Only In Dreams

At the beginning of October I helped a good friend of mine, Kevin Boothe, with a photography/design project he was working on. Kevin, a highly talented designer, and Matin Pezeshgzad, photographer extraordinaire, worked together on this project to create some incredibly beautiful images. My role? Provide some garments for the shoot. My stylist friend Adeline Yu worked on this, pulling garments that might work well with a projector. In the end we used the muslin for my Atmos dress, which proved to be a great canvas for digital projections. Check out some of the images as presented on Kevin's excellent design site Document (www.documentmagazine.ca) by clicking the image. Enjoy!


Les Fureurs du Tango

The focus of my current research paper for my Fashion Theory/History class. 
I am developing my strong love for everything tango.

"Les Fureurs du Tango"
George Barbier, 1919
Published in the 1920 volume of La Guirlande Des Mois


An Embarkation

Last Monday was my orientation for the Master of Arts in Fashion program at Ryerson University. This is the first of such programs in Canada, and the first year this will be running. No one really knows what to expect, but I'm really looking forward to this. The orientation day was really intended to provide the 20 grad students an opportunity to get to know each other, the faculty and the staff. It was actually a lot of fun in spite of the fact that I was pretty nervous!
After the usual introductions, we were assigned groups for the activities that day (I was in the Placket Plums group), each of which had 3 students and a teacher "advisor."

The "Vintage Act" presentation consisted of a varied collection of historic and vintage garments. Each group was assigned a garment to assess, analyze, and determine a number of factors such as time period, fabric, who might have worn it, how it was made... and then create a story about it. It was an interesting and highly appropriate icebreaker - we had good fun creating a dramatic love story around our Matisse-inspired hand-painted garment.

The "Edible Fashion" activity was very "Project Runway." Each group was given $20 to spend at the Metro grocery store, where we were to buy organic and natural items (mostly food, essentially) with which to create a garment. 
We had about 2 hours for all of this, and it was fun!  My group did a take on the "Little Black Dress" - saying that "green is the new black."  We used green cabbage layered for most of the skirt, and radicchio in the centre front of the skirt and bodice. We had an asymmetrical shoulder detail constructed out of purple cabbage, some other lettuce, and radishes. Sounds horrible, right? Our dress actually looked somewhat like layered lace... and kind of pretty!  

Draping a foundation on which to glue the cabbage leaves.
Discussing the braided green onion trim.
Hastily glueing as time is running out.
Brittany glueing a lovely arrangement of radicchio.
The final product.
The range of garments was vast and exhibited great creativity. There were some food items arranged in ways that I would never have thought of, including tortilla shells rolled and stuffed with popcorn to create a ruffled collar, and a Fruit-By-The-Foot mini-skirt. Smart!  

There was a judging panel of various professors and faculty, and a group was selected as the "winners" of the activity. Some of the criteria was creativity of materials, design details, form, structure, construction... I don't know what else. 

The winning team was announced, and it was... the Placket Plums! Yay! We each received a $10 gift card to Starbucks - essential for student life. 

While each garment was very good and displayed a lot of great ideas, part of the reason we were selected was the elegance and simplicity of our dress. Sometimes less is more, remember? Silly cabbage cocktail dress. What fun.
The day closed off with a nice tour at the Royal Ontario Museum, followed by appetizers and beer at the Three Brewers, a local microbrewery. It was a long, full day, but a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to sitting in the classroom and studio with my new colleagues, and hearing all their ideas and varied viewpoints on all things fashion and beyond. 

P.S. All photos from the orientation day are available by clicking here.


Place Called Grace

I'm excited to say that another one of my pieces has made an appearance in the Toronto music scene. My Petalos Corset was borrowed last Thursday, August 7 for Saidah Baba Talibah's video release party at the Gladstone Hotel. The party, presented by Exclaim!, was for her new video "Place Called Grace." She seems to have such an interesting and intense personality, and her look is quite unique - I was so curious to see how this garment would look on her. Worn backwards, the corset looks incredibly, well, how do you say it, "badass." 
Yes. Definitely badass. 


Not An Appropriate Summer Post

It's been a long time. While I've been working on some pieces for various people, I haven't been as productive as I'd wanted to be this summer. I've been incredibly busy with work, and while a girl's gotta pay the bills I've also been distracted by this beautiful summer we've been having! I've been enjoying biking around the city, sitting in caf├ęs and bars and parks, and enjoying time with my friends and loved ones. As a Libra I'm supposed to be more balanced... I'll work on that, but in the meantime here's an oldie that I never got around to posting. In preparation for the too quickly approaching fall and winter season, it's what I consider to be a real "bunny hug" - or perhaps you might call it a "bunny shrug"? Anyhow, here's a page straight from my portfolio.


