Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Vancouver Community College - Lou-Lou Sy, Modern Vintage

Runway images by Harry Leonard 
Illustrations by Lou-Lou Sy

Fiat Mode XXVIII was held in a new venue this year. Vancouver Community College (VCC) offered their annual fashion showcase on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW). This year there were 24 graduates featured, each showcasing five looks - 120 looks in all.

What an amazing opportunity for this strong class of design students to be a part of an established fashion week - and how daunting. Their collections would be evaluated by more than just a supportive group of family and friends. The audience also held a wide range of media and industry professionals there so see a wide variety of shows. I am sure there were a few nerves backstage.

With a group this large, it's impossible for me to feature every student. I have written a show overview for Metro Living Zine offering the collections of ten students selected by looking at both their runway garments and the fashion illustrations in their portfolios. From those ten I have chosen three to offer individual spotlights here.

Today's interview is with Lou-Lou Sy. From the moment her first model stepped onto the runway until that final look left, Sy's soft, feminine collection captured the audience's attention. All around me I could hear ooh's and aah's. The choice to stick with a white palette and feature sheers and lace was perfect. Each look literally floated down the runway. I am originally from the U.S., so could not help thinking of hot Southern days will elegant women sipping frosty ice teas under swaying willow trees.

There is a real surprise in this behind the scenes Q and A. You absolutely have to read about her inspiration. Wish I could go back and watch this show again with that in mind.

= = = =

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I grew up in Sydney, Australia. I moved to Canada in 2008 to be with the love of my life.

What were you like when you were young? 

I hate to admit it, but I think I was a terror. I was a very high maintenance child who insisted on very instructive details as to how to braid and bow my hair, my white socks had to have a very specific lace flare and Miss Piggy was clearly a terrible role model for someone as young as myself back then... Lucky for me, I had great parents who humoured me.

What were your interests in High School?

When I was 15, I was lucky to have an opportunity to spend a week at a Bridal Atelier which led to a part-time job after school for two years until I graduated from High School. The types of fabric and trims I got to work with, till this day still inspire me.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion? A personal story would be great here.

I was an extraordinarily lucky child in that growing up, my mother had clothing custom made for me. I insisted on being very involved with the process from the moment I could communicate, which I'm sure drove the dressmakers crazy. As I got older, I'd spend all my time collecting images of outfits that I wanted, so I was already creating mood boards. Nothing excited me more than the fabric swatch book that was bigger than a bible, I would spend hours pouring over it fantasizing about each and every detail my new dress would entail. Even at the age of four, I think the signs were always there.

Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was you family supportive?

There was never a question that I would study fashion design. After graduating high school to my delight, I somehow scored a coveted acceptance at East Sydney Fashion Institute which had been my goal. It led to an amazing year long internship at Harper's Bazaar Australia which than led to amazing opportunities to work with some incredible Australian designers. I can't honestly say that my parents were supportive, but I was so headstrong that it didn't matter.




















Why did you choose to study at Vancouver Community College?

When I moved to Canada in 2008, I had to put my fashion career on hold and switch to fashion retail as it was the only work available where we were living at the time. It was an extremely tough transition learning a different market and no longer having access to a variety of designs. In 2012, we were relocated to Vancouver and I had an incredible experience volunteering with the Vancouver Opera where I got to meet with the Head Designer Parvin Mirhady. She was exceptionally encouraging and revealed that she had studied under the legendary Blossom at VCC which in turn led me to apply.

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you, are they any high, low or funny moments you can share?

Goodness! I could probably write a novel. One of the hardest part of the program for me was definitely having to switch from metric to imperial. As an Australian who was never taught the imperial system, it was definitely a struggle with my drafting classes in particular. Not only did I have to learn drafting, but I had to crash course what Canadians had already learnt in elementary school. It was not my brightest hour I'm afraid. 

However, the most incredible thing about the VCC program for me was that I got to meet some of the most creative and talented group of ladies. We all bonded and supported each other throughout the program. I can honestly say that if it weren't for Amanda Amos, Krissy Bishop, Laura Ewert and Nicole Persak's unfailing belief in me, I wouldn't have made it to the end of the program. I honestly was hoping for just one buddy in the program, but I ended up with four of the best girls who I can now count as friends for life. It makes me realize what a truly blessed person I am.


What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Share anything you'd like readers to know?

I was inspired by the Donnithorne Estate in Sydney, Australia. It was rumoured to be the real life inspiration behind Dickens's character Miss Havisham. The legend is that Eliza Donnithorne, jilted by her groom on her wedding day, spends the rest of her life in her darkened house with her wedding cake rotting on the table and leaves her front door permanently ajar, just in case her groom ever returns. I was inspired by the notion of her wedding dress decaying on her body as time went on. How fragile, sheer and translucent the fabric must have become. How Eliza must have faded into a living ghostly memory of herself.

Describe your collection – customer, day-evening-sportswear-separates-casual-highend glamour-stage costuming-punk?

I would describe my collection as Modern Vintage. I am always inspired by details from the past, but I focus on modern tailoring techniques so that my pieces are more wearable for today's woman. The type of woman who wears my pieces is a very confident woman who is not afraid of her femininity, who isn't afraid to shine and sparkle in a crowd.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?
Originally, the palette was a pastel concoction of pinks, blues and lilacs but after the first fittings, I saw greater potential to move the palette to a blank canvas of whites, ivories and gold. The fabrics were mainly a mixture of tulle, flocked swiss-dot and laces. I worked with a variety of laces that included Chantilly, corded and guipure to name a few, and hand worked beading into the trim.

Do you have a favourite look?

I love all my looks for different reasons, so it would be very hard to single out a favourite look.

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

I'm going to have to quote Carolina Herrera on this one "fashion has always been a repetition of ideas, but what makes it new is the way you put it together". Rather than focusing on new, I want to design clothes that revive and rekindle the little girl in us where fairy tales, ball gowns and bows inspire us to be modern princesses.

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own line, take a break and travel?

I plan to take some time to develop my line and launch a website. Whilst I love designing pieces for those special moments in our lives, I want to make every moment a special moment, so a lovely capsule collection is in the works so that women can feel special all day too!


Please share a quote on what fashion design means to you if possible?

