6 shows, 3 shoe changes, 2 blisters, and 1 Lara bar | yohana

Six shows, three shoe changes, two blisters, and one Lara bar (no wonder fashion NYers are so skinny…no time to eat!) Hours into the day, I’ve got enough florals, pyjamas, and bright colours to last me a lifetime.
Peter Som started things off with a colorful bang, giving us acid-bright pinks, blues, and tangerines. Blown-up digital floral prints made a big impact, and the ‘60s influence we saw for fall made a strong showing in the form of box tops, swing shifts, and a cropped baby blue pant suit. On a more modern note, many of the pieces were paired with sporty, anorak detailing.
A little uptown, hosted in the cavernous and jaw-dropping Barishnikov arts centre, the mood of The Row‘s spring collection was decidedly starker. Guests mingled casually with the pint-sized Olsen pair pre-presentation—a welcome treat among the many exclusivities of fashion week—and sat down together to take in the beauty of an almost entirely white collection, featuring layers of luxe silk and chiffon, pyjama pants with mother of pearl detailing, and what felt like diamond-dusted embroidery sparkled on far-East inspired, modern-cut kimonos. The collection was all at once over-the-top ornate and perfectly acceptable boudoir attire. Speaking of, I think I’m ready for bed! More coverage from Day 1 coming up shortly! Until then, my pretties…

A chock full day 2 of Ashish, Vivienne Westwood, House of Holland, Jonathan Saunders, and more! | yohana

Jardins d’Ashish, a collection chock-a-block with sequined sunflowers, daisies over checkerboard patterns, and the occasional brick wall, brought day two of London fashion week to a sunny start—even if it ended on a much (MUCH!) colder note. After the show, I headed backstage to meet Ashish Gupta, the designer behind Ashish. “I think was feeling quite romantic this season, and didn’t feel like I really needed that sense of humour,” he said. While the designer isn’t widely known in North America, his designs are pretty major across the pond; he’s launching his second Topshop collab next month. (Note to the Bay: bring it, bring it, bring it!)
Other highlights of the day were seeing Vivienne Westwood backstage, half an hour before her show (which included some brilliant hair extensions and elfin ears), playing a game of “Who is that?!” at House of Holland, trying to guess all the British It girls, the super-feminine dresses at Emilio de la Morena, Felicity Brown’s salon show, which was on the second floor of the Royal Opera House and couldn’t possibly have been set at a better venue, and of course, Jonathan Saunders, which is always one of the highlights of LFW. Inspired by the girl living in Miami in the ‘50s, dresses, sheer tops, and pants featured a very Florida-esque palette (think coral, bright blue, and a bit of mint green and black), pyjama dressing at its best, and Saunders’ signature expertise in prints, colour, and patterns. Stay tuned for the Backstage beauty look from this show.

Fairytales come to life at Akris, Andrew Gn, Azzaro, Celine, and Hermès | yohana

Paris Fashion Week is a fairytale, though my battered and blistered feet might indicate otherwise. From the characters to the costumes to the sets, every sunrise here marks the beginning of another magical chapter. So, it wasn’t all that surprising when a bona fide Princess (Charlene Wittstock, Prince Albert of Monaco’s new bride) walked into the Akris show and perched front row. I was seated two rows behind which proved to be an excellent vantage point to study her sizeable diamond stud earrings. My final analysis? They were the Goldilocks of gemstones–not too big, not too small. She is a big fan of Akris, and even had an outfit designed for her wedding day (not THE dress, but a dress) so her ties with this company are firmly rooted. Perhaps this connection explains Akris’s throw to Monaco’s Grand Prix Formula 1 in its spring line-up: racing green, sporty stripes, race car prints. Even the show’s soundtrack included engines revving.

Welcome to the jungle at Hussein Chalayan, Roland Mouret, Vionnet, Roger Vivier, and Lanvin | yohana

Finding your seat at a Paris fashion show can sometimes pose un problème: some spaces are as dark as haunted houses (Hussein Chalayan) while others are so tiny that introductions often aren’t necessary before making body contact (Carven). Finding my seat at Roland Mouret proved to be a rather glam experience; the ornate ballroom in L’Hôtel Westin is the perfect place to rise and shine. It’s like freshly squeezed OJ served in a gilded chalice. The show was very Parisienne chic (tailored cropped jackets paired with body skimming pencil skirts, flirty ruffles, the perfect cap sleeved shift dress in several shades of blue, sexy peek-a-boo accents on hemlines and playful sartorial accents like the not-so evil eyes) though there was one surprising models-they’re-just-like-us moment: the cone-heeled shoes squeaked with every step.
Next up: Hussein Chalayan, who appeared as a well-dressed server (bowtie and all) and proceeded to hand out bubbly to the models as they made the runway rounds. Chalayan is a true artiste and like any avant garde performance–this one included a live Belgian choir, two people wrapped head to toe in black and a video of two swirling spots­–you are entertained but leave with a slew of unanswered questions. A trip over to the Vionnet presentation was a pretty palette cleanser of floral prints, signature draping, whimsical bees and butterflies hanging from dresses and mesh booties, oceans of midnight blue, white, green and even a shout-out to America the beautiful with a smattering of stars. Speaking of which, Nicholas Kirkwood for Pollini’s presentation was held where A-listers rest their haute heads – The Ritz. After chatting with Kirkwood (he’s a delight!) and browsing the collab capsule collection of patent two-tone loafers, leather and straw bags, short stacked suede heels (a new height on the radar this spring) and more, I retired to the garden for a few blissful moments.
Over at Roger Vivier things were heating up; not only was the presentation room heat-stroke central but the Spring ’12 collection channeled the jungle: juicy tropical hues, wood accents, heavy beading, even a few monkeys swung onto the scene. Though the best accessories of the day were at Lanvin’s sweat lodge (er, tent). Each flushed attendee was given a black fan to flap during the 45-minute wait. Even Julianne Moore and Kristen Scott Thomas got in on the action, proving that Hollywood heavyweights aren’t too posh to perspire.

Kristen Stewart and Kate Moss at Mulberry, plus the scoop on Peter Jensen, Topshop, Acne, and Tom Ford | yohana

Ice cream, pink lemonade, and nearly 2,000 balloon animals aren’t typical ways to start a Sunday morning—but then we only get to start our day off with a Mulberry fashion show but twice a year. This show is always a big ticket of LFW, for its prime guest list (um, today’s show included Kristen Stewart AND Kate Moss, who wore a Canadian tuxedo and a brown hat!), super-luxe venue (the upscale Claridges Hotel in the tony Mayfair neighbourhood), dogs on the runway (this season: miniature schnauzers), and, obviously, the fact that the brand is one of the fastest-growing luxury brands out there. Another way to start the day: sequins, and yet another sorbet palette of yellow, green, and pink.
Today, I also saw Peter Jensen, whose show featured more brilliant prints, including one of a landscape inspired by Nina Simone’s time in Switzerland; Topshop, which was quite literally Egyptian inspired—and not necessarily in a good way (although I did sit across from Naomi Campbell and Sir Philip Green); Acne, which, minus a few rock ‘n roll-ish pieces, was Swedish cool as usual; and—get this—Tom Ford. The “no photos allowed,” “starts at 6 p.m. sharp” show was an amazing presentation, even if the clothes were, well, a little bizarre. Part ‘80s and part early-Tom-Ford-at-Gucci, there were a few too many peasant blouses and ruffles for my liking. What made up for it, though, was seeing a huge laundry list of industry heavyweights in one place, without the insane paparazzi hounding them.

Letter from the editor | yohana

Bernadette Morra
Westons, Mimrans, Budman and Green. There are some Canadian fashion families that are so well documented, their faces are as familiar as Brad’s and Angelina’s. It’s not that we don’t revere these brilliant style mavericks for putting Holt Renfrew, Club Monaco, Joe Fresh and Roots on the map, but in this issue, we wanted to turn the spotlight on some Canadian fashion families you may not be as familiar with. We always assumed there was a Laura, for whom the chain is named, but we didn’t realize she opened shop in 1930. The story of how 100 Jacob stores were born out of a dream is an inspiration. And how marvellous that the Cherry family passed their knowledge of retail down like a precious heirloom to Barry and Deena Weinberg, who run the Max Mara flagship in Toronto.

Like all clans, fashion folk have their dramas—murder and madness have become Gucci lore. But in “Power Lines” (page 62), Laura deCarufel highlights the positives of working with kin. Aldo’s Douglas Bensadoun cites a “deep, silent understanding.” Penny Shuster of La Canadienne values the trust factor inherent in every decision. For Browns’ Michael Brownstein, it’s the simple pleasure of being able to eat lunch with his son and his daughter.
Distilling global fashion trends for the Canadian lifestyle is key to the success of all these brands. That’s exactly what we do in every issue of FASHION. This month, the prim vs. perverse drama that played out on European runways—often in a single outfit—is addressed in The List (page 77) and throughout our fashion spreads (page 153). Think you can’t pair leather and florals? Think again….

5 minutes with Primary’s Cleo Schroeder | yohana

Photography: Primary Look Book by Greg Swales
Only one year in business and Big Apple–based label Primary has two big benchmarks bagged: the endorsement of a star style blogger (The Glamourai’s Kelly Framel) and a resort collection. Raised in Vancouver and schooled at Parsons, designer Cleo Schroeder talks West Coast roots and quirky fashion hits.

Who is the Primary woman?
“She is a constant traveller who needs to streamline her closet with high-quality modern basics. She appreciates affordable luxury and loves to have fun with fashion. She doesn’t take herself or trends too seriously.”
What inspired the Fall 2011 collection?
“The Stardust collection was inspired by a trip to Art Basel Miami Beach. You would think it was the art that would be inspiring, but really it was the rockstar attitudes of the artists themselves. That, plus the fact we were staying at the recently redone Tides hotel by Kelly Wearstler. The entire trip was complete visual heaven.”
How did you dream up your clever two-in-one Zig jacket?
“It was dreamt up on a trip to Barcelona. I had only packed one jacket and was dying to cut it into a crop for a night out. Not having my proper scissors with me saved that jacket’s life and fuelled me to design a proper two-in-one the next morning.”
Did growing up in Vancouver influence your aesthetic at all?
“Absolutely. I always try to design with a certain ease and nonchalance for the wearer. It’s just that West Coast, laid-back attitude towards dressing. I also sketch out most of the collections in Vancouver, so perhaps it shows.”

Benches break at Balenciaga and—gasp!—everyone has to stand | yohana

Balenciaga’s SS 2012 show is all over Twitter and fashion news sites this morning, but not for the reasons you would expect. The headlines were enough to make any fashion editor cringe with sympathy: “Broken Benches Send Editors and Buyers Crashing to the Floor at Balenciaga Show” and “Balenciagea Attendees Forced to Stand Throughout the Show Because of Faulty Benches”. No one was hurt, thank God, but standing during a runway show? How terribly gauche!
Thanks to live Tweeting, we get to experience the event almost as if we were there. Runway show veterans the Traina sisters were the first to hear the bench creaking, and jumped up seconds before it came crashing to the floor. (Kate Lanphear and Eric Wilson weren’t so lucky!) But despite the surprise of a standing-room-only presentation (and difficulty for the shorter members of the audience), the show did go on. Everyone present, including the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Salma Hayek, and François-Henri Pinault, stood like champs, and watched the show as though the models were brides heading down the aisle. We can’t even imagine how horrible it would have been had Anna Wintour been one to fall on the floor.
Even with the unexpected drama, the show was a success for everyone involved. In the grand scheme of things, it will be Nicolas Ghesquière‘s designs that will be remembered, and not the benches—and besides, don’t groups tend to bond in the face of adversity? What a way to bring fashionistas together!
Fashionista: “There are few designers who can expect editors to not only stay at a show, but stand, after multiple benches creak, crack, and finally give way, sending fashion notables to an ungainly heap on the floor.” [Fashionista]
Alexandra Shulman, Vogue editor: “It created quite the spirit of camaraderie.” [Vogue UK]

Jordan Porter, fashion market editor: “Just in case the fashion flock needed an added excuse to fret about their figures, Balenciaga’s benches collapsing under the weight of show attendees will certainly have editors worrying about that early morning macaron! Thankfully nobody was hurt, except for maybe a pair of Jimmy Choo’s.”

Style snaps: Lewis Mirrett shoots the madness at this weekend’s Versace for H&M opening | yohana

To the brave ones who pulled an all-nighter on Friday in the name of Versace for H&M, we salute you! Only you, the TV crews, and the bewildered onlookers were privy to the madness that was the 7:45 a.m. collection launch on Saturday morning. Well, you, and our boy Lewis Mirrett that is, who swung by Toronto’s Eaton Centre to catch the early morning rush for those who were busy catching their zzzs.

Coco Rocha on health in the modeling industry and a potentially malicious Toronto Life headline | yohana

Earlier this week, supermodel and FASHION cover babe Coco Rocha took to the stage in New York, along with Doutzen Kroes, to speak out on the matters of health and beauty within the modeling industry. Amongst her statements, the model mentioned being told—at age 15 no less—to look like she was anorexic without actually developing an eating disorder. In a post titled “Supermodel Coco Rocha is not anorexic, okay? She’s allegedly healthy—and beautiful,” from earlier today, torontolife.com discussed her remarks. We don’t believe the post intended negativity, save for the particularly bold headline, but Rocha wasn’t happy about it, as evidenced by her comment on the post, and remarks on her own blog.