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Wednesday, April 11, 2012
• 11:50 AM •

Mad Men Flashback- Welcome to the 60s!

Mad Men Flashback- Welcome to the 60s!

After an unbearably long 17 month hiatus, Mad Men is finally back to bring an end to our grief stricken television and computer screens. In addition to anticipating Don Draper’s much missed dry humour (if one can call it that), our nostalgia for 60s fashion can once again be pandered to every week for approximately 47 minute… but who’s counting?! The year on the show is now 1966. The Vietnam war reaches it’s halfway point, John Lenon claims the Beatles are bigger than Jesus, and the miniskirt introduced by Mary Quant (or André Courreges depending on the source) in 1964 is now worn by every teenage girl with a pair of legs.

Mad Men Season 5

Montreal’s own Jessica Paré performs the 1960s Gillian Hills hit ‘Zou Bisou Bisou’ in a black mini dress with pleated silk chiffon sleeves and rhinestone embellishments at the neck. Paré’s fashion forward character gives viewers a glance at the soon to be hippie style of the end of the decade.

 

Mad Men Season 5 cast donned in plaid, flowered, and checkered prints

Mad Men Season 5

The show has me considering the entire decade though, which started off in pastel coloured boxy suits and ended with paisley prints and bellbottoms. Fashion icons included First Lady Jackie Kennedy who popularized the pillbox hat, and Twiggy who popularized malnourishment.

Jackie Kennedy wearing pillbox hat

Jackie Kennedy arrives in Paris 1961

Twiggy Babydoll dress

60s Fashion icon Jane Birkin, Vogue 1965

There are numerous versions of the story of how the Birkin bag came into existence, but the one detail that remains undebatable is that 1960s fashion icon Jane Birkin was the muse. The version i’ve decided is the right one says this- In 1981 Jean-Louis Dumas (Hermes chairman 1978-2006) sits next to Jane on a flight from Paris to London. After all the contents of Jane’s straw bag fall to the ground she complains to Dumas that she was unable to find a suitable weekend leather bag she liked. In 1984 he creates the Bikin bag. Perhaps I enjoy this version because it suggests that if I complain enough I will have something named after me.

Birkin Bag

CONTINUE READING

Sunday, February 19, 2012
• 9:37 PM •

Classy, NOT Trashy.

Classy, NOT Trashy.

“A girl should be two things – Classy and fabulous.”

– Coco Chanel

If attention is what you seek, wearing a skimpy outfit will no doubt get you noticed. A few heads will turn, perhaps some whistling will be thrown your way, and you might even get a free drink from the (creepy) guy eyeing you across the bar. Despite this, dressing in a red and black lace-up corset, light denim booty shorts that are two sizes too small, and a pair of 10 inch red stilettos you can barely walk in will never be sexier than wearing something classy that accentuates your best features without necessarily exposing them.

There appears to be a misunderstanding among some women as to what exactly constitutes sex appeal. All too often many will dismiss the idea of a so called ‘conservative’ outfit for something shorter, tighter and flashier under the impression that these characteristics are synonymous with sexy. That could not be more wrong. Opting for a classy look will always be sexier than looking like you desperately want to be featured in the next Girls Gone Wild video.

For sources of inspiration, let us take a look at a few women who have managed to combine style, class and sex appeal, and can still show up to Sunday service.

Exhibit A: Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren in a red jersey crewneck dress

Actress and beauty icon Sophia Loren depicts that perfect balance of class and sex appeal in this form fitting red dress. Who would have guessed a crew neck and short sleeves could be so classy?

Exhibit B: Diane Von Furstenberg

Fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg’s infamous wrap dress bestowed instantaneous elegance and beauty on all women adorned with the flawless design. Paired with the right shoes and accessories there is nothing muffled about this look.

Exhibit C: Recent Victoria Beckham

Posh Spice has certainly gone through her fair share of skimpy outfits in the past, however, it would appear that the former pop star has come to her senses. Just take a look at Trashy Victoria vs Classy Victoria and be the judge of the better outfit.

…need I say more?

Exhibit D: Blake Lively

Named one of British Vogue’s Best Dressed of 2011, Blake Lively did not earn this title by looking like an extra in a Lil’ Wayne music video. Wearing a Missoni Fall 2011 dress on the The Tonight Show, Lively looks fun and flirty.

Leaving your house in an outfit that makes your parents wonder where they went wrong is a deplorable disservice to your fashion sense. Instead of looking sexy, your outfit will have a greater chance of seeming tacky and ill-fitting. Furthermore, it might give people an impression of you that is far from the truth. Rather than experimenting with how little fabric you can wear before being arrested for indecent exposure, try exploring how to work with cut, colour, and texture to create a unique style that flatters your figure without compromising your integrity.

All in all, If you are going for a sexy look, ditch the trash and keep the class. You will be doing yourself (and everyone with the gift of sight) a favor.

Monday, February 13, 2012
• 12:00 AM •

Snobbing for a Cause: SynesthASIA 2012

Snobbing for a Cause: SynesthASIA 2012

 I grew impatient and anxious as I watched Dorothy shrieking over the phone at Susan, “Are you SURE?!” she yelled, stomping her patent leather Micheal Kors heels in frustration. “It’s Sherbrooke West, not East. Sorry!” Susan confirmed. Dang. It was almost 9:30 PM and we were supposed to have already been backstage at the 2012 SynesthASIA fashion show, mingling with the models and trying to nab interviews with some of the designers. Instead, having misread the address, we were in another part of the city. It probably also hadn’t helped that we’d spent hours getting ready.

As we rushed to Arena nightclub I tried to ignore the hints of pain my block heeled desert boots began to cause. This would potentially be a very long night. We finally made it to the front door and the bouncer barely glanced up as we approached, “IDs Please,” he said, clearly bored out of his mind.  We pass the long line of people waiting to purchase their show tickets, and enter the backstage room where some models sit and chat as others obsess over perfecting their hair and makeup.

We scan the room and try to take it all in. This year’s SynesthASIA designs are numerous and varied, ranging from fully-embellished traditional saris, to men appearing to have been pulled straight out of an episode of Man Men with their form fitting tawny suits and perfectly coiffed hair.

Jonathan and Nadiva backstage before the show

Founded in 2008 by four McGill University students, SynesthASIA is a Montreal based charitable organization. We come across Shazia Abji, one of its core founders, who explains to us that the foundation began as a means to showcase Asian culture through a different lens. “We started SynesthASIA as a way to address the widespread ignorance surrounding Asia”.

In order to support grassroots organizations in Asia and bridge them to ones based in Montreal, SynesthASIA began what was to become an annual fashion show featuring the work of Montreal designers. Each year all the proceeds from the event are donated to a charity of choice. This year, Right To Play, an organization that strives to improve the life of children in impoverished countries through sport and play, was selected.

Beginning our hunt for the night’s best dressed, Dorothy and I notice a girl wearing a sari that seemed to have been created precisely for her. Wearing a Camilla Boutique design, model Tomi Tade looked amazing in her sequined black and gold dress. As she struck a pose for our camera, Tade glowed in her sari, embodying all the sass and attitude an outfit like that required.

Tomi Tade rocking the sari.

These beautiful saris are just in time for Karl Lagerfeld’s Indian-inspired line.

Our favorite collection of the night belonged to Nurin, an International Development Studies and Management student from McGill whose work displays an undeniable eye for creativity and quality design. We approached the quiet and easy-going designer and discovered that her line, titled Rumi, had been hand made over the course of a year.

Our excitement over Nurin’s line doubled when we discovered that amongst her inspirations was one of our favorite designers; haute couture Lebanese designer Elie Saab, whose signature lengthy drape dresses are hinted at in some of Nurin’s work.

Elie Saab – Spring 2011 Couture

Asked about the intricacies of being a designer, Nurin says that finding the balance between showcasing one’s art and personal preferences with what others will actually value can be tough. “You want to show your skills, but at the same time you have to ask yourself, is it wearable?” She is also very candid about fashion’s image centered character, “You have to know yourself – your strengths, your weaknesses and what you want to project”. On the runway Nurin’s image is evident; elegant ready to wear attire projecting simple feminine beauty.

 

 

Rumi (Photo credit: Selvan.ca)

 

Drinks in hand and dancing to the blaring sounds of the night’s electro-pop tunes, we watched the show as it took us on a whirlwind journey through Asia. Dumaine’s dark hobo chic attire paid tribute to the Korean War Memorial, while Moral Fibres’ procession of comfortable acid-wash hippie-like dresses are a celebration of the Sinulog, a festival celebrated in Cebu, Philippines.  A cool break dancing number by Raw Kingz followed by a colourful over the top bollywood-esque routine in between hinted at the afterparty that was to come.  The show ended with a return to the West through the work of four student designers.

 

Aris by Andra Bogdan

 

It’s past midnight and my feet are killing me. I’m surprised I’ve made it this far without giving in to bare feet. As the last model struts her stuff off the runway, the after-party kicks off. Dorothy already begins flipping through her camera photos, reliving the night’s highlights as I desperately search for a free leather couch to sit on. While some styles did not offer overt originality, most showed promise of some good things to come given more time and experience. We partied, danced, raised money for charity and looked good doing it. SynesthASIA 2012? Check.