Sunday, September 30, 2012

RAW: The Art of Fashion 2012 Design Competition

I, or rather, the Forest City Fashionista, was invited to a fashion event Toronto this weekend - Saturday night found me at the "VIP" reception for the Art of Fashion Design Competition at Hazelton Lanes in Yorkville.  The Art of Fashion is a Canadian organization with a mission statement to "champion high-quality Canadian fashion by fostering the careers of talented emerging designers and creating award-winning platforms for exposure".   So says their website, here.

This year's design competition had the artistic theme of "RAW", and 10 designers created 6 outfits with this theme as inspiration.  Two designers from London, Andrea Kuntz and Charlotte Ghesquiere had designs under their label "ORB" in the competition.  This was the first time that I attended this event, so I had no idea what to expect.  In addition to the work of the designers competing for the title of "Most Promising Designer" and "Best Exhibit", there were cocktails, appetizers, live entertainment, and a number of attendees wearing really cool outfits - definitely a step up from my usual Saturday night.  I took a lot of photos so I thought I'd split them into two posts, the first focusing on the designs and designers in the competition:

Ryan Joelson, left, shown with his designs, had the distinction of being the only male designer in the competition

Londoners Andrea Kuntz and Charlotte Ghesquire pose in front of their designs

Designer Anouk Moran, on the right, poses with  a model wearing a gorgeous dress that Moran designed.  Her collection was titled "The Resplendent Warrior".

Another of Moran's designs - the large folds of fabric around the hips would be great places to store your cellphone and some snacks!

There was a lot of Big Hair on the models.  This young woman said it took about 30 - 40 minutes and a lot of hairspray to get her hair like this.

Gravity-defying hair on a model for one of the designs from Mary Duldouras

I loved the pleating and leather details on this piece by Jennie Uhlman

Designer Robyn Germanese, far right, with models wearing pieces from her collection entitled "Morsus"

Designer Devlyn Van Loon, in her fabulous glasses

Tomorrow's installment will feature the eye-catching style of some of the other attendees of the event.  As usual, I did not get anyone to take a photo of me with my own camera, so I'm depending on the kindness of strangers to email me the photo they took of me at the event...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Japan Via Texas

I was on the city bus heading downtown a couple of weeks ago when I spied this young woman whom I recognized from the group of Lolita girls that I had photographed for a previous post. (She is the girl in black seated in front of her friends).  She was meeting her friends for an afternoon tea and walkabout, so I sat with her and chatted about her love of Lolita fashion and where she found her dresses.  The clothes are quite expensive, and she has purchased some online, but has found that fit is an issue, particularly when ordering from Japan. She had this particular dress custom made by a woman in Texas.  I love the details of the pattern on the skirt, and the polka dot fabric trim at the hem to match the waistband.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rave On!

I've been experimenting with different shoes trying to find which ones I can walk in with minimal pain, and oddly enough, my Swear platform boots that I purchased many years ago are one of the more comfortable pairs.  They were a much more common sight during the days of Raves in the late 1980's and early 90's, but not so much anymore, and many times I have thought it was time to let them go.  I refer to them as my Frankenstein boots, and thought that if I was going to wear them to work, I'd better minimize the monster vibe with a cute dress.   And they are fun to pose in because I can balance on my toes!

I can't believe that people (including me) used to dance in these!

Pardon me while I experience a flashback...

Calvin Klein dress - thrifted
Arm warmers & Swear Boots - From Mars

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thinking Outside The Box

On the university campus where I work, the male students usually wear jeans or sweatpants, topped with a t-shirt or hooded sweatshirt.  It's a uniform that is easy to throw on for an early morning class, but when I see a guy that steps outside of that comfortable box, it makes me kinda happy.  I love the shoes, which he got at a store in Toronto called Uncle Otis.  His knapsack, with the pattern of the word "Portugal" and roosters adds a bit of humour to his colourful, casual look.

A close look at those funky shoes

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weekend Warrior

When I've got errands to run that involve lots of walking and getting on and off buses, I make a point of wearing something that is comfortable but still lets me feel like I'm making an effort.   I prefer short skirts for running around  not that there's been much running lately with the bum foot).  It's also got pockets!  Add a loose sweater and a big flowy scarf, my fave Tokidoki shoulder bag and comfy high tops, and I am a Weekend Warrior, ready for anything!

