Flare Report Archives - February 2008

The FLARE Report

Flare Report Archives
February 2008

Liz Cabral
Liz Cabral blogs from Paris

Day 1: Balmain & AF Vandervorst
Day 2: Maison Martin Margiela & Yohji Yamamoto
Day 3: Tsumori Chisato | Victor and Rolf | Issey Miyake | Jean Paul Gaultier
Day 4: Lagerfeld | Andrew Gn | Emanuel Ungaro | Costume National | Dries Van Noten | Hussein Chalayan
Day 5: Stella McCartney | Barbara Bui | Comme des Garcon | Celine | Yves Saint Laurent
Day 6: Chanel | Sonia Rykiel | Balenciaga | McQueen
Day 7: Elie Saab | Chloe | Pierre Hardy | Hermes | John Galliano
Day 8: Nina Ricci | Louis Vuitton | Lanvin


Paris Fashion Week: Day 8

It’s the final day of Paris Fashion Week and they’ve saved the best for last.

My morning started at Nina Ricci where industry darling Olivier Theyskens showed a beautiful collection that looked to be inspired by the fall colours and the changing of the leaves but in fact, he said he was “thinking of things in the attic”. His references are always so abstract but his clothes so feminine. Baggy tapered ankle pants, jackets with slouchy but structured jackets—think your boyfriend’s blazer—and of course his signature evening gowns.

Next it was off to Louis Vuitton where the hype was that the show was to start on time. Sophia Coppola, Kanye, and Lee Radziwill sat front row. At approx. 20 minutes after the hour Marc Jacobs came on to the runway and yelled, “we’d like to start the show, take your seats!” This is of course, all in reaction to his infamous two-hour delay last season, and created a huge frenzy. All the fashion folk looked like scrambling ants. Modernism or futurism was the theme. A surreal set of all white and futuristic platforms where the models exited set the tone as did the electronic music. The clothes were all about shape and form and exaggeration. Graphic bold jewellery—necklaces are THE must-have, and hats that were surrealist and minimalist. The palette though was light and airy, almost pastel, which was a modern contradiction to the minimalist shapes.

Finally, Lanvin! This is THE hot ticket and I just squeezed in with a standing ticket. With a birds eye view I could see the signature airy silhouettes, craftsman pleating, the feeling is discreet sexiness. It was a sea of black and navy with a few metallic sparkly finale dresses. Again, necklaces were the statement and navy shoes. Simply beautiful. Alber does it again.

Well stylistas, that’s all for now. Until next season….stay fashionable!



Paris Fashion Week: Day 7

It’s Saturday and we’re in the home stretch of Paris Fashion Week. Today was a busy day starting with Elie Saab—a glamourous designer best known for his red carpet eveningwear.

Photography by Anthea Simms

Then I was off to Chloe where the collection felt modern but with a serious feminine twist. There was a bit of embellishment which was a rare sighting this week. Sculpted heels were still the rage but what’s looking new is the pointed toe (pictured).

Next I was off to do a quick showroom visit at one of my favourite shoe designers, Pierre Hardy. I adore his shoes and bags for the modern and non-fussy look. Again, pointed toes—I guess that’s the new must-have. He did these great boots with long goat hair, furry feet never looked so chic. Lots of cut-outs and the peep toe bootie is still going strong. I’m loving all the navy shoes out there too, a great alternative to black.

Next it was time for Hermes where a Persian carpet runner ran the entire length of the runway—at least a few hundred feet—without any seams. Now that’s luxury. If you’re looking for lifetime classics look no further than this chic label where the fabrications are uber luxe and the looks understated French chic. Fabulous coats, wrap skirts and Moroccan-inspired prints were on display as were fabulous leather bags.

Finally, the last show of the day: John Galliano. I was excited to see this fashion genius in action but not thrilled with the 45 minute subway ride to get there. The show was at the outskirts of the city but it was worth the trek. Galliano is known for his theatrical runway presentations and this one didn’t disappoint. There was an elaborate set inspired by ancient Thai with ponds and Buddhist fountains, lanterns, birds— the works, and the invitation referenced Xanadu. I guess that’s where we were supposed to be?

After an hour and twenty minute wait, the models came out in full character and over the top hair and makeup that have become synonymous with Galliano. The clothes were eclectic, grand and feminine with sculpted coats, floral prints and killer heels. It was so inspiring I was coming up with shoot ideas on the spot. Celeb sightings were Lucy Liu, Ashley Olsen, Kanye West of course, and Rihanna—who’s song “Don’t Stop The Music” played on the sound system.

Ten o’clock and I can finally grab a bite to eat and hit the sack.



Paris Fashion Week: Day 6

I started the day at Chanel. The invitation should have been an indication as to what to expect. Gold emblems of the Chanel classics: a jacket, bag, shoe, etc. As you entered the Grand Palais you could see the beautiful set of a Chanel carousel. Instead of horses, there were giant sized versions of the jacket, bag, and shoes from the invite. It was a lovely show that was quintessentially Chanel: great tweed suits, LBD’s and great shoes. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were sitting right in front of me—both so tiny and hard to tell apart. They get a lot of flack for their “kooky” style but I think they’re innovative dressers with excellent taste in clothes.

Sonia Rykiel was my next show. I always look forward to this show because it’s guaranteed to be a good collection with colourful knits, smiling models and upbeat music. The show finale had every girl dressed in sequins and sparkles, dancing and jumping down the runway to The Beatles “Revolution”.

Paris Fashion Week

Then it was off to the Balenciaga showroom for a closer look at the collection. Nicholas Ghesquière is a fashion genius, always moving forward leaving him leaps and bounds ahead of other designers in creativity. Structure and shape are his key elements, fusing pieces with stiff neoprene like fabrics on the inside. The most drop dead gorgeous dresses made of latex with Japanese prints on them are bound to be museum pieces one day. Pointy toe shoes made a comeback as did sparkling costume jewellery.

Quick stop at my favourite sweet spot, La Duree for French macaroons and then its back to the hotel for a quick rest before McQueen.

McQueen‘s show was themed “The girl who sat in a tree”. This gave away little of the shows real theme of royal worthy 19th century inspired dresses. A truly beautiful show, you could picture the King and Queens court wearing these dramatic pieces hundreds of years ago. Gold encrusted velvet dresses, draping, corsets, etc. It was all there.


Photography by Anthea Simms


Paris Fashion Week: Day 5

Today’s been another whirlwind day. I was off to an early start at Stella McCartney where Kanye West and his fiancée sat across the runway from me. I loved the collection full of super chunky knit coats and floaty peasant like dresses. It was very soft and feminine.

Stella McCartney Fall/Winter 2008
Stella McCartney Fall/Winter 2008

My favourite pieces were those in floral printed thick felted wool—so cozy. You can see why women love her, she makes fashion look comfortable. And it’s animal friendly to boot.

After that I raced over to Valentino where Alessandra Facchinetti was making her debut at the historical house. How mad was I to be told when I got there that they were not allowing ANY standing in the show. Of course, I had a standing ticket, which means exactly that. When they can’t accommodate you with an actual seat you have stand and watch the show. This often happens in Paris as they are notorious for prioritizing French press over foreign. That was very frustrating.

Anyway, I got over that in a few minutes and made my way over to the Louvre for Barbara Bui show. I’m a big fan of her shoes.

LOW: After that I was off to the Comme des Garcon showroom in Place Vendome for a re-see. In other words, we couldn’t get a ticket to the show so we go to the showroom to have a look. The collection was based on “bad taste”—isn’t that funny. The loud kiss and heart cut-outs on bright pink jackets were Rei Kawakubo’s take on cheesy. Kawakubo is a fashion intellectual who doesn’t believe in designing just pretty clothes. This Japanese designer can always be relied upon for creating the most avant garde looks.

Over to Celine to get a glimpse of French luxury and then a little break before tonight’s Sophia Kokosalaki and YSL shows.

