Monday, October 9, 2017

Writing by Colleen Tsoukalas
Photos by Dianna Drahanchuk

Helen du Toit, Breaking Barriers Film Fund, CBC interviewed Ane at VIFF Oct. 4th, and the conversation was truly an example of strong, creative women, listeners and story tellers, bringing a whole audience around the stage and to watch the process of illustration to costume.

Ane talked about the influences on her life, her family background, American father, Japanese (Okinawa) mother and brother, whose clothes she wore as handmedowns. That her mother could sew exactly what Ane wanted, quickly and economically, gave her a foundation, enhanced by her Education in Art/Art History. She did attend the Fashion Institute of Technology but it was actually working at her craft that made her the go to for getting the drawings/patterns/flats into production.

Painting was a way to explore and express her love of color and music videos were a natural way for her to move from fashion to stage and movies. New York, Quentin Tarantino films, and Bill Cunningham are of major importance to her. Daniel Wilson, who directed the original film first, 1990 and Margaret Atwood, are "young and free" to her and are significant influences on her decision to dress the real women, she sees, meets and is inspired by in the world, far beyond the world of fashion.

Her love of color is in the robes and cloaks of the Handmaids, the red of blood, but a textured, layered, rich, deep shade, the color of maple leaves, too. Close to nature, terrible to be denied, imprisoned, controlled. The brown tones of their boots, all metal hidden, laces nonexistent, no comfort or pleasure in dressing up, choosing what to wear. Although she looks at other work, for style and time period contexts, she wants her work to be totally unique, to contain secrets, and to draw the spectator's eye further into the character and the story. She used men's fabrics to make Virginia Johnson's (Masters of Sex) suits, but added a gold hem on the jacket, and other features to highlight her femininity but also her individuality and voice. First fittings may take up to two and a half hours, as she must get it right.

She wore the perfect black dress, the black reflecting light and enfolding her. Great shoes, too, for moving through and with a reverent crowd. And, yes, we were invited to join her on the photo wall. I loved that she introduced Haida elder Sphenia Jones, Artist and Actor. Creatives, all.

The fabric remnants from The Handmaid's Tale, will go to people in need: children who need toys, street people who need quilts and, course, other projects. Ane hopes to make a documentary about this. We, volunteers My Sister's Closet, hope to learn more about this kind of recycling, upcycling, repurposing, sharing it and wearing. it.

So much more about Ane Crabtree, here: ---- Bravo Ane, Helen and VIFF!

Thanks to Dianna Drahanchuk for the photos!

Even on his birthday, Ivan Sayers celebrates Fashion with Smoc! This time, he presented originals and copies from his own collection, and showed us some of the ways of finding out what is authentic and what is not. Copying has gone on throughout history. Sometimes it can be a tribute and sometimes it is downright piracy. These gorgeous sketches by Kathryn Potter Hammerton, Fashion Design Student from VCC, show the style and glamour that attracts us, but are these dresses one of a kind, signed originals, are they faithful copies, hand sewn, or mass produced? How much are they worth?

Ivan showed over 24 outfits, telling us where he acquired them and which were originals and which were copies. A few of the highlights are captured below. Ivan also brought his original catalogues and other sources he uses to identify and authenticate labels, dates, fabrics, buttons, colors, construction techniques and more.

Sketches by Kathryn Potter Hammerton

An Art Deco dress, a Worth copy, worn by Julie Christie in the film: 
McCabe and Mrs. Miller and another version, in grey, also a copy, 
no hand finished edges.

1957 red hat, gloves, dress an adaptation of a Dior Original. 
Each House kept a photo image of each design so it can be 
checked for authenticity.

Take off on a Mondrian Dress (1964) Yves St. 
Laurent, original dress was made of silk crepe

1980's cowboy boots, Cowichan sweater, a copy, and an example of 
cultural misappropriation, skirt is actually pants, shirt has a yoke 
reminiscent of German yoke style, evidence of many 
cultures making up a 'Canadian Look'.

People dress up for SMOC events. Here is a photo, by Lynn Katey, of Randi Winter, wearing a raw silk and bark cloth jacket, by designer, Josephine Hendo. Statement jewellery by well known, local designer, who has presented at SMOC, Carolyn Bruce-Steampunk Jewellery. For this event, I wore a plastic brooch, a  nod to Neo-Classical Architecture and my pop of color, Shibuya jacket,  a very fanciful, mass produced rendition that is already pilling. But, I love the message on the back: Never Give Up. Somewhere, every teen-ager is wearing this jacket; today, at SMOC, it is unique.

The birthday cake, thanks to Mary Wallace Poole for the photo before the cake was cut up and devoured, is a carrot cake, by VCC. Scrumptious snacks and fashion cookies by scratch baked goods also disappeared quickly.

The MEZIS S/S 2018 Collection by Korean Designer, Jang Hyun-Mi, sent out the most vibrantly colored coats that need to be in Vancouver, especially for the rainy season. This was very feminine line of dresses, skirts/blouses, lace over lace, white over white, soft colors, bows, scarves. at least 40 looks in all. Over the top achievement!

Marilyn Wilson, always dressed to the nines, waved and cheered from the front row!

