We all have different experiences of when we were seduced by the glamour and luxury of the fashion world. Outrageous clothing, alien-like make-up and hair, and glamorous models strutting down the runway are just some of the reasons we can’t get enough of it.
Recently the folks at Mercedes-Benz asked me when I fell in love with fashion and as I gave it some thought I realized there was never an exact moment, it’s been an accumulation of experiences over a lifetime that has heightened, renewed and deepened my love of this world. From playing with my Barbie dolls to reality TV, read on about my top 10 reasons of what made me fall in love with fashion.
It all started with the Barbie doll. My parents gifted me with the iconic toy for my birthday and it all went downhill from there. I accumulated a small collection of the plastic toys and would beg my mom to buy new clothes and accessories so I could outfit each one. Not to mention, with my flare for fashion at the tender age of six, I would give my Barbies life altering make-overs by cutting their hair and using permanent markers to change their make-up and eye colour.
2. Fashion Television and Jeanne Beker
Hitting the airwaves in 1985 Fashion Television (aka: FT) gave TV viewers, for the first-time, a never-seen-before look into the world of fashion. With its catchy theme song and host Jeanne Beker, I was transported from my family room to the fashion capitals of Milan, New York and Paris every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. FT and Beker were at the forefront of fashion journalism scoring interviews with the world’s top talent, from Yves Saint Laurent to Kate Moss. Therefore, it’s no surprise this combination sparked the love of fashion with not only me but many other notable talents within the industry, such as Alexander Wang and every Canadian designer on the plant. Plus, did I mention that the show and its host were Canadian? You can’t get much cooler than that!
3. Fashion File and Tim Blanks
If you weren’t watching Fashion Television then you were listening to the New Zealand accent of Tim Blanks on CBC’s Fashion File, which he hosted from 1989 to 2006. Blanks was another Canadian at the forefront of fashion journalism who took an intellectual and news-like approach on the show.
4. The Trinity
The Trinity. No, I’m not talking about the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. In fashion The Trinity refers to supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington. During the 90s these glamazons took the fashion world by storm walking in all the top designer shows and appearing on more magazine covers than Imelda Marcos has shoes. I was transfixed by their beauty and style, and when they strut their stuff down the runway they were invincible like the Avengers; as a young girl it made me dream of one day becoming a supermodel just like them.
5. George Michael’s “Freedom” and “Too Funky” Music Videos
If you were an aspiring supermodel in training like I was in my pre-teen years then George Michael’s “Freedom” (1990) and “Too Funky” (1992) music videos were informal how-to guides on how to work the runway like a boss. The Trinity appeared in these music videos as well as other notable supermodels, such as Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford. I would watch these music videos ad nauseam and dissect the models’ every runway movements.
6. Alexander McQueen
No designer could turn a runway show into a jaw-dropping theatrical performance like Alexander McQueen. Thanks to FT I remember watching, in awe, the legendary British fashion designer trap models in a psychiatric-ward turned runway for his 2001 “VOSS” collection or make them up to look like Marilyn Manson’s long lost sister in his 2009 “The Horn of Plenty” collection. McQueen’s unapologetic creativity, coarseness and provocative nature to push people’s notions of beauty helped earned him the nickname “l’enfant terrible,” but it also made him an iconic talent and one of the most profound figures in fashion.
7. Sex & The City
When a stylish New Yorker named Carrie Bradshaw and her three besties walked onto my TV screen wearing designer heels in the hit HBO show Sex & The City they helped nourish a burgeoning shoe and shopping addiction, as well as introduced luxury brands like Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin to my vocabulary. I marked my formative university years with Carrie’s memorable Manolo moments on the show; from the time she was robbed of her gold strappy heels to when she snuck into Vogue’s accessories closet and found a pair of black Manolo Blahnik Mary-Jane pumps.
8. America’s Next Top Model & Tyra Banks
If The Trinity ignited my love for supermodels as a young girl then Tyra Banks’ reality TV show America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) added fuel to the fire by scouring the U.S. for the country’s next supermodel. Smizing, strutting in 10 inch platform heels and posing in underwear made of raw meat à la Lady Gaga was not only eye popping but very entertaining.
9. Project Runway
Are you in or are you out? These few words rolling off the tongue of model Heidi Klum determined the fate of America’s design hopefuls in the hit reality TV show Project Runway. Thanks to this show I and millions of other fashion fanatics got a first-hand look into the cut-throat world of clothing design and introduced household names like Tim Gunn and designers, such as Christian Siriano, who could work magic with a piece of fabric and thread.
10. Valentino: The Last Emperor
Back in 2008, I attended the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to see the North American premiere of Valentino: The Last Emperor, a documentary which followed the ups and downs of the Italian haute couture designer Valentino Garavani for two years. It was emotional and inspiring to witness, on film, the real-life struggles of Garavani in the tumultuous fashion world. The movie drew you in and made you feel like you were part of his life. When the film ended and the house lights when up in the theatre it revealed that designer himself attended the premiere. I and the entire audience immediately took to our feet to give him a lengthy and emotional standing ovation.
**This post was sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.