HIGH: I absolutely loved the Yves Saint Laurent collection. Held at the Grand Palais, the set was created from a huge white tent that looked like something out of a circus. From the minute the first model walked out in her black bowl cut, black lips and stellar outfit, I knew it would be a good show. An LCD sound system played while girl after girl in the same hair and makeup exited.

Yves Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2008
Yves Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2008

They looked a bit like androids. Full of graphic and sculptural shapes, this is a collection that felt thoroughly new and modern. Like nothing we’d ever seen before which can be an impossible task in the world of fashion where trends are constantly recycled and jaded fashion folk have seen it all. Underneath the hair and makeup and styling there were countless wearable pieces: generously shaped coats, menswear jackets, beautiful dresses. Oh and the shoes! Not so wearable but fun to look at, 6-inch skinny heels set on a hidden platform. Loved every bit of it!

Best celebrity sighting: Julianne Moore who gave Stefano a standing O.


Photography by Anthea Simms


Paris Fashion Week: Day 4

The first couple of days were quiet, but the pace has quickly picked up and my schedule is jam packed today. It was an early start with Lagerfeld by Karl Lagerfeld. The models were outfitted in men’s inspired looks—bow ties and all. It appeared that Karl borrowed a styling technique from Givenchy’s costumes in Funny Face showing double bow ties.

At Andrew Gn, it was all luxe fabrics and baroque touches. Four very grand crystal chandeliers set the tone. The show is growing. I remember coming three years ago and it was half the size and no major editors.

From Andrew Gn I was off to Emanuel Ungaro where relative newcomer and very young designer Esteban Cortazar put out a very lovely collection. Fluid and light with flowing dresses and nomadic-like layers. The nomad theme seems to be an emerging trend this week.

Costume National bucked any trends this season and showed a minimalistic, futurist approach.

Running late for one of my absolute favourites, Dries Van Noten, I made a b-line to the metro. Not an easy feat when you’re in 3-inch heels! I absolutely loved the Dries Van Noten collection. Full of life and colour, he brought forward his busy and eclectic prints but this time they had a more abstract quality. Layers of light and sheer clothes—think jackets over dresses over pants. This sealed the nomadic vibe in Paris. Brightly coloured furs and necklaces made of stringed bangle bracelets were perfect finishing touches.

Ok, time for a very late lunch and then time to get ready for Hussein Chalayan. Hussein’s runway was painted in huge white brushstrokes that came alive under black light. He’s teamed up with Swarovski this season so his collection tied in to crystals, evident in crystal print on dresses and huge rock crystal necklaces. This collection had the usual Chalayan architecture and futuristic silhouettes but no bells and whistles as far as his morphing technology microchip dresses. Perhaps that chapter’s closed.

That does it for shows. I’m off to a dinner with Canadians in Paris. Newly relocated stylist Laura Minquini has organized a dinner with a few expats, editors and designer Jeremy Laing who is in town selling his collection.



Paris Fashion Week: Day 3

I’m starting my show day with a lesser known designer, Tsumori Chisato. True to its Japanese roots this show is colourful and quirky. I love the invitation – a fun blow up figure that changes its color or pattern every season.

After a quick lunch I’m off to Victor and Rolf. This kooky duo is always a must have ticket and can be relied upon to put on a theatrical show. My favourite V&R moment was the “I love you” collection a couple of years ago where chanteuse Tori Amos sang. Today the theme was “just say no” and “dream on” which were emblazoned on most of the outfits. One jacket had a three-dimensional “dream” incorporated from shoulder to shoulder. Not sure what the message behind those few words really was but underneath all of that were beautifully constructed clothes. Shapes of coats and dresses mimicked upside down tulips—a silhouette that is familiar to VandR.

I’m off to Issey Miyake and then Jean Paul Gaultier. I’ll report back in a bit.

I’m sitting at the Jean Paul Gaultier show admiring all of the seat attendants in their JPG stripe boatneck sweaters—so French and so chic. Gaultier is a French fashion icon and I always look forward to this show. It’s fun and whether you like the clothes or not, it’s always full of personality.

I get a kick out of seeing all these international fashion press under the same roof. You can spot the cliques just by looking at them: the French Vogue crew are fashionably dishevelled in that laissez faire way. The American editors are always polished in head to toe season must haves with blow outs, and the Italians usually sharp in black. Except for Anna Piaggi from Italian Vogue, who stood out today from a sea of black by wearing head to toe neon pink, fuchsia and orange. Maverick but at the same time refreshing.

The show is about to start. I’ll fill you in shortly…

At the Jean Paul Gaultier show, Catherine Deneuve slipped in right before the lights went out. Picture this: darkness, the eerie sound of clicking shoes and howling dogs. Model Coco Rocha is at the start of the runway her back to us and suddenly turns dramatically as a familiar beat comes over the sound system—Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”! She chuckled a bit; I guess she found it as funny as I did.

It seems JPG’s animal instincts took over him. Zebra prints and savaged furs were the running theme. This was a lush collection with lots of texture and some very wearable pieces. If this show and Rick Owens are any indication, it appears that the chic savage is again a trend.

I’ve got one more show tonight, Veronique Branquinho and then its time for another late dinner and bed. Tomorrow’s looking to be a very busy day. Until then!



Paris Fashion Week: Day 2

My show day isn’t really getting started until late this afternoon, so after a latte and croissant—breakfast of champions in Paris—I decide to head over to style mecca, Colette. On the Rue St Honoré, this store has become an international outpost for all things cool. It’s completely jammed during fashion week as international press and stylistas flock to see what the newest fashion labels, CD’s, tech gadgets and books are. It’s great fun to look and very inspiring, but with the Euro exchange rate I most often walk out empty handed. Although I leave with something priceless—ideas! Check out the store’s site

Strolling the streets of Paris never gets old and the people-watching alone is great. After hopping in to a few more shops, I head back to the hotel for a late lunch and to get ready for my first show, Maison Martin Margiela.

The fashion recluse—no one knows what Mr. Margiela himself looks like—has kept an anonymous profile for years and never takes a bow at his shows. He is one of the industry’s most forward-thinking minds. His clothes don’t revolve around trends. His signature look is more intellectual and quirky. Last fall he showed shoulder padded jackets that stretched out as far a footballer—not practical but certainly conversational. The show is all the way in Bercy at the Omnisport Stadium, a 25 minute subway ride away from central Paris. This location is also a favourite of Alexander McQueen but it’s certainly not convenient. If there’s one thing I detest about fashion week, it’s when designers send you out to the far stretches of suburban Paris or the gritty scary streets of New York. Fashion is certainly not for lightweights. Must change in to my show best, will fill you in after the show.

At the Maison Martin Margiela show all the staff are running around in white lab coats—staff at his shops wear these too. I guess Mr. Margiela considers fashion a science? It’s a jam packed show and Kanye West is here making his ready-to-wear show rounds. He was mistakenly waiting in the “standing” line (where those with no seats are sent). Strangely, no one recognized or rescued him for some time! This show was full of 80’s influences with leopard, zippers, flowing one shouldered silhouettes. Web-like knits and exaggerated collars were the most dramatic touches.

It’s now time for Yohji Yamamoto where I’m crushed at the door. I don’t know why people bother pushing—we’re all getting inside only to wait an hour for the show. So unfashionable! After that dramatic entrance, thankfully the show was one of Yamamoto’s best in recent seasons. It felt more European than it ever has with heavy wool and tweed fabrics. But of course there are the signature Japanese influences: exaggerated silhouettes and black palette. The show finale is a group of five girls showcasing bags that Yamamoto has designed for Hermes.

Time for a very late dinner and then bed.



Paris Fashion Week: Day 1

It’s Sunday, February 24 and I’m back in Paris for the Fall/Winter 2008/09 shows. Hard to believe it’s already been a year since I’ve been here.

It’s been a long day—those overnight Europe flights are a killer and if you’re like me, you don’t sleep on the plane. With less than four hours of zzz’s, I’m off to my first show, Balmain.

Photo by Anthea Simms

I’m excited to see what is in store for us this season. The haute boho 70’s vibe last season was a hit, especially since Kate Hudson wore a gown to the SAG awards. Well, the light and airy boho is gone—instead a much more rock’n’roll 80’s vibe is happening with bright colours and sharp lines (pictured). I’m sure this is an indication of what’s to come this week.

I grab a quick bite at Cafe Ruc, a tourist spot for its great location across from the Louvre. The service is very French, translation: ignore the foreign girl with limited French vocab.

And then I’m off to my second and last show of the day, AF Vandervorst. This label was popular in the 90’s when Belgian fashion was hitting the spotlight, but it’s since dwindled in popularity. Typical chunky knits and layers were the theme.

It’s near 10 pm Paris time, so it’s back to the hotel for me—I’m dying to get some sleep. Until tomorrow!


Tammy Palmer
Tammy Palmer blogs from Milan
Day 1: No luggage

Day 2: 7 shows, one exhibit and 3 showroom appts

Day 3: Birds of a feather

Day 4: Market day

Day 5: Final day


Milan Fashion Week: Day 5

Patrick Dempsey. End of story. I hear he’s going to be at Versace and we girls can’t wait. The final day of A-list shows in Milan and I gotta tell ya, I’m quite relieved. It’s a trio of shows at the Feira (the main ‘tent’ for the shows) this AM and then a spattering about town. We head to DSquared2, MaxMara and then Pucci. This is where I start thinking about the major trends of the week and what’s been cemented. I”m loving the Pucci invite- it’s a chic skiier clad in Pucci from the 60’s atop a slope in my current fave destination, Cortina. I gather up a bunch of WWD’s for the past few days and then hit a few more market appointments before heading to Marni where I snag a few shoes. Dolce is at 2 and I’m feeling like I’m on the home stretch because A- they won’t dissappoint and B- only 3 shows left plus packing. Lindsay Lohan, Monica Bellucci, Samantha Ronson and Fergie are arriving. Can’t seem them at all. It’s a bit of Perry Ellis – think Lise Ryall with berry stained lips. I love this show!!!

We grab a toast-y ( basically a grilled cheese sandwich) but mine is more a caprese salad on bread. Man, am I going to be paying for this on the w/end. Fendi next and then packing. I love Fendi (more furs and tightly nipped waists). I run around Milan picking up a few treats to bring back with me and then get dressed again for Versace. I assume my seat. Quite fearful that he may have arrived at the 7:30 and not 8:30 like us. Oh my- there he is. H. O. T.:):)

Off for dinner and that’s it!! Whew!! What an amazing week. To summarize, seventies sportswear is back, lots of fur- fur trim, hooded furs, fur jabots, fur trimmed boots and bags, lace, controlled volume and tailoring. I loved the Prada experience, Marni’s romantic separates, Dolce’s sportswear, the tiramisu and connecting with my the recap with my Canadian friends, Susie, Derick and Gabor.

Until next season,


Milan Fashion Week: Day 4

Today is market day. We have several shows slated for today plus an array of showroom visits (shoe day as we like to call it). I have a breakfast meeting and then scoot off to Marni- oh it’s so pretty. It’s layers and pieces of leather, wool, whispy sheer mohair and organza. I run into our street photographer Kristin outside the show and start chirping at her who to shoot. So many editors, buyers and fashion folk who really know what they are doing style-wise. I tackle as many showrooms as I can before Cavalli. I have a Burberry re-see. I’m like a kid in a candy store. Having a massive heart attack being so close to all of those pieces. They’re playing the Billy Brag tune, video on, buyers mixed in with editors writing up their orders- copius dollars here. The fabrics are so exquisite- hand-painted feather dresses, metallic organzas. The accessories weigh a ton. I snap as many pics as I can to bring back to the office. Alex, the PR director, tells me he likes my ring and reminds him of the cut glass on the necklaces and bejeweled clutches. Nice. Where’s Chrisopher….?

Shoes are getting slightly more refined. Seeing alot of stilettos in the showroom. And we won’t be putting away booties anytime soon. Cavalli is nice (more trans-Siberian princess with a touch of black lace here). A plethora of more showrooms- at this point we are literally running. I’m actually getting tired. We whisk off to Prada for another re-see where the clothes up close are really interesting. It’s very Italian gal-in-mourning. Ricki the rtw pr gal tells me that Mrs. Prada says she never liked lace so all or nothing if she was to try it and that lace is very close to us- something we have our entire lives, from Christenings through to marriage, etc. Hope chest anyone? The bags are ALL winged. Nothing structured here. Famed stylist and designer L’Wren Scott is here. She’s I would say, about 6’4. We race back to the hotel. Dying for a sip of Campari to ease the absolute painful thronging in my feet. We’re off to a few more shows, Allessandro D’ell Aqua (The pr girl gets me a front row so I meet some of the NY girls- one from Canada) and then Gucci. I’m having dinner with fellow Canadians and a former Holt Renfrew buyer who now works for mega- store Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. We are all looking forward to the weekend. Gone are my travel plans for skiing in Cortina or sightseeing in Venice. Not enough time. Two more sleeps.


Milan Fashion Week: Day 3

Birds of a feather…I’m seated behind a flock of Teen Vogue-ettes, who one by one sit down. First (now this is all heavily layered with lots of little bits ) black leather bomber and short print skirt. Next, black leather bomber and black dress. Then, black leather short jacket, striped long sleeve tee and jeans. Then there is the pack of Paris Vogue-ettes who equally cute, don long black tresses, skinny pants, slit front booties. The shows are great but most of the fun is guessing who’s who, who is wearing what and checking out how it gets styled. (The long sleek mane tucked under a scarf is a new trick.)

I forgot to mention Italian cuisine. Last night after Jil we popped out for dinner with a fellow Canadian, Maria Varvarikos of Montreal. She was in town heading up the show pr for Belstaff. We went to the Breya district, a super-cool and trendy district and ate at the cutest spot called La Briciola. I of course had risotto and tiramisu. What I loved were the jars of mass quantity cookies and candies that they plop on the table during desert and coffee. Like we really need more food.

Moschino started the day (hate to say more luxe hippy here with matching pantsuits and jumpsuits) followed by Sportmax. Oh, the photographer riser collapses before the show starts. I have a flashback to Fendi where the pit also collapsed. So, we are chatting with the main pr girl, Erika, who really had no idea what had happened. “Erika, really unfortunate that the stand collapsed.” What stand? Oh dear. I’ll let her deal with this one. She’s in charge of making sure everyone gets seated and is happy (read: not angry) with their placement. Sportmax was fueled with eighties longish blazers and tartan with a bit of goth thrown in.

We follow the fashion pack to the main hall where we pick up the daily bible, WWD to read while we sit and wait for oh, an hour or so for Ferragamo. I’m by myself. Anna Wintour was one of the first in. More disco mini-dresses, pantsuits (seeing a sportswear thing here) and jewel encrusted heels. We pop by Etro which was really interesting fabric-wise and then a bit of down time. But Prada, oh Prada. It was spectacle. A full-on show. She always pulls something unusual out of a hat. And it wasn’t as costume-y as last season’s ‘nymph-in-the-woods; it was sobre, constricted, a femme-fatale with an attitude, sex-fembots being rolled out on an assembly line. Can’t even figure out where I’m going to begin to find those shoes with those little fins for my pages. I love the sheer lace and lycra turtenecks. Glad I’m doing a re-see where you hit the showroom and get a close-up look at the clothing and accessories and get to quiz the pr girls on when we might actually see any of this product hit our merch room. I’m crossing my fingers it’s soon.


