Recently I visited the ROM to see the J’adore Dior exhibit. The exhibit celebrates Toronto’s connection to Dior couture and Dior’s 70th Anniversary.
It featured the ROM’s collection of Dior dresses donated by Toronto socialites. The show was small but well curated. It told the story of Toronto’s love affair with Dior dresses. The entire design process was explained so you could see a garment from start to finish. One outfit was a strapless dress for evening that came with an buttoned vest for daytime. So practical for a busy 1950’s lady.
So many favourites…
I loved this pinstripe taffeta with the pink sash. It has a very modern top and the menswear inspired fabric with the feminine full skirt is a great contrast. This blue and grey ribbon dress has so much detail and embellishment and yet it was such a simple cut. The dress to the left and behind is made up of white cotton ribbon and black linen. Both are studies in embellishment and simplicity.
These 2 black dresses are so chic. The draping of the gown on the left takes a lot of skill and would have needed several fittings with the client to make it perfect! The tailoring of the black day dress on the right screams sophistication. All that’s missing is the big black sunglasses and cartwheel hat.
When I saw this black dress on the right I knew I had some pieces in my closet that to make a Dior look. This skirt has a tulip flared bottom similar to the Dior dress and the fitted jacket with the belt cinches my waist like this dress and several others in the collection.
This show is must-see for all fashionistas but hurry it ends April 8.
Soccer or Football mania is about to hit the6ix. The 2016 European Cup starts tomorrow. We’re ready to cheer for our or our parents’ homelands and show our cultural pride.
I love the feeling of rivalry and comradery in the city as the countries battle each other in epic match-ups. Everyone in Toronto gets into it and traffic can become challenging depending on where you’re going and who won the match!
Fashion during the Euros is all about showing off your cultural pride and cheering for your team. I’m ready to cheer on the Azzurri (Team Italy) with a retro Adidas jacket I picked up in New York during the 2010 World Cup.
Puma is the official brand of the Azzurri for 2016 Euros.
1st game for Italy is Monday August 13th against Belgium. I have my flag ready to wave. Forza Italia! Let’s have a victory party this year!
This week on modacarta I explore a fashion photography style called Flat Lay. There are many instagram superstars who specialize in this style so here is my contribution.
Part 1 – Accessories
The red small hobo bag, I purchased in Paris about 10 years ago. The brand is Mandarina Duck from Italy. The line includes handbags, messenger bags, laptop cases, and luggage. Select pieces are available at Taschen in Toronto. The statement necklace is Ann Taylor and I found it in the clearance bin. I always get compliments on it. The scarf is from Italy and I picked it up at Winners. I love the colours and the soft cotton wrinkles with wear for a boho look. The earrings are vintage Monet. Gold hoops are a classic so don’t get rid of them. If you have a pair, just move them to the back of your jewellery box. The bracelet is BCBG -another fab clearance find. I love the word Bella. Very Italian!
Stay tuned for Flat Lay shoes up next on modacarta!
Over the Fall season there were lots of references to Margot Tanenbaum from the movie The Royal Tanenbaums 2001. Her wardrobe or style was a jumping off point for many of the Pre-Fall and Fall 2015 collections. It wasn’t the content of her wardrobe as much as Margot’s style and look.
If I had to choose a movie wardrobe for content, I would pick Renee Russo’s wardrobe from The Thomas Crown Affair 1999 where she played Catherine Banning an art insurance investigator. Her entire wardrobe would still be relevant today. It is still classic and elegant almost 20 years after they were selected from Celine’s 1997 collection. That collection was designed by Michael Kors and has a lot of his signature style cues in it.
The wardrobe in this film was what Catherine took with her from Switzerland to New York. It leaves me wondering what her full wardrobe was like…
Catherine Banning wears a lot of shift dresses in the film. She has dinner with Thomas Crown several times and wears a different dress each time. She also has several of wool coats that match the dresses or suits. I chose this pale blue printed paper because I just completed the Resort Report and wanted to carry the feeling into something new. I also created a white coat to go over the dress.
What movie wardrobe would you choose? Are you Margot or Catherine?
Recently I watched the documentary “The Man who Shot Beautiful Women” about Erwin Blumenfeld. He was a fashion photographer for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar starting in the 1940s and 50s in New York. His approach to fashion photography was artistic, graphic and original. His influence can be seen in contemporary fashion photographs.
This cover for Vogue 1950 tells the viewer straight away that this issue is about beauty. The use of white space and over exposure of the face create a mystery about the model and pace the emphasis on the lipstick and eye make-up. Another great Vogue cover is also a beauty issue, from May 1945. This time Blumenfeld used a visor shadow to create visual interest and make the model’s lips pop. Again we see the use of white space. This graphic approach can be also be seen in Blumenfeld’s self portraits like this one.
My favourite Blumenfeld image was one he shot in Paris when he lived there before World War 2 and before immigrating to the U.S. The model dangerously swings off the Eiffel tower in her full skirt. There is so much energy and life in this photograph. It has been copied many times.
After visiting the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show and seeing the selection of vintage bags available I thought I would blog about them. A vintage bag adds originality to any outfit. If you’re dressing on trend or classic, carrying a vintage bag will set you apart.
Here are some examples of vintage bags and styling ideas for them.
When Miuccia Prada took over Fratelli Prada she began its’ transformation into a global brand by designing a line of nylon handbags, briefcases and backpacks. She decided to work with Procone nylon which Prada used to line their luggage. The fabric was difficult to work with but worth it in the end as the line took off and demonstrated Miuccia Prada’s talent for merging the industrial with high fashion. These sporty, casual bags elevate everyday looks.
Up your interview or work style with a vintage portfolio. This example by Fendi holds a tablet to review your resume or presentation, as well as, a pochette with all your personal items. Think of it as a sleek and sophisticated carry-all.
This Fendi round bag compliments both casual and work wear. It holds a lot and has a great strap feature along the inside edge to keep small items from swimming around.
A great modern version of this design is by 3 Lily pads. Fiorella Di Lorenzo creates functional yet stylish bags. This line is a modacarta favourite!
Here are 2 vintage options for evening. I use this Gucci bag for most events because it holds everything I need without restriction. For a more formal occasion I have this lovely 1920s version of a wristlet. It has elegant beadwork and is held by delicate strap on the back.
All by Lori Tonizzo except
Prada Bag – from The Little Book of Prada by Laia Farran Graves
Canteen Bag – from 3 Lily Pads website
I hope you enjoyed this exploration of vintage handbags and styling. As always, I’d love to hear from you!
On Sunday I attended the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show at the Queen Elizabeth Building at the CNE. There were tons of vendors with really great finds.
I found that jewellery and handbags had a large share of the show floor. One booth in particular had an large selection of brooches. The vendor mentioned it took her 6 hours to set up the display. Vintage pins are a huge trend for Fall.
This vendor also had a huge selection of necklaces, bracelets and rings. They also had $5 craft bags jammed full with stuff.
My favourite piece was this Moschino dress. Perfect for a holiday party or date night.
Handbags were definitely the find of the day. My friend and I both got great deals on vintage bags. We spoke to one vendor who had very fine leather and skin bags from Italy. She cleans all bags inside and out and makes any repairs before they are part of the collection for sale. The selection of Gucci, Fendi, Prada was wide and hard to choose a favourite. Prices ranged from $150-350. Most styles were from the 1980s and 1990s.
Cognac embossed leather Salvatore Ferragamo handbag. 70s style and in perfect condition. $50
Black suede with gold detailed Paloma Picasso small handbag. This bag was a great buy at $30 and it was also in perfect condition.
Black Fendi mini Knapsack. The straps of this bag identify it as 1990s when Fendi used this logo. $45.
The next Vintage Clothing Show is coming up in Spring March 4,5, 2016.
Coming up on Vintage Thursday we’ll look at other vintage bags.
