Designer-artist Lennard Taylor works his magic for the PARK Show crowd
On March 4th, I attended the PARK Fashion Show in Edmonton. Featured were seven designers – most from Edmonton – all Canadian, showing innovative and forward looking design. A show favourite was Lennard Taylor, a Winnipeg designer and artist who combines his extraordinary talents to make one-of-a-kind pieces.
At the start of his show, he brought out a drop cloth, and a model, wearing Taylor’s signature “Brenda” swing shirt, stood while Taylor created a hand-painted design for the crowd.
While Taylor painted, models wearing the other pieces in his line walked the runway. At the end of his collection, he finished his hand-painted design and the model strutted to thundering applause.
It was a combination of fashion show and art installation.
And it was brilliant.
I spoke to Taylor after the show and he related how he brings an artist’s eye to his clothing line. He also believes strongly in quality and durability. For his hand-painted pieces, which can fade with washes over time,he says customers can send the pieces back to him and he’ll touch them up.
The line is beautifully made and finished. Quality fabrics, tailoring and details mean the customer can enjoy her purchases for years.
The finished piece on the runway
See the collection www.lennardtaylor.com
My favourite fashion show these days is @NBCFashionStar – a competition-style ‘unscripted’ show that pits designers against each other… with a twist. It incorporates the need to have one of three retail chains purchase designers’ clothes to ensure the contestants make it through to the next round. Further, viewers can buy the selected clothes online from the retailers within minutes. Clothes available as part of the show often sell out at either Express Macy’s or Saks Fifth Avenue. This high-low empire dress by designers JesseRay Vasquez and Garrett Gerson is already sold out at Macy’s:
What I love about this is the rounded view the show gives viewers of the fashion industry. Designers are given a challenge each week and have to create ‘saleable’ fashions that the store buyers want in stock. It’s not just about fashion as art. It’s not about out-of-range couture creations. It’s about the fashion industry as a business.
The show offers a glimpse at not only what it takes to create great fashion, but also what buyers look for when considering merchandise. When a designer’s piece is selected, the successful buyer explains what made the item so marketable. And, when a designer fails to sell his or her piece, the buyers identify why the item was not picked up. This is a fascinating look at the business of fashion, from concept to sale. It is further validated when the successful designs are sold out at the retailers.
No other unscripted show gives viewers such a complete look inside an industry. If you’re interested in fashion, you should check it out. Fridays on NBC.