"Whoever said that money can't buy happiness, simply didn't know where to go shopping" Bo Derek

Anything else I didn't ask you want mentioned? (links, upcoming events, etc.)

I've been approached by several people interested in learning how to make their own heirloom pieces for their weddings, so a workshop for making lace veils and beaded trim if enough people are interested may be organised for the upcoming spring. Anyone interested can contact me at loulou.sy@gmail.com for further information and updates on this workshop.

For more information on the Fashion Design Program at VCC go to www.vcc.ca/fashion/

For more information on Lou-Lou Sy, please email the designer at loulou.sy@gmail.com .

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Overnight Cinnamon French Toast With Apples, Cream Cheese and Pecans

One day while I was perusing my news feed on Facebook, I saw a friend post about a French Toast casserole baked in the oven.  I was intrigued. Yesterday I found myself on the Internet immersed in an amazing exploration of hundreds of variations on this theme. All recipes fill a 9 x 13 baking pan, but after that the differences are wide.

Some are assembled and cooked right away - others are assembled the night before, stored in the refrigerator, then brought to room temperature and baked the next morning. The number of eggs used vary from six to a full dozen. Of those with cream cheese as an ingredient - some cut small cubes which are layered with the bread cubes, some beat the cream cheese into the milk/egg mixture and pour over the top, some use two 250 gram blocks of cheese and some only one. Added ingredients such as nuts or fruit also varied and one even created a coconut crust for the casserole. Maple syrup and sugar varied in amounts as did butter - all the way from none to a full 1/2 cup.


















After a lot of thought especially on exactly how much sugar and butter I wanted in this recipe, I came up with the combination below.  It was all done the night before, sealed tightly with Glad Wrap and then chilled in the fridge overnight. When I arose, I set it on the counter while the oven pre-heated and then popped it in.  As the rest of the family stirred, the smell of cinnamon wafted through the house. One note - the full tablespoon of cinnamon does give a cinnamon colour to the bread. I thought it was the right amount, my husband said I could have added more.

At the table, everyone wolfed down a large piece with a smile. Always a good sign. I did originally used dried apples, but in talking with the family, it just didn't give enough apple flavor so switched the recipe to fresh. At some point I'm going to try the more sugary version with the coconut crust, but this less rich/sweet version suits my personal preference. And it's a trouble-free easy way to offer a special brunch to family and friends.

Below is my current version, but I will be mixing it up in the future. Don't forget to look at other versions and do some of your own creating. The choice of bread is a great place to start.  White bread makes for a softer texture - so you could try something crustier or even a Sourdough for a different taste. You can substitute a different fruit such as berries or peaches, or leave them out to be served on the side. The sky's the limit.

= = = =

Overnight Cinnamon French Toast With Apples, Cream Cheese and Pecans

10 C         Thick sliced bread, cubed (Villaggio Italian, Texas Toast, etc.)
1               250g Block of Cream Cheese (I only used about 2/3-3/4 of it), cubed
1 C           Peeled and diced fresh, tart apple
1/2 C        Chopped Pecans (Divided into 1/4 cups)
8               Eggs, beaten slightly
1-1/4 C     Whole Milk
3/4 C         Cream or Half and Half
1/2 C         Pure Maple Syrup (use the real stuff)
1 T            Cinnamon
1 tsp          Pure Vanilla
Dash Salt - Optional

The night before -

Cube bread and cream cheese. (Note - most recipes call for 250 to 500 grams of cream cheese - too rich for my taste. I just cubed and added what looked right, about 3/4 of the 250G block.)  Dice apples and pecans.  Beat together eggs, milk, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla and salt if adding. The cinnamon really didn't mix in well - not sure why - so I gave this mixture a few pulses in my food processor to blend it in better.

Butter a rectangular 9 x 13 oven casserole.  Place 1/2 the bread cubes in the bottom in an even layer. Top with cream cheese cubes, diced apple and 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Layer on the rest of the bread cubes. Slowly pour the milk/egg mixture over, trying to coat all cubes of bread. Top with last 1/4 cup of chopped pecans. Pat the top lightly to get the bread cubes down into the egg mixture.  Seal tightly with Glad Wrap and store in the refrigerator over night.

The next morning - 

Take the casserole out and set on the counter.  Most recipes suggest bringing it to room temperature before baking, but I didn't have enough time and it still turned out great.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  When fully heated, put the casserole in the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes until set all the way through.  Remove from oven, slice into serving pieces, put on individual plates (warmed is nice if you have time)  and serve with your choice of syrup.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Turning to Stone (Roma Series book 4) by Gabriel Valjan



Roma Underground (Book #1) - review HERE
Wasp's Nest (Book #2) - review HERE
Threading the Needle (Book #3) - review HERE


Synopsis

Forensic accountant Alabaster Black has always been steps ahead of her former employer, Rendition, a clandestine and apparently lethal organization. Once the star investigator of financial crimes, she fled from the United States to Italy, under a new name: Bianca Nerini. She carries on her work with a group of trusted friends, although a mysterious contact by the name of Loki reaches out to her on occasion. In this fourth installment, Bianca is in Naples against the Camorra, a crime syndicate unlike the American or Sicilian mafia.
Review


Review

At the end of Threading the Needle, we are introduced to commissioner Aldo Giurlani. After the team wraps up the case to his satisfaction, he opens the door for the next book by asking Gennaro to head off to Naples to do special investigative work. He can take the whole team with him. Gennaro knows retirement is looming, but accepts the challenge.

The international intrigue in Turning to Stone takes us first down a more traditional path - the Mafioso families (referred to as The System here) we have been exposed to in book and film. In this story, three crime families go to war, but it is the Camorra working behind the scenes that we need to keep our eye on. From this beginning the plot takes a new twist. Their new nemesis,  Matteo, is a part of the System but well-educated and taking terrorism to a new level by bring it into the realm of international finances.

The whole cast is back - Bianca Nerini (aka Alaster Black), Dante, Gennaro, Alessandro, Farrugia and Silvio.  Also returning are U.S. FBI Agents McGarrity and Murphy as well as U.S. Attorney Michael Farese. The question again arises - is Farese friend or foe? He seems to show up like a vulture after every significant assasination. Loki - Nerini's unknown online connection - also makes regular appearances offering frustrating clues that need to be untangled.

Author Gabriel Valjan again offers a complicated plot with lots of twists, but the death toll rises in this sequel as the families are driven to war. Dante and Nerini continue to struggle to build their relationship and fabulous food again appears to add a softer note.

Buy the Book   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author


Behind the scenes interview with Valjan HERE!

Gabriel Valjan

Gabriel Valjan lives in New England. Short-listed for the 2010 Fish Short Story Prize, Gabriel's short stories continue to appear in print and online literary journals. Winter Goose Publishing publishes his Roma Series: Book 1: Roma, Underground; 2: Wasp's Nest; 3: Threading the Needle, and 4: Turning to Stone.






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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Vancouver Community College - Annie Kuan, Metamorphose of Paradox

Runway Images by Harry Leonard
Illustrations by Annie Kuan

Fiat Mode XXVIII was held in a new venue this year. Vancouver Community College (VCC) offered their annual fashion showcase on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW). This year there were 24 graduates featured, each showcasing five looks - 120 looks in all.

What an amazing opportunity for this strong class of design students to be a part of an established fashion week - and how daunting. Their collections would be evaluated by more than just a supportive group of family and friends. The audience also held a wide range of media and industry professionals there so see a wide variety of shows. I am sure there were a few nerves backstage.

With a group this large, it's impossible for me to feature every student. I have written a show overview for Metro Living Zine offering the collections of ten students selected by looking at both their runway garments and the fashion illustrations in their portfolios. From those ten I have chosen three to offer individual spotlights here.

Today's interview is with Annie Kuan. There was a depth in this collection that made me want to see more. For grad collections the students usually design a full 20 looks and then at VCC, they complete five to show in the grad showcase. I have a feeling it would be very interesting to see all the other looks in between the five we saw on the runway. There were two soft, white ethereal looks followed by two harder edged black looks and then a very edgy floating number in soft watercolour hues for the final look. Interesting!

Great way to get my attention. I couldn't wait to know more!

= = = =

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I am from a beautiful island called Taiwan. I was born in a city of Hualien, Hualien is by the both mountain and sea. It is a simple yet beautiful city full of natural resources. I have been living in Vancouver since high school, I came here over ten years ago. I really like Vancouver. It is similar to Hualien with gorgeous weather and close to both the mountains and the sea.

What you like when you were young?

When I was young, my mother brought me to children’s art class. I immediately started drawing; I liked drawing stills and scenery. My usage of colors developed then and I started to make puzzles and crafts. I still remember designing my own yearbook in middle school and elementary.

What were your interests in High School? 

In high school I fell in love with sewing. I started making detailed hand crafts and basic clothing. I also took a course in sketching that introduced me to penciling the human body. I especially enjoyed tracing women’s silhouette. It helped me understand women’s bodies.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion? A personal story would be great here.

The clothes in the mall are always selling a similar style without any uniqueness. I think it’s monotonous to chase fashion blindly. So, I began my interest in fashion design in earnest in grade 9. I enjoyed reading books and magazines about fashion and fantasizing about creating and wearing my own designs. It would be great if I could wear what I wanted to with no regard to judgment.

Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was your family supportive?


I always wanted to study fashion design after high school, but due to financial problems, it did not happen for me right away. The tuition and supply fees were not affordable due to my financial situation, I worked two full time jobs for few years and struggled to save. When you are living on your own, everything is not easy. Finally I felt I was ready for this and I am glad I did it. I am also appreciative of my family giving me financial and mental support during the study period.




















Why did you choose to study at Vancouver Community College?

This is a great question. Before I applied to college, I did a lot of research and compared many fashion design schools. VCC is an official public college; compared to private schools, VCC has a higher entry requirement and correspondingly has better benefits. I think the skills I learnt in their two years diploma program were much more varied when compared to a one-year diploma in private college. Of course a four year degree is also great, but it would have been too time consuming for me and too costly. After considering all the points above, VCC is the best choice.

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you, are there any high, low or funny moments you can share? 

It had been few years from when I left high school to when I entered VCC. At first I was not used to such a huge volume of course study. My time at VCC was very difficult and I struggled. It was overwhelming to take eight courses each term. During my two years of study at VCC, my life was crazy. I had no time to do anything but study. I am not the studious type, nor am I quick with my hands, so the first year was incredibly difficult for me. 

I have also rarely interacted with people in arts, so the competitive pressure in each class was intense. My classmates were also quite talented. They all had one thing that they are good at and knew well. It was a shock to my confidence when I began at VCC. After I got to know them better, I realized that they each had their own unique artistic visions born from their characters. Their visions were reflected in their work, showing different cultures and backgrounds. I saw a great variety of design work, which was very intriguing and sparked my interest to get to know them better.

What was the inspiration for your grad collection?

My collection “ Metamorphose of Paradox” is a pre-fall 2016 collection. It represents my passion for designing, sculpture and my own artistic vision. The metamorphosis of Paradox concept means to rebirth into something inconsistent. It is my wish that this collection raise the spirit of my audience’s perspective.

The collection relates to perception - people’s frame of mind - and three dimensional design developments. The design approach varies from sculptor and sensualists, forming ideas through fabric manipulations, laser cutting and layers of abstraction. I drape all the concepts directly onto a dress form, allowing my fabric to speak to me.

Describe your collection – customer, day-evening-sportswear-separates-casual-highend glamour-stage costuming-punk?

My target market is women working in occupations such as; businesswomen, stylists, merchandisers, buyers, artists and more. My client is the kind of woman who that - no matter where she is from or whether she is old or young - is not afraid to express her individuality through the clothes she wears. She would be somebody who knows what she wants and what she likes and knows how to use embellished elements to speak to her own identity. She likes one-of-a-kind garments, unique, anti-sameness, not things that can be bought elsewhere in retail. She is a sensualist - seductive, and resilient. What these clients see in my designs is the promise of quality and unique personal aesthetics.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

I love to work with natural fibers and utilize things that others have not simulated before. I combine alternative techniques; such as using laser cut machine to cut out each applique applied on the clothing. It takes layers and layers of abstract appliques to finish a single garment. Another example is using laser cut on real carp skin and then transforming it into a beautiful garment. I also love to shape the fabric using 3D manipulation with different varieties of silk such as organza, chiffon, satin, and crepe. Then I combine all these varieties of soft lightweight fabrics into a layered movement on women’s body. The color palettes in this collection are mainly black, white, grey, and variety of ombre dyed blue.





















