Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vintage Heaven

Two weeks ago I was in Toronto for the Gadsden's Toronto Vintage Clothing Show.  The show was held in a lovely building called Wychwood Barns, located on Christie Street, which was built in 1913 by the Toronto Transit Commission to service it's streetcars.  In the last few years, major renovations transformed the barns to a community resource that houses art galleries, artist studios, and a farmers market.  The vintage show was held in the main room that is flooded with natural light through the full length skylight (and if I had thought of it, I would have taken a photo so you could see it).
There were 30 vendors offering up a huge variety of clothing, textiles and accessories from the turn of the century to the 1970's and 80's.  There was a wide range of prices available too, which was both a good and bad thing, because at least if something fabulous is extremely expensive, I will moon over it a while, maybe take a photo, and move on, but when the price is what I consider "affordable", well, then, that's when the trouble starts.  Today's post is all about the people, Part two will be the stuff!
As soon as my friend and I stepped in the doors, we were greeted by this friendly, uber-cool guy who was selling tickets.  He had just purchase a bag of neckties and showed us one he had picked out for a friend.  He's got a nice mix of rockabilly/1930's newsboy vibe, and he plays in a Toronto band called the Grease Monkeys (hands up if you remember when and what this term refers to).
I barely made it past the first table, where I purchased a piece of vintage barkcloth, printed with leaves and pineapples which will make lovely curtains for my bedroom, when I saw this young woman in her sunny yellow coat and red headscarf.  Yes, my light metering sucked....
I was completely smitten with this young woman in her red coat and her armful of vintage bangles
Now THAT'S an arm party!
The man in the photo above, giving me his best gangster face, is Yank Azman (awesome name, no?) whose business card says "antiques, books, curios".  He and his wife had a booth at the show, and said he recognized me from my blog, which was a nice surprise as that was the first time that's happened outside of London. 
These women alleviated the sombreness of their all-black ensembles with unique footwear and accessories.  Each of the women made the necklaces they are wearing
A "modern cowgirl" with bandana print shirt, western-style jacket and cowboy motif bag. She was wearing her hair in two pony tails, which you hardly ever see anymore, but I thought suited her style perfectly.
As we were leaving, we had a lovely chat with these two women who had also been at the show, where the woman on the left purchased the shoes she is wearing. I was admiring the tuxedo shirt on the woman on the right and she told me she bought six of them from a men's store that was going out of business and she wears them all the time.  I love the crispness of the turned up cuffs against the sleeves of her coat. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Look Ma! I'm Dancin!

April 29th is International Dance Day, and it's definitely worth celebrating this joyful art form.  Kick up your heels, put your right foot in and take your right foot out, shimmy, pirouette, salsa, time-step, hustle, jive, waltz, rhumba, whatever your pleasure, but get out there and MOVE your butt, 'cause if these guys can do it, so can you!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thoughts on Three Years of Blogging

In addition to everything else I forgot this month,  my blog's third birthday slipped by unnoticed.  Not that I planned to throw it a party or anything, but I usually take the time when another year of FCF has passed, to reflect on the direction it's headed, and whether what I'm putting into it is balanced out by what I get out of it.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with how my three year old is doing, and I think I've managed to stick to the original plan of creating a positive forum for celebrating people in London whose personal style stands out.  Over time, I've added art and cultural event coverage, and more recently, my own adventures in dressing for the daily theatre of my life.  Since I haven't had any cranky emails or comments, I assume that my readers are ok with this (or have no feelings one way or the other).

One of the most meaningful, and delightfully unexpected, benefits of my blog has been the connections I have made with other bloggers from all over the globe.  My followers are mostly women, and I have stumbled onto a community of kindred spirits, that were it not for the Internet, would have remained unknown to me.  I am grateful for their support, comments, and the inspiration constantly provided by their over-the-top, outside-the-box, and overwhelmingly creative style and personalities. You know who you are, and if my other readers want to meet you, they can peruse my list of "blogs that inspire me".
My blog has had a significant impact on what I wear.  I have always enjoyed "dressing up", and my style choices have been considered "unique" since I was in my 20's, but blogging, and following others' blogs, have encouraged me to experiment with shapes and colours I had never considered before.  I also buy more of my clothing secondhand, which has had a significant impact on my wardrobe.  My basics now share space with one-of-a-kind pieces like the Chinese jacket that I am wearing in the photo above, and these pieces are not saved for special occasions, but incorporated into my daily wardrobe.  And, as many of the bloggers I follow, who are in their 40's, 50's and older, have realized, with age comes the confidence to dress for yourself, and to care less about whether anyone else approves of what you're wearing.  If this blog provides any kind of inspiration, I would hope that it would be to wear what makes you happy, and don't worry what other people think about it.  Life is too short to not take the opportunity to find joy wherever you can, even if it's in a pair of striped socks.

I'm wearing: jacket from The Sentimentalist, jeans from H&M, shoes from the Toronto
Vintage show

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fanshawe Design Students' Unbound Fashion Show - Part 2

