THE IT: Greta Constantine Spring 2011

Story and photography by Marq Frerichs.

And Friday night brought the fashion world Greta Constantine Spring 2011. What can I say…I’m really just so enamored of this line. Grecian folds and draping make for beautiful clothes. For the men, Bowie said it best: “Blue, blue, electric blue and there I will live”, and so I will. In comparison to the pastel palette offered by some, I’m digging this boldness.

Did I mention that Coca Rocha opened the show?

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SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At Nada, Joeffer, and Dmitri-Chris

A look from Nada, Spring 2011. Story and photography by Marq Frerichs.

The Brickworks were all a-buzz last Thursday night at the Art of Progression fashion show, presented by Audi. The designers? Nada, Joeffer Caoc, and Dmitri-Chris—all important names in Toronto fashion, and examples of an interesting (and undeniable) shift of the fashion scene away from the official action at LG Fashion Week.
Here are some of our favourite looks from the show.

THE BOULEVARDIER: Cloaked in art at Nuit Blanche

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: What to wear to Nuit Blanche. Hint: Take a cue from Ann Demeulemeester (left) and John Galliano.

White Night—the words alone conjure up a myriad of images. I’m transported to Paris, to St. Petersburg’s street theatre, to Rio de Janeiro, watching the waterfalls of fireworks on New Years Eve. It brings to mind ideas of beauty, worldliness, and art. At Nuit Blanche, our town, Hogtown, really shows off its place as a centre of arts and culture in the world.

We’re not provincial; we’re not a wannabe New York. I’ll say it: We’re on the cutting edge, avant-garde, if you will. A good friend of mine, an art curator, is flying back from Europe just for the night. Now, I’m not qualified to tell you which installations/pieces/works/events/happenings you should see—there is a website for that. In fact, don’t bother, just get outside and roam!

The question then becomes what to wear.

Guaranteed, the weather will be inclement: Rain, the threat of rain, wind, the threat of wind, muddy, with a distinct chance of chill in the air. (I pray I’m wrong.) In keeping with fashion’s current trend towards Edwardian-Victorian-Prussian-military-neo-retro-post-pre-punk meets Clockwork Orange, I’m thinking that the cape or cloak is the way to go.

I would say that the best-designed example of this sartorial flourish comes from right here at home.

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Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: Suiting up for pillow season. Above: Yohji Yamamoto’s Y3 for Adidas.

Yup, it’s true: Summer is officially over. It was a beautiful final weekend, TIFF is done, many of us are back in school, and sweaters are back. There are such possibilities for daily wardrobe changes or pulling out your “on sale” purchases from late last winter. It’s not still summer, yet it’s not quite fall. It is, however, a very particular season.

I’m not sure if we have a name for this time in Toronto, but they sure do in Montreal. When I was living there, I noticed a very interesting relationship pattern: ‘Round about now in the calendar, men and women would start actively coupling up; come the end of March, men and women would start actively breaking up. Ah, les Quebecoises, always setting the trends. Ever inquisitive, I asked a friend what was up. She leaned close and whispered, “It’s the winter pillow search.”

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THE BOULEVARDIER: Designer server style at TIFF

Staff at Spice Route, outfitted by Joeffer Caoc. Story by Marq Frerichs. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

It’s not just the red carpet that was all designer at TIFF 2010. If you looked behind the paparazzi, the handlers, the hangers-on and of course that guy or gal in the sunglasses, who doesn’t do anything but be “the person in the sunglasses, even though it’s 3:30 in the morning” person…. I digress. I hope you got a look at what your server was wearing. Chances are, it was designer.

Joeffer Caoc outfitted the crew at Spice Route in Asian-inspired elegance. I particularly loved the “Nehru” collar on the men’s shirt, and did you notice the “Obi”-style pouches in Fall 2010′s burnt orange?

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THE BOULEVARDIER:…And we’re back

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: Leave the ballet shoes alone. Above, a selection from the Bloch Fall 2010 collection.

I know a half dozen people in my circle who are going back to school next week. I’m going back too. May you live in exciting times, I believe the saying goes. And what in the world is more exciting than learning?

For me, deciding what to wear is both super easy and a little like a minefield. It will be easy, in part, because I’m returning to the National Ballet School of Canada. Thus the majority of my classes will require tights, simple white T-shirts, sweats, and, of course, ballet slippers. And yes ladies, I do wear “Blochs”—you may know the name from your own collection of footwear.

