Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 3 at LG Fashion Week: High Style, Not so much High Price

Its the third day of fashion week and everyone is looking forward to the evening shows. Attitude by Sears, Joe Fresh and Pink Tartan were all showing. And for lovers of great style, these three brands have a lot to offer. Attitude by Sears is a brand the major retailer bought from the now defunct Eaton's. According to Cynthia Florek, Trend Manager "With Attitude, Sears now has the opportunity to take on a new market, a new customer." The brand was launched last Fall and now carries a full line of pieces from head to toe.

Photography by Kimberly-Lynn

As the Attitude customer is describe by Florek as one who's "on trend. not trendy", the runway showed a lot of pieces that the modern woman can add to their wardrobe. The blends of neo-nautical themes, black and white color blocking, and occasional pops of coral presented a very well balanced collection for Attitude.

Photography by Kimberly-Lynn

I asked Cynthia what her key pieces for the season were and she said:
  • The Peg Pant
  • The Dress (Soft) Short
  • The Boyfriend Blazer
  • The Jumpsuit
  • The Oversized Tee
Photography by Kimberly-Lynn

As a woman of great style, I needed to ask for some fashion advice. Kept short and sweet, Cynthia's response "Mix it up". And with that I'm sure women all over will be mixing up their wardrobe with pieces from Attitude this Spring.

Following Attitude was Pink Tartan led by Kimberly Newport Mimran, the other half of Canada's fashion couple (the other being Joe Mimran, aka JOE Fresh). This season the line was dominated by 80's themes -- bold shoulders, glitzy sequin vest, and cropped jackets. But its not just like any rehashed garments or styles. Pink Tartan has infused it with enough luxury and glam that will make women want to go get it ASAP.

Photography by Angela Y. Martin

Some strong pieces from the collection
- the mini dress - the trench coat - the sequin dress - the "nautical" wrap dress

The third night of fashion week was capped with JOE Fresh, the high style - low price clothing label started by Joseph Mimran. Known as the JOE behind this value priced label, he has managed to make great style affordable to everyone. It was interesting to see how certain pieces from his wife's label Pink Tartan made it over to his collection except that his was priced for much less. On the men's side, true to his own personal style statement, Joe stuck with slim cut trousers, fitted cardigans and blazers.

I spoke with Joe prior to the show to get a better understanding of the brand. "JOE Fresh is about new product, fresh price. That's what I want people to remember." mentioned Joe. As most people know him more for his success with the Club Monaco label, I asked what lesson he took from that chapter in his life and has applied it to Joe Fresh. And he said "Never settle for anything less than the best".

And the best pieces I thought from this season's showing are:
  • For the women, its the use of the light, airy and yellow fabrics in the pleated skirts, oversized shirt dresses, and the shirt/jacket combinations
  • For the guys, yellow nylon jackets, sand colored slim chinos, and the contrast vee sweaters.

Photos by Angela Y. Martin, AYM Photography

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 1 and 2 at LG Fashion far, so great

LG Fashion Week kicked off with quite a spectacle: Holt Renfrew's media reception and Sunny Fong's (Project Runway Canada 2009 Winner) VAWK fashion show . The Art Gallery of Ontario was packed with media, industry and fans of Sunny's work. In talking to Sunny later that evening, he mentioned to me that he chose to be away from the tents primarily "to be different and try something new". He did that as well with his collection.

Sunny Fong, VAWK
Photography by Jenna Marie Wakani

12 amazing pieces grazed the runway each of them with its own unique personality. What struck me the most was use of cut-outs in the gowns and the deep v-necks adorned by ruffles in the blouses. The suiting pieces I think will soon be a staple in every woman's wardrobe.
"The Group of Seven"
Photography by Angela Y. Martin

Following the VAWK show, the lucky few headed over to Holt Renfrew's Bloor Street location for the annual media welcome party. Alongside Canada's fashion elite, there was also a great mix of industry and entertainment representatives. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of Holt Renfrew own "Group of Seven", as Barbara Atkins, VP of Fashion Direction for Holt Renfrew puts it. In the group included Mikhael Kale, Lida Baday, Smythe, Jeremy Laing, Denis Gagnon, Greta Constantine, and Pink Tartan. Also spotted at the party were Joseph Mimran, head honcho for Joe Fresh who I will be meeting this Thursday, and Entertainment Tonight Canada host, Rick Campanelli.

Another big event that day was the 100 years of fashion presentation presented by L'Oreal Paris. As the fashion of today is determined by the fashion of tomorrow, the show was a glimpse to what influences we'll be seeing in the seasons to come. Corsets, flared trousers, bow ties, bubble skirts, the high waist, are some of the "vintage" styles that were presented at the show.

Photography by Steve Alkok for
More images HERE

Day 2 began with Filipino designer Brian Maristela and his label Lizares at 3pm. As most filipinos are known for their ingenuity, Brian presented a spring summer collection dominated by variations of the "barong tagalog", the country's national formal garment made from pineapple fibers. He also combined this with treated linens and cottons for the shorts, pants and jackets, making luxurious ensembles for the guys next season.
Photography by Steve Alkok for

Attention to detail is a trademark for this young designer. The blazer sleeves when rolled give a pop of color to a classic combination of black and white. The embroidery on all the barong's are impeccable. And lastly the use of leather in the lapels of jackets and pant panels was a sexy touch.
Photography by Steve Alkok for

My sense is that Brian and his LIZARES line will hit mainstream soon. It may take some time for the West to adopt the barong as a staple shirt for the Spring and Summer seasons but if its positioned the way it was today, I only see great thing happening for this brand.