Do you have a favourite look?

My favorite look is the laser cut carp dress and the ombre blue dress. The end result of both of these dresses was better than I expected. They were very successful pieces in my opinion. They reflect my inner world and its colors.

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

My creativity and my brain.

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own line, take a break and travel?

Although I have strong skills I don't have practical experience, I would like to work for someone before launching my own brand. I also want to travel to Europe to work in fashion. It would help me gain a lot of experience and expand my world view. A few years down the road, I hope to launch my own line.

Please share a quote on what fashion design means to you if possible?

"Fashion passes, style remains." – Gabrielle Bonheur.

For more information on the Fashion Design Program at VCC go towww.vcc.ca/fashion/

For more information on Annie Kuan, please email the designer at anniekuan1225@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Voting Dilemma, Voter Turnout and More, Oh My!

I have been in Canada many years, but only completed my citizenship last summer. Yesterday was my very first chance to vote in a federal election. This became a journey of more than just deciding which party I wanted to lead the country, it became an exploration of the politics involved in casting a vote in the Parliamentary system. Like all political systems, there are strengths and weaknesses.

In the U.S. system there is a separation that allows a little more wiggle room.  I can vote for a person from different parties at each ballot - House of Representatives, Senate and President. My first conundrum yesterday was that I truly did not respect the local representative from the party I was considering voting for. No matter how hard I tried, I could not justify electing this person as my local rep.

This is something I had never faced before and it meant I had to think long and hard about how I should cast my vote. The act became one of strategy. Do I cast a protest vote? Will my vote for another party with a chance to have seats split the vote in a way that will allow a party I do not want to win? I have to admit, I would have found it easier to cast separate votes for a local rep and for who I wanted to lead the country. I eventually figured out what my best choice was, but it wasn't easy.


The second thing I find unusual about the Parliamentary System is that party representatives pretty much have to vote along party lines. If they don't, it's a vote of no confidence and a new election has to be run.  No one party can offer a platform that meets the needs of all provinces and all people. It's a benefit in my opinion when your local rep has more freedom to stand up for what his constituents need.

Voting in the both the U.S. and Canada has an issue with turnout. Yesterday we had what the media is calling record numbers casting ballots and it was still under 70%.  I am happy to have record numbers come out to make their voice heard, but still very disturbed that even with a such a hotly contested election, 30% of Canadian votes didn't bother. WOW!

Last night as the election results unfolded, I was reading a book I was sent to write a review on called America Is An Idea and The American Dream is for Everyone by Michael Cyrus Pousti. While I have only just started it and cannot comment yet on whether to recommend it. There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding his compay. BUT one section had relevance to yesterday's election.

In the book the author talks about how if leadership (and company employees) stay the same for a long period of time, there is a complacency that builds in both businesses. The status quo is increasingly embraced and protected - new ideas are looked at with skepticism. The same holds true for countries. One of the strengths of a democratic system is change. There is usually regular shift in who is leading and the local representatives elected. This change shakes things up. It allows for new ideas and new ways of looking at problems to be put on the table. An element of risk is allowed.


Yesterday's election brought great change, so it will be interesting to see if this principle holds true over the next few years. For now, the die is cast. Here's to hoping for a strong government that truly represents the needs of our very diverse population.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Threading the Needle (Roma Series Book 3) by Gabriel Valjan



Roma Underground (Book #1) - review HERE
Wasp's Nest (Book #2) - review HERE

Turning to Stone (Book #4) - reviewing Oct. 22nd


Synopsis

Milan. Bianca’s curiosity gets a young university student murdered, but not before he gives her a file that details a secret weapon under development with defense contractor Adastra. Guilt may drive her to find justice for the slain Charlie Brooks, but she is warned by the mysterious Loki to stay away from this case that runs deep with conspiracy. Bianca must find a way to uncover government secrets and corporate alliances without returning Italy to one of its darkest hours, the decades of daily terrorism known as the “Years of Lead.”



Review

Wasp's Nest ended in Boston with a surprise visit that brought Biana Nerini great happiness and drew her back to Italy. This time the group - Nerini (Alabaster Black), Dante, Gennaro, Farrugia and Alessandro  - have been shipped off to Milan, to be later joined by Silvio. The plot begins with a clandestine meeting between Nerini and a university student named Charlie Brooks. It all goes quickly bad and Brooks ends up murdered.  This is the opening volley in a new international intrigue with a company called Adastra positioned right in the middle.

Burdened down with guilt over Brooks murder, Nerini searches through internet files to try and unearth the secret this student had come to share. U.S. Attorney Michael Farese shows up to stir things up and no one on the investigative team can figure out if he is there to help or is a secret foe involved in the workings of Adastra. Nerini's illusive internet contact - Loki - also becomes a big question mark. Is he/she there to help or hinder? This question creates serious tension with Dante in particular at times.

Manzoni assassins, staged murders, money laundering and the infamous G-9 provide the suspense. Yoga and again, wonderful food, add the colour. Enjoy!

Buy The Book   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Meet The Author

Behind the scenes interview with Valjan HERE!

Gabriel ValjanGabriel Valjan lives in New England. Short-listed for the 2010 Fish Short Story Prize, Gabriel's short stories continue to appear in print and online literary journals. Winter Goose Publishing publishes his Roma Series: Book 1: Roma, Underground; 2: Wasp's Nest; 3: Threading the Needle, and 4: Turning to Stone.

Connect with the Author Website Twitter Facebook







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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Vancouver Community College - Francesca Ramirez, Inspired by Strait Jackets & Asylums

Runway Images by Harry Leonard
Illustrations by Francesca Ramirez

Fiat Mode XXVIII was held in a new venue this year. Vancouver Community College (VCC) offered their annual fashion showcase on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW). This year there were 24 graduates featured, each showcasing five looks - 120 looks in all.

What an amazing opportunity for this strong class of design students to be a part of an established fashion week - and how daunting. Their collections would be evaluated by more than just a supportive group of family and friends. The audience also held a wide range of media and industry professionals there so see a wide variety of shows. I am sure there were a few nerves backstage.