FESVEDY, which speaks to me of celebration and festivals, showed their "cultured designs from all over the world" and featuring Georgian iconic symbols, marched powerfully in handmade leather boots, down the fashion runway. Marita Mamuchashvili and Kakha Beri, presented great complexity of design and layering in their fabrics. There was an 'otherworldliness' to this collection. It is a strong statement about wearing and sharing important cultural symbols. FESVEDY has been many places, most recently at New York Fashion Week. I met them Art World Expo here.

SAM STRINGER - Embers And Ashes is a greatly anticipated collection of couture, custom made dresses. Fabulous jewel colors, teal, gold, silver grey, fire - they seem so much more vibrant than the regular colors. These dresses are for those who will own the room, or will  immediately learn to do so. Amazon Fashion Week, in Tokyo, this October, will feature Sam's collection. So very lucky to be on the guest list. (We would never have this privilege in New York or Tokyo). People will be awed, there. 

Nico Gruzling, VCC Fashion Design Student, illustrated one of Sam's looks here.

In between shows, it is always fun to join friends and get snapped 
on the photo wall. So here we are: Irina, me, Rich and Dianna D, 
who took lots of photos of the big three. My Prada shoes and 
hat are courtesy of MySister's Closet. Vintage orange Kimono.
This was an evening of color, of great variety on the runway and the beginning of the weekend, so everyone dressed up and anticipated a weekend of fabulous fashion. Thanks to CHEN X CHEN DESIGN for inviting me and Paulina Romo, VCC Fashion Student and Illustrator to blog and draw on the big walk.

Rebecca, Rebecca's denim, in all its mixes, upcycled, 
recycled combinations, was a different kind of classic - 
forever in blue jeans!

Mary Ebra's white coat and long vest/pant. I loved the elegance of the line 
and the bare feet, shoes carried. No wobbly heels to distract us from the 
serene yet powerful statement of excellent construction 
and style without frivolity.

CHENXCHEN DESIGN was extraordinary in its brilliant colours 
and pleated cuffs and hems. But all so well tailored, knife 
like folds, sharp and beautifully in place. Thanks to Paulina 
Romo for her rendition, here.

TOIA'S fun, layered, frilled raincoats and dresses were my 
favorite and adored by those pointing and smiling around me. 
Pop of colour and very wearable ART!

Stepanova sent out an elegant line of dresses, soft, lovely golds, blues, 
pinks, that reflected the light and flattered the models. This belted little 
dress was my favourite. Loved the finished hems on every outfit, no 
frays here. Contrasting pumps were a special finish.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Written by Maeve Downing

My name is Maeve Downing, I’m 8 years old, and I’m going to share my perspective on Vancouver Kids Fashion Week. I had the chance to attend the event on September 23 as both a model and a member of the audience.

Backstage was busy, very busy. There were ballerinas, ball gowns, casual clothes, plain clothes and some high heels. I went upstairs to get my hair and make up done. The hair room is amazing. The woman who did my hair was awesome! Her and her friend were musical because they sang the whole time they were doing my hair.

When the fashion show started I was very excited. I modelled a dress by Cabriollle. It was a party dress that was over the top with ruffles and sparkles. It was a fun time; the cameras were flashing, and eventually my pictures made it onto Instagram which was so cool!

After that, I joined the audience to watch Hugland. The collection was crazy and cozy because it was wool, puffy and colourful. Next up was Plaid and Paisley. It was nice and wearable, and I really liked their dresses. 

Overall, Vancouver Kids Fashion Week was amazing. If you didn’t go this time, be sure to catch it next season! 

Maeve Writing

Sarah and Maeve
Written by Colleen Tsoukalas

Sarah Murray, Fashion Program Coordinator, Recruiting and Industry Relations, VCC, her daughter, Maeve, blogging guest and model for the day, and I sat together for a delightful day one of the two day event packed runway extraordinaire: Vancouver Kids' Fashion Week. International Media included Asako Baba and her son, all the way from Japan. This is a well organized three hour event, emceed by kids dressed in formal wear, introducing special guests from BC Children's Hospital Foundation and Feng Feng Performance and Indigo Education, as well as announcing performers and maintaining a rigorous schedule. They set the tone and with a whole family of expert designers, encouraging pit photographers, lots of practise and front row support, the models (very young-to young) walk, dance, twirl, and stroll, displaying the latest trend in kids' clothing and accessories.

First up was Vonbon by Jennifer Wilson followed by Wildswan, dance dresses by Japanese Designer, Chiyo Shikawa. Erika Oakes and Michael Lipari, from Ontario were followed by Maeve, leading in her charming white dress, a line of luxury children's wear, Cabriolle (adorable) by Yenni Gowindra, whose gorgeous dresses are made for her daughter, but for all of those who long for that special dress. Plaid and Paisley Little were right before the last two snaps of colorful, imaginative Hugland by Jasmine Haglund. Maeve said she would definitely wear these, and I would too. I finish with a photo of Maeve writing her perspectives from behind the scenes, walking the fashion mile, and then guest blogging. I think we will hear more from Ms. Maeve Downing, perhaps for March 2018, the next Vancouver Kids' Fashion Week. Want to be impressed? Please join us. 

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