Milan Fashion Week: Day 2

I’m looking at the sched for the day- we have 7 shows, one exhibit and 3 showroom appts. We’ll get it all squeezed in. I’m trying to figure out what to wear. Since it’s bloody freezing out and I really didn’t bring tons of warm clothing, I opt for layering. A striped Gap turtleneck with high waisted jeans, a bracelet sleeve coat and a fur collar. We head off to Belstaff where Natasha Poly opens the show- aviator chic. Off to Brian Atwood (who is quite possibly the most beautiful shoe designer ever) to check out the oversize clutches and colorful heels. (I later hear at Ferre that he’s dating Nate Berkus which I think is completely unfair – 2 bp’s should split up the wealth I say). Jimmy Choo next- we arrive 45 minutes before the showroom opens but they in true British fashion are completely inviting. Stunning collection (lots of patent seventies-inspired knee high boots and studio 54-ish heels and bags).

Ferretti is the first show of the afternoon. I spy Annelise Peterson who has just moved over from Valentino PR to head up AF’s team. She’s in a strapless green number with emeralds drooping from her ears. She’s got another New Yorker, Jessica Joffe with her (you’ll know her from Banana Republic ads). Very cute in pleated AF and a fur-trimmed coat. The show is lovely (a bit more Philosophy than AF) but the girls are so young, so thin, the clothes simply hung on what looked to be 12-year olds. We head to a few other shows and then Ferre where Nicholas Mellamphy of Hazel squeezes me in past security. We’re at the buyers show so I know zero people here. Hayley Atkin from TO is apparently here assisting famed stylist Lori Goldstein. The show is pretty- lots of Oscar-worthy gowns here. Burberry Prorsum is on tonight at Corso Venetzia. Love this show. It’s positively packed beyond here. I absolutely love it- the little caps, the folds, pleats, massive pendants, booties, and colors- all muted with shots of copper. It’s 8:45 and we’re seated at the Jil Sander show. Long day I’m thinking. It’s a very beautiful show- again more volume this season. Oversize collars and fabric detailing I can’t quite seem to describe. It’s like you squeezed fabric, let it go and then took an iron to it. Crinkled pleats? Thesaurus?


Milan Fashion Week: Day 1- no luggage

Well I arrived safely but no luggage. But I’m not panicked – I never panic because it always shows up, especially with Air Canada. Not a problem though – it’s only fashion week. I do love the idea of starting fresh, a completely new wardrobe (full of lots of draped pants, tunics, furs…) Anyhoo..I hit the streets and hit some of my favorite haunts like Prada, Frette, Burberry, and Zara (it’s massive here). I spy some of the beautiful but quirky sculpted heels at Prada – upstairs on the shoe floor. I just can’t imagine them on my feet. My editor could carry them off. No, I’m thinking a waist-cinching medallion encrusted belt from Burberry. A quick nip into my favorite cafeteria (not your usual coffee shop-it’s very elegant with men in suits swaning about with champagne). I have a cappuccino.

First show of the day is Just Cavalli. It’s very luxe-hippy all over again. Print chiffons, tone-on-tone colors, matching pantsuits and bouncy hair. I love the sequins (no surprise) and the pink. Lots of editors in fur here. Fur collars, cuffs, bombers, full-length. Everything. When I packed my cases in TO it was supposed to be 12-14 everyday. However, this is not the case. I’m cold and ready to steal a fur. Next to Emporio Armani where I like the flashy sequined finale exits. A quick dash to the hotel to freshen up. I’m at the Hotel de la Ville where the Flare editors, well me, stay every season. They are delightful here with the warmest, floral-laden lobby and bar. Very charming.

Next it’s Missoni- now I’m quite liking this. Not the usual knits and Missoni-esque prints. It’s very resort – floral printed chiffon mixed with furs (!) and wool. I love the ethereal cocktail dresses and tidy little fur collars. The darling family muse, Marghuerita, is posing for a throng of photogs. She’s in teal chiffon, Sweet. We rush off to Moschino Cheap and Chic. Like Just Cavalli, it’s a bridge line that delivers a more grown up look. Here it’s polished skirt suits with colored tights and patent and jewel-encrusted heels. I spy a gal who works for Flare, Kristin Saunders. I introduce myself and we catch up. It’s her handiwork that you see on my street style and trend pages in Flare and Okay, off you go and snap that cute (almost 12?) Japanese editor in her nipped preppy blazer, fluted tweed mini, grey tights, wool socks tucked into patchwork booties with black Chanel bag.



IF THE SHOE FITS Move over YouTube, there’s a new shoe on the block— If you haven’t already heard, it’s the new online destination for all things shoes—including laugh-out-loud video blogs with a well-heeled posse of women taking the streets by storm. Think your obsession with all-things Louboutin is out of control? This will make you feel like you need to start a shoe savings account. Zdenka Turecek


ATTENTION SHOPPERS! Divna, the chic shoe store for ladies with larger sized feet, is having a blow out sale starting Saturday February 16th to Saturday March 1st. $5 from every purchase will go to World Vision’s “Save a Generation” HIV & AIDS campaign and, if you print off the attached flyer (also at, you can score an extra 10% off. Aya McMillan


Bebe lingerie

BRAND NEW BEBE Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Bebe has launched a lingerie collection. We predict steamy times ahead…

Hyoni at 3.1 Phillip Lim

ROLE MODELS If New York is any indication, the diversity issue on runways may have made a marginal turn for the better this season (p.s. read what Flare’s Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks has to say about it in the February issue). Korean model Hyoni—Ford’s recent Supermodel of the Year winner—was a fresh face standout on numerous runways this week including Marc by Marc Jacobs and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Keep it up international casting directors—Canada’s watching!


Linea-Pro Swarovski Crystal Encrusted
flat iron

LUXE LOCKS We’ve forked over $200 for straightening irons in the past, shelling out big bucks for higher temperatures and ultimately, sleeker locks. But some may find the latest in luxury straightening irons a little over-the-top. Backstage at New York Fashion Week, expert hairstylist Odile Gilbert is brandishing Linea-Pro’s Swarovski Crystal Encrusted flat iron at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Rodarte and Zac Posen. Price tag $600. Holt Renfrew is already taking pre-orders. You can get in on the fashion-inspired straightening iron action with a less extravagant version—how about an iron decorated with skulls à la Alexander McQueen? This one, which also has titanium plates for long lasting high temperatures, will set you back only $199.


Kate Somers and Simona McIntyre
Kate Somers (left) and Simona McIntyre at Marc by Marc Jacobs AW08

MINING FOR MODELS New York casting directors seem to have struck gold when they tapped Canadian models Meghan Collison and Taryn Davidson last season. The two are back for another round. Newcomers Kate Somers and Simona McIntyre are the latest northern additions. Check out Flare’s fashion spread with Somers in the February issue. McIntyre got a head start when she walked a few shows (the biggest was Marc Jacobs) last season, but we’re betting it was her 8-page spread in Teen Vogue recently that put her firmly in demand. We’re looking forward to catching up with the pair when they hit the Toronto circuit in March. Go Canada!


AG Hair Cosmetics
AG Hair Cosmetics’ Grammy gift pack

BEST TRESSED AT THE GRAMMYS (And the award goes to…) Ever wonder how your favourite celebs look so good at awards shows? AG Hair Cosmetics was asked to provide their best and brightest products to fill the gift bags for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards last night. The all-star lineup includes AG fastfood leave-in conditioner—serious moisture for over-stressed locks. Why AG? AG reps tell us that pro hairstylists on the sets of films starring Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams demand it. Sounds like a sure winner.

Lisa Tant
Lisa Tant blogs from New York
Day 1: Flight is cancelled!

Day 2: First preview of the collections

Day 3: Fashion versus the Superbowl

Day 4: The adventures continue

Day 5: At the Plaza

Day 6: Shows, shows and more shows

Day 7: Flirting with fashion

Day 8: Final day


New York Fashion Week: Day 8

Today is the final day of New York Fashion Week, where I’ll sit for three of the most sought-after shows—Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs. It’s freezing outside and I have a head cold—ugh.