Perhaps this is the moment I’ve be waiting for: I CAN”T STAND BALLET SLIPPERS AS FASHION.

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TIFF SPECIAL: Inside the madness with Debra Goldblatt

Debra Goldblatt, the founder of Rock-it Promotions, one of the top PR firms in the city with a major TIFF presence. Story and photography by Marq Frerichs.

Perhaps you checked your Twitter feed, glanced at a newspaper, or walked through Yorkville in the last few days? Yes, you’re right—there is something happening in this here town. It’s TIFF madness. Madness, I tell you!

Or, as Debra Goldblatt would say: It’s all logistics. Say it with me: Logistics.

When I sat down with Deb, the founder of Rock-it promotions, last Wednesday, she was cool, calm, and rather serene—in fact, the very model of a modern major general. The Rock-it promotions office in the Burroughes Building was quiet, with two banks of computers, a central conference table, and Deb’s office on the Queen Street side. There was an easy energy in the room, with four members of the team on-site and the rest out in the world, paving the ways and means.

The only hint that they might be overtired? The bowls of candy on the table.

Two things were different with Deb right off the bat. One, she gave me a real kiss, not the air kind. Two, she offered me water. Wonderful, because no one really needs a caffeine boost in this hopped-up business. I sat in her office with her while she fielded a few calls, negotiating meet-and-greets in five-minute increments. “You can have 10:50 to 10:55.” Whoa!

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THE BOULEVARDIER: Let’s go to the ‘burbs

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: Live from the Ex!

So here it is: Your get-out-of-jail style card. With this, you have the unquestionable right not to care about what you wear, do, or eat. This is not a “dressing down” card, nor is it a “slumming it” pass—it’s a go-to-your-closet-close-your-eyes-yank-out-whatevs-your-hand-touches-and-put-it-on kinda thing. Everything I’ve mentioned, prodded, cajoled, hinted-at in this column: FORGET ABOUT IT. “Let’s Go To The Ex, oh, baby!”

It’s been awhile since I’ve experienced the pleasure of the Canadian National Exhibition. In fact, I hardly recognized it. I did, however, recognize the distinct look of its patrons. Lots of sugar-glazed eyes; the giddy, slightly seasick gait. The Greeks had a name for over-indulgence and he manifests himself here. Sugar, sunshine, adrenaline-pumping rides, gambling and lots of scantily clad youths.

You’ll see him strutting through the midway from a mile away.

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THE BOULEVARDIER: Can you smell that?

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: Bleu de Chanel, the new men’s fragrance from the design house (and the commercial, shot by Martin Scorsese) inspire a reverie of love, menace and missed chances.

The white light has a blue cast, the highway is shiny from the thunderstorm. You see the headlights grow in the distance—white streaks illuminating the wet steel of the rails, with flashes of lightning in the distance. The curve of the track, the screech of metal, wheels grinding along. Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” plays in the distance, the sound rolling forward, louder and louder, jets of vapour bursting upwards from the unseen manhole covers. Somewhere down the line, the brakeman has flipped a switch. The great metal snake shudders.

THE BOULEVARDIER: If you’ve got it, hide it

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs, considers matters related to men’s style. This week: Covering up is sexier than stripping off, as inspired by the “salivating” reaction to the male models at the Ezra Constantine Spring 2011 show.

Call me old-fashioned but when I was working as a stylist the sexiest thing was what you weren’t seeing. I know—I’m out of touch. I should be more with it.

But you must understand that, as a former professional dancer, I’ve spent the majority of my life surrounded by semi-nude and wispy ballerinas and models. There is nothing that I know of that can kill the visual allure of someone than the string of curses heard during a quick change backstage.

In one show, I had six changes, three of which were back to back. That meant a sauté off the stage right into a unitard, slippers and mask, then stripping down and changing into a full-body flying harness, with tuxedo over that, all topped off with an Elvis wig. I was clipped in and flown straight up three stories, then lowered back down, stripped down again and wriggled back into the same unitard, slippers and mask. Did I mention that dancers perspire?

Needless to say, I sounded like a trucker and I had to buy drinks for our dresser after each show. I’ve worked on a few fashion shows, and it’s the same. Dancers or models—what you see is so not what you get.

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