Part two of my post on the "Unbound" Fashion Show features designs from the second half of the show, in which many of the collections consisted of eveningwear.  A number of dresses were beautifully cut, with unique and visually arresting detailing, but I confess to being less than enamoured with the designs crafted from white, shiny silk/satin.  It's a fabric that is difficult to wear as it often makes women look larger, which is not the effect we are looking for when we get dressed for a special occasion.
In this piece from Teresa Veerkamp's collection, "Aura", she relieved the starkness of a white evening dress with splashes of bright colour and sheer fabric embellishments
There were some spectacular pieces of jewellery on the runway, including this turquoise and gold necklace worn with a design by Natasha Wellman
Another of Wellman's designs, featuring a sheer overlay
Melanie VandenBerg used bold colours and mutated fabric in her collection "Transmuted Allure"
I love the cut of this stunning but simple black dress from VandenBerg's collection
 Intricate corded detailing added visual interest to this striking dress that was part of Kelsey Marsh's collection, titled "Iota"
Denise Mayers' eveningwear collection featured streamlined shapes and muted colours with intricate fabric embellishments
Veronika Savina used stark black and white in her collection "Reflective Beauty".  The dresses had fitted silhouettes and high necklines
This dress, part of Brittney Wood's collection, "Incandescent Existence",  had a beautifully sleek line and looked fabulous on the model
One of my favourite looks of the evening wasn't on the runway, but worn by a young lady in the audience--an eye-popping combo of hot pink and purple!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fanshawe Design Students' Talent "Unbound" at Museum London

On April 14th, the graduating students of the Fanshawe College Fashion Design program presented their collections at a Fashion Show titled, "Unbound", at Museum London.  The show offers an opportunity to present their designs to an audience of their friends and family, fellow students, and fashion industry experts, including the judges for the evening show that included Canadian designers David Dixon, Franco Mirabelli and Arthur Mendonca, Natalie Deane from ET Canada, and Erin O'Brien, the Market Editor for Flare Magazine.  This is the second "Unbound" show that I've attended, and I was again impressed with the professional presentation, and the creativity and design skills displayed on the runway.  Some common themes?  The colour orange, which is huge this year for Spring and Summer, also cream, brown, and blue;  peplums, which is not a style I am in love with, but was all over the major runway shows in Paris and New York; very fitted and detailed jackets and lots of leather, either as a primary garment fabric or as an embellishment.  The evening show featured the collections of 17 graduates, so I've split the photos into two separate posts. 
Saraa Slater's line, titled "Neoteric Opulence" featured luxe fabrics such as silk brocade, cashmere suiting and lambskin leather in beige, gray and metallic.
Nicole Flanagan's collection of outerwear, titled "Micro-Edge" incorporated bold-coloured piping and belts
The pieces in Emily Hynes collection, "Subtle Sophistication" were very feminine with classic shapes
This orange leather jacket in Caitlin Mitrovic's collection, "A Canadian Road Trip", was one of my favourite pieces in the show
 Another outfit from "A Canadian Roadtrip" - I like the idea of a leather vest over a casual blouse and shorts.  The colour of the shorts is great, and I like the unusual pockets, although they would definitely not flatter a woman with large hips and thighs.
This striking dress was part of the African culture-inspired collection of Jessica Stephens, "Revitalized Culture"
This brilliantly-coloured coat dress was part of the collection, "Soul Coalesce" by Andrea Kuntz, whose designs won two awards at the end of the evening
Another outfit from Andrea Kuntz's stellar collection
Sarah Baxter's collection, "Explore Culture", featured patterned, full-skirted summer maxi dresses with solid colour fabric overlays
Marisa Wrong's collection, "Radical Edge" featured colour-blocking and angular lines in supple leather
Colour-blocking and exposed zipper teeth were used to strong effect in Nicole Snobelen's collection, "Infectious Machine"
Neutral colours and leather embellishment were key elements of Kristin Burgess' collection, "Viral Aesthetics"
A leather jacket featuring a peplum and sleeve detailing in contrasting colour

Part two, featuring the collections of Teresa Veerkamp, Natasha Wellman, Melanie Vandenberg, Kelsey Marsh, Denise Mayer, Veronika Savina and Brittney Wood will be posted early this week.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Maple Leaf Forever

I wanted to throw in a street style shot between fashion show posts, mainly because I still have to edit the photos from the Fanshawe show last weekend.   I ran into my friend Virginia on a very sunny day, and she was wearing one of the vintage gems from her wardrobe - a Maple Leaf Tartan (a Canadian plaid!) jacket and skirt, which inspired some patriotic posing.  She put a modern, funky spin on the suit by pairing it with argyle socks and lace-up shoes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From Mars Spring/Summer Fashion Show - Part 2

Some spring/summer looks from the fashion show...
This woman rocked every outfit she wore--and looked great in the hats too!
This was one of my favourite dresses in  the show - love the colour and the shape
Joel looks fab, and knows how to have a good time while working the runway 
 There were some pretty summer dresses in shades of coral and pink in very flow-y materials that looked like they would be the perfect thing to wear when the temperature climbs into the 30's
Another feminine and flattering dress with shoulder detail
Quite a few of the dresses had unexpected and unusual back details
This very simple dress had a back tie that gave it a flattering shape and visual interest
The outfits were accessorized with fluttery scarves and bold bags and shoes
There was a real bohemian, early 70's, vibe in the shapes and fabrics of a lot of the clothing
and, we all knew at some point that Joel would let down his hair...

All the clothing and accessories featured in the show are available at From Mars, located at 347 Talbot Street, near the Covent Garden Market.

Monday, April 16, 2012

From Mars Spring/Summer Fashion Show - Part 1

From Mars was all decked out in pink for their Spring/Summer Fashion show this past Friday night.   They had a good turnout of spectators/shoppers, and the store is small, so by the time you figure in the makeshift runway in the middle of the store, it was pretty crowded.  There were a number of very stylish regular customers who look like they could easily be on the runway:
I see this woman at all the events that the store hosts, and she always looks great, from head to toe
 A fabulous flowered skirt
A good friend of the store owners made these delightful cookies for the show
I like the way this young woman sectioned her blonde hair and then added the black bow
The rest of her outfit was just as striking -  excellent print mixing with the dress and cardigan!

Tomorrow's post will feature some of the outfits from the show.