Fashion Blows

That black bob. Those red lips. The hats!

Isabella Blow’s image is still imprinted on fashion’s collective memory years after her death. Blow’s career in fashion spanned decades and included high profile associations – designer Guy Laroche, American Vogue, Tatler, British Vogue. But her real legacy is as a fashion eccentric and the woman who helped make designers Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen household names.

After her suicide in 2007, Blow’s catalogue of historic – many one-of-a-kind – designer pieces were saved from a Christie’s auction by her long-time friend Daphne Guinness. Last October, The Room at Hudson’s Bay featured a stunning selection from the Blow archives.

For a deeper look into the life of Blow and her relationships with McQueen and Treacy, I urge you to check out the book Champagne Supernovas by Maureen Callahan. It’s a saucy read on fashion in the 1990’s told through the cocaine-infused lives of McQueen, Kate Moss and Marc Jacobs. Yeah, seriously saucy.

The Fifty Shading of Fashion

First there was the book. You know the one. Next came rumours of a lingerie line inspired by the book. Then we heard that sales of men’s ties had increased – along with calls to 911 for handcuff-related emergencies. (Oh, you crazy Brits.)
Now it seems the Fifty Shades of Grey effect has crept beyond the foyer and is standing squarely in the house of fashion and pop culture.  Leather – always a major look for fall – is popping up in more intimate, bondage-inspired scenarios.  Buckle your seat belts, Mom and Dad.  Bondage fashion has gone mainstream.
The Broadway sensation, Venus in Fur, pre-empted Fifty Shades by a year, but its current run at Canadian Stage is right on trend.  The main character, Vanda Jordan, breaks out her best leather corset, stockings, thigh high boots, along with some fabulous acting, to nail the role of a lifetime.  (Aside: this is one of the most captivating plays I’ve ever seen. The Toronto production is fantastic, but only on through October 27.)

photo by David Hou | courtesy Canadian Stage
Madonna shows up in the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar sporting gilded glamour and little else.  The spread – no pun intended – is shot by shock fashion photographer Terry Richardson.  Of course, it’s one thing for the Queen of Pop to get away with leather and chains, but when major designers weave a bit of bondage into their spring 2014 collections, well, I am officially calling it a trend.  
Will Canadian designers will follow suit?  Stay tuned to World MasterCard Fashion Week to find out!
Madonna in Harper’s Bazaar
photo Harper’s Bazaar
Versace spring 2014 | photo by Yannis Viamos |
Alexander McQueen spring 2014 | photo by Marcus Tondo|
Libertine spring 2014 | photo by Umberto Fratini |


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