Archive for Bernadette Morra


Passage to India: We tour Rajasthan with Holt Renfrew in search of one-of-a-kind treasures

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India Holt Renfrew

Photography by Christopher Wray-McCann

In the age of the selfie, Waris Ahluwalia is the world’s most reluctant subject. In Gap ads and New York social diaries, the actor/jewellery designer appears deadpan and remote. But travelling with him in his native India, I discover a cheerful, easygoing guy with a deep appreciation for handmade things. It’s a passion he shares with Alexandra Weston, India Holt RenfrewHolt Renfrew’s director of brand strategy, who asked Ahluwalia to help curate an “Uncrate India” collection for H Project (available April 1), a section within Holt Renfrew stores offering “extraordinary products with extraordinary stories.” I was invited to tag along on their treasure hunt. Journeying through Rajasthan, seeing expert hands bringing jewellery, scarves and wooden boxes to life was heart-warming for us all. As Weston puts it, “Supporting craft in any way you can is the most important thing you can do, because craft is the way out of poverty.”

Read on to discover our journey through India:
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Mercedes-Benz Start Up: Matière Noire and Malorie Urbanovitch debut at Toronto Fashion Week

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Malorie Urbanovitch Fall 2014

Photography by Jenna Marie Wakani

See the Matière Noire collection »
See the Malerie Urbanovitch collection »

The tie that led to Edmonton’s Malorie Urbanovitch and Montreal’s Cecile Raizonville sharing the runway at World Mastercard Fashion Week last night could have felt like a showdown. Instead, both designers held her ground, a testament to the growing strength of the Mercedes-Benz Startup competition that brought them there. After a Canada-wide search for talent, Urbanovitch and Raizonville, who designs under the label Matière Noire, were declared winners at a Toronto fashion week event in October. Last night’s show, along with industry mentorship along the way, was their prize.

Matière Noire opened the presentation with boxy tops and tulip skirts accented with lunar photo prints and geometric patterns inspired by Inuit tattoos. Some were knit into pullovers or embroidered on belts in collaboration with Quebec weaver Marie-Anne Adams. Most intriguing was the way Adams had trapped strips of leather under net for jacket sleeves.
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Ones to watch: Matière Noire and Malorie Urbanovitch make their Toronto Fashion Week debuts this season

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Matiere Noire Malerie Urbanovitch

Photography by Nikki Ormerod. Hair and Makeup by Robert Weir for Judyinc.com/Tresemmé hair care; styling by Eliza Grossman.

Now in its third year, the Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition celebrates some of the most exciting newcomers to hit Canada’s fashion scene. This year, two winners share the prize and applause: Montreal’s Matière Noire and Edmonton’s Malorie Urbanovitch. We go behind the seams of their award-winning spring collections:
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Milan Fashion Week: Fall 2014′s top 6 trends to know

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Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2014

Photography by Peter Stigter

See the Milan Fashion Week Fall 2014 top trends »

Milan Fashion Week wraps today but we don’t have to wait till sundown to tell you the trends. Mother Nature was a heavy presence with some designers citing the elements as inspiration. Roberto Cavalli even ignited a giant ring of fire for the models to walk around (turning the tent into an oven, we might add). We also saw lots of fabric morphing and dark florals. Here’s what’s trending from the weekend’s shows:
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Milan Fashion Week: Fall 2014 gone commercial?

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Versace Fall 2014

Photography by Peter Stigter

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There are a few trends of the moment that look as if they are going to be around longer than a moment.

Digi prints, fabric-blocking, arty references and elevated sport  (all in the spotlight for Spring 2014) are among the familiar turf that is being revisited here for fall.

It almost feels as if Italy’s step into the future is a tentative one. Unless you are talking about coats, and then designers are taking a big, bold leap into long-haired shearling.

Minimalism is creeping in to some collections, most notably at Versace, where Donatella mostly kept embellishment in check for her sleek pantsuits and hanky-hem dresses. Even the patterned minks weren’t as over the top as they could have been in her hands. Sportmax had some outfits that were shown two ways: one subdued, one not. For instance, deep V dress came in solid red and black, as well as a wildly-coloured paint splatter print.

Some people are using the C-word (commercial) to describe some shows. But is that such a bad thing? Perhaps the yearning to move merch explains how varied some collections can be.

Blumarine had a buttoned-to-the-neck leather dress walking behind a peekaboo floral and lace mini. Confused? You’re not alone.


Milan Fashion Week: The latest art movement influencing the Fall 2014 shows

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Fendi Fall 2014

Photography by Peter Stigter

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Day Two of Milan fashion week started and ended with a laugh: Cara Delevingne opened the Fendi show carrying a furry Karl Lagerfeld doll while drones buzzed overhead. And Jeremy Scott closed the day with a send up of McDonalds, Chanel and Sponge Bob for his Moschino debut. In between there were lots of shoulder details, shearling and digi prints to note.

But it was the early 20th century Constructivist art movement that turned out to be the word of the day. If it’s been a while since your last art history class, here’s a refresher. Constructivism is the early 20th century avant-garde movement characterized by abstract geometry. But it’s the description I found on the MoMa website that I want to focus on, one that depicts Constructivism as precise, impersonal, and having a clear formal order.

Now have a look at some of the abstract geometry from day two of the Milan shows:
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Milan Fashion Week: Quirky Fall 2014 wardrobe updates from Gucci, Fausto Puglisi and more

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Gucci Fall 2014

Photography by Peter Stigter

See the first looks out of Milan Fashion Week »

Day/Night. Boy/Girl. Work/Play. It’s all blurring into one wonderful mash-up of luxe here at opening day of Milan Fashion Week Fall 2014.

At Gucci, there were leather tuxedo shirts that won’t need to wait for a black tie invite to venture out of the house. And simple dresses with crystal bibs could be worn anywhere, depending who you want to dazzle. Alberta Ferretti wove metallic threads through tweed, put boyfriend sweaters over feathered skirts, and gave outerwear the sort of decorative treatments usually reserved for evening gowns.

Glitter/flannel and ribbed knits/chiffon were common pairings at No. 21, where feathers were sometimes added to the mix.

Fausto Puglisi’s bright geometrics and kitschy Statue of Liberty prints were often splashed with crystals and metal lightening bolts.

Otherwise, the day was pretty humourless with somber tones of army green, tawny brown and banker gray. And the dour palette along with lots of shaggy furs and boiled woolens ultimately put the day’s offerings in the cool weather zone.

Still, categorizing what we wear by gender, season or purpose is starting to feel very passé.


Spring 2014 Couture Report: Butterflies, lions and Dita Von Teese close out a week of surprises in Paris

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Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2014 Couture Dita Von Teese

Photography by Peter Stigter

See the Spring 2014 Couture images »

Could the couture runways be any more bi-polar? Whereas yesterday’s recap brought forth a list of trends to watch in the coming months, today’s recap proves we’ll always be guessing.

The final day of Spring 2014 Couture Fashion Week in Paris started with everything in the junk drawer piled on one outfit at Maison Martin Margiela and ended with pale, barren latex at Viktor & Rolf.

The latter, worn by ballerinas drifting en pointe from one end of a square runway to the other, were sometimes printed with tattoo-like birds and ruffles. At the end of the performance, an ad for the duo’s new fragrance, Bonbon, revealed the scent housed in a pink bow bottle.  The scent’s face, model Edita Vilkeviciute, wears nothing but painted-on pink bows.
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