Feels

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83780006 83710009 83680035It’s another sunny but abnormally cold day in Toronto. But being inside affords me the luxury of pretending it’s as warm outside as it looks in this editorial. Featuring Toronto native and L.A.-based model Roxanna Dunlop in a series of guerilla-styled shoots in Miami’s hidden backyards and roadside hotels, the photographs pack a sense of freedom and a lot of sun. I’m looking forward to a warm May when I can wear cropped long-sleeve turtleneck tops with denim skirts everyday, and just in general, not freezing my bums off even in jeans and a sweater.

Images via Oyster

Marques’Almeida @ The Room

DSC_0371 DSC_0375 DSC_0370 DSC_0382 DSC_0401 DSC_0383 DSC_0390 DSC_0378 DSC_0411 DSC_0423Ally wears: top and skirt by Marques’Almeida
Cindy wears: vintage silk T, cropped pants by Oak + Fort, patent brogues by Zara, and American Apparel backpack

Wednesday night was the culmination of a year-long dream. Myself and Ally attended the Flare magazine x Hudson’s Bay fashion week party for Marques’Almeida, TOME, and Kaelen. I’m going to take a gander and say Marques’Almeida, more than any other designer out there right now except for maybe Raf Simons, gets written about the most on this blog. So of course we were peaking to meet the designers behind the brand, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida. In person they were every bit as lovely and chill as the clothes they design. While I tried my hardest to restrain my inner fangirl, we gabbed about Toronto’s jerk chicken scene and the city’s best vintage shops. Apparently we also drank some wine and caught up with our friend Nicole Jankowski, stylish and talented fashion writer based right here in Toronto. [Look at that sick leather top tho.] But please forgive me if all I can remember right now is the exact shade of purple lipstick Marta was wearing.

Images by The Pack

Sid Neigum AW15 at WMCFW

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World Mastercard Fashion Week commenced yesterday in Toronto with a quiet shuffle. Much like the previous season, festival organizers scheduled current Canadian fashion wunderkind Sid Neigum right on day 1. Perhaps they thought it would be an auspicious beginning to an otherwise unpredictable week of shows. It’s not a bad strategy, had Neigum hit it out of the park. Unfortunately, for me, I found that to not really be the case.

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To be sure, the collection was pretty and featured monochrome garments that were (mostly) easy to wear. But, as the great Tyra Banks once said, resting on pretty is the kiss of death in fashion. For Sid’s AW15 collection, I found it too derivative of past concepts without showing anything particularly new. I get that Neigum was trying to explore his origami technique from past seasons more in depth for this season, creating new shapes and silhouettes. A few of the pieces that resulted from this deeper exploration were absolutely beautiful—the high-necked cream dresses with all-over folds and pleats were immaculate, as was the black jacket with a textured collar trim that resembled ostrich feathers.

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Aside from these standout pieces, everything else was either not particularly memorable or straight up unsuccessful. The garbage bag dresses at the end had a great starting concept, but at two feet away, did not look wholly finished or well executed. The neoprene vests and skirts, although very polished, looked nearly identical to pieces I’ve seen elsewhere or from his previous collections.

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Part of me couldn’t help but compare this post-Prize collection with Thomas Tait’s post-LVMH Prize collection in London last month (Sid Neigum was awarded the top prize at last season’s Mercedes Benz Start-up competition). Yes, I know that the two designers are worlds apart, but it also seems clear that Tait went against cliché, while Neigum kind of walked towards it. I missed the painstakingly-constructed textured coats and dramatic collars in his past seasons. I wanted him to work with “difficult” colours like terracotta and gold. Does the industry really need more asymmetrical mini dresses in black? What basic mentors of Canadian fashion are whispering in his ears to work with neoprene and laser cutting again, when every designer and their grandma have gone down these roads so many times before?

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Let it be known that I absolutely believe in the talent of Sid Neigum. His collections are what keeps me going back to Toronto Fashion Week. I think he has inventive techniques and a thirst for the weird, which seems truly rare here in Canada. It is my hope that this was just a misstep that, perhaps, some time away from the conservative industry gatekeepers can rectify. Only time will tell.

DSC_0360Thinking about the future of Canadian fashion in my Oak + Fort dress, chunky Zara brogues, and vintage leather backpack.

Click here for more photos from the collection.

All images by The Pack

Local Inspiration: Muttonhead

Lauren Mitchell is a feminist, mega Drake stan, and my long time bb. When she’s not rippin’ up comedy clubs in the 6ix, or dropping knowledge on her Drake podcast, she finds time to write a regular column for The Pack. You can check out her hilarious Tweets and read the rest of her writing for The Pack here.
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When I was in my early 20s I went through a phase where I tried really hard to only buy ethically-sourced clothing. And it was really hard. On top of which, I would always find excuses to eventually own H&M or whatever other cheap, stylish stuff I could get my hands on. I love thrifting, and so I could always use that as an excuse, like, I didn’t really give Corporation XYZ any of my money, so I’m off the hook. Either way, they way in which my clothes are made is still always at the back of my mind, which is a large part of the reason I was so initially attracted to Muttonhead, a Toronto based clothing company that designs and makes all of their clothing right here, in the 6ix.

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On top of being sustainably made, Muttonhead also designs clothes that I really like. They make sturdy, genderless basics that are classic and sharp at the same time. They stick to what they are good at: similar styles done in a variety of colours, but not an overwhelming selection. This is not fast fashion, Muttonhead isn’t trying to keep up with the latest trends, and by doing that, they’ve managed to create a refreshingly timeless aesthetic. And to be honest, in a day and age where more well-known Canadian designers, like Dquared2are doing stupid, offensive, and incredibly tone deaf shit like calling their most recent collection Dsquaw, Muttonhead’s gimmick-free philosophy is pretty inspiring.

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Bonus: Me, wearing my fav Muttonhead piece that I own, plus a few other coveted pieces sold in Muttonhead’s online shop

Images via Muttonhead

Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony

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Oh my sweet versatile Chloë. Actress, model, 90s music video ingenue, style icon. She makes me question my heterosexuality on a regular basis and also makes cool threads for Opening Ceremony. Designing for the NYC brand since 2008, Chloë has come a long way from her earlier, less focused collections. This new one was inspired by Heathers and Japanese harajuku culture. As played out as both of those references are, I love the clothes she created from them. Much like her personal style, Chloë’s strength with fashion design lies in her ability to combine girly touches with menswear tailoring. Pants are loose and shapeless with hems trimmed with ruffles. Chunky mandals are cheekily covered with bows. Sevigny grew up in a Roman Catholic household and you can see elements of the Catholic school uniform in some of the pieces here. The strappy one piece bathing suit is a dream.

Buy it for me here.

Images via Opening Ceremony

LVMH 2015 Finalists

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Yesterday, the LVMH judging committee announced the eight finalists for this year’s LVMH Prize for Young Designers. Culled from a preliminary list of 26 fashion wunderkinds—including Pack-approved designers like Andrea Jiapei Li, Ximon Lee, Astrid Andersen, Nasir Mazhar, Ryan Roche, and Baja East—the eight finalists include three Brits (Craig Green, Faustine Steinmetz and Marques’ Almeida), three LVMH Prize alums (Almeida, Jacquemus, and Green were all 2014 semi-finalists), and one menswear designer (Green). The LVMH Prize for Young Designers is one of the only design contests in the world that has no geographic restrictions, accepting submissions from all over the world. We’ve got Milan-based Austrian designer Arthur Arbesser, Paris-based American designer Virgil Abloh, French designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant for Coperni, and Paris-based German designer Demna Gvasalia for Vetements. It’s missing a lot of designers of colour or designers from anywhere outside of Europe. But hey is anyone surprised?

Last year’s winner was Thomas Tait, one of my favourite designers and someone I bring up constantly when I talk about what’s wrong with the fashion scene in Canada that we’d lose a talent like that. The prize—30,000 euros in cash and a year of mentorship with LVMH experts—is life changing for an emerging designer, and you can see that tremendous change reflected in Tait’s incredible AW15 collection at London Fashion Week. The judging panel includes a who’s who of fashion industry titans like Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière, Riccardo Tisci, and Raf Simons.

