Auntie Fashion

I’m the fashion world’s most-enduring muse.

Archive for March 2009

Expand Your Fashion Vocabulary #30

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lamb

Lamb

Astrakhan: The fur of newborn or fetal lambs, known for its tightly curled and ridged appearance.  The name “astrakhan” replaced the name “Persian lamb” in order to market the hide to consumers who were unaware of the material’s origin.  For some reason, the notion of killing a baby animal seems more repulsive than killing its mother.

In my opinion, you might as well wear veal.

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March 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm

You ought to . . .

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diana-vreeland

. . . show everyone that only the ill-bred need to choose by carrying a Birkin bag in one hand and a Kelly in the other.

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March 24, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Posted in You ought to . . .

I adore Nathalie Atkinson and washable clothes . . .

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nathalie-atkinson

Nathalie Atkinson

Here’s a photo of the National Post’s Nathalie Atkinson from the Toronto Street Fashion blog.  I’ve always liked Nathalie a lot.  Like me, she conceals a rather pragmatic streak behind a fascination with all things fabulous.  I never get the idea that she’s becoming jaded by fashion.

This morning I read Nathalie’s review of Linda Lundstrom’s show on the CanWest Global syndicate where she not only put the line into a personal and historical context, but she also mentioned that most of the garments the designer showed were washable.

Despite my frequent excursions into the captivating world inside my head, I tend to think of fashion in fairly practical terms.  I’m the sort of girl who reads the care instruction labels on clothing before I look at the price tags.  I don’t like to buy crap, and I don’t like to spend a lot of money on dry cleaning.

For that reason it was refreshing to actually read an interesting review of a collection that still alluded to my practical concerns.  I was already impressed by Linda Lundstrom’s return to the runway, but I’m even more intrigued by the label now that I know it’s mostly washable.

It’s funny how a single word can change my perception of a brand.  I’m going to give Lundstrom a second look, thanks to Nathalie Atkinson.  A job well done, ladies.

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March 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Posted in I Adore...

Happy Birthday, Bob Mackie

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bob-mackie

Bob Mackie

Happy birthday, Bob Mackie.  Even if you had done nothing else in your career besides designing Carol Burnett’s curtain-rod dress, I would still worship the ground you walk on.  You’ve always made women look gorgeous.

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March 24, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Posted in Fashionably Old

In Fashion

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glenn-baxter1

Glenn Baxter

My typical Sunday routine consists of a leisurely breakfast and a little blogging followed by a long session at the gym.  Lately I get back home just to catch In Fashion and Fashion Television.  Like the other things I do, watching the shows at that time has become a beloved part of my routine.

Yesterday I made it home just in time to catch In Fashion’s Toronto Fashion Week special.  While you can still smell the alcohol fumes on half of the city’s champagne-swilling beautiful people, IF has already produced and aired a decent recap of the event.

Watching the runway shows on television is a treat.  A computer screen just doesn’t do justice to some of the collections.  Thankfully, the people at Fashion Television understand how important it is to deliver footage to their audience almost instantaneously.

My only criticism of the TV show is the lack of negative reviews from the trenches.  The best thing about Tim Blanks’ Fashion File was the fearlessness of the host and his cast of characters backstage who offered honest opinions after the shows.  There’s just not enough of that in fashion lately.  I don’t believe that everyone in Canada is scared of giving an honest review, but I do believe that the people at In Fashion and Fashion Television like to candy coat their footage a little too much.  I want to hear Godfrey Deeny’s catty quips and the backhanded slaps of Hilary Alexander.

There needs to be a little more honesty in the coverage of Toronto Fashion Week.  Consider it constructive criticism.  A bad review every now and then will only make designers work harder to earn positive reviews in the future.

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March 23, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Fashion Television

Happy Birthday, Yasmeen Ghauri

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yasmeen-ghauri

Yasmeen Ghauri

Happy birthday, Yasmeen Ghauri.  I know your birthday isn’t a national holiday in Canada yet, but it should be.  I’m taking a sick day just to get the ball rolling.

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March 23, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Posted in Fashionably Old

Beverly Johnson

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beverly-johnson

Beverly Johnson

Beverly Johnson’s main claim to fame is her 1974 Vogue cover.  As the first African-American woman to grace the face of the magazine, Johnson is considered to be a trailblazer in the industry.  Five-hundred covers later, Johnson still can be seen acting, appearing on reality shows and hawking her successful wig collection.

In a recent interview, Johnson admitted that “I was always amazed at the actual influence that models have on the market and the consumer.”  It was this sort of self-awareness that separated Johnson from the pack and earned her the designation “the first black supermodel.”  Intelligent, articulate and professional, she became a household name in many households that had never known what it was like to be included in the glamorous world of high fashion.

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March 22, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Happy Birthday, William Shatner

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william-shatner

William Shatner

Happy birthday, William Shatner.  Although I have a thing for starship captains, your humanity sort of irks me.  I’d rather marry a Romulan.

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March 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Fashionably Old

Season of the Dead

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pink-tartan

Pink Tartan

I’m a vegetarian.  I have been for as long as I can remember.  I’m also a big animal lover.  If I could talk to the animals, they’d know that I’d rather see their fur on their own backs.

Still, I’m not really the paint-throwing, PETA type.  I admire those people, but protest isn’t really my bag.  I try to live according to my ideals instead of paying lip service to an ideology.  I’m also not the kind of person who would tell you that it’s wrong to wear fur.  People make their own decisions, and if there’s any reason to expect Karmic repercussions for selfish behavior, they’ll have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

And perhaps there will be consequences after the F/W 2009 shows.  Leather and fur were everywhere this season — even at Toronto Fashion Week.  I don’t know if the fur coat pictured on the Pink Tartan runway was real, but the leather pants probably are.

With technology presenting us with so many options to look good and feel comfortable, why are we still using the pelts of dead animals in the name of fashion? 

Every other industry in the world is attempting to go green (for the sake of public relations, if nothing else), including many manufacturers of textiles.  But high-end fashion doesn’t seem to care, and their continued reliance on leather proves that. 

If you really want to know more about the environmental cost of leather, just Google “Ranipet, India.”  It made me think twice about what I wear, even when I had been told that the leather industry could never use as much cowhide as the meat industry produced.

Now I hope that the bamboo industry hasn’t hyped up the new “miracle fabric” without doing adequate research.  I’d like to know that what I’m wearing on my back isn’t wearing on someone else’s lifespan.

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March 21, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Supermodelfragilisticexpialidocious

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vogue-uk-march-1991

Vogue UK March 1991

Welcome to Supermodelfragilisticexpialidocious, the newest feature on my blog.  Everyone knows I love supermodels as much as love educating many of you plebes about the history of fashion.  I’ll use this category to discuss my favorite models and to let you know why they were so important to the era in which they worked.

First up it’s Karen Mulder.  Mulder was essentially the lady-in-waiting of the supermodel epoch.  There were another half-dozen girls who were such big celebrities at the time that no one really paid attention to the Dutch beauty — except the designers and the editors, that is.  She was everywhere during the 90s, and her resume is padded with credentials that most models can only dream of possessing.

If there was one particular reason that Mulder didn’t become a household name it was the fact that she was a bit of a throwback to the era that preceded the age of Linda, Christy, Naomi, Cindy and Tatjana.  Blue-eyed, blonde goddesses were yesterday’s news by the time Mulder was working the runway.  But she proved that you can’t keep a good model down.  With a face that could never go out of style, Mulder not only forged a path for herself, but also for those other girls who are just too pretty to make it to the top.  Doutzen Kroes owes her everything.

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March 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm