In the world of ready-to-wear fashion, Laura and Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte could almost un-exaggeratedly be referred to as gods among designers. Artists. Outsiders. The real deal. Since their label’s launch in 2004, the sisters, 32 and 33 respectively, have been quite solidly staying a cut above the rest with their wise-beyond-their-years artistic references, their ability to seamlessly merge fashion and art and their knack for creating wearable masterpiece after wearable masterpiece with not a fashion degree between them. Between their Van Gogh–inspired spring collection, their somewhat controversial Australian Outback fall outing and their current collaboration with the L.A. Philharmonic, the designers hit Toronto earlier this week for a fête in their honour at The Room at the Bay. We were lucky enough to be let into their world for a little while.
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Kate and Laura Mulleavy on Sequoia trees, Frankenstein and why there are no people on the Rodarte moodboards
Strategic cut-outs, thigh-high slits and body-con shapes: Sébastien Peigné and Nicola Formichetti of Mugler are bringing sexy back.
Reviving Mugler is a monster task. After designer Thierry Mugler took his final runway bow at his couture show in July 2000, this kinky house of cool (remember Demi Moore’s bondage-style dress in 1993’s Indecent Proposal?) started flatlining. Ten years later, the resuscitation began. In 2010, following months of speculation, Nicola Formichetti (Lady Gaga’s stylist) was tapped to lead the revival of the French house known for its over-the-top theatricality and sex appeal. Besides outfitting Mother Monster, this 34-year-old half-Italian, half-Japanese, techno-savvy superstar is also the fashion director for Vogue Hommes Japan and global retailer Uniqlo. His debut Mugler womenswear show during Fall 2011 Paris Fashion Week had the twitterverse buzzing about its latex-dipped leggings, body-stocking dresses and the catwalk pièce de résistance: Gaga, smoking in every sense of the word.
When it comes to accessories, Isabelle Fish, owner of Rue Pigalle (ruepigalle.ca), swims against the current. Her charming Yorkville boutique is stocked with avant-garde international labels, many of which are exclusive to her store, including Noritamy (jewellery), Martine Boissy (scarves) and Lena Erziak (bags). Here, this lawyer–turned–fashion entrepreneur talks bright colour, the art of buying, and bold evening bags.
When did your love of accessories begin?
“I grew up in a family that revered craftsmen and craftsmanship, so I knew I wanted to be in the business of beautiful objets. My mother was extremely elegant and taught me about managing a small wardrobe of simple garments, and giving it flair with beautifully crafted accessories.”
What is the significance behind your boutique’s name?
“Rue Pigalle used to be the main street in Paris’s red-light district. I liked the contrast between the elegance of the collections I carry and the naughtiness [of this] forbidden place.” Read more »
Like Helen of Troy and those ships, model-turned-designer Brian Atwood’s (brianatwood.com) handsomeness alone could move shoe units at The Room. Yet his super-stylish stilettos sell themselves. Thankfully, there’s now more Atwood than ever to go around, with last year’s launch of a second line, B Brian Atwood, and a haute handbag collection.
Who is the Brian Atwood woman?
“Always the most beautiful, sexy woman in the room. I’m not tooting my own horn. That’s just how it happens to go. [The heels] make you feel that—the power of the shoe.”
Is your B Brian Atwood woman any different?
“The B girl is jetset, but she’s funkier, more urban, and there’s ease to it. She doesn’t have $800 for a pump, but why shouldn’t she have a sexy pump?” Read more »
Fresh off her Spring 2012 exclusive for Givenchy in Paris, jetsetting New York–based supermodel Heather Marks (a Calgary native) took a few moments to chat with us backstage at Edmonton’s Fashion with Compassion breast cancer fundraiser and fashion show. Despite insider access to fashion for nearly a decade, this 23-year-old beauty with rockstar style still has an appreciation for the simpler things in life.
Where do you shop when you’re back in Alberta?
“I always stop by Aritzia and I like going to Gravitypope on 17th Avenue [in Calgary] for shoes. Holt Renfrew is also a favourite.”
What’s your favourite accessory at the moment?
“I got a new Chanel bag that I’m currently obsessing over. It’s not your classic shape. It’s a little bit more round, a little bit more funky.” Read more »
Before completing a Master of Arts in womenswear at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, this Canadian-born U.K. expat cut his design chops at Montreal’s LaSalle College. Now Thomas Tait (thomastait.com) is a ready-to-wear whiz kid on the international fashion scene, churning out strong, tailored pieces in mostly soft silhouettes.
What was the most valuable thing you learned at LaSalle?
“How to make clothes. I had no idea how technical the course would be. I was literally scared of the sewing machine for quite a while.”
Your graduate project was a beautiful exploration of human angles: collarbones, hip bones, shoulders.
“There was definitely an elaboration on silhouette in my Fall 2011 collection. It was insanely hard to do, but I loved it in the end.” Read more »
Earlier this month, Brit master of quirk Giles Deacon popped by our fair city to take part in the first annual Lunch with Margaret and George, raising money for the Princess Margaret Foundation (the sold-out event collected a cool $200,000 for the cause). While at a trunk show the next day—and while the moneyed ladies perused the shimmering racks at George C in Yorkville—we chatted with the designer on topics as naturally quirky as the designer himself.
Equal parts designer, rock star, and artist, Philip Colbert’s need to stand out is driven by anything from art inspiration (think Warhol, Duchamp, and the like), to rock royalty. His womenswear line, Rodnik, follows suit.
Rodnik started as a duo with Colbert and Richard Ascott, with their designs focused around Russian folk–inspired knit scarves, with celebs like Peaches Geldof, Sienna Miller, and Lily Cole donning their early collections. In the last few years Rodnik has become what Colbert describes as a “much more fun adventure.” Part of the adventure—are you ready for this?—is in the publicity stunts. Starting in 2009 the Rodnik Band—the label presented as an ironic fashion band, where songs are developed based on a collection concept—has recorded and toured, showing at stores and fashion weeks worldwide. We want to party with this guy.
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