Ralph Lauren hosts two shows at Skylight Studios. His family is here and his wife Ricky looks phenomenal. The collection is pure Ralph—his take on Americana is unparalleled. I love the surprising touches like a plaid shirt paired with a black taffeta skirt trimmed with feathers. Military inspired skinny pants trimmed with pockets are matched with a fitted plaid jacket. His best jackets come in colourful shades with black plaid and generous collars. Other highlights: cosy capes, a chiffon check one shoulder ball gown and a fantastic embroidered wool tiered skirt in black. Celebrated UK milliner Phillip Treacy tops everything with leopard pattern caps, fedoras or sweeping pheasant feathers. Fabulous!

Next I head over to the Meatpacking District to see the second show (ever) by Montrealer Rad Hourani. The self-taught designer does a fantastic job continuing from his first show in Paris last season. He adds mohair knits, feather fringe skirts, shimmering black leather, and bold lipstick red to his collection of tunics, vests and skinny pants. It’s an exceptional collection from such a new designer.

I pop across the road to check out Tevrow+Chase, one of our favourite Canadian lines. As usual Paul Sinclaire has created some terrific knits, cheery coloured coats, smart suits and sweet dresses. You’ll see it in FLARE in the fall.

On the way to Donna Karan, I duck into Magnolia Bakery for a chocolate cupcake. Heaven!

Donna Karan is a perfect example of today’s power woman. She designs authoritative yet purely sensual collections that have a Zen mood in their colour palette and fabrics. Her inspiration remains constant—the powerful and confident urban executive. This season, she dressed her in earthy tones (ranging from sap green to ochre to gunmetal) in drapey silks and unstructured brocades.

Donna Karan These aren’t easy clothes to wear and some of the details—shaggy ribbon trim and tinsel edging—made them overwrought. Her shiny brocades were stunning and her bathrobe dresses fit the season’s masculine/feminine contrast.

One big show is left—Marc Jacobs. His spectacle has moved from his usual Wednesday spot to Friday night, perhaps in the hopes that his normal late start (more than two hours last season) won’t enrage editors as much.

He starts the night off on a playful note. Guests are greeted with champagne, candy and popcorn, plus a special bag and tee on every seat. At 7:05pm, Marc strides on to the large square stage yelling at everyone to get in their seats. “The show is about to begin!” I almost choke on the M&M’s I’ve been given. Dressed in a chic black suit—his hair is still blue and he looks relaxed and happy—having fun with the crowd and playing up last season’s late disaster. At 7:20pm, early by fashion show standards, Kim Gordon and her band Sonic Youth, take to the stage and the show starts! As the band wails away, the girls stalk around the perimeter and the look is surprisingly conservative. One never knows what to expect from Jacobs. Last fall, his collection was a 70s inspired librarian. For spring, he played with exposed lingerie details. For the coming fall, he ping-ponged to a minimal feel with controlled back volume. Imagine a soft pastel wool overcoat with a full gathered and tucked-up back. Pants were pleated and full or lean and fitted. Skirts were mid-calf and full while his evening wear—like almost every other major designer—was in metallic brocade.

Marc Jacobs Colours were soft in general. I call the soft grey he used “mouse” and the finale of draped velvet jersey gowns was very pale. A surprise from beginning to end. The models gathered in a line on scaffolding high above the stage—the whole production was over in 11 minutes! I’m sure countless people missed it, thinking they were safe to show up an hour late at 8pm!

Marc hung around on stage after taking his final bow. I saw British Editor Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune approach him. The two had a very public battle over her anger about last season’s late start. They embraced, laughed and made up. What a perfect way to end Fashion Week!

That’s it for another fabulous season from New York City. Come back soon for Tammy Palmer’s reports from Milan and Elizabeth Cabral’s from Paris.

Lisa Tant


New York Fashion Week: Day 7

I start the day with a breakfast with Flare’s runway photographer, Anthea Simms. Based in the UK, Anthea has been shooting for us for years. I always see the petite Brit hidden among her burly counterparts in the photographer’s pit at the end of the catwalk. It’s a tough job that requires buckets of stamina so I make sure she’s well fed before we head to the Tents.

Vera Wang‘s shows are always a treat. I adore her artistic European influenced collections. This season, the former Vogue editor cites the “social portraits of Dutch artist Kees van Dongen” and his “striking colour palette” as her inspiration.

Vera Wang Known for her opulent wedding gowns, Vera Wang takes a more artistic aesthetic for her fashion collection. Colours are muddy yet sophisticated and heavy wools are draped and wrapped with flutter-weight chiffons and knits. Embellishments include glittering jewels, artsy bows and giant origami flowers perched on shoulders. She doesn’t do basic sportswear. I often think her collection would be more suited to Paris. This is another good one but it could use a little editing to tone down all the extra bits and pieces attached to the tops and gowns.

There’s two hours between the key shows today instead of just one as earlier this week. I have time to catch my breath and text before I speed off to the next.

I usually see Toronto-based Arthur Mendonça at L’Oreal Fashion Week but this season, he has decamped to New York. His collection is in step with trends coming out of NY—menswear inspired looks mixed with soft draped silks, the colour purple, easy shiny cocktail frocks and bold shots of colour. Fan Nelly Furtado strides in to support her hometown boy. I have time for a quick lunch (what a luxury!), before I head to Bill Blass. Peter Som is the second designer to take on the label since Blass passed away.

Som’s vision of Blass channels the legendary ebullient designer—known for loving his “ladies” (in the sartorial sense only!). Blass was an icon of American sportswear. When Som’s vision worked, it was with a playful touch as in curled feathers on an evening gown or twists on tuxedo dressing. His sportswear silhouettes were too literal—too big and boxy for today’s svelte line.

Runway Notes

Looks like designers listened to the outcry last season about the lack of ethnic models on the runway. In general, there are still only a couple in each show but that’s a big improvement from nothing. It’s not an exciting time for models. The current look is still for willowy stick-like blondes with vacant expressions. Alberta’s Meghan Collinson is a breathe of fresh air (ironically) with her black hair and angry scowl. She’s a sweetheart in person and adds some personality to the runway.

It’s a heavy hitting Thursday night as the big labels step up to bat. First is one of my favourites, Calvin Klein. Designer Francisco Costa has been designing for the label for five years now and his vision is pure and minimal—just like the original Klein.

Calvin Klein And simple the collection is—lush melton wools cut into dolman sleeve toppers, backless jackets and architectural dresses. Evening is low-key with sequins under transparent layers or embedded into mohair panels running down the front of shift dresses. The finale is shimmering accordion pleated gowns that will no doubt sweep down a red carpet. Lovely yet the collection is a bit bleak. Where is the knitwear? The warm coats? I’m left wanting more.

Next up is Tommy Hilfiger. He’s chosen the majestic Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Centre for his fall show. The three-story hall with floor-to-ceiling windows is punctuated with shards of metal suspended from the ceiling—in a word, stunning. For inspiration, Tommy turns to what he does best—the elegance and simplicity of classic American sportswear. He waves the US flag with double-breasted blazers over full pants or striped skirts in red, white and blue. I detect a 70s stewardess theme in mint green tunics and cream trousers. The whole thing is ultra-conservative and plain. Front row fans include Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kelly Rowland, Nicky Hilton and more.

After a quick cup of soup, it’s over to Zac Posen, the celebrated twenty-something New Yorker who draws a massive crowd.

Zac Posen Zac’s show opened with flirty takes on the classic tuxedo. His were played up as sweet dresses with bib fronts and lattice detailing. They were matched by more cute cocktail frocks half way through the show with ruched parachute style skirts—loved the punky effect Meghan Collinson gave hers. The rest of the show veered all over the place. I’m not a big fan of Zac. His work often looks contrived and overdesigned—just like the Minnie Mouse pompoms in each girl’s hair. The show ended literally on the floor as two-time Mom and part-time model Karen Elson stumbled and had to be helped to her feet by none other than Sean Combs who is showing tomorrow night.

Another night at Fashion Week wrapped!



New York Fashion Week: Day 6

Michael Kors Michael Kors kicks off Wednesday with another of his super luxe, super chic collections. The exuberant designer must love old movies.

The fur-collared printed toppers, chic cropped jackets and pencil skirts, and floor-sweeping gowns are fit for Hitchcock princesses Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren. The palette is luscious caramel with gold, purple and lime with a mix of graphic and floral prints—all very Prada.

What a contrast at Anna Sui. She dishes up lots of her favourite hippie prints and shiny fabrics in caftans and baby doll dresses.

Anna Sui Yet now that fashion has left that girly girl party, it’s time for her to update her bag of tricks. The whole thing felt costumey and tired on the new sleek scene. The bright spot is that the alien has landed! My favourite zombie model (she of the widely spaced saucer eyes and grim grin) is here—Sasha Pivovarova.

The New York drizzle is turning my fine hair super frizzy. And then I spot a guy in the tent with perfect Marcel waves arranged just-so—quite the contrast to Anna Sui’s scruffy buddies in the front row—Todd Oldham, Amy Sedaris and Vincent Gallo.

Next stop is Richard Chai, an up-and-comer on the starlet radar. Snappy shearlings top skinny pants and sequinned vests. Standouts are silver foil-like embellishments on skirts and dresses.

While I’m waiting for the doors to open, the photographers start shrieking at the M.A.C. booth. Fergie has arrived with Diane von Furstenberg for promotional photos for her M.A.C. Viva Glam lipstick campaign. They literally scream at Fergie to smile their way. I’m surprised by how conservatively she’s dressed in a grey cardigan and pencil skirt. What happened to our Fergalicious?

LOW: Phillip Lim‘s business has grown so much in the past year—as has his acclaim. Expectations for his show were high and unfortunately he didn’t get there. While some pieces, like snug cropped double-breasted jackets and skinny capris, were solid—the rest was weak. Orange jersey studded with tiny stars didn’t shine at night and the colour palette in general was uninspired.

Back down to the art gallery for Derek Lam’s show.

HIGH: Derek Lam is always a favourite. I love his sexy modern take on American sportswear. He doesn’t disappoint and his collection is perfectly in step with the growing trend of contrasting masculine and feminine details. His sleek riding coats hug the torso leaving a peek at a chiffon layered skirt underneath.

Derek Lam A fabulous taupe tweed trench is outlined in gold lame trim and his deft touch with fur softens sleek skinny pants. Lam has also expanded his evening collection which is where he went off track. While a couple of the ruched dresses and feathered chokers would delight at night, much of the lace and velvet looked bulky. It’s a challenge for American designers as the focus of late has shifted from what they do best—easy separates for work and weekend—to the red carpet where millions of dollars in publicity can be scooped up. Trouble is the sensibilities are polar opposites and few designers (with the exception of Oscar, Vera and Calvin) can make it work.

That’s a wrap! The end of another long day at New York Fashion Week.



New York Fashion Week: Day 5

It’s another packed show day at New York Fashion Week. After breakfast with a dear friend who works at Cosmopolitan magazine, I head to the tents for Badgley Mischka‘s show.

The duo open with a group of luxe tailored suitings but let it rip with their usual parade of red carpet spectaculars. There are plenty of jewel tone sparklers to impress fan Terri Hatcher but I love the gold shimmy fringed cocktail dress—perfect for Kerry Washington who looks delighted in the front row.

Next door is another red carpet favourite Monique L’Huillier. At her best, the pieces are simple—light frothy feathers or simple beading. The one shoulder gold opening frock is lovely. At worst, the gowns are too heavy with dated jewel embellishments—like very old Oscar de la Renta. The models eye makeup is so heavy, it makes them look ancient (just like some of the TV starlets sitting in the front row). Lay off the red lipstick AND smoky eye shadow girls!

Rodarte HIGH: Next it’s a mad rush to get to Chelsea for the Rodarte show. The California sisters look like they would be cashiers at Loblaws but they create some of the most magical innovative fashion I’ve ever seen from an American designer.

This season, the focus is on day wear and cocktail frocks with an etheral punk edge. Sheer tattered chiffons and ragged soft multi-colour knits dress up full dirndl skirts and easy cardigans paired with ripped cobwebbed tights and metallic Christian Louboutin punk stilettoes. Gowns are held together with sheer panels. Keira Knightley is one of the few stars courageous enough to wear Rodarte on the red carpet. She always gets slammed for it by the tabloids but she looks like a fairy princess to me. Love, love, love this collection!

Now back uptown for the J Mendel show at the newly renovated Plaza Hotel.

Plaza Hotel Construction hammers away as the storied Plaza Hotel is transformed into high end residences and a boutique hotel. We’re in the grand gilt-trimmed ballroom. Classical music is playing—things better get hopping or the whole thing will put us to sleep.

What follows is what makes the stars shine when they come out at night—plenty of luxe furs (for the daring) and grand gowns. Mendel is known for their innovative use and pairings of fur—all très luxe.

While the invite states 4pm and the show likely won’t start until 5pm arriving late at Marc by Marc Jacobs isn’t an option. Seats are at a premium and hype is high (and I’ve seen some pretty silly bitch slapping fests here in the past).

Celeb sightings should be high here. Anticipation was high for A-list star presence at Fashion Week but so far it’s been TV stars and pop singers. Rose McGowan, Joss Stone, Mandy Moore and Amy Smart (or not so smart)—she made her entrance too late at one show and couldn’t get to her seat. Watching her publicist flip out was just plain fun!

No luck—all I see is Fergie! Love her

And I love the collection! I’ve never been a big fan of Marc by Marc’s cutesy-pie schoolgirl look. This time it’s sharpened into a high school punk attitude with skinny striped skirts, strapless denim dresses punctuated with bold buckles, flirty pouf skirt dresses and some terrific coats and patent boots. Smart, cute and chic—the perfect street-savvy look.

Matthew Williamson is known for his colourful boho chic. It’s more the same this season with textured multi-colour stripes trimmed with embroidery, beading and spangles. Rihanna seems to love the look pointing excitedly at a swingy navy dress with a floral embellished tight bodice. Score!

LOW: And yet another show—Behnaz Sarafpour is making eco-friendly strides using organic cottons and wools. Yet for an established designer why is the show studio half full? Is she the victim of an overcrowded show calendar? A poor location? Or is the label just a so-so collection? Unfortunately, I think it’s the latter. The opening organic wool dresses with wool appliques are promising but it goes downhill from there and ends with awkward tiered peasant dresses.

HIGH: On the other hand, Philosophy by Alberta Feretti is stellar. Each piece in the short runway presentation (versus a seated longer show) scores—I love the smart toppers over sequinned tops and cuffed slim trousers. And the embellished party dresses in lace, velvet or satin with sweet beading are divine.

Now it’s over to the last show of the night. Narciso Rodriguez is true to form with another collection of spare minimalist jackets, ski pants and corset dresses in black, winter white and grey. I love a bell shaped and seamed grey topper—perfect to stay warm on a night like tonight. Unexpected shots of colour range from pale green to orange (bit sharp) but otherwise it’s a show his front row fans (Jessica and Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Adams are here) will love.

Long day and night. Time for bed!



New York Fashion Week: Day 4

Yesterday’s stunning mild weather has turned snowy and cold today. Will make it a challenge to get around today!

