Chanel Pour le Temps Charity Fashion Show on March 24th, 2012A Synopsis Last Saturday evening, guests of the Chanel Pour le Temps Charity Fashion Show filled the luxurious Windermere Manor in London, Ontario for an annual charity event organized by Western University student, Emily High-Fash and her team of volunteers. The retrospective fashion show took the audience on a walk through the intriguing life of legendary fashion designer, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Among the guests were friends and families of the production team, local modeling agencies, fashion bloggers, and Toronto Fashion Week’s sensational youngest designer, Adrian Wu, who described the Chanel Pour le Temps fashion show as “Historically Accurate” and a “Wonderful Experience”.
The Chanel Pour le Temps Charity Fashion Show is Emily High-Fash’s second annual charity fashion show dedicated to raising awareness about Mitochondrial Disease. In her opening speech, High-Fash shares the heartbreaking story of 2-year-old Cillian Ethan Barrows, a family friend of hers who has been diagnosed with a terminal case of Mitochondrial Disease. The story is powerful and moving, and by the end of it, I could understand why High-Fash is so passionate about this particular cause. I was surprised to find that Mitochondrial Disease, a genetic disorder, is actually not rare and affects many more families than I was aware of. The small Mitochondrial Disease community in Canada is in dire need of the public’s support in order to fund research of this complicated genetic disorder. High-Fash and her team, self-entitled “FashionATP”, generously donates 100% of proceeds from ticket sales of their annual charity fashion shows to Mito Canada, a Hamilton-based organization that is dedicated to raising awareness and funding research for Mitochondrial Disease.
This year, ten new fashion designers from the London and Toronto regions created 5 historically-inspired collections that were exclusive to the Chanel Pour le Temps charity fashion show. Each collection was essentially a timepiece, representing the different stages in Chanel’s life and illustrating the brave journey she took as a female fashion designer who single handedly revolutionized the world of fashion.
Toronto-based fashion designer Christopher J. Nevin introduced the show on a solemn note. His collection, “Funeral”, depicted Chanel’s poverty-stricken beginning in an orphanage where she was taught to sew by nuns. This collection featured moth-eaten knit dresses, lace veils and of course, Christopher’s signature pleated trims draping across each models’ delicate frames. In the second scene, the audience was whirled in to the swinging 1920’s, a time when Chanel worked as a cabaret performer in the café’s of Moulin and acquired her infamous nickname, “Coco”. The “Cabaret” collection showcased flirty, burlesque-style bustiers, miniature shorts, and an impressive accordion-pleated organza dressed embellished in glitter and fringe. This playful and indulgent collection was designed by Jacqui Plonka and Naz S. from Toronto. “My Fair Lady” was the third scene of the show, representing the beginning of Chanel’s career in Millinery and inspired by the extravagant hats in the Horse Race scene of the 1964 film starring Audrey Hepburn. Carmina de Young and Melissa Vallarino created 7 variations of Coco Chanel’s signature ‘Little Black Dress’, emphasizing sleek lines and sophisticated silhouettes. The hats that accompanied each of the black dresses were luxurious enough for tea with The Queen and certainly a highlight of the show. The elegant head-wear of this scene were designed by London Ontario’s very own Milliner, Laura Welsh, who had recently returned to Canada upon graduating the Rose Cory school of Millinery in The United Kingdom. The fourth scene of the show was entitled “The First Outfit”. It is popularly believed that Chanel’s first outfit, marking the beginning of her career in clothing design, started out with an old sweater, which the frugal designer reconstructed in to a dress on a cold winter day. Accessorized with a sash around her waist and her signature pearls, this is a look that has since defined Coco Chanel’s personal style. “The First Outfit” collection illustrated Chanel’s minimalistic and even androgynous early approaches in fashion design, something that was alien to her era where women’s fashion endorsed binding corsets and overflowing skirts. This collection was created by the two youngest designers in the show, Alanna Klatt and Alina Lariviere from The Academy of Design in Toronto. To sum up the show, Marisa Crandall and Andrea Lorimer, graduates of the Fashion Design program at Fanshawe College, presented a collection entitled “Modern Woman”. This charming collection featured garments inspired by the classical designs of Coco Chanel, and how these signature pieces have withstood the last century of ever-changing trends in fashion to demonstrate the timelessness of Chanel.
Looking up from my seat in the grand hall, I could see the balcony where the seven models of each collection lined up to introduce the respective scene, a rather refreshing feature that I had never witnessed in a fashion show before. The line-up provided a breathtaking overview of each collection before the models made their way down the stairs. As the models looked down at the audience from the balcony, hunching their shoulders like Haute Couture models of Milan runways, a scripted video clip introduced each scene, providing a historical narrative of each era that was about to be illustrated in it’s respective collection. The production of the video clips was an impressive collaboration between Western’s talented videographer, Josh Litman, and Emily High-Fash as the creative mind behind the concept and design. One by one the models would make their way down the antique winding staircase, an ingenious tribute to Coco Chanel’s original fashion shows at her Maison du Mode, 31 Rue Cambon. Perhaps one of the most unforgettable aspects of the Chanel Pour le Temps Charity Fashion Show was the music selection accompanying the models’ walks. A three-piece classical band featuring pianist Matthew Pope, Cellist Jill Sauerteig and Violinist Joanna Gorska filled the hall with an enchanting instrumental soundtrack of Parisian love-songs and romantic waltzes.
The term “successful” is an understatement to describe this memorable charity fashion show. Emily High-Fash is an inspiring visionary who never fails to enchant her audience with her ingenious concepts and emotion-evoking productions, keeping the public’s anticipation high and buzzing about what project she may tackle next.
Article by: Jennifer Lofthouse and Emily High-Fash
Amy Van Gelderen
Make Up Artists
Norman J. Wilson
Michelle de Corneille Sullivan
The Chanel Pour le Temps Charity Fashion Show
Thank you to everybody involved in the making of the Chanel Pour le Temps Charity Fashion Show at the Windermere Manor on March 24th, 2012 for helping put together a successful and memorable event!
Below is an interview with Emily High-Fash, Exec. and Creative Director of Chanel Pour le Temps on UWO's Big Purple Couch talking about the fashion show and the cause