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:


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.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
• 3:00 AM •

Meet Susan

Meet Susan

– 5% Bohemian
– 10% Bombshell
– 15% Classic
– 0% Eccentric
– 5% Edgy / Rocker Chic
– 10% Lady
10% Minimalist
– 30% Modern / Fashion-Forward
– 10% Preppy
– 5% Sporty/Casual

  • Fashion Type: I switch it up from preppy casual but still classic. I am all about comfort and effortless chic! It certainly does depend on my mood. Just because you look for comfort when you wear clothes, does not mean that you can’t look SHARP. Thank goodness that fashion accommodates all types of styles!
  • Favourite Names in Fashion:

Models: KARLIE KLOSSAbbey Lee Kershaw, Jessica Stam, and Coco Rocha …love these girls for their actual beautiful faces and in haute couture. Their doll faces and girl next door look can still be transformed for something a little more seductive. Karlie Kloss is absolutely my favourite model right now. She has this awesome piercing look when she walks or takes a picture with this little smile…perhaps a smirk. That smirk! Only she can pull off that fierce sexy gaze in an haute couture runway. Yes I have a girl crush on her and its not ending anytime soon. Many people don’t like her as a VS Angel, but I adore her too much to disapprove of her line of work at Victoria’s Secret.

PS, doesn’t Abbey look like a Jane Birkin back in the day?

Coco has a beautiful personality and she often makes impressions on whoever she meets! She’s super talented, I mean did you see how she opened Jean Paul Gauthier’s Fall/Winter 2007 runway show?

Karlie's Atypical Beauty in this closeup shot


Jessica Stam (Fashion Magazine, February 2010. Photographed by Derek Kettela)


Abbey Lee Kershaw from Cute to Sexy (Left) Numero magazine February 2010 (Right) Tom Ford Eyewear Spring 2011 Campaign

  • Fashion Icons: BLAKE LIVELY
  • Designers:

Stella McCartney: Her absolutely feminine tailored brand is sexy and sophisticated. Stella strategically uses lace and sheer materials, my favourite materials. I am now totally stoked that my favourite fashion icon and one of my favourite designers are working together! This July 2011, Blake Lively was named the new ambassador for Stella’s designs!

Blake Lively in a blouse and bra by Stella McCartney. (Glamour Magazine, July 2011)

Elie Saab: In an interview, Elie Saab states that, when designing, he thinks about the silhouette first and then the details. His collections vary from clean cut work wear to draping couture dresses that have so much movement and sparkle. His draping is original, but it makes sense. He transitions from structured to a loose draped shape in one garment, creating a balanced and beautiful silhouette.

A Few of my favourite Elie Saab garments from left to right: Fall 2011 RTW (Marike Le Roux), Spring 2011 Couture (Jac), Fall 2010 RTW (Sigrid Agren)

Zuhair Murad: I am always pleased with Zuhair’s work. Romantic dresses worthy for any beautiful occasion. Zuhair knows how to accentuate the assets of a woman’s body with his structured silhouettes. The amount of detailed work he does on the dresses with placing the sequins, beads, or lace in all the right areas is far from gaudy or over embellished. He puts glam in glamorous, as cheesy as that sounds. I wish I would have a reason to sport these dresses!

Zuhair Murad Fall/Winter 2010 Campaign


Blake Lively as Gossip Girl Serena Van Der Woodsen wearing Zuhair Murad

Marchesa (Georgina Chapman/Keren Craig): How do you not love their dresses. They know how to romance. period. Very girly but also their designs are more elaborate and with an edge that bears current fashion trends.

A beautifully ornate red dress on Taylor Momsen below, but it is unfortunate that she chose a floor-length gown on the red carpet where the red just all blends together.

Taylor Momsen in Marchesa

  • Favourite material/textile: Lace, chiffon, anything sheer!

    Crop Lace and Embellished Vest, ASOS


  • Handbags: My taste in handbags relies heavily on structured silhouettes so that it can “stand” on its own. Structured bags are clean and without fail, it sharpens your current outfit, whether you’re in jeans and a loose knit sweater or in a head to toe suit get-up. I VOW that I will one day be the owner of the world’s most coveted bag: the Hermes Birkin or Kelly. Thought currently, the Birkin/Kelly trademark design is over-saturated in today’s market and has lost a bit of its appeal (eg: Michael Kors Hamilton…which I own. Let it be known that I had this bag before everyone did! Yes, that was a taste of my snobbery).Anyways, here are my loves, which will also be mine one day:

    Céline Nano Luggage Tricolor

    Burberry Medium Smoked Check Hobo Bag Dark Tan


Louis Vuitton Pont Neuf in Black Epi Leather


3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel in Jade

  • Go-to item: I will never get tired of off-the-shoulder items, whether it’s a dress or a top. To me its the really easy and subtle way to project sexiness.

Off-Shoulder Dress, ASOS


Vince Green Metallic Popover Sweater, Fall 2011 Revolve Clothing

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
• 1:04 AM •

Meet Dorothy

Meet Dorothy


My name is Dorothy and I was born and raised in Montreal.  I grew up wearing hand-me-downs and was forced to settle for linty ribbed white V-neck shirts and hideously-washed boot cut jeans from I don’t know where.  It was only when I was 16 and working my first job at the local McDonald’s that I began my serious rampage in the name of fashion.  This is not to say that I am now extremely stylish.  I’m just a poor student who will strive to be fashionable for the rest of my life.  Even the richest of the rich never quite seem to reach “fashion nirvana” as I like to put it.  Our daily lives do not resemble the heavily Photoshopped ads in Vogue, and we will never look as cool walking down the bus aisles as that model does strutting down the runway.  But it is for these very reasons that I continue to love this art – the romanticism in fashion is what keeps me begging for more.


Fashion Type: Sacrificing comfort for style is what I do. Heels, tight skirts, belts…I’ll wear anything if it makes me feel more feminine.  Here’s what’s at the top of my wish-list at the moment:




burberry coats together

wool military coat_burberry_burberry site

burberry oxford


doo.ri draping


Check out the latest collections by Doo.ri here.










Costume National