INDIGO PLANET: Recycled Denim Installation
Denim Mecca Teams Up with Toronto Artist for Nuit Blanche
September 24 2008 -Toronto -Fresh off her visit to Fashion Week in New York City, Toronto-based fashion illustrator Danielle Meder will create her denim world vision at beloved denim retailer Over the Rainbow (OTR) for this year’s Nuit Blanche event.
A mecca for trendsetters, tastemakers, families and celebrities, Over the Rainbow continues to be Toronto’s #1 denim destination. From 8 PM until midnight on Saturday, October 4th, Nuit Blanche crowds will shop and see Meder’s installation first hand. The artist will also be on hand sketching shoppers and passersby at 101 Yorkville. The innovative art installation explores the tactile qualities of the Earth through various types of fabric manipulation, including smocking, bleaching, and distressing.
“Indigo Planet is inspired by the parallels and contrasts between the clothing we wear and the planet we live on,” says Meder. “The working and overworking of the fabric explores the effects that humans create on their environments; as we wear them out with use. Mapping out this project, I am drawn to the profound need which leads us to destroy what we love, and the perverse beauty of damage.”
Meder, a well-known fashion blogger with a mini cult-following has just launched her namesake website, www.daniellemeder.com, which showcases her professional work as an up-and-coming fashion illustrator. Her editorial illustrations have been featured in The National Post and NOW Magazine and most recently she is the recipient of an international design competition award for Doc Martens.
“It’s important for us to be involved with our community,” says Joel Carman, also a member of the local Yorkville BIA, “We support charity through our events and contests and loved the idea of being a part of Toronto’s cultural scene.” OTR’s community support reaches organizations like The Hugh McMillan Foundation, Big Brothers and Sisters of Toronto and many more over the years.
Staying on top of the ever-growing denim market is what makes Over the Rainbow unique amongst a sea of massive cookie-cutter retailers. Top fashion brands, superior denim lines, up-to-the-minute accessories, and friendly knowledgeable staff to support every style whim for their clients. With 32 years at their 101 Yorkville Avenue location, Over the Rainbow continues to deliver fresh style to Toronto’s premium denim lovers.
OVER THE RAINBOW FASHION BLOG: Features daily updates about new arrivals, press hits, special events, in-store features and weekly fashion columns. “OVER THE RAINBOW JEANS” FACEBOOK GROUP: Weekly updates about new product, photos, and event information to all its exclusive members. SUPERJOEL FACEBOOK PROFILE: An homage to the denim hero of Yorkville, Joel Carman. Getting on his friends list means exclusive updates on celebrity visits, product photos and events.
After listening to Derek McCormack criticize Valerie Steele’s Gothic: Dark Glamour in person at ILORI and then on Q, the radio show, I was prepared to tear apart his book, The Show that Smells, and avenge my fashion hero. I am kidding. He is a professional contrarion so it is his job to turn discussions into debates – and I am just a dilettante who likes talking about dresses.
Fact is, I am way too busy right now to be doing a review, plus its way to early to do The Late Review. He has not even had his book launch yet – it is happening on October 2. Yet I read it already despite myself.
Thanks to Nathalie Atkinson (who is enabling my fashion book habit these days), I had an advance copy of McCormack’s book in my hands at Louisa McCormack‘s launch event for her new book The Catch. (That event is going to get its own post soon.) I forgot to ask if the two authors are related. They certainly are both clever characters with a talent for radio show-worthy repartee.
The Show that Smells is a lean little book which I was able to read on a couple slow trips on the Queen streetcar. I do not know what genre it is. It is like a Busby Berkeley dance routine of a book, full of palindromes, punctuation, and perfumery ephemera.
Whatever it is, I liked it. This is flash for fashion nerds – all obscure jargon, fashion history factoids, and literary conceits telling an absurd, macabre carnival kitsch story. Delightful.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Toronto Fashion Incubator press breakfast. It was a chance to preview Spring 2009 and meet the designers. Executive Director Susan Langdon also had a very special announcement – the TFI will be expanding to fill the entire MUSIC building!
There was so many clothing and accessory designers showing off their proposals for spring, and I got a lot of ideas for Lucinda at Rags and Mags (she is especially taken with Jessica Jensen‘s sophisticated handbags).
FASHION Magazine has announced the winners of the Reporter Search. Even though my favourites did not win, I checked out the posts and am very pleased by the quality of representation across the country. I am especially pleased for Connie who is blogging in Toronto.
I would follow to these blogs and the other blogs on the FASHION website… if they published RSS feeds! Without a way to subscribe, I can only catch up on these things when I happen to remember and have time… which is not often enough. A little reminder when new posts come up, in my feed reader of choice, would be much appreciated.