Joe Fresh skirt - Value Village
sweater - From Mars
scarf - Mesh Consignment
Tokidoki Bag - Winners
Asics Onisuka Tigers - Ebay

 A warrior needs her bling!  

leaf bracelet - The Sentimentalist
link bracelet - Swap party
Silver band - Elizabeth Noel
leather cuff - Home County Folk Festival

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fun, Free Stuff, Wine, Snacks - What's Not To Like??

The occasion - a Sunday afternoon clothes swapping party.  The guests - 10 women, most whom I didn't know, and our charming hostess, Sylvie.  The location - one of the most beautiful houses I'd ever seen, designed by Sylvie and her husband.  It was the kind of house that was the complete opposite of my apartment - bright, full of natural wood, uncluttered, etc., and yet there was a part of me that knew if I lived here, I could adapt....

Just to the left of the front door - open staircase with glass wall, leading to the loft bedroom.

Sylvie and her husband have a home design business, Roth Design Inc. and the house is full of gorgeous custom-designed wood furniture, made by her husband. 

The reason we were all there was to hopefully get rid of some items we no longer wore, and perhaps find a gem or two amongst the discards of the other guests.  After everyone put out their stuff, we were randomly assigned a number, and the person who got #1 had first chance to go through everyone else's things and choose something they wanted.  Then #2, #3 and so on.  

It was my first time at a Clothes Swap, and I was very impressed with how well organized it was, and the quality of the things people brought.  Most people brought about 10 items, some a lot more.  It was also fortunate that most of us were within a size or two of each other, which meant that most of the women had lots to choose from, and this is vital for a successful clothing swap.  

There is always the fear, when going to a Clothes Swap, that no one will want your stuff.  Fortunately, most of my stuff was gone by the end of the afternoon.  The woman above was happy to have snagged two necklaces of mine, which she's wearing in the photo.

The basement was very cool, with lots of caramel-coloured wood, and this funky console made from a bank of metal lockers.

Sylvie, our hostess, on the left, wearing a leather bustier that used to be mine, and another guest in the fabulous striped dress she scored.

One of Sylvie's three Westies found a comfy spot in the living room to watch the carryings-on

Of course,  even though promised myself I would not take anything home, that promise soon fell by the wayside as I browsed the goods that were on offer.  I took home the three bracelets pictured above, and the sterling silver one has been worn pretty much every day since. 

In the end, I did rather well, scoring a blue-green chinese jacket (which brings my grand total up to about a half-dozen now..), the three bracelets, and three cool t-shirts.

Have you ever been to, or hosted, a swap party?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Exclamation Point

If you have been following my blog for a year or more, you'll know that Pauline is consistently one of the most stylishly dressed women in London.  I hadn't seen her for a while so I thought I would stop by for a visit on the off chance she was up for a photo, and sure enough, she was wearing something awesome.  She's got the height, and the body, to carry off a slinky one-shouldered jumpsuit, and make it look as effortless as if she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  

Monday, September 10, 2012


I'm a sucker for a little patterned cardigan and this animal print from Joe Fresh is my favourite.  I found this skirt at a thrift store last weekend and it's bright orange-y fullness looked nice with the blue (opposites on the colour wheel - I haven't forgotten everything I learned in school!), and I felt a little bit like an extra from a 50's musical, minus the saddle shoes.

My grey converse have become my shoes of choice these days, as to my dismay, I've developed a severe pain in the metatarsal of my right foot, which is making walking uncomfortable, and impossible to wear any hard-soled shoes or heels of any height.   Why does having "Foot Problems" suddenly make one feel so old?

How about you, my fellow bloggers and readers - have you found that as you age,  your feet are starting to betray you?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Welcome to Mermaid Lake

A sign, a mermaid and a couple of brightly coloured wicker chairs invited the guests at the opening of artist Maureen Riley's new show to visit Mermaid Lake.

The lake, which had occupied Riley's backyard, was the centrepiece of her show that opened last night at Strand Fine Art Services.  One of the other attendees commented that if this was the 1970's, the women would likely be splashing about in the pool, most likely topless.   I checked the water, and it was a bit chilly for that.  Riley's gorgeous paintings have incorporated mermaids, goddesses and other mythological creatures for many years, and this show was a mix of some new work and some older pieces, not all of them specifically mermaid-focused. 