Brian Maristela and Lisa Harun for Lizares
Photography by Steve Alkok for
More images HERE

Travis Taddeo followed Lizares with a "french revolution" of a street wear collection. Having talked to Travis the day before, I knew what to expect. Well, sort of. I didn't quite expect the kind of swimsuits women were wearing practically exposing everything from the waist down. But what I did expect was edgy, fashion forward, colorful mens and womens streetwear, and that I got.

Photography by Steve Alkok for

For the men, the collection revolved around oversized t-shirts, ripped skinny or slim jeans and leather swimsuits. Not sure how leather functions in water, but who cares. Rarely does fashion work with function in the real world. One of my favorite pieces was the oversized shirt that had the ink blot print that resembles the letter "T" or is it?
Photography by Steve Alkok for

For the women, there were some pieces that I thought raised a lot of eyebrows in the audience (I saw them), particularly the high cut swimsuits. High cut swimsuits are suppose to make women's legs look longer and hips slimmer. On a skinny model with barely fat to hold up the suit, I thought just didn't do the swimsuit justice.

Photography by Steve Alkok for

Travis made a great effort to revolutionize the little black dress by combining leather and cotton jersey to make form fitting outfits that I'm sure will be a hit at the clubs and at patio parties during the season.

Monsieur Travis Taddeo
Photography by Steve Alkok for
More images HERE

In one of the women's tees, the print said "Children of the Revolution". Travis Taddeo and his collection are definitely that. More to come on my 1-1 interview with Travis.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Canada welcomes the world at LG Fashion Week

Today marks the official start of LG Fashion Week, Canada's premier way of making a mark in the global fashion industry. From Toronto, Canada this week, ISTYLEU will host a variety of designer interviews and cover shows from some of the country's best fashion talent. You will get to read about designers like Sunny Fong, last season's winner of Project Runway Canada, Joe Mimran, the master behind value label Joe Fresh and former owner of the Club Monaco brand, Travis Taddeo, a designer from Montreal whose edgy take on mens and womens wear is pushing the boundaries of the fashion industry and Glen Baxter of Fashion Television, noted as one of Canada's best dressed men to get his take on personal style.

The week will be packed with some great shows and parties. Aside from the ones previously mentioned, I'm also looking forward to seeing the creations from Pink Tartan by Kimberly Newport-Mimran, Lizares by Brian Lizares, Evan Biddell and Jessica Biffi, also graduates of reality TV show, Project Runway Canada.

ISTYLEU readers should look forward to show coverage but also interviews and style tips from Canada's most promising designers and most influential fashion people.

LG Fashion Week is now in full swing!

For more information on LG Fashion Week, go to

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Essentials: Layering Function with Style

Depending on where you are, weather conditions are subject to change more than once during the Fall Winter months. You leave for the office and its pouring rain. You go out for lunch and its overcast. You leave the office for a hot date and it’s windy and cold. Layering is a technique to be learned to battle most if not all of the elements.

This season there are 3 key pieces that every guy should have in their wardrobe. Worn as an ensemble, you can easily transition your look to suit the weather outside.

The Coat

You’ll find this in a host of materials. Most trench coats are made of a lightweight nylon material which makes it great for the rainy winter months. It’s also works well as a wind deflector compared to coats made from wool or cotton. Car and Pea Coats on the other hand are usually made of natural fibers like wool, cashmere, or camel hair. These types of coats are made primarily to keep you warm not necessarily dry. Depending on the weather outside, pick accordingly.

Helmsman Wool Peacoat by Nautica, $248

Double Breasted Trench Coat by INC International Concepts, $169

The Sweater

The V and the Crew neck are common styles in the sweater category. Crew necks project a more casual look, while V necks are dressier. Regardless of neck styles, sweaters can either be made of merino wool, cashmere, silk, cotton, acrylic, or a blend of materials. As this is your first layer, you need to make sure that the fit is close to your body. Not only do bulky sweaters look like they are as size too big for you, they also don’t give enough warmth. Although you don’t want your sweater to be too tight, you want it fitted enough to keep the heat close to your body.

Cashmere V-Neck by J.Crew, $188

Merino Wool Crew Neck Sweater from Banana Republic, $60

The Scarf

This accessory is the final touch to your fall winter ensemble. When it’s cold outside, a good scarf not only keeps your neck warm but can also protect your face from freeze burns. Picking the right scarf really depends on what look you’re going for. The big trend right now is Oversize and Bulk. Now that doesn’t always work. Oversize and Bulk works best for a more casual, weekender look. If you’re in a suit and an overcoat, having big rolls of wool around your neck is out of place in your already streamlined look. Scarves can be flat and made from cashmere, silk, merino wool, acrylic or a blend. Cable knit scarves are usually made from high grade wool or a blend as well.

Cable Knit Scarf from Urban Outfitters, $28

John W. Nordstrom Cashmere Scarf by Nordstroms, $89.50

Dressing for fall and winter is all about layering, playing with color and working with textures. Understanding how each of your pieces complement each other in terms of function and look will add more dimension to your wardrobe. It will also create a great balance of warmth and good style.