With a group this large, it's impossible for me to feature every student. I have written a show overview for Metro Living Zine offering the collections of ten students selected by looking at both their runway garments and the fashion illustrations in their portfolios. From those ten I have chosen three to offer individual spotlights here.

Today's interview is with Francesca Ramirez. Her genderless, avant garde collection was a great example of the beauty found in strong, clean silhouettes. Proportions and details were well thought out, designs were intriguing and the palette/fabric chosen were good vehicles to show off the designer's structural aesthetic.

= = = =

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Vancouver, BC

What you like when you were young? 

Silly, I've always been known for trying to make others and myself laugh at anything and everything.

What were your interests in High School?

I was a pretty boring kid in high school. I didn't have any interests but napping, until my last two years in high school. I loved spending lunch hours in the textiles room on my own.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion? A personal story would be great here.

I have always enjoyed creating things. It didn't matter what it was but I loved planning out a project from beginning to end, and finally completing it was always so satisfying to me. That’s probably why I love fashion design so much. The entire process from designing a garment to producing it is really gratifying and you always learn something new during the process.

Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was you family supportive?

It was kind of an accident as awful as that sounds. I wanted to take a class with my friends in grade 11 and the only class that had enough room for us was a Textiles 10 course. After sewing up the first project, which was a pair of pajamas, I realized how much I really enjoyed the entire process from looking at fabrics to sewing up a garment. Once I went on to grade 12 I was in Textiles 11. I realized I would never get to take Textiles 12 while I was in high school so I began to research for further education in fashion design.






Yes, my family is incredibly supportive in my choice of study and career. I was kind of shocked to see the extent that they went to in order to help me plan my future in fashion design. I wanted to take my studies abroad so I went with my father and sister to L.A to look for fashion design post secondary institutions. After some research I compared other courses to the ones at VCC and decided to stay in Vancouver. It was also much more affordable than moving away while studying and being unemployed. 

Why did you choose to study at Vancouver Community College?

I heard that VCC was known for their "hands on" programs. The courses are based more on you actually experiencing and doing things on your own than just lectures and textbooks. After looking at their course outline I knew I had to go to VCC because they were teaching everything I wanted to learn more about. The instructors were incredibly helpful and insightful with each course. I'm very happy with everything I got to do and learned during my two years at VCC.

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you, are they any high, low or funny moments you can share?

Studying Fashion Design was nothing like what I expected it to be. I had many sleepless nights and jam-packed stressful weeks but I enjoyed every minute of them. It's definitely something you have to love and be completely dedicated to. You don't really have time for anything but school and sometimes it feels like you won't have enough time to complete your assignments with the hours you spend at school. 

It was definitely a challenge at times, mostly at the beginning of the program. You begin working on things you don't understand and you have no clue how you finished your assignments but after you put it into practice for the first time everything just clicks and makes complete sense in the end. 

I think the easiest courses for me were the ones that had anything to do with sewing because I enjoy it so much. I had two years of sewing experience before going into the program, which isn’t much, but I do think it helped me out along the way. 

There were a bunch of high, low and funny moments throughout the program. You see the same people everyday for seven or more hours five days a week. You live some pretty hilarious moments with them and they're going through the exact same experience as you so you know you're never alone. The funny days were whenever there was an exam or assignment due and everyone who walked into the room looked as dead and sleepless as you. In the end you grow close to each other and end up helping each other out all the time. Yay for friendship!


What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Share anything you'd like readers to know?

My Collection was inspired by the inability to move from strait jackets and the history behind the tortures and environment at asylum institutions. I wanted to work with a dark and sinister inspiration to challenge myself and push myself to work out of my comfort zone and see how differently I would design.

Describe your collection – customer, day-evening-sportswear-separates-casual-highend glamour-stage costuming-punk?

My collection is design for both men and women with no intention of gender specification. It's not something you would be wearing all the time. I consider the majority of my garments to be avant-garde so it would take a pretty confident person to wear my designs out on a regular day.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

I used a pretty neutral and earth tone palette for my fabrics. The majority of fabrics are natural fibers and upholstery fabrics, I used the stiffness and thickness of them to my advantage and created peculiar shapes and silhouettes in my collection. The fabrics I used were a few colors of Melton Wool, upholstery Hemp Canvas and a polyester Horus Chenille upholstery fabric.

Do you have a favourite look?

I’m really happy with all my looks but I really like the first look I constructed. It’s a dress that has a high pleated collar with a cream wool yoke and large side panels to trap the arms. I think it’s probably because I had most trouble drafting the lower half of the dress shape that once I started sewing it I created a little bond with the garment as strange as that may sound.

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

With my designs I try to create different silhouettes for the body. My designs show no importance to the actual body figure; the shape of the body is lost behind exaggerated proportions and large silhouettes. And like I said, my designs are for both men and women with no intention of gender specification. I believe these aspects of my designs will bring something different.

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own line, take a break and travel?
I get a job! I want to start my own line but I’d like to work for someone else first. I think I’ll probably start a very small business of selling a few custom garments but nothing big just yet. 

Please share a quote on what fashion design means to you if possible?
“Clothes have no gender”

Anything else I didn't ask you want mentioned? (links, upcoming events, etc.)


Check out my website and social media for more images and future collections. I love creative collaborations so feel free to contact me.

For more information on the Fashion Design Program at VCC go to www.vcc.ca/fashion/

Links for Fancesca Ramirez - 
Website: ramirezfrancesca.com
Email: info@ramirezfrancesca.com
Pinterest: Ramirez Francesca
Personal Instagram: xxramirez
Business Instagram: Francesca.ramirez
Interview at Vancouver Fashion Week (3:40 mark) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj5T8N0Praw 

Wasp's Nest (Roma Series Book 2) by Gabriel Valjan




Roma Underground (Book #1) - review HERE
Threading the Needle (Book #3) - reviewing Oct. 19th
Turning to Stone (Book #4) - reviewing Oct. 22nd


Synopsis

In the highly anticipated sequel to Roma, Underground, Bianca returns to the U.S. for her former employer, the covert organization Rendition, to investigate Cyril Sargent and Nasonia Pharmaceutical. Although ambivalent about the assignment and uneasy about her online “friend,” Loki, she is enticed into researching what Sargent is doing with insect genetics that might upset the world of cancer research and treatment. Old friends Farrugia and Gennaro uncover a twisted conspiracy from their past and join Bianca in Boston where they will experience conflicted loyalties, question allies, and confront uncertain enemies, as they’re drawn into the wasp’s nest.

