Sunday, June 30, 2013

Blooming fabric

Though I have now far out-stayed my welcome on the still off-gassing couch that has just been allowed out of its airing out room (six months after we bought it), I couldn't tear myself away from my comfy toxic spot as I was intently perusing the website of my newest favorite find. The designer of the fairy-like pieces you see here is Berlin-based Beatrice Oettinger. Beatrice brings a whole new meaning to eco clothing, as the details of her impregnated organza clothing are made of things you would find in your garden or nearby forest: peas, seeds, beans, herbs and flowers. Bits of birch bark also become a textile in Beatrice's hands.

Beatrice also brings a new meaning to convertible clothing with such pieces as her top made with young popular capsules that eventually open up to release the poplar fuzz (the process of which I'm well acquainted with, being a step away from a forest of poplar trees)...

...or a dress with Clematis vitalba seeds that eventually bloom. 

Brilliant. As I'm in decorating mode and have made the 2nd bedroom into a thesis/sewing room, I'm also intrigued by her 'textile bakery' pieces, decorative dresses made of flour and various bits of plant, some of which are made into light covers. 

Now that we have room on our patio for more than 5 pots, thanks to Beatrice I'm thinking that I should choose the next things we will grow based on their fashion potential. I think I'll start with some peas...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rizzo in the Box

Though we managed to move in such a way that nearly everything is already where it should live less than 24 hours after it came through the door, the majority of my everyday clothes (i.e. underwear and summer clothing) is still in boxes. Hence the connection to these looks from the (Pratt Institute) grad collection of Sam O'Brien (found via NJAL), a former intern of both Sruli Recht and Zam Barrett. Perhaps tomorrow I'll be able to both take a shower with a clean towel and find something to wear that doesn't have dust and dirt all over it. Of course I'd prefer one of Sam's other looks that don't remind me of boxes, but I'll settle for a clean pair of jeans and non-XL sized t-shirt if need be.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Constructing the Modern Pilgrimage

Today's the day. The day that the new place will be completely ready for us to move in, and the day that the river will nearly almost return to normal, making the move flood-risk free. Our books, lucky things, have already lived there for a few nights, even in alphabetical and librarian-approved order, but today other things will also slowly make their way over. I can't express how excited I am. I will really miss our street where no one seems to want to use either sidewalk, where there is an uncountable number of cyclists training on the ridiculously steep hill just over the streetcar tracks, and where there is a traffic disaster caused every Friday at 2PM and 2:30PM from the neighbourhood mosque, a traffic disaster caused from the curling club members every winter, and a traffic disaster caused by Canada Day fireworks watchers. Good thing we're only moving 250m away, because otherwise I'd have to type this through buckets of tears. But, yes, I'm excited because not only will we finally have the space and air quality we need, in-suite laundry, respectful neighbours who don't force us to call the cops, underground heated parking, etc., but I got to choose the paint colours. Trust me, having lived for 8 years with dingy off-white walls and the rule of not hanging anything on the walls to cover up the drabness, this is big. Perhaps ironically though, the main 'colour' I chose was white. No-tint white. I mean, the bedroom, of course, recalls the Martha Stewart willow green of my childhood/adolescent room, and my new study recalls the delicious pumpkin spice latte I so love, and, while I didn't get the chalkboard wall I wanted like in (500) Days of Summer, I did get a huge charcoal-coloured wall in the living room. But, aside from that, everything else is bright white. And so, it seems rather appropriate to feature the (Kingston) grad collection by London-based designer Laura Teasdale, entitled 'Constructing the Modern Pilgrimage'. 

I was going to wait a bit to post it as it was posted by Queen Michelle just last week, but it's just too relevant. Well, maybe not in regards to the aesthetic details such as the colour palette (which I very strangely absolutely love, most likely because it's on a long-haired man), cropped suit jackets (brilliant for menswear, no?), and padded knees. Well, on second thought, the padded knees could come in handy whilst moving. What really gets the relevance across is the collection's description. For, while the collection as a whole was inspired by Laura's granddad (a photo of whom you see below is reproduced in the drawing above, rather impressively doing a handstand in a suit), Laura also says that the collection 
involves the creation and growth of an invented white space. This modern space matches a way of living to an appropriate setting and holds new functional inventions and evolved creatures and characters. The modern pilgrimage represents the journey to this space whereby individuals can reconnect with themselves, evolve and develop, and this may ultimately offer an alternative to a religious experience.
Now, Laura might not have had actual moving into a freshly painted white condo in mind while writing this description, but I do indeed feel like my recent and upcoming countless trips between this old apartment and the new place is a form of pilgrimage, a pilgrimage to grown-up-ness, thesis completion, reclaiming the weekend day previously taken every second week by laundry, and, of course, finally being surrounded by truly white walls. So, thank you Laura for providing a lovely collection to symbolize this chapter of my life, and thank you to Kingston for producing yet another brilliant grad (if you'll remember, our Stacey Grant is also a Kingston grad). And, of course, so long #202, and hello #109.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Maria Carstens

It's a wonderful thing, encountering a new-to-me designer who seems to be on the exact same page as me, or at least the next call number over from me on the shelf I'm currently on. Today's example is one Copenhagen-based Maria Carstens. I was already convinced by the two collections she had posted on NJAL, particularly by how she nails the oversized blazer. But then I saw Maria's Pinterest, which was almost like peering into my fashion soul. Is this what Pinterest is all about? Connecting like-minded people with each other in a very visually stimulating way? Perhaps I should sign up. It's not like I'm getting any work done anyway...

Edit: Bah, both 'Buffy Leigh' and 'Steff Leigh' are already taken as Pinterest usernames. Perhaps it's a sign from the thesis gods that I don't need another online source of distraction...

Thursday, June 20, 2013


One thing this blog does is provide a fairly accurate measure of my distractedness/procrastination. Right now, I'm at about a 9.5 on a scale of 10, with 1 being completely focused and 10 being not at all. Hence a second post for the day, and a good chance that June will have the highest number of posts this year. It's not my fault though, I swear. Marie Saint Pierre just posted the Fall 2013 lookbook online. What was I to do, especially as I had already glimpsed one of my favorite looks ever from the collection? Sulpicia, I plomise I'll give you my utmost attention...soon. (And no, of course I didn't say 'plomise'.)

Maiko Takeda

My brain works very very strangely. More often than not, I forget things I had read just the day before, or even important things in favorite books that I've read more than once. Heck, I've even forgotten about a whole character in a favorite TV show, as if my brain had spliced him out of the numerous scenes he was in. But this morning, to cheer me up out of a pulled neck muscle, my man showed me a new photo of Björk (at Bonnaroo), and immediately I knew who had made her headpiece. Which I had seen for a split second a week or more ago while scrolling through Fashion156's Collections page. Strange. Anyway, as confirmed by Maiko's tumblr, the piece comes from the MA (in millinery at the Royal College of Art) grad collection of Maiko Takeda, whose BA (from CSM) collection I could've sworn I had posted about before, but I must've just oogled Han-style over and over. So, here it is (well, a few images from it), for realz this time:

Brilliant, isn't it? Of course, these pieces would've lost their shadowy dimension here the last few cloudy weeks, but fun could be had with flashlights at least. Anyway, with Björk on board, methinks Maiko is in for quite a ride. Now, does anyone know who did that dress? (Edit: The dress is by Dutch designer Iris van Herpen, from her Micro collection. Thanks, Dust!)

(Björk photo by Danny Clinch, via Facebook)

P.S. You know I'm lagging on blog reading when one of the blogs I link to wrote about this already a few days ago! See Susie Bubble's post for full coverage on Maiko's grad collection.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Because I took your pulse.

