Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Highlights of Sean Avery's diary for Vogue

Sean Avery, in case you didn't know, is an American hockey player who is interning at Vogue. Instead of fetching coffee, unpublished Harry Potter manuscripts and laundry, he gets to sit in on senior editor meetings, help style photoshoots and interview famous people. You know, the real dirty work. So what does the job a million girls would kill for include? Here is a snippet from his blog on MensVogue.com

He loves fashion! And hockey players make fun of him!

Some people question whether I'm straight; others give me compliments. Some women find it a turn-on. My teammates are very supportive and cool about my interest in fashion — sometimes they even ask for my advice on what to wear. But I'd be lying to you if I said that I don't take some verbal abuse from opposing players for the clothes I wear, or for my interest in something — "fashion" — that I think sounds a little frightening to narrow-minded blockheads. I also realize that this isn't necessarily their fault — they think it's what they're supposed to think.

He is super important because he sits in on meetings

I jumped right in. First up was a creative meeting attended by the magazine's senior staff, which gave me a broad look at upcoming shoots, potential covers, and which writers, editors, and photographers were covering which stories. The whole thing is impossible to explain, really — let's just say it was a 4,000-part overview of where the magazine is going and what needed to get done to light up women's faces across America — and, yes, the occasional hockey player.

He has trouble balancing lunch trays

And then it was lunchtime. The cafeteria in the Condé Nast building — which houses Vogue and Men's Vogue and Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and about every other magazine you've ever heard of aside from The Hockey News — is filled with some of the best-looking and best-dressed women in New York. Even aside from that distraction, my first attempt at getting lunch didn't go so well. You see, I needed two trays to hold my plates of beef stroganoff and my salad (which alone could probably feed four) and my two bottles of water and my Jello for dessert. To have two full trays in the Condé Nast cafeteria is like seeing a hockey player wearing skinny jeans — it just doesn't happen. And while my stick-handling on the ice keeps getting better and better, my tray-handling leaves a bit to be desired. I still can't find the girl who fled the cafeteria with beef stroganoff spilled all over her, but just in case she's reading this: You can find me on the twelfth floor, and I owe you a new outfit. I now limit myself to one tray at a time.

He loves clothes and he thinks celebrities are assholes

Two weeks into the job I flew to L.A. to help out on two more, photo shoots, the first for Vogue and the second for the Fashion Rocks supplement, which covers the influence of music on fashion and vice versa — something I pay a lot of attention to. On the first day, I was assigned to a film crew we had shooting B-roll for Vogue.com: My job was to somehow get the B-roll team inside the main photo shoot and secure 20 minutes of shoot time and a quick interview.

Some people might think that pro athletes can be difficult. Generally speaking, this isn't really true. Celebrities are difficult. We waited from noon to 4:30 P.M. and didn't get a minute of film.

Thank God for Day Two and Shoot Two. The photographer was shooting a pop band in a studio. The production lasted for hours and hours, but I had a smile plastered on me all day. This was the first time I was able to have real input into something I love — yes, clothes.


Holt Renfrew is having a sale 30 to 50% off now through July 6. Time to stock up on shoes and bags...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Walking through Paris

My biggest trouble concerning looking fashionable while traveling is comfortable footwear. When I travel I invariably end up walking a lot: Exploring a city, going to a museum, browsing a boutique...so I knew before I left for France that I would need comfortable footwear but they had to be cute. No sneakers for me.
Well that plan went out the window the day I arrived in Paris. Before the trip, I bought Cole Haan flats with Nike Air "technology" meaning there was a lot of support on the sole like a sneaker. Unfortunately, after hours of searching for my hotel, my bones from my foot up my leg felt like they were breaking. I didn't care how cute they were, I felt like I would permanently damage my feet if I kept wearing them. So I went to a shoe store and bought the first pair of comfortable sneakers I could find and wore them for the rest of the trip. My feet had never felt so good, fashion be damned!

But besides the shoe debacle, I thought I picked out some cute outfits. The weather was perfect, not too hot or too cold. Sunny. I could wear whatever I wanted. During my stay in Paris (I also was in Annecy for a week) I went down the Champs Elysées and visited the Louis Vuitton mothership, the Chanel store on Rue Cambon, Yves Saint Laurent on Rue George V and the Hermes flagship store on Rue Faubourg. It was heaven.

Louis Vuitton flagship store on the Champs Elysées. Three floors of amazing luggage, bags, clothes and shoes.

Hermes flagship store at Rue Faubourg. The theme for the windows display is Indian Summer.

I spot a fuchsia croc Birkin

Alligator Birkin

Friday, June 20, 2008

Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton documentary

While I was in Paris, I popped by the LV store on the Champs Elysées and while I was too broke to afford a bag, I was able to pop down my last 20 euros on the Marc Jacobs documentary.

This was the first time a camera crew was able to go watch MJ and his crew create a collection for his own label and for Louis Vuitton. It really is incredible to see all the work that goes into making a collection which ends up being shown for a mere 15 minutes down the runway.

