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Hi, summer vacation in dress form. I love you.
Last night, all up in the Annex in Toronto, Greta Constantine threw a kickass Midsummer Affair.
Amoungst the Stoli-sponsored bars, Purdy’s Chocolate ice cream pop station, and wandering servers carrying pool-party inspired bites, a single model wearing a piece from the forthcoming SS2013 collection circulated, giving us an advance, up-close look at a bit of summer-white loveliness.
The evening also had one of the best things that I’ve see all summer – a team of synchronized swimmers (in GC-designed swimsuits, of course), performing a full routine to Gwen Stephani’s Holla Back Girl. Synchro! DUDE. Amazing.
The lingering crowd. Soundtrack provided by InXS and Janet Jackson. Perfection.
A lovely dress, a brilliant spectacle, and excellent conversation. Greta Constantine’s Midsummer Affair? So, so good.
I think, with printed jeans, I could deal with the printed pants trend. In fact, I know I could.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Is anyone else seeing those candy buttons on paper backing in this? Because you should be.
Available: Cha-Cha Dress by Nanette Lepore via ShopBop
I see this boatneck leather dress and my hands make little grabby motions. AND I CAN’T MAKE IT STOP.
Available: Sienna Dress by ALC via ShopBop
These few things are true: The Greta Constantine show got off to a late start. The upper-most level of the Century Club, where the runway was set up, was very hot. The music playing throughout the building was internal-organ-bumpingly loud. And I loved what I saw on the catwalk.
So, the shows for the SS2012 lines for the house of Greta Constantine. Let’s talk about them. And I do mean shows. Plural. 3 collections, 51 pieces.
Initially, I was surprised by the first set of pieces that made their way down the runway, especially considering the more embellished direction the label took for AW2011. Beautiful, eye-popping colours, drapey-drapey jersey pieces that felt a lot like a retread of the label’s SS2009 collection. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to kidnap almost each and every one of those dresses; it just seemed like the label had stepped back in time, especially when, following a distinct pause-lightsdown-changeinmusic separation, the groupings that followed had little in relation to what I had just watched. Finding out from the fashion mags in attendance on the Twitters that the first part of the show were pieces their diffusion line, Primer, started to then make a lot of sense.
If Primer is about giving the people the beautiful Grecian-inspired dresses that they want, Greta & Ezra have then become places where Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong can push creativity and experimention. And give people what they didn’t know they wanted.
This season, Greta and Ezra seemed to be all about a sporty, relaxed vibe. Exaggerated asymmetry was beautifully presented in pieces that were gossamer-like in weight and movement. Volume went from skinny and highly structured – I would kill for those white pants and white jackets – to baggy and flowy in others. The best effect was when both were paired together. The inclusion of cleverly placed zippers, and pieces in leather (hi, leather shrug and random sleeves, you need to come home with me) and ribbed jersey/cotton, added a bit of an urban spin on things. And, for the first time, it seemed like Greta and Ezra were hanging out at the same places, liking the same things. And I liked it. A lot.
Short, tight, origami neckline. Who do I think I am, Heidi Klum? Oh, well.
Available: Suka Dress by Gestuz via Charlie and Lee
Walking up to Heritage Court in the Direct Energy Centre at the Exhibition, I saw my friend Collin waiting for me outside of the front entrance. After checking in at the registration desk, we walked into the LG Fashion Week space.
One of the first things we passed was the M Boutique, one of the smartest additions to a fashion week that I’ve ever heard of. Working on the Business of Fashion theme the FDCC had set for this season’s events, the boutique featured pieces from a number of Canadian designers – some showing during the week, and some not.
A single sample of each item for sale hung in the boutique, with a hang tag detailing the item’s information, including sizing, cost, and time to delivery, accompanied by a QR code. Snapping a picture of the QR code with a smartphone would take you to the boutique’s website, where you would then complete the transaction. For real, that’s some amazing, and forward thinking.
Continuing on, we passed by a pop-up bar, a cafe, vendor displays and tech bar, and made our way to the smaller Studio runway set-up, and grabbed our seats.
Having attended a rogue fashion week show the week before, Greta Constantine’s AW2011 collection, it was interesting to contrast the differences between the two, and to see how each set-up had advantages and disadvantaged for the designers, and media and buyers covering the events, alike. For the designers, facing the options going it on their own, or showing at Fashion Week has got to be a tough call. Do you do it yourself, creating a highly personalized experience for your audience and go through the insane scramble of funding and planning your own show? Do you buy into a Fashion Council-sanctioned event, placing yourself in the middle of a week-long focus on the up-coming fashion season, while giving control how you present and when? It’s a tough choice, and I can’t say that there’s any right decision that can be made in that situation.
For Raina, a textile artist presenting her first collection of clothing on the final day of fashion week, I’m sure the packed Studio space was a mark that she made the right decision for herself and her work.
The 12 looks sent down the runway, I’ll confess, aren’t the types of pieces that I gravitate towards, and it was difficult for me to imagine them anywhere outside of a lounge-y setting. The textiles themselves were lovely: delicate, deep and saturated, hand printed and sheer. The garments had interesting details – a convex hemline on skirts, rouching on the inner calf of otherwise billowy pants, and a lovely unfinished-but-finished edge on a number of items. I thought Raina’s most successful pieces were the scarves and belts; made to complete a look, they seemed to define what the design vision was instead. Unfortunately, when accessories and individual pieces were layered together, everything seemed much of the same. The collection, as a whole, did nothing to stand out from clothing items I’ve seen in boutiques that serve clientele with more earthy leanings.
Below are a couple of quick pictures I took of the finale walk and pose.