While there’s something to be loved from every single one of these collections, I can’t help but play favourites. Aside from designers like Marques’Almeida and Jacquemus, both having received a ton of praise from The Pack, new favourites include Arthus Arbesser and his ingenious way with fabrics, Coperni and its finely-executed minimalism, Faustine Steinmetz’s neo-denim, and Vetements’ jaw-dropping coats. Check out a visual breakdown of each finalist’s designs and be sure to comment on your favourites!

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Images via Dazed, Faustine Steinmetz, Coperni, Arthur Arbesser, Marques’Almeida, LVMH, and style.com

Breaking Bounds

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Model: Aida
Styling: Marian Nachmia
Photography: Simon Steenberg
Fashion: SHUSHU/TONG
Appeared in: Pitch-Present

Graduates of the London College of Fashion’s womenswear program, the designers behind SHUSHU/TONG, Liushu Lei & Yutong Jiang, are inspired by that sweet spot between streetwear grunge and high-end, department store tailoring. They design for the “modern naughty girl”: part contemporary art history scholar, part Paz de la Huerta. I’m not sure if I qualify as a “modern naughty girl”, but I can tell you that I definitely want to be one after laying eyes on this editorial, pulled from Pitch zine’s companion website, Pitch-Present. I still adore the baggy pants look, especially when paired with chunky sandals and shrunken baby pink turtlenecks. It reminds me of Bongo Jeans’ ads from the 90s, updated and recontextualized for contemporary audiences.

You can check out more of SHUSHU/TONG’s designs over on their Tumblr, and get inspired by everything Pitch-Present has to offer here.

Summer Babe

vanidad vanidad1 vanidad2 vanidad3Model: Julia
Styling: Christina Van Zon
Photography: Lara Alegre
Appeared in: Vanidad magazine

There’s a reason why I named today’s post “Summer Babe”, besides the fact that this editorial was obviously shot in the middle June with a model who is clearly a babe. No, guys, my brain is much more complex than that, and I was actually thinking of this.

Few things are more evocative of summer for me than roadside diners, tinted shades, and Pavement. As a child of the 90s, I also have a tendency to correlate my rosiest summertime memories with the decade of alternative rock. Never mind the fact that I wasn’t old enough to smoke or even go on roadtrips during the 90s, never mind the fact that I didn’t get into Pavement until 2002. Nostalgia and *feelings* work in mysterious ways, babes, and I ain’t gonna fight it.

Vanidad is a fashion mag based in Barcelona. You probably wouldn’t have guessed that, judging by the major Americana, Drew Barrymore in Boys on the Side vibes from this editorial. In many ways, Europeans do American style even better than Americans. They’re able to take the best parts of it and filter them through distinctly European sensibilities. Best of both worlds, if you ask me.

Iris Van Herpen AW15 at Paris Fashion Week

iris1 iris2 iris3 iris4 iris5 iris6 iris7Screen-Shot-2015-03-11-at-7.41.09-PMScreen-Shot-2015-03-11-at-7.39.40-PMThe construction alone is enough to make me faint. Add to that the flattering silhouettes, the shimmery colour palette, and those incredibly sculpted shoes, and it’s enough to knock me out for life.

Yah, I know I’m doing that thing where I exaggerate for effect. But I am being completely truthful when I say this was the most creative and technically brilliant ready-to-wear collection I have seen in a long time. In many ways, the techniques and the spirit of these garments evoke the painstaking process involved in the creation of haute couture collections. Like haute couture, van Herpen’s AW15 collection is made from high quality, unusual fabrics, looks custom fit and individually handmade with an obsessive attention to detail.  Inspired by the theory of terraforming—the modification of another planet’s biosphere to resemble our own—van Herpen created new fabrications by modifying existing materials and playing with 3D printing, which you can see in the leather-crystal shoes and the fantastical geometric black dresses.

The effect is pure sci-fi fantasy, minus the theatrics. Garments are delicate without being fussy. Van Herpen strikes this balance with her excellent sense for fit. I’m just as impressed with how well the clothes sit on the models’ bodies as I am with the innovative design. It might seem like a no-brainer, but fit is that subtle difference between a good and an incredible collection. Kudos to Iris van Herpen for getting it so right.

Images via style.com