…between good and evil

It’s Fashion Week here in Worn’s hometown of Toronto. The city’s herd of style writers are strapping on their slingbacks and straightening their ties to cover all the on-schedule and off-schedule shows about town. Our own herd of Wornettes will be invading the event that I am personally most excited for: the screening of Montreal designer Clayton Evans’ complexgeometries aw 2009 collection …between good and evil.

Evans speaks of his work as an examination of the conflict and co-existence of moral ideals: “informed by the grey area that exists between right and wrong, the collection explores a diversity of references including vigilantes, religious icons, toreadors, and ghostly apparitions.” No small feat. Evans has become a fashion blogger darling as of late, with glowing posts from the epic stylin’ ladies of Kingdom of Style and the Coveted. He combines strong, durable fabrics with more delicate ones, creating pieces without a defined “front” or “back.” Dramatic collars and capes can expose the body or create a restrained silhouette.

The name of your line comes from Buckminster Fuller, the architect. Can you tell me a little about how you decided on that?
I identify with a lot of Buckminster Fuller’s ideas about design and the responsibility of designers. I searched for a name for a long time, and when I hit on complexgeometries, with its balance between form and thoughtfulness, it just made sense.
***In 1949, Buckminster Fuller completed the design for his first geodesic dome. It’s the product of one of Fuller’s greatest architectural concerns – the marriage of technology and nature. That, and the post-war housing crisis, which he hoped the dome would solve.

You’ve stated that with your previous collection, Sex of the Ancients, you came up with the title first and worked the collection around this idea. Did you follow a similar method with …between good and evil?
No, this collection was a little more organic, in that we started work on it before the theme solidified. The fashion calendar moves very quickly so we don’t always have time to wait for inspiration to hit. And because we’re a smaller line, we have more freedom to experiment; we don’t always follow the same process.
***Wish there were more hours in the day? Try polyphasic sleep, something Buck Fuller claimed he was able to do. For two years he slept a mere two hours a day.

Can you explain the film project a bit?
I wanted to present the collection in an unusual way, but video has become quite common. I thought it could be interesting to present the same collection from a few different perspectives. In an age when thoroughly conceived marketing strategies are the norm, giving five artists carte blanche seemed like a new approach. And it’s an approach that is consistent with complexgeometries values of engagement and versatility.
***Evans handed the camera over to five Montreal artists for his video, including regular Worn contributors Arianna and Stacy Lundeen.

You showed …between good and evil in New York this season, what was that event like?
OAK organized a party and offered us a venue to show the videos. The team at OAK have been big supporters, so it was great for us to be able to work with them. And they throw a great party.
***Evans collaborated with OAK in September 2008, when they opened a second store on Bond Street in Manhattan. They commissioned a bondage themed collection, and complexgeometries offered up bound jersey.

Do you take the method of presentation into account when you are designing your clothes?
No, presentation is a whole other endeavour. Complexgeometries is a fairly continuous project, and each collection, presentation or installation is an interruption that capsules the project so far.
***Buck Fuller thought much the same way, he once wrote: “I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.”

A little preview…

COMPLEX GEOMETRIES aw09 | TRAILER from JASON LAST on Vimeo.

Catch the screening of …between good and evil and meet the designer and some of the filmmakers in person. Friday, March 20th 2009 from 7pm-10pm at Unit, 1198 Queen St. West

complicated circles.


COMPLEX GEOMETRIES SS09 from JASON LAST on Vimeo.

Instead of a typical runway show, complexgeometries has been making little film shorts of the current line. It’s pretty brilliant, since designer Clayton Evan’s work doesn’t exactly fit in with the whole Montreal Fashion Week look, and it has the potential to reach a much larger audience. Plus the video rules.

Crushing on Régine and Katie

victoire2.gif

interview and photography by Tracie LeBlanc
Katie and Regine are co-owners of Victoire, a sweet shop on Ottawa’s independently fashionable street, Dalhousie.

Why did you decide to open up a boutique in Ottawa?
It’s a city that has the best of both worlds – a big city, but with small town charms. It’s got the large population and tourist industry of a big city, but it’s also small enough that it’s easy to build a community around any project/business/idea you have. Everyone in Ottawa is connected somehow…so it means it’s really only a matter of time before you’re friends…which often leads to partnerships. This is how we love to do business, with friends!

What are your plans for the future?
Our new, bigger space allows us to expand into areas we’ve wanted to for a while, but just didn’t have the space for. We’re excited to be doing men’s wear, and doing more accessories for women, including shoes. We’re also dabbling in a house line, Steel Magnolias, which is primarily jewelry for now – but who knows where that could lead. And we’re also doing more art shows, and are thinking about hosting other types of events (bands, dance parties, etc.)

What do you think about Ottawa’s fashion scene?
A lot of people in Ottawa have full days, and they need outfits that can take them from the desk job, to “5 � 7″ drinks, to a dance party in a stinky basement. That makes for some very innovative (and resourceful!) dressing. Fashion scenes in other cities are more tied to their city’s fashion industry, but since Ottawa has a very small fashion industry, our “fashion scene” interlaps more with the music scene, the art scene, the club scene, the queer scene, etc. This makes things quite eclectic and harder to pin down.

Régine and Katie’s top 10 favourite Canadian designers…
1 – Clayton Evans for complexgeometries

2 – Dace Moore for Dace

3 – Valerie Dumaine
4 – Nokomis

5 – Maryanne Mathias for Hastings & Main
6 – Melissa Matos & Lenny Pier-Ramos for Powerhaus
7 – Arielle de Pinto
8 – Renata Morales
9 – Denis Gagnon
10-Common Cloth