Review

At the end of Roma Underground, Alabaster Black (aka Biana Nerini) is on her laptop and three things happen - she hears from an anonymous computer colleague (10ki - eventually referred to as Loki), she hears from her former employer - Rendition - inviting her back to Boston to work a new investigation, and she receives a cryptic email that suggests someone she thought dead was perhaps still alive. In the end, it all proved to be  a siren call she could not refuse.

Back in Boston, Black tries to untangle the web of questions she has about a previous case and begins work on a new one involving a pharmaceutical company and wasps. Again the plot centers about Black - a strong, independent female character - who is assisted by a cast of male characters. Farrugia and Gennaro are drawn from Rome and U.S. Agent McGarrity from the previous book is also there to add his skills. Want to know more? You'll just have to pick up a copy.

Be prepared for lots of plot twists and turns as well as the occasional side trip to enjoy a meal. Food played a prominent part in Roma Underground and that continues in Boston with a new chef. Suspense, a Bulgarian assassin, a trail of clues, great dining and new mysteries - it's all here.

Buy The Book   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Behind the scenes interview with Valjan HERE!

Gabriel Valjan
Gabriel Valjan lives in New England. Short-listed for the 2010 Fish Short Story Prize, Gabriel's short stories continue to appear in print and online literary journals. Winter Goose Publishing publishes his Roma Series: Book 1: Roma, Underground; 2: Wasp's Nest; 3: Threading the Needle, and 4: Turning to Stone.

Connect with the Author Website  Twitter  Facebook





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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spy (2015)

"Despite having solid field training, CIA analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has spent her entire career as a desk jockey, working hand-in-hand with dashing agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Using high-tech equipment and a hidden earpiece, Susan is the guardian angel who helps Bradley avoid danger. However, when Bradley is assassinated by Bulgarian arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), Susan wrangles her way into her first undercover assignment to help capture Boyanov and avenge Bradley."

Our weekly dinner and a movie night hasn't seemed to happen for quite a few weeks now. My oldest son whose visits inspired it came to stay for awhile and somehow with him here for 14 days, Sunday didn't feel like a special night.

Thanksgiving was this weekend and as we had all been sick with colds and totally overbooked - I didn't do the big dinner for the extended family. Instead the four of us - husband, 2 sons and myself - enjoyed a modest Thanksgiving meal, dessert from the local Diplomat Bakery and finally a movie together. We all needed a good laugh, so my oldest suggested Spy with Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham and Jude Law. It was a hit. We laughed and grinned our way from opening scene to closing notes.



First I want to say kudos on the great casting and script. For this movie to work, both had to be bang on and they were. Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper totally stole the show here. I can't think of another actress who could have pulled off this part so effectively. She goes from a humble, smart, goofy character to a foul mouth, verbally abusive dynamo with ease. And it's utterly funny because of the contrast between the two characters she portrays. The fact that when she does finally go undercover, the agency always makes her look like a silly woman from some backwater suburb in middle America adds to the laughs. 

The other character where casting and script came together perfectly was Jason Statham as Rick Ford.  He looks like a tough guy, walks like a tough guy and has a voice like a tough guy. But his character and dialogue define him as just left of crazy. From the moment he stepped into the film, that contrast of what he seemed to be versus what came out of his mouth added another great element. There is hilarious conversation after conversation between Ford and Cooper that had us laughing out loud - a mish-mash of several below!

Supporting the hilarity are Jude Law as the James Bond like spy Bradley Fine, Miranda Hart as co-worker Nancy B. Artingstall, Allison Janney as her boss Elaine Crocker, Peter Serafinowicz as her amorous Rome contact Aldo, and Rose Byrne as the evil protagonist Rayna whose updo ws the butt of many jokes, Then there was the home office where a supporting person was online assisting the agents in the field. It had serious pest problems from bats to mice. - side laughs that are thrown in here and there in a Monty Python like, "And now for something completely different." 


It is such a fine line between funny and silly and this movie could have so easily have crossed to the wrong side. Instead director/write Paul Feig, producers and cast found that magic edge between the two and walked it beautifully. Best comedy I've watched in a long time.

= = = =

Rick Ford: You really think you're ready for the field? I once used defibrillators on myself. I put shards of glass in my fuckin' eye. I've jumped from a high-rise building using only a raincoat as a parachute and broke both legs upon landing; I still had to pretend I was in a fucking Cirque du Soleil show! I've swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer. This arm has been ripped off completely and re-attached with *this* fuckin' arm.

Susan Cooper: I don't know that that's possible... I mean medically...















Rick Ford: During the threat of an assassination attempt, I appeared convincingly in front of congress as Barack Obama.

Susan Cooper: In black-face? That's not appropriate.

Rick Ford: I watched the woman I love get tossed from a plane and hit by another plane mid-air. I drove a car off a freeway on top of a train while it was on fire. Not the car, *I* was on fire.

Susan Cooper: Jesus, you're intense.

Rick Ford: Nothing kills me. I'm immune to 179 different types of poison. I know because I ingested them all at once when I was deep undercover in an underground poison-ingesting crime ring.














Susan Cooper: Where'd you get a suit?

Rick Ford: I fucking made it, didn't I?















Rick Ford: We have to stop the sale of a nuclear bomb. They send in someone who looks like Santa Claus' fucking wife!

Susan Cooper: Uh, did you forget? I am undercover because you are not supposed to be here!