If you've missed the couple of references and mentions I've already made here and there, let me clearly state for the record that the best show ever to grace our television sets is BBC's Sherlock. Though the writing and directing, I'm sure, has much to do with it, the first thing you notice is that the casting choices are absolutely perfect, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman (a.k.a. Bilbo Baggins) as Dr. John Watson. And though each 1 1/2 hour episode is brilliant, the best (i.e. the best 90 minutes of television you'll ever watch) and my favorite is the first of Season 2, featuring Lara Pulver as...well, you'll have to watch it. Anyway, in one scene, Lara's character is wearing only Sherlock's wool coat. Hence the connection my brain made to this editorial photo of a coat I've already posted about from Kristofer Kongshaug's A/W 13/14 collection. The connection is, of course, also encouraged by the fact that the model looks quite like Lara (well, particularly how she looks in a later scene in the episode), at least from this angle. The question is, which girl is luckier: the one that gets to wear something from one of the most talented designers around, or the one that gets to wear something that Sherlock touched. That, my friends, is a tough one...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go mourn the death of some trees and decide whether I should read Neil Gaiman's newest masterpiece a second time in less than 24 hours.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

InAisce, S/S 14: A Study in Grey

The new InAisce lookbook reached my inbox yesterday, but a sick husband and a book I promised to read kept me from doing anything apart from drooling over the PDFs myself. I see this morning that has already posted the S/S 14 collection in its entirety, so go there to see all the usual suspects of an InAisce collection. What I want to focus on is the collection's use of a particular fabric, this grey weave. Without zooming in, my first thoughts were that it was a waffle-knit with a bit of a sheen to it so that it looked like a very wearable chain-mail. But you don't think 'thermal underwear' when you think of InAisce, do you? It just seems like too blasé of a fabric choice for Jona to have made. My next thought is that it is more like the lovely swatch of thick woven silk that I saw at the Zam Barrett studio. Or perhaps a woven silk/linen blend, maybe with a bit of a metallic thread in it. That would make a lot more sense with the InAisce aesthetic and frequent use of textured linens and such. Does anyone know what the fabric is? Please share if so. I can send you the PDF if you can't zoom in enough on here, just let me know. Also, if you have any opinions on doing a PhD in Comparative Literature, please send them my way. In the meantime, here's one more grey look (in a different fabric) for the road.

(Photography by Xi Sinsong)

Monday, June 17, 2013

honest by. (Nicolas Andreas Taralis)

I was meaning to write about a company/website called Honest by quite a while ago, but I believe that at the time I had discovered it, there weren't any pieces on it that I liked. Honest by was started by Belgian designer Bruno Pieters, built foremost on a platform of transparency. Meaning a full cost breakdown and carbon footprint is given for each product, as well as a description of the production process, i.e. where each material came from and how it was manufactured, down to how many minutes each step took. Subsequently, this transparency allows Honest by to remain committed and held accountable to the use of environmentally friendly materials, which, naturally, does not include leather, fur, shell, or horn. All silk and wool used are organic or recycled, and many vegan pieces are available. 20% of the profits even goes to the designer's chosen charity. 

Needless to say, I'm glad I bookmarked the site even though I didn't like anything on it at the time. For, while Bruno does have his own Honest by collection available on the site, the point of it is to work with other designers to allow them the benefit of the research resources Honest by has for looking into the origins of materials, the space to share their design process, and the support to create pieces that don't go against their designing sensibilities and do as little harm to the environment as possible. When I revisited the page this morning, I was happy to see that Canadian-born and Paris-based designer Nicolas Andreas Taralis had collaborated with Honest by a year ago, and the resulting collection is still available on the site. In addition to using organic materials, Nicolas' pieces are produced in Europe, almost from start to finish (a couple of the raw materials originate elsewhere). This silk piece by Nicolas jumped out at me as it reminds me of a particular shirt that Brisco County Jr. wore once. Funny thing is I immediately thought 'Too bad it doesn't come in black'. When I realized it does come in black (cotton) (see below) but that I didn't like it as much, I realized it was time to work on my thesis...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Love Take Me Down (to the Streets)

Here are my other favorites from Liza Rietz's newest collection: the Colorblock Winged Dress, a lovely art deco inspired piece with an attached bolero; and the Fan Dress, which merges the collection's recurrent 'winged' dress style with the tuxedo pleat detailing seen in the jacket below and one of the earlier posted pieces of the collection. Of course, these two are two of the more expensive pieces of the collection. Sigh. If you're counting your pennies like me, I would highly suggest the incredibly lovely Butterfly Tunic or, for an 80s flashback, the Sandwashed Tunic. The latter is particularly well-suited for a backpacking trip to Amsterdam. True story.