Tuesday, April 30, 2013

LDN: Vogue Festival: A Celebration of Sorts

Deanne writes...

Here’s something to think about: Vogue Festival is quite the oxymoron. Festivals normally hold that casual characteristic where every sense of pretension is left at home and celebratory gimmicks play out under the sky. But as I look across the hall of Southbank Centre filled with girls of every fashion and form, of cameras, makeup, and merchandise, I hoped that it could have been called a party instead.

That’s not to say I’m complaining. I joined in on the party! I had my hair done with a wraparound braid, taking inspiration from the runway girls at Valentino’s spring/summer 2011 show. And then my lips finally had a taste of designer lipstick as YSL’s slid across mine. Ah, the luxury! The fashion! In a matter of minutes, I felt like a different woman… Once again, fashion demonstrates its superpower to transform. 

But the spotlight shined ever so brightly on the speakers, the cognoscenti of the billion-dollar industry. They weren’t there to talk about money though – oh god, no – because if you are truly, madly in love with this art form, it’s the last thing on your mind. The roster of speakers over the weekend was a lineup that could have not been any better. And I must say, the fashion gods must really like me as I was blessed with a free ticket to Alber Elbaz’s session.

I think what Elbaz managed to do in that one hour was bring fashion back to our feet. Where it so rightly belongs. I hate to admit it but fashion has that stereotype of being so irrelevant, so exclusive, and so easy. But Elbaz is the antithesis to that, which says so much as he is the creative director of Lanvin, one of Paris’ most treasured houses.

Right from the beginning, he strips away all forms of superiority. “I come from a humble background. And I’m glad I did because you can fantasize when you come from a small place,” he says. Having been born in Morocco and growing up in Israel, countries thousands of miles away from the fashion capitals of the world, it’s quite obvious that hard work was his path to the destination. “You know, you can have connections or money but that only brings you to the door… Never to the ceiling,” he says so poignantly.

And in a world where everything has become a routine, he still wants to remain with the premise that “fashion is all about fantasy… about taking a piece of fabric and turning it into 3D.” Season after season, Elbaz never fails to deliver clothes – beautiful clothes that spring from a dream to right in front of our eyes! – that respect women. And when we women find a designer who does that, we save a soft spot in our hearts for them. 

Fall 2011 RTW
Elbaz keeps me in awe with his designs but makes me laugh with his humanness, his authenticity and warmth. “I am a walking contradiction! I fly first class but I like the people in coach because they’re my kind of people; I eat in classy restaurants when I just really want to go to McDonald’s,” he admits. I sit thoroughly amazed of how someone who holds so much power can also hold so much modesty. I wonder how he does that and then it’s as if he heard my question as he says, “I like to create relationships. We often forget that we are an industry of people, not machines.” There you have it: his driving force is connection. And if you think about it, that’s what fashion has always been about: a connection between the clothes and the wearer, the wearer and the designer, the designer and world.

And then that’s when I realized the purpose of the Vogue Festival: it was really a celebration of the significant value of fashion in our world. For two days, under one roof, thousands of fashion aficionados gathered together to deeply recognize this industry for its innate ability to translate an emotion, a movement, a consciousness into something that we can take with us everywhere.

Elbaz ties the whole festival together with the idea for his autumn/winter 2013 collection: "I accessorized the lines with necklaces. I opened the show with a necklace that said ‘Help’, because I like asking for help, and ended it with one that said ‘Love’, because you know, it’s always nice to have some of that." Touché, Alber, touché. 


And thank you to the Vogue Festival for reminding me once again why I want to be part of this industry. Job well done. 


Runway photos from Style.com 

Friday, April 26, 2013

LDN: Roomies

Deanne writes...

There it is in all its pristine, shining glory. Not exactly what I thought when I first entered the base room of our school. I honestly thought they weren't through with it yet. But they told us they were.

Coming from an interior decoration magazine, I had this intense itch to decorate every inch of the place.  A painting here, color there (please!). Just anything to inspire me more!

And then Kate, our wonderfully "jazz hands" teacher and insanely avid fan of technology, conveyed the reason for the purity. It went something like this:

"The school is just a canvas. You are the painting."

I silently applauded her for the totally appropriate metaphor (after all, we are fashion students)! Everything we step into is just a frame for our creations. 

And that's what everyone in the fashion industry does. Anna Dello Russo fills the pages of Vogue Japan with her magic. Annie Leibovitz captures the raw essence of her subjects with her camera. Christopher Kane translates the intangible energy of London's youth into fabric. I can go on and on...

As the first cohort of the school, we are expected to do the same. Never have I been so moved to rise to a challenge. At this point in time, the fashion industry seems to be saturated with aspirants but I believe that there's a place for each one of us. We just have to find it. And as the days go by (oh so quickly!), I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to the point I've been tending to all along. 

It's gonna be a good one.


LDN: Square One

Deanne writes...

There are many things I have to ask forgiveness for but nothing on the moral level (at least not on this blog). When I started this with my friend, I knew commitment would be required of me. And then life sort of happened and this got pushed to the side... like many other projects of mine. This time though, that can't happen.

First of all, I am in London (do you see what happened to the blog? It's not MNL and NYC anymore. It's LDN and NYC.)

Second, I love to write.

So I have no more excuses. 

I took the above photo last April 8 on my flight from HK to LDN. It's been 3 weeks. I am halfway around the world, far away from the shores of my country in pursuit of the dream that has been potent for quite some time now: fashion. You can laugh, wonder what the hell I want to do in this seemingly fluffy, airy industry. But I've been in the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design for 2 weeks and it can take me all day (or two... or three...) to challenge you on that notion. 

I have a lot of catching up to do (if there's such thing as a New York minute, there's also a London minute) but for now I'll leave you with where I want to end up:

Above my head, there it is: VOGUE HOUSE. I understand how big that dream is but you know... Don't tell me I can reach for the sky when there are footprints on the moon. Yes, it's that sort of thing. 

Back to square one. A clean slate. A new beginning. 

Thank God I can do it in style.