Beginner’s Luck

Listed as #1 on my life list of “most beloved pursuits,” fashion also ranks pretty high on my list of things that scare the crap out of me. I’m not talking about Lady Gaga’s outlandish outfits or the nightmare-inducing makeup Alexander McQueen used in his Fall/Winter 2009 collection, “Horn of Plenty.” It’s more about the nearly impermeable exclusivity of the fashion world. Before Toronto Fashion Week actually started, I was afraid I would be shipwrecked in a sea of judging eyes. Instead, I realized that I was more or less surrounded by a bunch of people who enjoy wearing sequins just as much as I do. Now that was a revelation.

Day 1: Monday, October 17th, 2011
The opening night of fashion week was huge affair and the crowd was filled with the beautiful, the heavily made-up, and celebrities like Jeanne Beker and Stacey McKenzie. Let me just say that people who suffer from claustrophobia should stay as far away from fashion week as possible, because people like to push, shove and get all up in your personal space while waiting in line to get into the show. Patience is a virtue, people.

Holt Renfrew was the first runway show of the night, celebrating the Canadian designers they sell on the rack. I loved the cool minimalism of Jeremy Laing and the head-to-toe florals of Denis Gagnon. Next up was the Arthur Mendonca show, where everyone’s favourite androgyne Andrej Pejic modeled a metallic gold trouser suit. Of course, I was none the wiser until my favourite fashion writer Sarah Nicole Prickett pointed it out on Twitter the next day. Last up was Lala Berlin, who had some majorly pretty clothing. I liked the washed out tie-dye prints, especially when they were on blazers and the knit sweaters covered by a layer of clear PVC. Party on, Wayne!

Day 2: Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
The theme of Day 2 of LGFW was definitely bums. First in the sexy sportswear at MICHI, and next at the Tosca Delfino swimwear show rife with revealing string bikinis. At MICHI I got my first front row seat and consequently was able to snap this super duper picture of model bums in yoga wear. I think we could all use a little sex appeal when it comes to doing sweaty exercise and MICHI delivered the goods. Laura Siegel is an eco-friendly designer who used tie-dye print in her collection. Those two facts alone are enough to get into my good books. The last show of the day for me was Chloe Comme Parris, which featured exactly the kind of well-tailored, fancy looking clothing that I’ve been striving for in my personal wardrobe. It wasn’t visionary, but it was utterly wearable and I wholly appreciated that aspect. After the shows were over, I didn’t head to a fancy after-party but instead went to hear my classical guitarist friend play an informal concert at the University of Toronto.

I could get used to this fashion thing.

text and event photography by Isabel Slone
outfit photography by Jessica Da Silva

Who, What, Why, and Wear

Isabel Slone takes WORN to Fashion Week

You know the old story: Girl starts blog. Blog gets read. Girl gets invited to fashion shows and meets famous people. This magical entryway into the fashion world may sound like a fairytale but it’s unquestionably true—and it’s happening to me—right now.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Isabel. I blog at Hipster Musings and I’m a long-time friend of WORN Fashion Journal—since August 2009, to be exact. As WORN’s first-ever Fashion Week correspondent, it’s my job to let you know that LG Fashion Week is happening in Toronto next week, from October 17th to 21st.

Over the next week, I’ll be writing blog posts for WORN covering all of the exciting fashion week happenings. I’ll be headquartered in Toronto at the WORN office and doing some serious Operation Blogging, keeping you up to date on the shows and the fantastic designers Canada has to offer. There will be show reviews, outfit posts, shameless namedropping and much more…

Then it’ll be this old story: Stylish and enthusiastic girl takes job as honorary Wornette. Everybody wins!

simple silhouettes and layered lapels.

There’s a certain glamorous aspect to being at a fashion show –- any sort of fashion show. As long as there’s pulsating music and the flash of the photographer’s cameras, I’m sure you could parade a line of models down the runway wearing nothing but cardboard boxes and it’ll still have the feel and excitement of Parisian haute couture. So I was excited when I found out I was going to the Ryerson School of Fashion show at Toronto’s LG Fashion Week (and no, I am pleased to report that none of the designers used cardboard). I attended the show with Worn Crush, Norwegian Wood’s Angie Johnson (who was recently recognized for her fringe necklaces in this weekend’s National Post), and my old friend, Erica, who, in her own words, “likes fashion, but doesn’t really follow it.” It was interesting to attend an event with two women of very different fashion industry perspectives (although I can safely say we were all equally fawning over the Barbie exhibit taking place just outside the show – Holly Golightly Barbie, anyone?)
from other projects in order to create a new piece.
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Ladies of the Lens

A photo by Karen Roze.

Yesterday I found a series of photos by Ellen Von Unwerth, posted on a website. I read the comments people had left in reaction to the editorial. Said one commenter of Von Unwerth’s body of work, “She ALWAYS makes girls look like either sluts or rape victims.”

Personally, I wouldn’t put it quite that way, but I have long felt that women who photograph other women have a connection with their subjects men don’t have. They are more adept at finding both uncommon strength and unsettling weakness in their images. Whether it is because their own experiences inform their work (as they must) or because their models feel more connected, it’s hard to say – both, perhaps – but the difference is there.

Last night the WOMEN X WOMEN exhibit opened at Fashion House. The press release promised “the exhibited works [would] capture beauty, vulnerability, and strength of the model through the photographer’s eyes with the artistic direction drawing on the photographer’s own memories, style, and dreams.”

This may have been an overstatement.

I was very excited to see the images, I was disappointed to find that most of them, while they were certainly competently executed, were also absolutely typical of the majority of mainstream high-fashion photography. The models were predominantly white, thin, and expressionless, slumped in editorials that hardly covered new ground. There were, however, a few standouts.

Karen Roze’s untitled editorial was an aggressive blend of deep shadow and saturated colour. The model appeared from the ether with the determination of an avenging angel. Maude Arsenault’s “Masha 14” was just the opposite. She documented her model, Masha, dressed in over-sized bows and voluminous gowns. In her heels and makeup, there is no mistaking this model is still a child. Her expressions are plaintive, her eyes slightly bewildered but locked onto the lens (and the audience). It highlights an unsettling vulnerability and the viewer-as-consumer must answer to why she is there at all.

Finally, Genevieve Caron’s editorial (also untitled) shows an extremely pale model, dressed in a severe Edwardian-style dress. She stands stiffly, all forehead and jawline, holding up one edge of her dress to expose a thigh. Her pose is reminiscent of vintage erotica, with the exception that she stares unapologetic, almost brutally, into the lens. Her expression is deliberate and she dares the audience to question her motive.

While, in all, I found the exhibit a bit underwhelming, that’s only one opinion. If you want to check it out, it’s open to the public today, Friday, March 20 (from noon-6:00pm), and Saturday, March 21, 2009 (from noon-5:00pm) at Fashion House, 560 King St West in Toronto.