SPiN Toronto Pre-Launch Party With Soo Yeon Lee

SPiN Toronto Pre-LaunchEver since I was old enough to get my hands on my first fake ID, nightclubs, lounges, and supper clubs have been the traditional weekend party destinations of choice.  Unfortunately, the advent of grubby promoters’ fake-it-to-make-it lifestyle crap in the early 2000s replaced the good times and good vibes with bottle service booth confessionals in churches of pretension.  We’ve gone from dancing the night away to killer DJ sets to text messaging the night away to a barrage of hair-flicking like whatevers and oh my Gods.  Suffice it to say, with many of the city’s ‘hotspots’ growing increasingly expensive, cliquish, and 905-ish – it’s become difficult to go out and have a good time.

The solution?  Private parties and events that rely on shrewd promotion and carefully composed VIP lists from established PR professionals instead of sleazy tattooed club promoters.  Another great option, the cool burgeoning sports-themed party venues like Toronto’s bowling bar and grill The Ballroom and soon to be opened ping pong social club, SPiN.

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Gala Evening for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Alexander McQueen MET

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. All Photos c/o The MET

Last night, the Metropolitan Museum of Art held its annual black-tie Costume Institute Benefit. This year, the Institute is celebrating the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, on display to the public from May 4-July 31, 2011. The exhibition explores the late Alexander McQueen’s extraordinary contributions to fashion. “From his postgraduate collection of 1992 to his final runway presentation, which took place after his death in February 2010, Mr. McQueen challenged and expanded the understanding of fashion beyond utility to a conceptual expression of culture, politics, and identity. His iconic designs constitute the work of an artist whose medium of expression was fashion.” (MET)

Curated by Andrew Bolton, the exhibit includes 100 ensembles and 70 accessories including the Origami frock coat, as well as late 19th century pieces he fashioned into romantic contemporary designs. A true fashion original from a humble East End upbringing, (Lee) Alexander McQueen is one of my favourite designers of all time. The word genius, carelessly thrown around so much these days, is the most adequate word to describe this shy Central Saint Martins grad who has given the fashion industry so much in just under two decades. Although the MET was nice enough to provide me with a pass to the Media Preview held just before the gala, unfortunately I could not make it.

MCQUEEN GALA

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The Original Street Style Photographer: Bill Cunningham

Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham New York - Zeitgeist Films

Seems like every fashion event I go to, just about every other person I meet with camera in hand, is a self-professed style photographer/blogger.  I mean, what are the prerequisites anyway?  Go to your local B&H or Henry’s, pick up a digital SLR complete with speedlight and diffuser, throw it on mommy or daddy’s credit card and voilà – you walk in a regular schmo and walk out a street style photographer.

Long before The Sartorialist, Tommy Ton and the myriad of other professional and not-so-professional street style photographers – there was Bill.  Octogenarian Bill Cunningham has been documenting street fashion on a manual 35mm film camera for Women’s Wear Daily, Soho News, Details, and the New York Times for over half a century.  One of the first true street style photographers, Bill started his career in advertising, then quit his day job and under the name William J. began designing women’s hats.  He was drafted to the US Army and after his tour of duty ended, he returned to his business.  Eventually Bill went on to work as a fashion journalist for the Chicago Tribune.  One day, a friend gave him a camera and told him to use it like a pen to document fashion.  He’s gone on to live a life committed to his religion ever since.  Two actually.  He dedicates his Sunday mornings to the Catholic church and the rest of the week to the holy trinity of fashion photography:  street fashion, runway fashion, and (evening) event fashion.

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Perry Ellis Fall/Winter 2011 Men’s Collection

“It’s better to burn out, than to fade away,” are the lyrics from Canadian rock icon Neil Young’s somber Hey Hey, My My. The same lyrics quoted in a suicide note from legendary Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain.  It’s a bit of an odd selection, albeit a cool remix, for John Crocco’s Perry Ellis fashion show and one can only speculate as to its relevance.  For FW11 Crocco set a very earthy, serene, outdoor wilderness theme to showcase his latest collection at NYFW.

“This looks like Perry Ellis that I would actually wear,” complimented one NY-based stylist and fashion photographer.  I would have to agree, this is an impressive no-nonsense collection anchored in American menswear essentials that work.  Elegant activewear, as Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz calls it, is shaping up to be a big theme for FW11.  Crocco definitely played it safe with conservative cuts, neutral colours, and carryover trends that could have easily placed this collection into the FW10 roster.  The styling couldn’t have been more spot on.  From the beanies to the fingerless gloves, the trousers tucked into socks – it all just worked.