The artist, posing beside her piece titled "Birds in the Delicious Cherry Tree"

One of the pieces in the show, titled "Wake Up To Your Mermaid Nature".  I've always loved Riley's use of bold, jewel-like colours.  Her work is also incredibly joyful, celebrating women, creativity, friendship, sexuality and love.

Riley is a long-time and well-respected member of London's art community, and her art, and her delightful personality have earned her a large following, so there is always a crowd of interesting people at her shows.  I was completely enamoured with this woman's skirt, which she bought at a secondhand store, and her owl printed cardigan, from one of my fave stores, From Mars.  He was no slouch in the style department with his dreads, chunky necklace, and dragon print shirt.

City Councillor Judy Bryant, an avid supporter of the arts in London, wearing some very funky shoes.  I'm kicking myself for not asking her where she got them.

Frida Kahlo is another one of Riley's inspirations and the two Frida pieces in the show, including the mixed media collage/triptych above, were, as I said to Riley, "Freaking Awesome!"

This piece, titled "A Little House for Frida Kahlo" was my absolute favourite.  There is so much going on that you can stare at it for hours and feel like you haven't taken it all in.  If you pull the string that hangs from the bottom of the box, Frida's arm moves as if she is painting.  I would kill to be able to wear the necklace of skulls and charms!

This shelf, with liquor bottle, glass (with the image of Kahlo etched on it), and portrait of Diego Rivera below, was also part of the piece

This piece was a close second for me in my list of "what I would buy" from the show.  This fabulous Bar Girl was an older piece, and had hung in the entranceway of Riley's former apartment, but had undergone some changes since I last saw her.  The floral embellishments on her wrists, neck, knees and ankles are candy cake decorations and her wings are patterned with olives.  I couldn't get a photo that included both pieces that showed the details on the little portable bar on the floor so I've included one of just the bar, which is in itself a work of art, below.

If I win the lottery in this month, this is coming home with me. 

Mermaid Lake runs until September 29th at Strand Fine Art Services, 1161 Florence Street, Unit 4.  Gallery hours are Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 5 pm, Saturdays 10 am - 1 pm, or by appointment

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Less is More

I had seen this man on the bus a couple of times and wanted to take his photo, and today we finally ended up getting off at the same bus stop.   I was drawn to his clean, minimalist style, and the pairing of blue and black, but most of all, I loved his fabulous topknot.  Not many men can carry off a hairstyle that has its history in Japanese samurai and sumo wrestlers, but he does it with panache.

When I edited this photo I noticed that the woman sitting in the window of the Starbucks behind my subject had struck a pose when she saw me taking his photo.  Nice to have an appreciative audience!

Monday, September 3, 2012

On a Bali High

I have no idea where August went and when people ask "so, what did you do this summer", I really have no idea.   Most people look forward to summer so they can to go to the cottage, camping, or to the beach, and I did none of those things.  I worked, mostly.  But there was also fun stuff - I sat on my porch and read books and had cocktails, I went roller skating outside, I went thrift shopping, had dinner with friends, sat in the park and listened to great bands for free at Sunfest and Home County, etc.   I made a point of enjoying the last few months as much as I could, despite the pretty much constant 30+ (celcius) temperatures.  I am not ashamed to admit that without central air, I would have been miserable.   

So, as Mother Nature decided to give us hot and sunny weather for our final hurrah of summer, I thought it appropriate to dig out these drop-crotch pants (I'm sure there must be a better name for them) that I bought at Sunfest last year.  There was elastic at the ankles but it was so tight it cut into my legs, so I snipped it, which kind of spoils the harem-pant shape, but I will not sacrifice my circulation, even for style.  Paired with a thrifted t-shirt and belt, and my Melissa heart sandals, I was ready to do my best "I Dream of Jeannie" imitation.

Showing off my best Balinese Dancer moves.  I'm sure my neighbours were enjoying this photo shoot as much as I was.

I hope you all enjoyed your Labour Day weekend, whether you were relaxing at the cottage, trying to get the offspring ready for another year at school, or just spending some quality time on your porch.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ramblin' in Red

I came across this group of women during my visit to the Western Fair Farmers' Market this morning.  I knew they must have been part of the "Red Hat" Society, and in fact, they are members of the "Red Hat Ramblers"from Aylmer, Ontario.  They were obviously having a good time in their eye-catching colours.