The doc also shows us the creative process of how an LV bag is made (a nice treat shows us how the folks at LV came up with the monstrous Tribute bag and how macaroons were an inspiration for another bag.)

Watching Jacobs at work is a pleasure and makes me appreciate the work that goes into making the clothes and the bags.

If you don't wear this ugly vest, you will die: Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld wearing a safety vest for a French PSA. The text says: "It's yellow, it's ugly, it doesn't go with anything, but it could save your life."
I love you Karl.

Interview with modeling agent Ben Barry

I met Ben while doing a story on him for Metro newspaper about his book Fashioning Reality. I thought it would be timely to post this since fashion is getting extra attention these days with critics bemoaning the lack of diversity. Ben owns a modeling agency that hires women of all different ages, sizes and races. And he actually gets them jobs. You remember the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty? Those are his models. He was very optimistic about the fashion industry listening to what his message is- that real women can model too, and he hoped to see more full-figured girls inside mainstream magazines. While we haven't seen that yet in the year that has passed since I talked to him (Vogue's Shape Issue does not count), I do hope that his goal will come true. Fashion is slow to change and does not really reflect the modern-day woman (in terms of her race, weight, etc.) And although campaigns such as the Dove one are a step forward, I am afraid that it could just be a marketing gimmick to draw attention to the company. You don't see any other beauty campaigns featuring "real" women even though Dove has stuck with this for a couple years now. But who knows, maybe one day plus-sized models or black models won't be used solely for "Special" issues of magazines or gimmicky beauty campaigns.

Agent breaks the mold

Agent Ben Barry wants to convince the fashion world that not every woman has to be 5’11 and 115 pounds to be a model.

Remember that larger-than-life poster on the Gardiner which asked whether the model was fat or fit? The numbers on that Dove advertisement showed people were split 50-50 on whether the model was heavy or healthy.
Her agent, Ben Barry, is trying to convince society that women do not have to be 5’11 and 115 pounds to be models.
“Within the fashion industry, there is one idea of beauty and people are really scared of changing that,” says Barry, who is currently promoting his new book Fashioning Reality.
Barry’s goal is to get his models on the runways of haute couture fashion shows and on magazine covers.
His roster of models come in a variety of shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities and abilities (one model, Joey, is a paraplegic.)
When he was 14-years-old, Barry started his modelling agency, Ben Barry Agency Inc., out of his mother’s basement in Ottawa after he saw the devastating effects fashion magazines had on his best friend, who developed anorexia.
“I was in school and seeing the impact of these images on my friends. They weren’t inspired, they were damaged. My best friend got hurt because she was looking at these images every day,” says Barry.
However, when he offered his services to fashion companies, they refused.
“The initial responses I got were ‘Well, we’re sorry this is happening but we’re not interested.’ And I said, ‘These women are your consumers and they’re getting negative feelings about your brand.’ ”
Now, Barry, 24, has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto, and has models who have appeared in ads for Nike, Dove, Macy’s and L’Oréal.
After that Dove ad on the Gardiner, sales went up 700 per cent in the first month.
However, it took him time to gain credibility as a modelling agent who was trying to get jobs for people who did not fit into the model mold.
“I convinced a lot of clients to use diversity by showing it made business sense to use models who looked like their consumer. I’m not saying get rid of your models, but try one or two of mine.”
Not only is he running a business, he is also a graduate student at Cambridge University.
“People may read this and think ‘Oh man, this kid is crazy,’ but anyone could do this,” he says, suggesting young entrepreneurs get friends to help, develop business mentors, be creative with capital and tap into ideas from everyday life.
“I’m influenced by my friends who I see every day in school, who are loving the fashion industry and hating it. This fuels me to keep going.”

(Copyright Chloe Tejada 2007-2008)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

First look at all-black Vogue Italia

Cathy Horyn got a preview of July Vogue Italia that features only black models, a first for a mainstream fashion magazine. The July cover stars four models- Jourdan, Liya, Sessilee Lopez and Naomi, and other models in the issue include Iman, Alek Wek, Pat Cleveland, Chanel Iman, Veronica Webb, Tyra Banks, and Karen Alexander.
Cathy also interviewed some of the people who helped put together the issue.
Will this make bookers cast more ethnic people for shows and shoots? I doubt it (thanks Miuccia) but maybe this will show them the range of beautiful and talented black models that are out there. I have a feeling that this will be seen as a fad that will garner media attention for maybe a month but will be forgotten by the next issue or the next controversy. It's a shame.

(Photos: Vogue/New York Times)

Interview with owner of best consignment store in Toronto

I've been obsessed with designer goods for a couple of years now but always had trouble justifying the cost for such delights. And then I discovered L'Elegante Limited, a designer consignment store in Yorkville. I got curious about Carmen Dilullo, the sole owner of the store, so she consented to let me ask her tons of questions and it was a great opportunity to talk about our love of everything designer.

Shop a Designer Heaven

L’Elegante Limited, a consignment shop in Yorkville, sells second-hand designer clothes for one-third the original price.