Starting right after the show, Crocco’s 10 favourite looks were available on sale exclusively on the Perry Ellis Facebook page.  The lucky buyers were able to purchase the limited-edition styles six months before they will be released in stores.  Highlights of the collection were the belted trenches, the oversized belted knit cardigans, the turtlenecks, the silver quilted jacket, the chestnut alpaca trench, and those cozy thermals.  There is something in this collection that will work with every single guy out there.  It doesn’t look like Perry Ellis will either burn out or fade away any time soon – at least not on John Crocco’s watch.

Perry Ellis FW11

Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week – Day 7

NYFW Day 7

NYFW - Day 7 :: Click Here for Photos

February 15, NYFW Day 7 – My final day here at New York Fashion Week was a busy one.  It’s All Style To Me invitations included Brazilian designer Herchcovitch;Alexandre and Adrienne Vittadini.  I also covered the Dax Gabler Presentation at the Chelsea Arts Tower and Milan-based outerwear designer Allegri’s 40th Anniversary Retrospective and FW11 Presentation on behalf of French Magazine Luxsure.

My first and only ‘fashion show’ of the day was Herchcovitch;Alexandre’s departure from his traditional work by way of his FW11 collection.  For FW11, the designer found influence in volcanic rocks, magma, and rock sediment.  The designer juxtaposed neon yellow-green lace on black and grey wool, an attempt to evoke the sensation of magma moving through stone.  Key in this monochromatic collection was the element of contrast between colours, shapes, and fabrics.  Necklaces and bracelets made of black pearls with magnetic clasps and clutches resembling cut stone made of resin acted as accents in Herchcovitch;Alexandre’s geological foray.  The effect is interesting, but the looks come off somewhat cold, masculine, and a couple of tattoos and black eye make-up short of gothic.  Where’s the red?  It would have been nice if the designer surprised us by taking the theme a step further introducing vivid reds and yellows (even as accents) in some of his pieces.

HERCHCOVITCH FW11

HERCHCOVITCH;ALEXANDRE FW11 Collection - New York Fashion Week

Adrienne Vittadini’s FW11 collection was inspired by Modern Muses.  Their muses, not so modern, included famous models of the past the likes of a rather fetching 50-year-old Carol Alt and one super sexy and fit looking Niki Taylor.  These are women who express their spirit through fashion, exuding ageless style and radiating confidence thereby personifying the Adrienne Vittadini woman.  Carol, Irina, Niki, Pat, Roshumba, Frederique, and Carmen walked the runway with big smiles on their faces as fans clapped cheering their return.  The label has built quite a fan base in its 30+ years of business.  The outfits looked elegant without being too formal.  They look comfortable, simple, wearable, and versatile.  The models stole the show and were swarmed backstage afterwards.  I had the chance to sneak in before the New York Post to ask Carol and Niki for some style tips for men.  Click here for their responses.

Adrienne FW11

Adrienne Vittadini FW11 Collection - New York Fashion Week

Lara StoneA quick trek out to see the Dax Gabler Presentation in Chelsea (click here for photos), then a sprint back on the ‘A train’ to 59th.  As I walked out of the subway and towards the Lincoln Center, I saw the most beautiful towering blond standing outside of a hotel.  I walked by here holding eye contact with that, “I know her from somewhere,” look as she looked back at me and smiled.  I continued walking before I stopped and did a double take.  She had caught on, smiled and looked away.  With the Lincoln Center across the street and my standing, waiting for the light to change, I decided to walk back and ask her how NYFW is going.  “Are you working a lot of shows this year?” I asked.  She smiled again and replied politely, “I have one, Calvin Klein.”  It turns out this goddess is fashion’s it girl and Calvin Klein model, Lara Stone.  She was gracious enough to let me take a photo or two and then I was off to catch the Allegri presentation.

Allegri celebrated their 40 years in the fashion industry by holding an Italian style outdoor party and presentation complete with hot models, media, wine, olive bread and risotto.  No disrespect to the other shows, but Allegri managed to wrangle some of the best looking models that I had seen at New York Fashion Week this season.  Proudly sharing their Vinci roots with the famed artist Leonardo, Allegri have emerged as pioneers in outerwear referring to themselves as architects of fabric.  Allegri’s Black Label collection is making its debut in the US with pieces that are finely tailored, have decadent detailing, silky luxe linings, and a sophisticated silhouette for a refined fit.  Allegri engineers fabrics to work with the elements.  Some the highlights in menswear were the quilted Teflon Flannel jackets and bold coloured ski jackets.  Great show, great retrospective display, great party…and great models!

Allegri FW11

Allegri 40th Anniversary Collection - New York Fashion Week

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