Elsa Schiaparelli had a name no one could pronounce but it was a name everyone knew. They simply referred to her as SCHIAP! and her modern, avant garde designs continue to influence and inspire designers today.
When Elsa designed dresses she felt she was creating art not just clothes. She along with Coco Chanel offered women modern, less constricting clothing in the 1920s and 30s. She drew inspiration from sports uniforms and took them into everyday apparel.
When Elsa began designing evening wear her creativity knew no bounds. Gowns and dress jackets were heavily embellished with palettes, mirrors, pearls and gold embroidery. Opposite to this was the minimalist skeleton dress that used trapunto quilting to create bones on a stark black plain. The skeleton motif has been reincarnated many times on the runway.
In 2012, the Costume Institute at the MET in New York held an exhibit where Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli had a conversation about fashion and design. It was favourite show to date! The show juxaposed Prada and Schiaparelli designs so visitors could see the parallels and influence. There was also a film by Baz Luhrmann that played in the background showing the 2 designers having dinner and conversing. Elsa Schiaparelli was played by English actress Julie Christie. One topic the designers explored was Waist Up/Waist Down. Elsa designed for a cafe society where women were seated and on display so waist up was important. Prada focuses her attention waist down to the organic, earth bound female. Evidence for this is Schiaparelli embellished jackets, Prada embellishes skirts.
Here are two images from the show catalogue that represent this idea:
I chose to do an embellished jacket for the doll. I used different papers to create a parrot which is a nod to a costume Elsa wore to a party in 1952.
The Little Book of Schiaparelli by Emma Baker Wright
Schiaparelli & Prada Impossible Conversations
Lead Image, Parrot costume, dresses – from The Little Book of Schiaparelli by Emma Baker Wright
Schiaparelli Suit, Prada Skirt – Schiaparelli & Prada Impossible Conversations
Doll – Lori Tonizzo
Vintage shoes are always great to have in your footwear wardrobe. They add interest to simple or classic outfits in a unique way – without even trying. Toronto used to have a fantastic vintage store called Strange by the Grange and I bought several pairs of vintage shoes there.
In the lead image, I am showing a vintage, black patent shoe with a modern, burgandy Kate Spade version to show the similarity in style but also the unique point on the shoe. The curve of the heel identifies them as 1950s.
A great place to look at vintage shoes is the Bata Shoe Museum. It presents the history of the shoe and all the modern favourites. Recently, Toronto showed the Christian Louboutin Exhibition. It provided a window into his creativity and no one walked away without picking a favourite red soled shoe from the collection. Too bad we couldn’t take home a souvenir.
Here’s 2 views of how I wear my vintage and modern pumps.
LEFT: I like to wear my black patent leather vintage pumps with black slim trousers. The add some shine to my evening looks. I pair them with Michael Kors patent bag with gold accents.
RIGHT: My Kate Spade burgandy pumps really dress up dark denim. Navy and burgandy are such a great combination. I have this great burgandy Longchamp tote that I picked up in New York.
Future post – my BCBG/Valentino inspo pumps are on their way to me! Can’t wait to rock them this fall.
Staying with this week’s theme of art, I am adding my 2 cents worth to the age old conundrum, “is photography art?” Further expansion – “is fashion photography art?” If we are speaking about Richard Avedon then yes it is! He has been called the greatest American Photographer. His images have been published in all the big magazines Vogue, Harper’s, W. Recently Harper’s Bazaar published Models, which features the best fashion photography over the last 60 years. Dovima and the Elephants was photographed by Richard Avedon in 1955. Dovima wore a Dior gown with an obi sash. This image has been sold as posters, cards and prints. Making a strong case for it being art.
Currently I am loving the Hermes Fall 2015 campaign that was shot in Venice. The city is a photographer’s dreamland. In the campaign, model Othilia Simon strolls through shadowed filled alleys in stylish clothes and accessories. The photography is wonderful -bringing the moodiness and light contrasts of Venice to life.