First show of the day is Peter Som known for his soft romantic dressing. His NY socialite fans (Tinsley Mortimer and Jane Lauder among them) are here in full force. Mandy Moore has just arrived chomping down on a wad of gum

Som’s show is the perfect reflection of how spring trends are shaping up so far—a sophisticated mix of men’s tweeds, plaids and tailoring with ladylike florals and satins. Think of full pleated trousers worn with a printed silk blouse and a cardigan wrapped over top with two narrow leather belts. It’s a blend of 40s Marlene Dietrich flair with a 70s “I am Woman” attitude. Then there’s the Prada inspired floral (think of the current resort collection)—retro styled blossoms in off colours. Colours this season are deep muted tones—mustard, burnt orange, teal, purple and earth tones. And there’s a 50s feel with full dirndl skirts. The whole effect reminds me of the past Milan collections reinterpreted with an American sportswear sensibility.

Christian Louboutin’s distinctive red soles are showing up all over the runway. As in past seasons, he’s designed special shoes for certain designers. Here, I’ve spotted them at Ruffian (thick black strappy killer heels) and Som (patent pastel).

Now it’s time for the big guns. First show up is by Carolina Herrera, the socialite turned designer who is the Renee Zellweger’s red carpet favourite. Her collection is inspired by the countryside—you know the one where you grab a riding jacket from the mudroom to wear over a gown for an elegant dinner on the farm. Yup, that’s what the show notes say.

All that country air blew any cobwebs out of the house. The parade of hunt check jackets with brocade waistcoats and skinny pants tucked into walking boots was one of Herrera’s most focused collections to date. The styling is spot-on with smart hats capped off with yard-long pheasant feathers. Traditional and classic, it’s also cheeky and fresh—just the ticket for American sportswear.

A break before the most hotly anticipated show of the week—the revival of 70s powerhouse, Halston.

Revival of Halston

…time to head to the Gagosian Gallery in the Art Gallery District for the return of Halston. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein now runs the show—with creative direction from former Jimmy Choo owner, Tamara Mellon, and Hollywood stylist, Rachel Zoe.

Halston’s original devotee, Liza Minnelli, is here to witness the revival of the first true master of minimalism. Instead of taking the expected Studio 54 disco route, the look is stripped clean—simple lean lines highlighting ultra-luxe fabrics like cashmere and chiffon. Holt Renfrew’s Barbara Atkin describes it as “seasonless, timeless, ageless design for women who want luxury clothes that last.” I expect the line to make a huge splash—Rachael Zoe will dress her star clients in it (Keira Knightley to Mischa Barton) and Weinstein will no doubt ask his leading ladies to wear it for the red carpet. The finale of gowns is perfect for big statement jewels and beauty. Was it exciting? No. Will it be expensive? Absolutely. Will it have competition? Calvin Klein and Jil Sander. Will it succeed? Yes—a big part on hype alone. It had better because the Halston label has likely only so much mojo left in its continuous revolving door of revivals.

Over to Thakoon where the former fashion writer has designed a quirky young look that updated the lady who lunches suit, plaid dressing (loved the emerald chiffon sexy fitted dress and Plaid Mao jacket with tight cropped pants) and mohair separates. Love the Manolo Blahnik patent high heels.

A short drive downtown and we’re at the Milk Studios (we’ve shot covers here) for Doo.Ri— another hot NY designer. The place is packed and the show is fantastic! A parade of shiny gunmetal grey dresses—sexy and sculpted—open the show. In addition to these exceptional pieces, I love her trapunto detailing, structured suits and mohair knits. The Swarovski detailing looks like glittering slashes—the whole show is very polished, wearable and chic for the busy working girl—like us

I hop into Barb Atkins car and we zoom back up to Bryant Park for the Max Azria show. On my front row seat, I find a pair of truffles. Wonderful! Dinner! I inhale them and get ready for the show. More later!

Monday night

The Max Azria collection is the designer level of the popular BCBG house. I spot Joss Stone sitting next to the gorgeous Rihanna (they are pointedly ignoring each other). Rihanna is chatting up a storm with Fergie who peeps at the show over top of her black sunglasses.

Max Azria is all about layering—sheer coats and dresses topped by corsets, pencil skirts over sheer layers, tulle underskirts. I love the black fur top with sheer insets. Details are a signature—think pleated fan insets, ribbon bands and sheer ruching. I especially like the corset “belts”—bands worn over the bust on sheer tops.

I dash over to Ports 1961, a collection that has Canadian roots with a global perspective. I chat to Jeanne Beker before it starts. The inspiration this season—the “Port” of call is Scotland. I see it in pebbly tweeds, cable sweaters, capes and shift dresses. Toning down the styling would help the designs really shine.

Next it’s the last show and one of the most hotly anticipated—Proenza Schouler, a pair of twenty-something New Yorkers who’ve only been in business five years. The show is in the cavernous Park Avenue Armoury with a mile-long runway. In a break from their more concept-driven shows, the pair strip their designs down and turn them inside out. It becomes an exploration of fabric and texture as draping and folding reveals the “wrong side” of sequinned fabrics, boiled wools and silk twills. Coats are shown with inner seams, revealed linings, exposed yokes and seam construction. Colours are deep jewel tones or neutrals paired with black. Sequins and satin ignite the slouchy silhouettes. The look is downtown luxe—with a perfect mix of the menswear tailoring and womanly sensuality. It’s a great collection.

I’m hungry and tired so time to sign off. Tomorrow is another packed schedule!



New York Fashion Week: Day 3

Super Bowl fever may be gripping North America today, but here during Fashion Week, it’s as ignored as last season’s athletic trend. Except perhaps for those hoping for a glance of Gisele, Tom Brady’s girlfriend, in the stands.

Sunday is more important as the first big day of New York Fashion Week. The schedule is quite simply madness. I have three shows booked for noon—all scattered throughout Manhattan. How to choose? Do I pick the household name designer? Or the new name that’s getting some early buzz? I’ll go for the latter—it’s worth the risk to get in on the ground floor of a really hot new label.

The morning starts with Lela Rose, a collection known for pretty dresses, which aren’t that exciting (except for some interesting sleeve details) but I do like a teal satin skirt paired with a mustard sequinned top. Sounds heinous, but it’s a tart combination that works.

Next is Herve Leger by Max Azria. The French designer sold his label to the US-based design house in 1998. This is the first showing at NYC Fashion Week, where I’m expecting to see a modern evolution of Leger’s famous bandage wrapped construction. Famous fans include Kate Bosworth, Victoria Beckham and Beyonce—none of who show up today. Looks like we have Joy Bryant and Mandy Moore instead. Organizers of Fashion Week are hoping for a flood of paparazzi-seeking celebs this week due to the writer’s strike in Hollywood. Instead of filming, many starlets will be getting a paycheque to sit front row in the Tents.

As expected, the show features numerous takes on the bandage wrap in wool jackets, cashmere sweaters, capelets, corsets, high-waisted pants, rompers and the miniest of mini dresses one can imagine. I love the earthy palette and ombre techniques. I’m sure these pieces will be devoured by A to D listers with enviable figures.

Next it’s a cab ride downtown to Industria Studios for the Reyes show, where the collection has been inspired by the film The Last Days of Disco. The styling is a bit awkward. One piece stands out—a grey mohair double-breasted short coat.

A short walk takes me to DKNY—always one of my favourite shows. Donna Karan and her team excel at super cool urban style that works everywhere from Vancouver to Paris. A 70s vibe shows up here too with tiered dresses, scarf prints, pleated super full pants and corduroy, plus loads of metallic brocade. I love the orange corduroy trench and brocade skirts. Hemlines are super short and often folded up for a softly draped effect—like a deflated bubble hem. Love it.

If I don’t miss a show and eat lunch, I’ll fall over. More later!


New York Fashion Week: Day 2
I’ve finally arrived in New York (a day late!) for the Fall 08 fashion collections.

Toronto’s snow storm, followed by airline incompetence, had me grounded until this afternoon. I’ve missed a handful of great shows, including Canada’s own Jeremy Laing (one of my favourites), Erin Fetherston, and both Jason Wu and Alexander Wang—all hot new rising stars.

