Saturday, March 25, 2017

Vancouver Fashion Week started off with a fabulous Gala, that opened with a beautiful collection from LaSalle College Vancouver, now including The Art Institute of Vancouver. Welcomed with delectable treats from Culinary Program students. Fantastic to meet Staff, Parents and, of course, emerging designers, who no doubt, will be in the stores and on clothing labels, soon.

I wore a jacket by Karl Lagerfeld, Paris and a dress by Tadashi Shoji, Prada shoes and jewelry by My Sister's Closet. Make-up every night by Ana V at the top of the stairs at the venue, so stop by before you hit the photo wall.

Jamal Abdourahman - Founder and Producer of Vancouver Fashion Week
Jamal Abdourahman, founder of VFW, is always at the helm, supporting and highlighting local and international designers, both here and worldwide.

LaSalle featured magnificent designers who could easily show at NYC 
Fashion Week. Elegant, sophisticated, colorful and oh, so wearable.

Adam-Lin Bungay, Laura Torrella, Britt Wacher, Bahareh Memarian, Jamarec Eiammanassakul(Rily), Esther Ashu and Wilbur, those really set the tone for not only the Gala, but for the rest of the week. For more about these designers see Olio by Marilyn.

 People did dress up, and I loved the butterfly shoes, for which I would gladly have traded my black ones. Nothing like fashion head to toe!

Following LaSalle was a sample from other designers showing throughout the rest of VFW. See their profiles and interviews at  Loved them all but especially loved the ECO handmade dresses, hats and accessories by Green Embassy, by Zuahal Kuvan-Mills of Australia. Notice the black fish net skirt and touches of net on the blue dress that is made entirely of recycled materials found on the beaches. Fitting for this collection: Empty Oceans. I will be wearing a suit made of Alpaca, at the show, this Sunday at 8:00

And who could resist the vibrant, neon kimono wear from designer Sasaki Vege (Beji): WASSO VEGES. A kimono from this stunning collection is not restrictive or heavy. I went up to the showroom to see the obi and to imagine how many places I could wear the obi as a top, under the kimono, forever looking for an outfit to wear in multiple ways. The Japanese way is to fit and fold the material to the body. It seems that with Western design, I am stuck forever in the world of alterations.

Every night, so far, has been an adventure of Art, Design, Community and Fashion for great causes. 

To all of the Artists, Organizers, and Fashionistas, ever onward!! Thanks! And last but not least, an even bigger thanks to Dianna Drahanchuk for the photos.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Zuhal, Eco Activist, Designer, Educator, spends every waking minute highlighting the beauty and the fragility of our environment and in this collection, focuses on the oceans, empty soon without drastic intervention. Fashion can be such a powerful, world-wide statement. Oceans can only sustain us if we protect their resources.

Green Embassy is certified organic and is "100% created by hand in Australia". The black netting for bow ties, and net stockings, is actual left over fish nets, and is also used as accessories on hats and as decorative but functional pieces on the dresses. Her luxury materials are woven, felted, stitched, and knitted and are made of silk, alpaca, marino wool and organic cotton. The entire series, photographed beautifully, can be found here.  Zuhal is also the creator and organizer for Eco Fashion Week, Perth, Australia, coming in November 2017. Gotta Go!

On March 19th at Studio Cloud 30, we participated in a Green Embassy preview and I was honored to be able to wear a hat, with netting, and a jacket and skirt made of alpaca and a hand knitted top, made of recycled and upcycled material. What I loved was how soft and warm the outfit was, the soft brown shades (natural dyes) and, of course, the fit. Zuhal designs so that all of us can wear the message and be active about our clothing choices. I took some behind the scenes photos and was so impressed by the calm, friendly and professional atmosphere while we got ready: the organized presentation down the steps, for the photos and afterward, when we circulated for an audience that wanted to touch the fabrics and ask a million questions. Zuhal is an excellent mentor and teacher and was so patient, every step of the way. Thank you and look forward to Sunday, March 26 at 8:00, when Green Embassy takes to the runway at VWF.

Very happy to finally meet Robbin Whachell, Journalist, The Bahamas Weekly, who also modelled a coat and hat, as well as taking gorgeous photos and writing this powerful article about Green Embassy here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Toronto's first Toronto Women's Fashion Week event featured an upcycled high fashion collection designed by Evan Biddell and made entirely of 81 pounds of materials found at Value Village. The challenge, presented by Value Village and brought as part of Myriam Laroche's Eco Fashion Week, was titled "VV by EB" and featured fully transformed pieces, lightly altered clothes and found treasures.

The show opened with a video and some important statistics on clothing waste: "Annually, 26 billion pounds of textiles are discarded by North Americans, meaning an average of 81 pounds per person. I can't believe we all throw that much away. There really isn't a reason to buy new, there's so much here already," says Biddell.

VV by EB will also be presented in Vancouver, BC at the upcoming Eco Fashion Week closing night and will be exhibited at the Museum of Vancouver for two weeks onwards. Wonderful to see Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver!

Stay tuned for Colleen's post on Vancouver Eco Fashion Week March 31 to April 2nd!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Photos and writing by Dianna Drahanchuk

On my recent trip to Thailand, I visited a small textile museum on Pattaya’s main thoroughfare. Opened in 2016, the entry is free and the exhibits are lovely to see as are the wood carvings in the museum attached to it. Online news page “Pattaya Today” explained that the museums were opened to commemorate “His Majesty King Bhumibhol’s 70 year reign and to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 80th birthday. Naowarat, president of Pattaya Women’s Development Club, welcomed guests to showcase more than 1,000 displays of Thai silk, linen and clothes from around Thailand. The showcase promotes a national heritage [that] may revive the weaving industry.”

Once inside the exhibit, I came to realize that there are so many fabric can be attractively folded and tied. Astonishingly, each piece of clothing on the 30 or so mannequins and dress forms are held together by a single hidden, unattached cord. Cat, who graciously showed me around the exhibit, honed her curating skills assembling costumes as a traditional Thai dancer. She performs nightly at the elegant outdoor restaurant “Ruen Thai” next door to the museum.

Quite a few of the textiles on display are over 80 years old with those from the north having more elaborate designs, some embellished, and one piece Cat showed me was woven with sixteen different patterns. Over the years, patterns have become simpler perhaps reflecting current preferences.

Although most of the outfits are traditional Thai silk, Cat has experimented with one complicated cotton costume, a design idea she brought back from a trip to Bangkok. She has also employed her creativity with a plaid-like patterned fabric typically used in men’s sarongs that are usually worn around the house.

You can find more information about the museum on their Facebook page, but it is mostly in Thai. I hope you enjoy the photos of the exhibit!

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