Rick Ford:
Well I make a habit out of doing things that people say I can't do: Walk through fire, waterski blindfolded, take up piano at a late age.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Roma Underground (Roma Series Book 1) by Gabriel Valjan

Roma, Underground (Roma Series Book 1)
Roma Underground is book 1 in the Roma Series
Wasp's Nest (Book #2) - review HERE
Threading the Needle (Book #3) - reviewing Oct. 19th

Turning to Stone (Book #4) - reviewing Oct. 22nd


Synopsis -

Savvy forensic accountant Alabaster Black is hiding in Rome from her former employer, covert U.S. organization "Rendition." While there under an assumed name she meets Dante, an investigator, erstwhile explorer and member of the Roma Underground, a band of amateur archaeologists who map the city beneath Rome. With Italian artifacts disappearing at an alarming rate, Alabaster and Dante search for answers and create a trap for the thieves. Through a mysterious online contact Alabaster learns she is being followed, and with her safety at risk she is forced to rethink her chosen alliances and discover hidden truths about herself.


Review -

Roma Underground is the first in a four book series by author Gabriel Valjan. It falls firmly in the Mystery/Suspense category - excitement and danger without a lot of gore and brutality. Romance a possibility, but not important to the plot. Right up my alley. I always enjoy strong female characters and Alabaster Black is definitely that. She's smart, resourceful and in hiding in Italy. Then we have several great male characters filling out the story including Dante (their relationship is left very ambiguous for a long time), his boss Gennaro, his co-worker Alessandro, police officer Farrugia and Professor Moretti. By the end I felt like I knew each character well and could picture them in my mind as I read the story.

That same descriptive strength is show when describing the amazing cuisine (many meetings were held after dining in a cafe), the humid weather, the town itself and lastly, what it was like to go underground and explore. You could almost smell the musty, dank, putrid  air. There was one moment underground in the dark that made me shiver, but I don't want to spoil the moment for you.

An entertaining read that took me out of my surroundings and whisked me away to foreign lands and great intrigue. Next up - Wasp's Next.

Buy The Book   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author -

Behind the scenes interview with Valjan HERE!

Gabriel ValjanGabriel Valjan lives in New England. Short-listed for the 2010 Fish Short Story Prize, Gabriel's short stories continue to appear in print and online literary journals. Winter Goose Publishing publishes his Roma Series: Book 1: Roma, Underground; 2: Wasp's Nest; 3: Threading the Needle, and 4: Turning to Stone.

Connect with the Author Website Twitter Facebook

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chive Polenta Topped Tuna Pot Pie

I almost NEVER create new recipes from thin air. Mostly I look around the internet or through cookbooks to see what catches my eye. Sometimes this search will stimulate a fresh idea of my own, Most often, I work with a recipe, adjusting things here and there to meet my family's tastes. Every once and awhile I come up with an idea on my own. This is one of those rare times.

What to cook every day can be a struggle. You just run out of ideas as food becomes a daily grind. During Vancouver Fashion Week, I had so little time I picked up a variety of pre-made meals from Momma Costco as we call her here - Shepherd's Pie, Stuffed Peppers, Pork Tenderloin Stroganoff, etc. When it was all over I was totally exhausted and struggled to put anything on the table. It was time to get my hands dirty in the kitchen again.

I did a power shop at Safeway, grabbing anything that might work for a few meals. One item was a large can of chunky tuna in water. There are several easy go-to's for this such as open face tuna and cheese sandwiches (broiled to melt the cheese) and tuna casserole, but my mind began to wander down other avenues. Up popped the thought of individual tuna pot pies. I didn't have time to make a pastry top, so first considered corn bread like you would get on a tamale pie. But as I walked the grocery aisles, polenta came to mind.

Polenta is one of those wonderful foods I never heard about growing up. It wasn't until a few years ago that it started to appear as an appie at high-end events. I loved it from day one. While I have only attempted one recipe before, it's a goodie - Polenta Torte with Ham, Spinach and Cheese. The article I wrote also has links to tons of others to try.

I grabbed a pile of random vegetables, set out my cornmeal and started to work. This recipe did take time to prepare, but you can do it in two stages. The vegetable/tuna pot pie mix can be made earlier, placed in oven proof bowls and set aside. Then about 30 minutes before supper, prepare the polenta, spread it on top of the pot pies and pop them into a pre-heated oven.

Best of all - my husband who doesn't get excited about food said it was a keeper.  Not gourmet, but a warm hearty meal for a cold night.

= = = =

Chive Polenta Topped Tuna Pot Pie
4 hearty servings

For the pot pie -
1               Med. Sweet Onion such as Walla Walla, cut into bite-size pieces
1               Large Garlic Clove, Minced
1               Stalk Celery, Sliced
1 C           Mushrooms, sliced or diced
1-1/2 C     Carrots, sliced
1               Red or Yellow Pepper, cut into bite-size cubes
2               Stalks Curly Kale, spine removed and chopped
2 C           Zucchini (I used a mix of Green and Yellow), quarter lengthwise, the sliced into 1/2" bites
1 C           Butternut Squash, cubed
1               340 G can Chunk Tuna in water, drained
1 C           Double Strength Vegetable Broth *
Optional - 1 T Cornstarch to thicken broth.
Olive Oil
* - (Note - If you can buy condensed vegetable broth that would work. OR you can use those broth cubes and make it double strength. This time I used one 132 G container of Knorr Homestyle Stock and dissolved it in 1 cup of water (this was more than double strength)


For the Chive Polenta -

4 C             Vegetable Broth (about a 1 litre container of pre-made)
1 C             Yellow Cornmeal
1/2 tsp         Salt
1/3 C           Chopped or Snipped Fresh Chives
2 T              Butter
1/2 C           Grated Parmesan, Romano or Asiago Cheese

For the pot pie -

In large frying pan, add onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms, carrots and about 2 T of olive oil. Saute on medium until onion is soft and carrots are just starting to get tender. Add pepper. kale, zucchini and butternut squash. Cook until the new vegetables are crisp tender. Add your broth (with cornstarch mixed in if using) and tuna.  Heat through and then divide into 4 large oven-proof individual bowls. Mine are oval shaped pasta bowls.

To finish -

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the 4 C of regular strength vegetable broth, salt, chives and butter in a sauce pan and heat to boiling. Slowly pour the cornmeal into the broth in a steady stream stirring constantly. Turn heat to low.

Continue to stir slowly while the polenta cooks for 10 minutes. Spread 1/4 of the polenta on top of each of the four pot pies - about 1 cup per pie. Sprinkle the top of each pie with 2 T of cheese. Place in pre-heated oven and cook for 15 minutes. Serve.