I do, however, have time for one show and that’s Ruffian. I bypass the official tents at Bryant Park and head over to the New Dance Group Studio at 38th and 8th. Here’s hoping that the early trend already reported on—the end of the little girly girl smocks and cutesy looks—keeps going strong.

Brian Wolk and Claude Morais of Ruffian were inspired by youth culture mixed in with their own experiences at New England boarding schools. Hence the doodling on the program that’s been interpreted in a fabric print, the school pins with bow tie blouses and the plaid dresses. Yet instead of going girly, they take it in a rock’n’roll direction with super skinny jeans, boy ties and minis. The best piece opens the show—an oversized plaid tunic/cape on the world’s hottest model, Agyness Deyn (today she’s platinum blonde!).

All the hottest girls are on the runway and the president’s daughter Barbara is across from me. Not a bad way to end my first night.

The best part of New York Fashion week…

People watching. The fashion tribe is painfully uptight and self-conscious in their attempts to impress each other. The skinhead in front of me sports a wide hairy stripe along his scalp. His outfit is about 6 sizes too small including super tight ripped jeans rolled up to reveal hairy legs and rubber boots—finished off with a shiny black necklace!

After lunch…fashion newcomers and taxicab adventures!

I refuel with Starbucks and am back at the Tents for the Diane von Furstenberg show. Called Foreign Affair, the collection has been inspired by a jet setter travelling to Berlin, Shanghai and New York.

A 40s vibe kicks off with menswear jackets and vests belted over satin print dresses and boudoir slips. Layering is key—with plenty of waistcoats or knit vests over swingy skirts and gowns.

I jump on the Fashion Bus—hey it’s better than risking my life in a crazed Manhattan cab— and head down to Y3. I have no clue where I’m going. The glossy white invite is printed with matching white type so it’s virtually unreadable! I end up in a parking garage on the Lower West Side which has been turned into an igloo with solid ice walls. Hand warmers and blankets are on every seat.

The show is classic Y3—lots of cool outerwear, military wools, Adidas striping and colourful tartans in bold scarves, boxy jackets and drop crotch pants.

I close my eyes in the cab (he’s driving like he’s in pursuit of Britney Spears) on the way uptown to Jonathan Saunders’ first NY show. The British designer has been making waves with his linear silhouettes and colour blocking.

This time his blocking is toned down into earth tones and the focus moves to lean shapes accented with accordion pleating and flutter details like pagoda-style ruffles, asymmetric hems and soft sleeves. Short capes top the day looks. More sombre than I expected but still directional for its silhouettes.

Into the eve…more shows and a slice of New York

I’m stranded on the Lower West Side looking for a cab. I follow a couple of people down a scary side street—think Mad Max in NYC. They wait for me and we catch a cab together back up to Bryant Park. I have just enough time to grab a slice of greasy pizza before catching the Tuleh show. I’m fading fast and my feet are starting to hurt.

Tuleh is an odd mix of refined white toppers, metallic striped knits, suits, 50s style skirts and tight sweaters, with some Hefner-style silk robes and gowns in the mix. Confusing and I’m too tired to figure it out.

Miss Sixty is a zoo. The front row directly in front of me is barricaded and lined with photographers ready to snap arriving celebs, including Anne Hathaway, Ashley Olsen and Chloe Sevigny. My guess? Miss Sixty shelled out big bucks for them to pose and preen front row and I’d be surprised if any of them wore the clothes. Too bad because the fuss takes away from the actual show.

The runway is painted in psychedelic patterns a la Janis Joplin album cover, which gives a clue as to where this popular street-chic collection is going. And back to the 70s it goes with spangly minis, long-haired fur vests, flared jeans, long peasant dresses, hot pants and more.

I’m shocked to see that one of FLARE‘s favourite models, Julia, has dyed her pretty blonde locks bright orange. Yikes!

Time to call it a night.



Love is in the air
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about chic treats to get you in the mood. We’ll be posting ideas every day until the V-day because whether you’re single or not, these sweet little gifts are guaranteed to get hearts pounding.

Giuseppe Zanotti Giuseppe Zanotti Rose Bud satin mules
We love the gorgeous color play of fuchsia and red! And we love the large and pretty red satin rose. Available at Browns
Alistair Rai Sir Alistair Rai Embroidered Love Scarf
This instant celebrity fave piece delivers powerful wisdom with a dash of wit and a dose of cool. Modeled after an actual prayer scarf, this “one-of-a-kind hand painted in India” wrap is printed with a prayer and represents the Hindu mantra “Love”. Available at
Tara Subkoff for Bebe Tara Subkoff for Bebe quilted Tara bag
This heart-shaped bag is part of the new collaboration between Bebe and Imitation of Christ’s creative director. Available at Bebe

Love Interest
Pangea Collection’s precious heart-shaped trinkets will charm even the most cynical stylistas this Valentine’s Day. Patricia Pinkney, the wayfaring founder of the Toronto-based online jewelry store, travels the globe gathering handcrafted treasures that will surely melt your heart.

Pangea   Pangea
We’re crushing on the delightful details of this Balinese pendant. Sterling Silver Heart Patterned Harmony Ball, $30.   We’ve also go a sweet tooth for this yummy arm candy. Sterling Silver Link Bracelet with Heart Pendant, $41.

Janna Zittrer

Attention Halstonettes!

Halston The first Halston line hasn’t even hit the catwalk yet but demand for it is already unprecedented. NETAPORTER.COM is offering two looks from the collection for sale the very next day after its New York Fashion Week debut.

“As the collection goes down the runway on February 4 and the press and buyers are seeing it for the first time, two of the key pieces will be sitting, wrapped, packed and ready to go for worldwide delivery,” says the e-tailor’s founder, Natalie Massenet. “We’ll go live with exclusive content within 24 hours of the show. Customers can log on and be the first women around the world to wear the new Halston.”

The move is groundbreaking in high fashion, where collections are shown six months in advance of going into stores and mass labels have time to work on copies.

“This is offering a luxury brand allowing them to reclaim the right to sell to the customer first,” Massenet explained in WWD. “I am sure this will be a shock to the brands that specialise in knocking off some of the talent in the fashion industry. They had their cake and have been eating it for a while, and we’re now saying, ‘We work with the brand to reclaim their ability to sell their product first’.”

If that sounds too delicious to pass up, remember to log onto on February 5 for a piece of the glamour.

Aya McMillan

Ready Set Go
Hotel and flights are booked, invitations have arrived, chic ensembles selected, after-party decisions made. It only means one thing: The Fashion Week circuit is upon us. Here are a few of the things we’re looking forward to seeing for the fall/winter 2008 shows: London—the return of Ossie Clark.

• Scottish wunderkind JONATHAN SAUNDERS will show in the Big Apple for the first time
• With this year’s announcement of a team of power players that includes Harvey Weinstein, Tamara Mellon, Rachel Zoe and Versace’s Marco Zanini, HALSTON is primed for a glamorous 21st century revival
• HERVE LEGER is returning to the catwalk. Now owned by Max Azria, the show will mark the first time that an American designer will produce three shows for three different collections during one fashion week.
• PETER SOM makes his debut as creative director for Bill Blass (see the gorgeous invite designed by Julia Restoin-Roitfeld)
• PROENZA SCHOULER is marking it’s 5th anniversary on the catwalk—expect to see the debut of their bag collection
• SEE by Chloe is launching a line of accessories to go with their covetable clothes

• After a nine-year absence, Vivienne Westwood is returning to her roots by staging her more accessibly priced collection RED LABEL

• All eyes will be on the first collection for Valentino by ALESSANRA FACCHINETTI

• KARL LAGERFELD is launching his own line of handbags, small leather goods and luggage. We’re promised an emphasis on luxury materials, hardware and “high-tech” elements, so start saving now
• Designer wunderkind OLIVIER THEYSKENS has included a full collection of jewelry for Nina Ricci

Aya McMillan


return to The FLARE Report main page