Friday, April 24, 2009

it wasn't P.H.A.T.

new york, milan, london, paris. these are the cities that universally site as the four global centers of fashion. so where does toronto, canada's most prominent city and in a country that is one of the seven power players politically and commercially fit in?
for a country that gave the world such great talents as jeremy laing, rad hourani or up and comer knit wear wunderkind mark fast, the local canadian fashion scene is to be brutally honest, bland and uninspired. struggling to find the perfect balance between commercial viability and directional ideas. regardless of how many top models such as amanda laine or coco rocha strut their stuff during toronto fashion week, the lack of individual and forward thinking direction is the broken foot that keeps the canadian fashion industry perpetually lame.
at an entry level cost of $5,000 canadian dollars to show during toronto fashion week, although quite considerable in other parts of the world, is quite steep for independent designer's struggling to attract attention in an environment that doesn't foster forward thinking ideas.
call it canadian insecurities, but for those who are able to fork out the considerable amount absent of any financial backings, what ends up on the runway is usually a regurgitation of ideas presented the season before. it always feels as if local homegrown talents feel too much pressure to be on par with world wide trends that their individualism is compensated to be consistent with what is going on everywhere else. thus resulting in collections that are either trying too hard to or seem like they're not trying to bring anything new to the table at all.
obviously someone had the same sentiment so toronto alternative fashion week, better known as FAT was launched as a vehicle to promote artists that hung outside the peripheral of what the majority considered as the "norm".
while it garnered massive support from the public, it has yet to translate all that promise into something tangible. a sky-rocketing admission price and haphazard organization that is most evident with a panic stricken backstage where upwards of up to six designers sharing the same model in a two hour span with no time to switch hair and make-up and an anorexic sponsorship list is undoubtedly bound to result in collections that suffers from second grade production.
given that the event is more focused on the "alternative" cripples designers with a more sophisticated taste level that can elucidate ideas into its simplest incarnations. their work, compared to the circus like presentations and theatrical bravado of some of the designers that FAT champions unfortunately ends up getting sidelined. while the event has noble purposes, it never really nurtures or promotes those who has the ability to prove this country's commercial punch coming from young designers with a valid individual point of view.
this event is where bath rugs turned into a ball gown and costumes poorly executed from a technical point of view are given the loudest applause, its no wonder why toronto is stuck in a fashion limbo it can't escape from.
theatricality is fine. but unless you have the highly sophisticated eye and the talents of galliano's atelier to manifest that vision, then FAT is just a circus of fashion freaks. a post-raver/cyber goth week long fashion event where people give standing ovations to collections with a lot of flash and no substance.
it is common knowledge that fashion is born out of the street, but in this case it's stuck in the gutter. ideas, the one's which is entirely a designer's own is eventually what is going to attract attention to the creativity of this city. not the imitation of what the rest of the world has already done or a failed attempt to be labeled "avant garde". hopefully FAT and toronto fashion week will finally realize that it's success lies in those who create fashion for its provocation with collections that has an underlying conceptual story beautifully realized with an integrity and not for its gratuitous photo op's.

i'm actually embarrassed to post this link here because i swear to all of you that toronto is so much more than this. but if you need a good laugh or at least like the feeling of having the food you just ate travel back up your esophagus then this is for you. while most of what you are about to see is quite horrible, there are some good talents there. but unfortunately you only get to see one or two things from their collection.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

model rennaisance - us vogue may 2009

to coincide with new york's metropolitan museum of art exhibition entitled "model as muse: embodying fashion", american vogue featured nine of today's most in-demand models to grace its may cover. unlike its european sister publications, american vogue has for the past few years opted to use celebrities instead as the vehicle to push newstand sales and has only occasionally fronted the issue using models. which is quite puzzling since it was american vogue who in many ways fed the supermodel phenomenon during the early nineties. who could ever forget vogue's one hundred year anniversary issue exactly seventeen years ago with a landmark cover that featured the ten supermodels that defined that era (linda evangelista, christy turlington, naomi campbell, yasmeen ghauri, karen mulder, tatjana patitz, elaine erwin, cindy crawford, nikki taylor, and claudia schiffer). and it wasn't just the perfect amazonians who was given the honor being the face of the magazine. atypical nineties models such as stella tenant and kristen mcmenamy proved their commerical flexibility with the support of vogues editorial forces. but as the nineties turned into the two thousands and the influence of celebrity culture were becoming more and more pronounced, fed by the public's curiosity and obsession, many american publications, including vogue, saw themselves fighting over newstand sales and using hollywood's hottest stars as their ammunition.
as a result of featuring personalities not closely affiliated with the fashion world the readership of vogue expanded to include readers not interested in fashion, but with the celebrity wearing the clothes on the cover. this shift in readership had a huge impact on the publication. where once it was a beacon for directional fashion, to adapt to its new customers the material inside the magazine became more commercial to the point of banality. editorial spreads had a more noticeably toned down imagination usually featuring looks straight off the runway, absent of any individual stylistic touches.
across the pond however, vogue's european sisters, most notably vogue italia, vogue paris, and the newly launched vogue russia started to build a reputation as three of the most influential monthly fashion publications. with its more forward direction and avant-garde sensibilities, franca sozzani of vogue italia, carine roitfeld of vogue paris, and aliona doletskaya of vogue russia became the three most influential women in fashion. able to launch a model's career to the stratosphere just with a cover. as was the case with daria werbowy, jessica stam, and coco rocha's steven meisel lensed vogue italia covers and most recently, a whole issue devoted to lara stone for vogue paris.
the tide however might be beginning to change. the general interest concerning celebrities is finally appearing to subside. perhaps these troubled economic times has the public worrying too much with their own problems that they don't have time to take on someone else's affairs. what they could use right now though is a little bit of fantasy. as marvelous actors are at emoting their feelings on the moving screen, no one can make pictures as transcendent like only models can.

photo: steven meisel for vogue

photoshop limbo

so i've made a terrible mistake by accidentally deleting my photoshop which is why i haven't been posting for a while because i can't do anything with my images (well also because my internet provider suspended our connection for a week because one of the puter's in the house had a virus). so until i finally download a photoshop that will actually set-up then i can't really do much here. anyways its just over mid-night i'm still suffering from the longest hangover of my life so i'm gonna hit the sack and have a marathon session of watching "skins". oh and happy resurrection day.