Valerie Steele came to Toronto again to launch her new book Gothic: Dark Glamour at ILORI. I have met her twice before and had not been able to get over my fan-girl nerves. I have read almost every one of her books while I was a fashion student and consider her one of my fashion heroes. I have visited FIT to see her exhibits every time I have been in New York City. I did see the Gothic exhibit in New York earlier this month (with Philip and Gilda) and was, as always, wonderfully impressed with her work. In person she is enthusiastic, friendly and now that I have finally relaxed a little – easy to talk to.
I asked her what inspires her to select her next project. She told me and Adeleine (who took this photograph and is also an incredible person to meet) that she tries to anticipate what fashion’s next focus will be. While she was working on Dark Glamour, she attended this Dior Haute Couture show. John Galliano’s designs struck so close to the themes she was exploring, she was hopping up and down in her seat. In fashion there is no greater validation than seeing your instinct for what is next come down the runway.
What infectious joy for fashion her work inspires in me! I look forward to seeing Valerie Steele’s upcoming exhibits, and seeing her in person again.
The September edition of The Clothing Show is next weekend. It is a shopping extravaganza of vintage, sample sales, and indie designer clothing and accessories here in Toronto. This year they are also producing fashion shows to watch.
I have three pairs of tickets to give away. If you would like some free tickets, please leave a comment with your real email address and name, and please tell me which booth you are most excited to visit. First come first serve.
If you have been following the blog you may remember my ongoing petition to get all of you to vote for my entry in the Dr. Martens design competition. Back in July, my boot got totally stomped all over by those who were able to rally forums support, and I gave up and forgot about the competition for a while.
The good news is that my boot has been picked as the Panel Winner! It feels incredible to be selected out of over 12000 entries by a panel of very cool UK design and art professionals. Yes, this means that the boot will be manufactured and sold – watch this space for updates.
Thank you Dr. Martens, and thank you to everyone who supported my boot. I am very happy.
Tuesday I got up bright and early to go see Jeremy Laing‘s show. I ran into Tommy Ton and Saneeta again, and scoped out the “Canadian Mafia” who were out in full force – Jeanny Beker, Bernadette Morra, and Barbara Atkin were all in attendance.
Jeremy Laing’s Spring collection was incredible – inspired by post-modern slashed canvases, Laing took his signature of collapsed geometry and slashed it – vertically, diagonally, horizontally. Some single slashes in transparent chiffon over swarovski-studded satins. Some multiple slashes created mesh effects, layered. Even with all the layers and raw edges, it was still intricate, minimal, and chic. He is a designer’s designer – he can rotate a dart like a master, and there is a lot of pleasure in looking at his clothes and imagining the patterns. Having seen three collections in a row, I am so excited to see his ideas develop. His confidence in his own identity is inspiring and his work is a pleasure to draw.
After leaving Bumble & Bumble, it was threatening rain. I walked up Eighth Avenue, picked up a bagel, and dipped into the Subway just as it was starting to spit. By the time I popped back out at Bryant Park it was raining full force. I managed to get into the tents fairly dry, but I was wearing sandals, so my feet were damp the rest of the day. New York is extremely hard on your feet. I am used to walking everywhere, but after four days in New York my feet were killing me.
I sat down in the Office Max booth inside the tents to listen to the rain on the tent roof, watch the fairly quiet mid-day crowd ebb and flow, drinking a complimentary cappucino and reading WWD. I checked my email and received a nice gift bag with an expanding file and a rubber band ball that all the fashion people around me found delightful.
By the by, Philip came by an we went to the New York Public Library for a little bit of research. The library is incredibly grand, with soaring ceilings, marble everywhere, and it smells, oddly, like chocolate and bananas.
Following that we walked over to Parsons to meet Queen Gilda. She is just as adorable in person as she is on her blog – she had on a jacket by Undercover and bifurcated boots. (Jason reminded me they are called Tabi boots.) She insisted there was nothing to see at Parsons’ fashion school but indulged us with a tour anyway. It is a surprisingly small school, with narrow hallways and tiny rooms. One section of the building is completely blocked off, because they were filming Project Runway. Its all very hush-hush but of course the students get to see who is still in the show when they go outside to smoke.
Then Philip, Gilda and I went down to FIT to check out the amazing Gothic: Dark Glamour exhibit curated by Valerie Steele. The pieces were both historical and contemporary – including an outfit by Toronto’s own Plastik Wrap. In particular I was amazed by the Alexander McQueen and Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy pieces – and many of the pieces had an inexplicable quality. How did they make such incredible things?
Going back to the tents, I got in line for standing room at Vivienne Tam. I texted Julie of Almost Girl and Coutorture to let her know I was there, and she scooped me out of the line, threw a backstage pass around my neck, and we stepped into the back of the tent, where models were getting their hair done and giving interviews. For the show, we sat in the second row, directly behind Serena Williams who was fresh from winning the Open. Very cool. Thanks Julie!