It's important to note that guests know these bowls are extremely hot. BUT the beauty is the food stays hot from first bite to last. Enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2015

World's Best Story Contest - Submission Deadline November 8, 2015



2015 CONTEST!
Writers submit your Story
Enter for a chance to join the House of transmedia stories company



What is World's Best Story?

"This is not just a literary contest, we're looking for stories that will be consumed in multiple media formats – from books to the big screen and beyond," says Vincent Salera, founder of World's Best Story. "Our goal is to revolutionize the traditional literary contest and identify a story with blockbuster appeal. We're looking for a story that audiences will love and help authors turn that story into trans-media franchises, which is why we're empowering readers to judge the contest."

How does it work?

Readers will vote for stories and awarded judges will declare the final Top 10 winners.

2015 Judges: Warren Adler, Victor Malarek, Tamarra Kennelly, Brooke Burgess, Samreen Ashan, Alistair Cross, Rhonda Hayter

Timeline:

Entry Period Closes/Public Voting ends. (November 8)

Top 10 Winners Announced! (November 8)

Professional Review/Voting (November 8 - December 8)

Winner and Top 10 Ranking Announced (December 8)


What are the prizes?

The top 3 winners will receive a full publishing package by FriesenPress, trademark protection in the U.S. and Canada by IP agency Benoit & Cote, a virtual book tour by Laura Fabiani of iRead Book Tours as well as consulting/marketing services with book expert Anne Chaconas of BadAss Marketing. Busbud and YoDough will be providing lots of goodies for both writers and readers.

How do I submit my story?

To learn more about World's Best Story, including how to enter, please visit World's Best Story.

World’s Best Story : info@worldsbeststory.com

See what's buzzing at World's Best Story:

How to Get Readers Buzzing About Your Book: Secrets from the World of Book Blogging

Viral campaign with famous characters:

What if Oscar Wilde wrote Sex and the City? (series of posts)

What if Lady Gaga wrote Gone With the Wind? (series of posts)

The Current Top 10 Most Voted Stories

Connect with World's Best Story:

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest



Enter your story today!




Thursday, October 8, 2015

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S16 Day - Silent Rainforest by Green Embassy

All Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

Friday at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) held a real treat for me. It was a show by my dear friend and couture designer, Zuhal Kuvan-Mills of Green Embassy.

I still fondly remember her first show in March 2014. She showcased a beautiful collection of felted garments decorated with twisted dark wool filigre and accessories that used the scraps in honour of her Zero Waste policy. I was an instant fan.

On her second visit in September 2014, we were able to find a few free hours where I could do an in-depth interview on her journey. The highlights? She was born in Turkey, has lived in England and is now a resident of Perth, Australia - a place she truly loves - where she lives on a farm and raises Alpacas and chickens. There have been several careers before fashion came into her life - Veterinarian, Educator and Textile Artist. Her entry into the fashion world came when she draped some of her textiles over models at a show. Someone assumed they were garments and invited her to do a runway show.


My favourite story of all I think exemplifies who she is right down to the core, and she lives these principles each and every day. One day Zuhal read an article on a young girl in Turkey who was buried alive by her family for supposedly looking at a man. There were several other stories of similar nature that came to light around the same time. Her heart ached.

As an artist, she decided to create a gallery piece in honour of the 50-60 Turkish women who lost their lives this way every year. First there was a large textile created. Then 50-60 red candles were made in the shape of Turkish coffee cups. They were placed all over the textile and lit.  As they burned, the red wax melted onto the textile like blood. Powerful.

I only share this as it showcases how passionate Zuhal is about issues that touch her heart. They include animal rights, human rights and ecology. For S/S 16, her Green Embassy collection was created to bring attention to the devastation of the rainforests. They are disappearing at an alarming rate and the loss of that ecosystem is still unknown. The title chosen for this collection - Silent Rainforest.


 "Inspired by a trip to Bali where the artist witnessed the devastation and
incomparable radiance of the Rainforest, this collection is an artistic
expression of rare, unique beauty.Merging Haute Couture with environmental
consciousness and ethical, earth-friendly values, Silent Rainforest is a work
of truly timeless wearable art." - Press Release
















This was Zuhal's third season bringing her GOT certified Eco collection to the runway at VFW and I knew it would be amazing. Silent Rainforest pays homage to Bali and the Amazon, highlighting the devastation of clear-cutting and celebrating all that is unique in these forests. The main fabric used is called Vegan Silk. It is processed from cocoons found in this type of environment without killing the pupae inside. Next she was inspired by the unique orchids found here and began to experiment with different plants and spices to create their soft yellows, pinks and purples. She chopped up red carrots and beets, then sprinkled these vegetables on the silk along with berries and spices like turmeric - creating a look reminiscent of orchids as she went.  Her background as an artist is clearly evident in how the feel of orchids was captured in the final looks.


The fabrics were then rolled very tightly into cylinders and tied.  Next these bundles were placed in a basket and steamed for about 15 minutes over boiling water. Then they were allowed to sit and air dry for 2-3 days. After waiting that long, untying the fabrics had to be like opening a Christmas present.  As Zuhal unrolled each, the plant materials inside where shaken out onto the ground for the chickens to enjoy. Nothing is wasted. All looks were lined with GOTS Certified organic cotton.
















S/S 16 offered an enchanting, romantic collection of ethereal looks. The main focus was on evening dresses and there were both fitted and flowing looks. Opening the show was a model wearing a very special dress who literally danced on the runway, She represented the silk moth taking her final, exultant flight - the lower edges of her dress burnt in representation of the rainforests being devastated around her. It was both beautiful and sad. This season also saw the addition of two menswear items in the same fabric - a classic shirt and a tie.

















I personally think this is the designer's strongest collection to date. Artist, designer, educator and environmentalist - it all comes together in this collection that truly reflects the beauty of the rainforest.  I can only say BRAVO!

Previous articles on the designer's two other appearances at VFW:  F/W 14 - S/S 15

Links
http://greenembassy.com.au/
http://atelierzuhal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/greenembassyfashion/
https://www.facebook.com/AtelierZuhal
https://www.facebook.com/zuhal.kuvanmills
Twitter @atelierzuhal