unless it is in fact pop. Pop-punk, hip-pop and that Miley Cyrus crap that sounds like musical music. No mercy, that shit it out like baby nap sacks.
Anything original. Bass. Optimism alongside doom. In the clubs, we’re gonna go back to big beefy beats that float on infinitely. Big parties, with big DJs who blow our heads out the back like a shot gun. Harder harder harder. Just like fashion, we’re gonna hear clean lines in music. I wanna stand in front of a sub and have the base literally blow my hair back. For rock, we’re gonna have a Strokes or Nirvana moment, where bands have to start getting really good at their anti-image and their instruments. Anything that sounds like The Faint, The Cure or Interpol will make a heavy comeback.
Other stuff that’s got to go: apathy, cocaine, bottle service, plastic tits, multi-coloured streaks, hair extensions, Paris Hilton, supply, and dog’s in purses.
We’re looking forward to: natural beauty, the resurrection of D.I.Y, good art, viscera, hope, house cats, ecstasy and demand.
By Britt Skelly
The Netherlands skate-cum-street wear label Gsus Sindistries show this past Thursday was as freestylin¹ as the Z-Boys‘ bag of tricks. Back in ‘93 the label got its start thanks to the influences of The Fresh Prince himself and the outlandish bold prints synonymous with Hammer Time.
The show kicked off with So You Think You Can Dance Canada’s top choreographer Blake McGrath popping and flipping down the runway, was nothing less than radical. The gorgeous male and female models owned the catwalk sporting the geometric Californian-inspired collection that was like sneaking a peak into Sonny and Cher’s 1970s closet.
The guys collection ranged from mint green tapered golf pants covered in graphic parrots to pastel coloured cardis to cozy zip up hoodies. The girl’s collection featured an all jean Canadian tuxedo, graphic red, orange and pink minis to show off the gams and geometric one-piece bathers that make tanning a tricky feat.
The philosophy behind the collections laidback designs was reflected in the high-energy vibe of the show. The models were clearly instructed to interact with the audience and have fun wearing the clothes,something the brand wants to reflect to the youth buyers. All in all the Gsus Sindistries show, where lips collided and beach bikes rolled down the runway, was a breath of fresh Dutch air!
Photos taken by Britt Skelly and Edited by Natalie Johnson.
And of course there’s nothing better than an after party!
The Gsus Sindustries après soiree was held at the infamous Cheval nightclub on King following the fashion show. The event was filled with sexy models, fashion savvy Torontonians and anyone in between! The impressive roster of DJs for the night included DJ Roxy Cottontail, Johnny Hockin of MTV and the dynamic sound duo Julien Nolan and Chris La Roque. Unlike many snooty Fashion Week after parties, the overall vibe at Cheval was fun and relaxed. Thanks to the bohemian crowd and world renowned DJs, the scene was set for a night of martini sippin’ and be bobbing til’ dawn.
Words: Brit Skelly, Photos: Krist Papas