I think my sketching warms up over the week, and I got a lot of good drawings at Vivienne Tam –
After the show, Julie and I went to Atomic Wings for dinner and chatted about fashion, politics, fashion blogging over the years and whether it takes energy to be nice or not. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we disagree, and the conversation is always interesting with Julie. Fashion week is a stressful time for her so I was glad that Julie took some time out to hang out. We went to the Vivienne Tam after party (walking past the much more intense Prada party) but we were both too exhausted to finish our champagne. So we said goodnight.
On the last day, I got up early, again. I went to see Cho Cheng at the library, which was almost empty. It had many short skirt suits with every possible kind of collar, and poofy wedding dresses. I was still tired, and it was not really my thing, but I was in for a treat when Carmen Dell’Orefice came out at the end and I was too mesmerized to even remember I was holding a pencil.
I went for a last brunch at Cafe Henri, packed up my things, and got on the bus for an excruciating 12 hour bus ride with many many stops and transfers. I am still recovering, but as you can see it was well worth the effort. I love New York, and fashion week never fails to inspire me.
With a triple-checked itinerary, I made my wayback to Manhattan to meet up with one of my dedicated readers – Barry – to check out the Abi Ferrin show. The designer comes from Texas and showed a series of shiny satin clubwear-type pieces mixed with jeans on considerably tanned models. Not my cup of tea or Barry’s either, but I got a few good sketches out of it, including this one.
(Illustrator’s note: For the Maticevski show, I felt like I kind of ruined the original pencil sketches when I went in afterwards with ink. Something about the moment captured in a few quick lines is so much more exciting to me than going over the originals again later – so the rest of the show sketches I’ve left in the raw, as they were at the moment the model walked by.)
After a nice lunch with Barry I went to the tents to stand in line for an hour and ten minutes to get my free limited-edition Havianas – flip flops. Yes, I felt a bit silly but the edge was definitely taken off by the strong vodka cocktails we were downing thanks to the Blackberry booth. Swag-ho-licious.
That evening, I went and had dinner with Truc, who works (and blogs) at Teen Vogue. She was on her way to William Rast which had me a bit jealous – I’m a big fan of Justin Timberlake. Then I went back to Joi’s to crash.
Monday, I got up early again – this time to go see Twinkle. A friend from school – Joanna – is Wenlan’s design assistant so I got to sit with some friends from school. It was, as always, really sweet – beehive hairdos, blue and black prints, and soft cropped pants with long rises.
At the same time, John and Philip were being sketched by a man named Richard Haines who is doing sort of the same thing I’m doing right now – live sketching at the tents, and posting it on his blog, What I Saw Today. He captured my friends really well.
Mercedes Benz Gift Bag in hand, Philip and I went to lunch at the Bryant Park Cafe on the rooftop terrace, overlooking the model entrance to the tents. We saw Gemma Ward and Lily Donaldson, Tim Blanks, The Sartorialist, and Caroline Herrera among the many people coming and going. Fun people watching.
Then we went to meet Joanna, Rowena and Mary Helen – girls I went to school with who now work in the fashion industry in New York. The economy is being hard on the fashion biz though – in the last year, both Row and Mary Helen’s employers have gone out of business.
After ice cream in the park, we popped into Club Monaco for some shopping-on-speed. Thanks to the good judgement of my friends, I walked out with a new jacket and a little black dress.
Running out of Club Monaco, I ran towards a dessert place to meet a potential client, Alexandra of Esculon Jewelry. She’s just started a new blog on her own site as well as one on Savor the Success, a networking site for entrepreneurs. We talked shop, blogging, and indulged in some really decadent chocolate desserts.
Full of chocolate, I went back to the tents to try standing in line for Ports 1961 with Philip. It became pretty apparent that the standing room line was moving nowhere though, so we took our vodka cocktails outside and talked about the dire state of the economy over the complimentary copy of Fortune. After that we went to a party for Nigel Barker at Bloomingdales in Soho. There we didn’t see Barker or any photographs – it was pretty much just a party with free gin. That was it for us – after a late dinner we called it a night.
The best thing about New York is having a nice place to stay – and I am lucky enough to stay with the crafty and cute Joi of Stereoette. She’s a lawyer by day (and sometimes by night and weekend) so she doesn’t always have time to hang out.
I was so glad to be able to enjoy scrambled eggs with pesto and ham with her. We had a leisurely Sunday brunch, and I managed to sketch her before she finished her hash browns. Thanks Joi for your generous hospitality, for letting me use your laptop, and your hilarious Full Frontal Fashion commentary.