For those who have been lusting over that Louis Vuitton bag or the pair of Manolos but can’t afford the price, your dream has become a reality.

L’Elegante Limited, a consignment shop in Yorkville, takes second-hand designer clothing and accessories which must be in flawless condition, and sells them for about one-third of the original price.

Sound too good to be true? Take a walk around the store and you will find goods such as the popular Chanel quilted cambon bag, which normally retails at $1,700 at the boutique. L’Elegante has it for $599.

From furs, crocodile handbags, evening gowns and leather jackets, L’Elegante offers a variety of designer delights such as Armani, Prada, Versace, Dior, Escada and Christian Lacroix.

Carmen Dilullo, the owner and manager, says she loves offering her clients designer goods without maxing out their credit cards.

“What I like is to make people happy. When I see people leaving the store with a smile on their face, I know I’ve done good,” says Dilullo.

L’Elegante receives goods from known suppliers but before Dilullo prices and re-sells them, she inspects them to make sure they are clean and in excellent condition.

If authenticity is ever an issue, she only has to walk a few steps up Bloor Street, also known as designer mecca, and pop into Holt Renfrew or a boutique to verify that an item is real.

L’Elegante opened 30 years ago on Yorkville Avenue until a condominium development in the area forced it to move to Cumberland Street five years ago.

Dilullo has worked at L’Elegante for 11 years and became the owner in January, after the previous owner died.

“When she died, I was very sad because what I liked most about working here was my boss,” says Dilullo. “She showed me the business, how to deal with people and she made me very interested in the business and how to manage a high-end fashion shop.”

Having only been owner for the past couple of months, Dilullo is trying to live up to her predecessor’s legacy.

“It’s a learning experience every day,” she says, noting how lucky she is that she can work in a business she loves and be surrounded by her favourite designers — Max Mara, Prada, Tod’s and Stuart Weitzman.

“I like to see fashion on people and how I can contribute to making them look smart and well dressed,” says Dilullo.

(This story originally appeared in Metro Toronto. Copyright Chloe Tejada 2008)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Awesome jewelry find

A friend who I went to Ryerson with makes incredibly beautiful jewelry and every month or so she comes out with new pieces that are to die for. Natasha Ferro's latest creations are up for sale on her Facebook group, One-of-a-Kind-Jewelry, and there are so many that I must have.
Natasha is also a fashion designer, and I interviewed her about her debut collection at Toronto Alternative Fashion Week this Spring. I also learned that this collection will be sold at Toronto boutique Boutique Le Trou so congrats Natasha!
Natasha experiments with a lot of different materials and it's obvious that she loves to try out new shapes with her necklaces. I have bought mostly long necklaces which I wear formally with dresses and even with tank tops. Her pieces are really versatile and what I love about them is how unique they are and that anyone at any age can wear them.

Here is a sample of her gorgeous necklaces:

How I missed the Yves Saint Laurent funeral

President Sarkozy, his wife Carla, Saint Laurent's partner Pierre Berge

When I learned that Saint Laurent's funeral was going to take place on the day I would arrive in Paris, I swore to myself that I would attend to pay my respects to the masterful fashion designer and of course to see other fashion legends that would attend. Alas, it was not meant to be. My boyfriend and I arrived at Charles De Gaulle airport at 7 a.m. and we took a bus that dropped us off at the Arc De Triumph. I pulled out a map I had printed of the hotel we were staying at. Or so I thought. I figured we would walk to the hotel to pass the time since check-in wasn't until 1 p.m. So we walked and walked and walked. We finally got to Rue Saint Honoré where we thought our hotel was (well, that's what my map said) and we continued down the street searching for the right address. As we passed boutiques such as Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Prada, Hermes, Chanel, Galliano and Gaultier I briefly wondered how we managed to get a two-star hotel on such an obvious high-class street. Maybe we lucked out. Although I should have been in paradise, I was so tired from being up for almost 24 hours that I barely glanced at the stores. I couldn't even drag myself into Prada to look at the fabled Fairy bag.
So we passed a large church and I barely noticed that there was a lot of hubbub around it. We must have gone up and down the street five times searching for our hotel. Then I read a little note I scribbled on my map. It said "This is where Yves Saint Laurent's funeral will be." Ahhhh...my boyfriend was not pleased. We had spent more than hour passing Eglise Saint-Roch where we thought our hotel was. So that's why there were a bunch of boxes that said "Y Saint Laurent" on them. So we took a cab to our hotel which turned out to be only a couple minutes away. After waiting another two or three hours to check in, we finally got the key to our room and promptly fell asleep. The funeral was at 3:30 p.m. I woke up at 4:30. I missed the funeral but at least I got to see the church.

And by the way, remember the flats I bought for the trip? Turns out they really aren't made for "European walking" as the Cole Haan SA told me. My bones felt like they were dying. Thankfully my boyfriend bought me runners which I wore for the rest of the trip.

(Photos: nytimes.com)


Claudia Schiffer

Catherine Deneuve

John Galliano