Story by Paul Aguirre-Livingston. Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins.
The first time I heard about Amanda Lew Kee was from a friend raving about her Mass Exodus showing as part of the Ryerson University student collections. It wasn’t until I met Amanda a few weeks later—when she rolled up to The Room at the Bay, leather-clad in her own design and with supermodel-in-the-making (and good friend) Nadine McAdam in tow—that I appreciated how far ahead of the young pack she is.
Amanda’s capsule-esque collection, shown last month at the Great Hall, further confirmed the hype. The short film/model mash-up preview was very Dracula’s love child running around in Berlin—all black, mostly leather, and heavy on the layers and texture. Her cult status just keeps growing: Amanda was chosen as one of the Toronto Star’s Best Dressed 2010, her collection is on display at Holt Renfrew this month, and she’s the subject of a two-page spread in Flare’s August issue.
What’s the best project (aside from your own label) that you’ve worked on?
“One of the best was dressing 90210’s Shenae Grimes for the MMVAs. I also worked with Fritz Helder on a viral video shoot. He first approached me to do some wardrobe and later asked me to be in the video; he said he was using me as his muse for the looks. The girls were dressed in Helmut Newton-inspired black bodices with a bondage detail spiraled down one arm and one leg, slicked back hair and my signature pastel blue lips.”
Do you have a favourite fashion memory?
“A few! Meeting Derek Blasberg at his Toronto book launch, having him tweet about my ‘gang’ (I brought some friends that dressed in my clothes), and when he emailed me on the eve of my debut to wish me luck! Most recently, I had tea with Stacey Kimel and Adrian Mainella, and they both offered inspirational advice and guidance. I rushed home to review my Spring 2011 collection and made appropriate revisions.”
Who is your favourite person (other than a designer) in the fashion world?
“Daphne Guinness! I idolize her personal style, charisma and confidence. There is something about her majestic character that fascinates me.”
In film, which character’s style do you most admire?