These are copies of my blogs for Lush Magazine from LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’Oreal Paris March and April 2011.

They can also be viewed on the Lush website under ‘blogs’ at www.Lushmag.com


Photo by Joanna Wnukowska

Jay Manuel, the popular TV personality well-known for his role as coach and creative director on “America’s Next Top Model”, as
well as the host of the hit show’s Canadian counterpart, “Canada’s Next Top Model,” debuted his new label, called Attitude, at LG Fashion Week in Toronto last night.

After finding out he would be debuting his collection, I had been looking forward to the show, curious to see what this fashion A-Lister would put together. I had envisioned two possible outcomes. The first was an image of Manuel in a room full of his top “yes-men” nodding vigorously in approval as he selected the inspiration for his collection – some horrible fuchsia faux fur that resembled a hide taken from Barbie’s pet gorilla.
And the second – the complete opposite – was a vision of something edgy and chic – like models stomping down the runway in leather and chiffon with wild makeup and sleeked-back hair.

Photo by Joanna Wnukowska

In actuality, the collection was somewhere in between my two imagined scenarios. Attitude was created to be solely distributed at Sears. If they plan to ever sell any of the pieces at the department store, it would have to be neither of those scenarios.

The show was absolutely packed and started almost an hour late. But after squishing as many extra people into seats as they could and sending the rest to stand at the back, it was time to get the going. Or was it?

First a group of what looked like construction workers had to come out and carefully peel off a plastic protective layer that had been guarding the surface of the new shiny black runway (which had been swiftly installed just for this show and was removed immediately after). Apparently the sheen of the new tiles was a key element of the show as staff nearly had a heart attack when one woman ran across it to quickly greet a friend. The look on their faces was priceless. Within seconds FDCC volunteers scurried out, Windex and paper towels in hand. (What? This lustrous floor doesn’t require silk clothes for its cleaning?)Like little robots they began frantically polishing the floor to rid it of the invisible scuffs left by the excited patron.

Eventually, at 9:20 p.m. (the show was scheduled for 8:30), the lights dimmed and an assuaging sigh filled the room, “At last!”But before the first model hit the runway, a dramatic video following Manuel’s creative process played on the big screen to BillieHoliday’s “I’ll be Seeing You”.

Photo by Joanna Wnukowska

Finally, to the tune of “Big Spender”, fellow “Canada’s Next Top Model” personality Yasmine Warsame opened the show in a rather elegant, white tailored suit. Other “Top Models” who soon followed down the precious black runway included Season Two winner Rebecca Hardy and Season Three winner Meaghan Waller, as well as a few others.

Photo by Joanna Wnukowska

The collection itself was well executed and evoked the clean, chic New York style of the 1960s and 70s. Save for a couple of pieces which incorporated a bluish faux fur tuft ( which, oddly enough, reminded me of my imagined pink gorilla hide) used as something between a scarf, collar and cape, the collection was mostly made up of tailored ready-to-wear separates with clean lines and classic silhouettes in a range of warm and vibrant colours. The collection also included a number of great classic fall and winter wool coats with subtle military detailing.

All in all it wasn’t the most exciting collection I’ve seen this week, but it was practical, wearable and well-tailored, and given that
it was created for the Sears market demographic, it was appropriate. So even though there were no funky hemlines, cut-outs, or layers of silky scarves or tulle, I’d have to rate the collection, overall, as a success.   Manual did say his goal with this label was to make clothes that women will wear – and that he did.


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