She Got Me. Pt.II

So remember when I said I had some stuff in a music video? The real video came out a while ago, here it is for your viewing pleasure. These are my designs that made the cut, in order of appearance:

Cotinga Jacket
Silk Pleat Pants
Winter Capelet

If you hate super catchy pop/rap tracks, then hit the mute button first.


Beauty in High Park

High Park in Toronto has a nice little section of Sakura trees, or cherry blossom trees, that only bloom once a year in late April/early May. This past April I had a yearning to wander amongst the pretty pink blossoms and pretend that I was on vacation in Japan, or even Washington, D.C., enjoying the trees in full bloom. On a whim, I asked my amazing photographer friend Landon Speers if he would be up for an impromptu fashion shoot amongst the ephemeral blooms. In a day we managed to pull together a great team that had Landon's good pal Warren Hrycun assisting with photography, the lovely Brae Mason handling makeup/hair, and the beautiful Deirdre Buryk modeling my silk Atmos Dress. The saturated cobalt blue really stood out against that backdrop of pale pink flowers, I am super happy we did this while we could! One of my favourite things about the day, aside from spending it outside in the beautiful park, was the number of park visitors who began taking snapshots of what we were doing! We became something of a tourist attraction at that point, which actually ended up adding an interesting element to some of the shots. Here, check out some of the behind the scenes photos along with the real dealios.

Make-up party with pain au chocolat and strawberry strudels.
Landon taking some test shots.
Staging a shot in 2 parts (I'm floating!)
Attracting an audience.
How to put a model in a tree while wearing silk... this is something like Step 3.
Quick! Get a shot with the train!

And now the real deal:


Pretty Freedom!

On Sunday, Leigh and I spent a long day of shopping for plywood and screws and everything else necessary to construct a table for my studio. After that, I popped over to visit Jodee and Helena at their Pretty Freedom boutique at 167 Augusta Avenue. Located 1 block west of the heart of Toronto's vintage clothing shopping area, they've already begun to set themselves apart - and they're not even open yet!

It was a beautiful day, so they were set-up outside stuffing rows of cute vintage shoes, finishing signs, and just enjoying the fine weather. It's always a real pleasure being around these two who are so full of creativity and energy. Oh, and they're oh so fashionable too. Taking a peek at their shop and stock is proof of their good taste. 
The shop is decorated with some wonderfully unique furniture pieces, including a display table crafted from a discarded door, an old donated painter's ladder, antique mirrors, a charming chandelier-lit change room, and bamboo clothing racks - the latter being an honest creation from Jodee's Filipino self. 
What stock is already out is a charming selection of summer's must-have rompers, art-chic dresses, denim jackets, glamorous vintage party dresses, and jean shorts for both ladies and gents. Sure, every second-hand and vintage store may have the aforementioned items, but Pretty Freedom has done a really great job of cutting out the clutter you will find elsewhere. Here, you will find only items hand-picked for their quality and overall fashion aesthetic. That means that with everything looking so damn good, you'll have a hard time deciding which cute dresses to actually take home with you! Well, it's not all cute dresses. Some of the stuff in there is pretty bad ass, I must say, and so completely fun to wear. There are items for men and women, and the clothes have been steamed to perfection with essential oils to remove any of those unpleasant odours that sometimes keep people away from great vintage clothes.
The first pair of "mum bums" I pulled off their rack were a perfect fit - needless to say I now have them at home to wear on my bum. I had a fun time breaking in their change room - I think I tried on half the store. After a helpful consultation with Jodee I left with a number of fab outfits for my summertime fun-times. I did a little photoshoot at home with my goodies, please forgive my silly wannabe model poses and rather, get stoked about the clothes! They're officially opening next week (fingers crossed), so check them out soon - I'm certain you'll love Pretty Freedom!
The sweetest thing: Floral romper with lace collar
Saturday night fever: 70s disco dress with flounce neckline
Art bitch: 80s butterfly sleeve dress
Sunglasses at night: The little black dress with a twist - you can't see the great fringe trim at the neckline, or the cutout back.
La vie en rose: 70s pink pleated disco dress
The girl from Ipanema: Mum Bum shorts
Can you tell I love the mum bum? You won't find quality Levis for a better price.