Pulling Fashion Television’s Plug

In the week since Bell Media announced FashionTelevision was cancelled after nearly 30 years on the air, the reactions have been a mix of shock and reverence.
The lack of pomp and circumstance around its ending is no surprise in this day and age. To simply disappear seems common in Canadian media. (Remember Canadian Idol? Highest rated show in Canada ever?!) And formality?! Please. Jeanne Beker’s tweet broke the news.
FashionTelevision gave the masses access to fashion when it was only granted to a few. I understand why Jeanne and her microphone were no longer considered the force they once were. These days all kinds of media, bloggers and designers themselves are sharing the behind the scenes before the scene even begins.
But aren’t there still fashion stories to tell?
Other networks seem to think so. Television has begun to move beyond the design-driven, often catfight-ridden stories, found on the likes of Project Runway. Fashion is a business and shows like All On the Line and Fashion Star are shedding light on that. For the uninitiated, All On the Line features Elle magazine’s creative director Joe Zee rescuing designers in the midst of a crisis, helping them identify where they’ve gone wrong, and mentoring them through the changes needed to take their label in the right direction. Each show ends with a presentation to a select retailer whom Joe feels are the right fit. And after all, with his experience and connections, Joe knows best. (I’ve met him. He does.)
NBC’s Fashion Star gives a roster of independent designers a chance to be discovered on a national scale. Each week they work with their mentors – designer John Varvatos and celebrity designers Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie — to create and present a single item to reps from three national retail chains: H&M, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The real drama is when the retailers bid on the items. They might make an offer, they might not. They might bid against each other to nab it for their store, as it can only go to one retailer. In any case it’s the designer who truly wins if they get a deal — that item is produced and immediately appears in (American) stores.
Side note: Having seen a winning item at a Manhattan H&M recently, the reality was a watered down version of what we saw on the runway, but nonetheless….
The point is, the business of fashion is not just a business. It can be entertainment. It’s a shame Bell Media – which owns the CTV network that carries Fashion Star in Canada – felt that a show with 27 years of storytelling and international audience couldn’t tweak their coverage to address fashion’s changing tides. Hopefully the FT brand that still stands can continue to represent fashion as an industry, and of course, fashion in Canada in a compelling way. Because right here, right now, that’s all we’ve got.
UPDATE: Jeanne responded to the article via Twitter shortly after posting….

“@theFList Good story Leesa! Have no fear. I’ll make sure Bellmedia’s fashion/style coverage lives on as FT brand evolves”

ABSOLUT MODE Canadian style

Doesn’t it seem like every brand is into fashion these days? In fairness ABSOLUT® VODKA has been collaborating with the fashion set since the 1990’s. (Remember the bottles designed by Tom Ford, Versace, Stella McCartney or Gaultier, anyone?)
The 2011 ABSOLUT® MODE EDITION is another redesign of the iconic bottle, reflecting the world of fashion through twelve facets, orflat faces on geometric shapes” to you. The glass facets are designed to catch reflections of light, and the bottle is wrapped in a midnight blue silk cloth band with text embroidery. 
The limited-edition bottle launched last week in Canada with a gala fashion event at Malaparte in the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Fashion Television’s Jeanne Beker curated the one-night only, museum-style exhibit. Guests sipped ABSOLUT cocktails while perusing personal items of clothing and accessories from Canadian style icons including Beker, Suzanne Rogers, Stacey Kimel, Krystyne Griffin, Heather Gotlieb, Mary Symons, FASHION magazine’s Bernadette Morra, FLARE magazine’s Lisa Tant and Don Cherry. 
Each garment was accompanied by a personal story from the owner, sharing memories of its origin or an experience wearing the item. One of the more poignant notes came from Stacey Kimel who actually wore her Alexander McQueen outfit to his funeral. After the service Sarah Burton approached her, sharing her own memories of finishing the coat late at night with Lee (McQueen).
Jeanne Beker’s Andy Warhol soup can evening bag by Phillip Treacy, a gift from the designer
Flare magazine editor Lisa Tant’s custom gown by Lida Baday
Stacey Kimel’s Alexander McQueen outfit, with card from Lee McQueen’s memorial service
Suzanne Rogers’ dress by Mary Katrantzou, Fall 2011