Before leaving Heritage Court, Collin and I stopped into the M Boutique. Amoungst the pieces hanging down the center of the space was Raina’s Light Shirt Dress. Seeing the piece up-close, I was delighted with all of the tiny holes burned in the hand printed textile. They turned the silk into an even more delicate fabric, and provided balance of light to the heavy black print (take a look to your left). It also made me wonder if the pieces that I had just been judging had a similar up-close quality, and if I wasn’t being too dismissive.
You can judge for yourself. The LG Fashion Week site has not only pictures of the entire collection, but a well edited video of the show – from backstage preparation and run-though, to each look’s first walk, to the designer bow – available for your viewing please.
So, tell me, what do you think?
In which I go to a fashion show. I know.
Stephan Wong and Kirk Pickersgill unleashed the Autumn/Winter 2011 collections for their two lines, Greta Constantine and Ezra Constantine, at Toronto’s Bayview Audi on Friday, March 25. My ass? Was in the crowd. And it was first surprised, then delighted, and then more than a little appreciative of the direction Wong and Pickersgill have decided to take the Greta Constantine woman for the upcoming season.
Building on the romance of their Spring/Summer 2011 collection, the boys have taken Greta Constantine on a tour of northern Europe in the winter. While known for their amazing draped jersey dresses – which emerged in the third act of the show – Wong and Pickersgill reached beyond the expected and added silhouettes that reflect fit and volume, and layers of previously unexpected fabrics like velvets and wools. Waists were cinched with peplum belts, skirts were voluminous and billowing, and wrapping and pinning a blanket around yourself never seemed so chic. Or had such unbelievable motion. And that was before the dreamy jersey dresses made their appearance.
Following the first set of woman-in-the-winter looks came the men of Ezra Constantine. Whereas Greta surprised, Ezra continued on in the direction set in previous collections. While a few of the layering elements explored in the GC pieces that had just made their way down the runway, the mens looks were easy didn’t put up a fight for attention. And then it was back to the ladies.
Perhaps in as an answer to the question I posed the duo on Twitter, “Why do a majority of designers default to dark & somber instead of deep & rich colours for their winter lines?”, Greta Constantine used a shades of greys and blacks as a foundation for making jewel-toned blues, purples and reds pop like crazy. LIKE CRAZY.
Jersey dresses in saturated blues, reds and purples made a stunning appearance. Topped with amazing coats, or cozy scarves, they were a winter evening delight. And delivered on the drapey-expectations that the Greta Constantine story is based on. The closer was just that – a stunning purple gown with a bodice cut down to there, topped with a fur-collared coat that made me, as anti-fur as I am, gasp with delight.
The final walk was done to the tune of Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock’s “It Takes Two”, which made me grin like a goon. And seeing Wong and Pickersgill delighted walk past the massive crowd? Seriously lovely to see.
More pics – including a few more of my favourite looks via Fashion Magazine, a shot of the amazeballs Aldo shoe collaboration from Peroni’s LGFW microsite, and pics I took myself – and a bullet point summary of the experience below, but I know you want to see the full collection, and I know you want to see it, like, NOW, so here you go. Just come back and read the rest later, okay?
So, what’s it like to go to a fashion show? Reminiscent of the industry parties of my past – though, this time, I wasn’t in the industry in question. I remember how insular pre- and post- rockshow events were, and that was very much par for the course here. Everyone knows everyone, except you, and, you know, that’s not at all unexpected. I felt perfectly comfortable floating on the edges of the crowd, and delighted in seeing all of the big names in Canadian and Toronto-based fashion circles (Lisa Tant from Flare, Suzanne Boyd from Zoomer, Leesa Butler from the F-List, Jeanne Beker, Glen Baxter, Anita from I Want I Got, the Beckermans, and more) hanging out in the throng.
- Bayview Audi is an excellent space for an event. The above ground showroom, with its wall of windows, and the basement area that was turned into a runway space, give off a modern drama that was perfect for the night. I get way Greta Constantine continue to show their collections there time and again.
- God, it’s nice to see men who know how to dress themselves. Suited-up or not, men who have an understanding of clothing that works on their bodies? Brilliant. Working at a tech company in a tech city pretty much guarantees seeing such a thing doesn’t happen often in my everyday life.
- IPhone camera photos really don’t serve you well in a dark, fast-moving situations. I took a mess of pictures, and have thrown those into a slideshow below. But this pic to the side? Really encapsulates the rush and excitement of the show for me. And damn, those colours!
- The shoes on the models? Kicked ass. The result of a collaboration between the designers and Aldo, I can only wish that they will see the light, and produce these suckers for sale to the general public. Brocade-y and spectacular. Check it:
- The show started and wound up with a blast of fake snow; if only there hadn’t been real snow on the ground outside.
- Post-show, I decided to head back home instead of sticking around. While I had backstage accreditation, and could go and meet the guys, I really felt that this night was way more about the industry celebrating their own, and not about me meeting designers whose work I adore. Next time they have a sample sale, though? I am so there.
- Best thing I heard all night, when leaving the building, swag bag sponsored by Stoli and Schwarzkopf in-hand, and seeing a member of the show team approach another audience member as they started to leave as well, “If they don’t come near you, you don’t have to give them anything!” Excellent.
- Oh, and what did I end up wearing? When getting dressed for the night, my initial thought was to go colourful and body-con,and I pulled pieces from Helmut Lang, DVF and Alice+Olivia from my closet. Then I paused. And decided Iwanted to wear not only Canadian, but as many Toronto-based designers as well. Out came a royal purple Ashley Rowe a-line dress from a few seasons back, a black Jessica Jensen portfolio clutch, a Brave Beltworks corset belt and Aldo boots. Bathroom mirror pic!
MY FAVOURITE PIECES FROM THE SHOW
The Pictures I Took
And this is how I felt all night: