Sunday, 2 November 2014

In Other News

I've been out and about a bit lately. Last weekend I was helping Joanna Furtado of Belle Boutique at the Wearable Art Show. This year it took place from Friday, October 24 through Sunday, October 26 at the Daniels Spectrum Building on Gerrard, just east of Parliament. I had passed by it often enough since it opened in 2012, with its now iconic Paintbox Bistro at the corner, but this was my first opportunity to go inside. It's a beautiful community space, with some neato little touches, like a fantastic mural of a kid on a swing, rendered entirely in keys (brass, house, lock... that kind), and a painted piano just inside the front door, inviting anyone to sit and play it, and they did and it was.

The Wearable Art Show took place in the Ada Slaight Hall, which was just perfect. Black and elegant inside, with a stage at the front for the daily fashion shows and tambour embroidery demos (read on!), yet natural light poured through the windows, so we didn't feel hermetically sealed in. Yay! Loved that part!

Over thirty vendors of wearable art displayed their work, and discerning shoppers got the jump on holiday self-adornment, beginning with an opening gala Friday night. Shopping is much more fun with a complimentary wine or beer and nibble in hand.

I didn't take many photos, but the ones I did were courtesy of Akvile Minkevicius of Art in Touch, creator of exquisite nuno felted accessories. She kindly lent me her camera, as I had forgotten mine. Akvile is lovely company and I hope you will have the opportunity of seeing her and her work at a show soon.

The view down our aisle. David Dunkley's hats are on the right. Caryl Richmond's reclaimed woollies are on the left, and behind her display is Catherine Curtis's.

Me at Belle Boutique's display. Photo by Akvile Minkevicius.

Tattoo-sleeve-inspired tambour embroidery jacket by Laurie Lemelin of Abrash Emboidery.

Akvile's Art in Touch booth. So beautiful. This is her photo, too.

And finally, this is Professor Robert Haven doing a demonstration of the tambour beading technique. It was great that he was on a stage, because a lot of the work in tambour beading takes shape upside down. His being elevated meant we could see what was going on under the frame.

A costume professor at the University of Kentucky, Robert learned at the famed Lesage embroidery house in Paris and also travels to teach this historic skill. He had just made his first appearance teaching sold-out classes at this year's Creativ Festival. Laurie Lemelin learned from him, and thanks to her heads-up, I had that opportunity myself at Ryerson University last year. I may have taken lessons from the master, but I have much to practise before I go around calling myself adept at this.

Moving on....

The day after the Wearable Art Show ended, I had a brief window of opportunity to see fashions and hats that belonged to Isabella Blow. She was a muse to emerging designers, some fresh out of fashion school, especially milliner extraordinaire Philip Treacy, and Alexander McQueen. Google her. It's quite the story and I won't be the one to tell it to you. I'm just going to show you lots of photos I took. (They let me! Nothing bad happened!)

Isabella Blow in a Philip Treacy hat.

Suffice it to say that her good friend and fellow fashionista, Daphne Guinness, bought her entire wardrobe at auction and brought it to The Room at the Bay. Everything was in as-worn condition -- heel holes in trains, fraying (from wear), cigarette burns, high heels worn hard. Signs of life. Wabi-sabi. Daphne Guinness said that Blow used to wear haute couture because she wanted to, regardless of occasion, and she wasn't wealthy. She'd do the dishes in them.

Philip Treacy and Ms. Guinness even flew in for a gala opening. For a few days, it was like a mini-museum inside the haute couture salon. So wonderful that mere mortals like moi (and my companion, Salome) could go and gawk for nothing. Thank you, Ms. Guinness and The Room!

Sorry there aren't many credits given, but you can find them elsewhere if you really want to.

The first thing we saw was very disarming.

The second thing we saw was actually in The Room, and part of the display, which was called Fashion Blows. Philip Treacy hat.

There's that tambour beading again. Amazing, isn't it? Tarun Tahiliani, 2006.

Philip Treacy butterfly mask. Rhinestones all along the central spines of the feathers.

Love this wavy hat.

Treacy and Simon Periton Black Anarchy cut foam,1999.

It only looks like python. It's stretched nylon print. Phew!

Mick Jagger's lips. Air kisses?

Black satin horns.

Black and white coat and red feather extravaganza.

Silver lace dress with built-in wave. I wonder how this moved on a walking person?

The seams on this were fascinating.

Circle of ostrich feather arrows.

More ostrich, hand-appliqued embroidery and a blowing veil.

I do hope she wore this grocery shopping or something.

Origami hat and wonderful sparkles.

Regency-ish embroidered black coat.

Embroidery detail showing signs of wear.

Love that mitred corner on the grosgrain.

I think of this one as Miss Havisham of the military. Maybe the French Lieutenant's Miss Havisham.

Miss H. from the front.

Awesome black lace and mauve moire coat.

The lace was tattered on purpose; it was sewn down around the tears.

This dress reminded Salome of stalactites.

Rows of trimmed feathers on a lapel.

Gold painted lace dress.

The gold rush continues, in satin.

Sleeve detail.

Rhinestone Manolos, clearly well loved and much worn.

Some of Daphne Guinness's own iconic fashion investments made their way into the show, too.

Like this one. Um, wow.

Close-up of the above.

Another, by Alexander McQueen, 2010.

Look at those wonderful folds at the sides.

And with these folds, we fold this post. Thanks for visiting!

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