As we look back on 2011, we reflect on yet another tumultuous year full of global economic and political unrest. The high level of uncertainty, tension, and unrest has affected us all. Slow-to-negative growth for industry has meant hard times for many of us. As profit margins get slimmer, workforces are scaled down. With salaries staying the same or decreasing and the cost-of-living steadily increasing, most of us are scrutinizing our budgets more now than ever. The Master’s Degree has become the new undergrad degree, interning the new employment, and poor the new middle class. The hope is that the tide will one day turn. We’re hoping that day is in 2012.
Of course, there is a silver lining. These difficult times have resulted in a combination of more accessible fashion at lower prices that has people looking beyond high priced labels. The past few years have paved the way for an explosion of fast fashion designs, discount retailers, and online flash sales. Big name fashion designers have recognized this and many have adopted an if you can’t beat them join them approach. Just think of all the high profile fast fashion collaborations in 2011: Karl Lagerfeld for Macy’s, Versace for H&M, Missoni for Target, etc. The list will likely grow in 2012.
Throughout 2011, It’s All Style To Me has been covering the some of the most memorable fashion shows, parties, product reviews, launches, and previews. Style Tips of the Day and Trend Reports kept you looking stylish and fashion week coverage has kept you up-to-date. It’s difficult to narrow down a full year into ten key moments that have defined it, but we’re giving it a shot below:
Irrespective of justification, the youth have found their voice and learned to make a fine Molotov cocktail in the process. No surprise that some in the fashion industry, being the clever little capitalists they are, have jumped on the anarchist bandwagon to win the kids over. The Go Forth…Riot Is The New Rave post (August 10, 2011) delved into something overlooked by the mainstream fashion media – fashion meets insurrection.
We were invited to ultra-exclusive first Producers Ball (September 7, 2011) hosted by Drew and Jonathan Scott’s (Property Brothers) in Toronto. This was a great opportunity to meet, photograph, and interview some of the budding and established Canadian talent as they celebrated the contribution of producers to the film industry. Actors included Amy Jo Johnson, Hugh Dillon, David Paetkau, model-turned-actress Lauren Lee Smith, Travis Milne, Erin Karpluk, Brooke Nevin, Tracy Dawson, and the stars of Highland Park. Great event, great swag!
It was all about the classics as the LCBO held an invitation-only Mad Men inspired Cocktail Party at The Carlu (February 3, 2011). Downtown Toronto’s historic 1930s landmark was a beautiful backdrop for the launch of LCBO’s Classic Cocktails promotion. Guests, glitterati, and socialites were elegantly dressed in some amazing Mad Men influenced attire. They chilled to the soothing sounds of a live jazz band, slowly working the room, taking in the ambiance, chatting with old friends and making new ones.
The highlight of the evening was the arrival of special guest Janie Bryant, the fashion/costume designer for the AMC hit TV show Mad Men. We sat down with Janie and asked her how the average guy can incorporate a little of that 1960s Mad Men style in a modern contemporary way that works for them.
There is a young fashion designer blazing an innovative new trail in American men’s fashion. His designs bring together the sophistication of Savile Row tailoring with a style that is all Soho. The London Central Saint Martins graduate spent seven years learning from two of America’s most influential designers before starting his own label. So now the former Director of Operations for Thom Browne and Assistant Creative Director for Michael Bastian, is quickly becoming one of, if not the best emerging designers in menswear today.
You may have already caught a glimpse of Gobel’s creations while walking past the 5th Avenue windows at Bergdorfs. Lord knows a few of his European contemporaries already have – and then some. Inspiration or Imitation? (July 25, 2011). That’s the question we were asking after reviewing some of the collections coming out of Milan and Paris. Big name European fashion houses including Jean Paul Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana, and Versace appear to have taken a page (or two) from the designer’s earlier collections and incorporated them into their own. Inspiration or imitation? You decide.
Long before The Sartorialist, Tommy Ton and the myriad of other professional and not-so-professional street style photographers – there was Bill. Octogenarian Bill Cunningham has been documenting street fashion on a manual 35mm film camera for Women’s Wear Daily, Soho News, Details, and the New York Times for over half a century. The F-List was nice enough to invite us to an exclusive Canadian preview screening of Richard Press’ documentary, Bill Cunningham New York (April 18, 2011).
On the surface, this is a charming story of an artist. America’s first real street style photographer. A steadfast purist devoted to his craft, unwilling to compromise artistic integrity for anyone or anything. Look deeper and you’ll find a tragedy. A man who’s conflicted by his sexuality, has failed to forge any deep meaningful relationships, or live a ‘life’ outside of his work. It is Bill’s fear of living that has driven him to spend the better part of his life hidden behind a lens. Vicariously, through others, one perfectly snapped moment at a time. Not only was it memorable to catch a special screening of the movie, but we also met up and took some photos of the legend himself on Day 7 at New York Fashion Week.
The bad boys of Toronto fashion were back at Downtown Audi to host another one of their Legendary Fashion Extravaganzas (March 25, 2011). Greta Constantine fashion shows are huge. Many have clamoured for a spot on the A-list of one of the hippest biannual events of the year. You see for many, Greta is more than just a fashion show. Attendance has become a social badge of honour. A chance to be the first to see their new collection and rub elbows with socialites, celebrities, and industry elite during the designers’ renowned show. Not only were we invited to the fashion show, but one of the top highlights of 2011 was definitely the backstage interview of Fashion Television’s Jeanne Beker about the latest collection.
Day 6 of New York Fashion Week (September 13, 2011) and we were invited by avid figure skater, legendary club kid, and veteran fashion designer Richie Rich to join Kirstie Alley, Kris Humphries, Jonathan Knight, and Ice-T in celebration of the new Spring/Summer 2012 Popluxe Collection. Missing from the show held at Lavo NYC was Kim Kardashian, who was slated to appear in the front row next to her husband cheering on her sister-in-law Kaela Humphries.
They say that more than a handful is a wasteful. Well whoever they are, they’ve clearly underestimate the publicity power of one voluptuous right breast belonging to Nicole ‘Coco’ Austin. The famed girlfriend of rapper-turned-actor Ice-T and pint-sized Jessica Rabbit, experienced a wardrobe malfunction when her breast popped out of her 1980s print Popluxe dress. ”The fabric was so slippery. I knew there was going to be a malfunction! Oh well. That’s life. What are you going to do?” Coco was quoted by the Daily Telegraph. Popluxe couldn’t have asked for better publicity. The story ran in countless international columns on and off the web giving the brand tons of free exposure. One of the best parties of 2011!
Lily Aldridge, who we had the pleasure of meeting in Toronto in 2010, has earned her angel wings in what is only her sophomore year at Victoria’s Secret. Not a big surprise, given – a) she’s one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and b) fashion and modeling runs in her family.
Lily’s mother was a model, as are two of Lily’s sisters, and her brother is a fashion photographer who happens to be married to model Kristen McMenamy. Older sister Saffron Aldridge was the face of Ralph Lauren in the 90s, while her little sister Ruby Aldridge who Lily reveals she’s very proud of, has recently become the face of Marc by Marc Jacobs. We had a chance to interview Lily when she was in town (March 3, 2011) to talk about the new VS collection, here favourite VS pieces, men’s style, and her fiancé Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill. While we also interviewed Chanel Iman and Doutzen Kroues in 2011, Lily just seemed to have this sweetness and openness about her that was very sincere.
The surprise special guest appearance by Bosnian-Herzegovinian androgynous supermodel Andrej Pejic electrified Toronto’s LG Fashion Week (October 17, 2011). As a political refugee of the Bosnian War, Pejic moved from a refugee camp in Bosnia to Australia when he was eight years old. Less than ten years later he was scouted while working at a fast food restaurant in Melbourne. Talk about a twist of fate. He’s recently walked for both the men’s and women’s shows in Paris for Jean Paul Gaultier, just did the men’s in New York City for Marc Jacobs, and now graced us with his presence here in Toronto.
The sometimes guy, sometimes girl’s star is rising as he’s growing in demand on both the men’s and women’s catwalks. Toronto showed Andrej the love by casting him in several runway shows and he’s just landed the cover for this month’s Fashion Magazine. We were lucky enough to have spotted him backstage after his first show (Arthur Mendonça) and had a quick word with him on camera in addition to a few photos. The interview has well over 6,000 views on YouTube and counting.
“I don’t want to be cool, I want to be fashion!” – and fashion she most definitely is. Possibly the most fashionable woman on earth. According to the late German fashion photographer Helmut Newton, La Principessa di Bari Anna Dello Russo, is a fashion maniac. The Editor-At-Large and Creative Consultant for Japanese Vogue owns over 4,000 pairs of shoes and a wardrobe big enough to have its own zip code. Toronto’s downtown flagship location of The Hudson’s Bay Company department store hosted an industry-insider and A-list only shindig in the store’s famed White Space/Room (April 20, 2011).
When Tommy Met Anna, was an 81-photo, ten-day exhibition, chronicling the ongoing friendship between Ton and Dello Russo through the many photos he’s taken of her since first spotting her back in March of 2007. We cornered Anna for a few words on men’s fashion and were shocked when she declined to comment referring to men’s fashion (and yours truly) as boring. She then posted the It’s All Style To Me interview on her personal website LOL. Without a doubt, for better or for worst, the most memorable moment of 2011.
A big thanks to everyone for all the Press/Mentions in 2011 as well. Hope I didn’t miss anyone:
Toronto LG Fashion Week SS 2011 , DIY PR: Suck Up To The World’s Top Design Bloggers, H&M 2011, IFB Conference Highlights, Bee is the New Blog, Madtini, TORO Magazine – Mod Men, The Backseat Stylers, Depesha Magazine New York, Fuck Yeah Nick Wooster, Soho Monet – War Child’s Rock The Runway: Go Getters & Trend Setters, BlogTO – Street Style: Toronto Fashion Media and Designers, LGFW Geeky Chic, Ventolin, Toronto Star – Cream of the Crop, Scene and Be Seen: LG Fashion Week Day 4, Figures of Style: F.O.S. @ The LG Fashion Week, Toronto LG Fashion Week FW 2011, Stepping Out at LG Fashion Week FW 2011, Oh How Lucky We Are, RAC Boutique, Brigid Towler, Taessa Chorny Blog, Casie Stewart, Fashion Studio, YYZ, Toronto Life: The Scene, the best of Anna Dello Russo, The Midwest Style, Bill Cunningham Geeky Chic, BlogTO Street Style: Dandified Torontonians in Vintage Chic, StyleBlog.ca, Vaughan Mills Media Challenge, Right To Play, Backseat Stylers, DANIER Style Notes, Anna Dello Russo, Fashion Studio, Toronto Life, Yorkdale Blog, You Just Got Spotted, [pop-up] urbain, LNN: Levy News Network, DENHAM, Swipe.ca, Toronto Star, LKISStyle, New Vintage Press, Andrej Pejic Page, Peroni Moda Files, Denham, FAB Magazine, Shangri-La Newsletter, Globe & Mail Calvin Klein Party, Lomography Canada