Trading Places – Crisscrossing Black and Yellow

After four years of Fashion School, I came out with two things: limited job prospects and a wardrobe consisting of black clothing. Depressing as it may seem on the surface, a black palate is both practical and flattering. And frankly, black goes with everything. Win-win, I always thought. Working at Novella, however, I was alarmed by my stylish colleague, Liat, whose brazen wardrobe appears effortless and playful — and terrifying when I envision it on myself.

For the past six years, my new year’s resolution was to methodically incorporate at least one item of colour into my wardrobe. I’d start off slowly by adding just a pop of colour in limited doses, so as not to overwhelm my psyche. So far I have veered into white and light grey — it has been a trying process. New year’s resolutions often become distant memories. Each morning, in a rush and with excuses, I end up wearing black and hoping texture will somehow spice things up. So obviously, the office took one look at me and decided that my funeral-like appearance required an upgrade. So for our second Trading Places article, Liat and I partnered up to revisit basics and wear outfits with colour — even yellow.


Michelle: The average person simply cannot wear yellow and not look like Big Bird. But, for Liat’s sake, I really tried to like this top. I was pleasantly surprised to see how flounce sleeves could make the yellowness seem intentional and I liked how they added some texture and a playful vibe, which, to be honest, I don’t have. Next, I tried on the gingham trousers, which at first glance reminded me of a picnic table. I have to say though, that these pants were both soft and stretchy and on-point with this season’s trends. Incorporating some black made me feel like I could actually wear them. In general, my daily uniform includes black skinny jeans, and I noticed how much more mobility I had with these pants. I was fresh, youthful and a literal beam of sunlight. Unsurprisingly, I did end up buying the pants to wear with more black. The yellow will have to wait till 2018.

Liat: As a fashion blogger, my biggest fear is looking boring. And for that reason, the oversized sweater didn’t look appealing to me. My first thought was: This is not my cup of tea. But at the same time, I was curious to see how it will make me feel when I pull it off. As for the jeans, I was satisfied with what Michelle picked for me. I adore the fringe details on the buttom because of the uniqueness they add. The boyfriend fit along with the oversized sweater made me rethink my fancy style, especially when it comes to my busy unglamorous life as a busy mom. I love colours, prints, and feminine details like ruffles and lace, but for a casual weekend look, like a day with my kids at the park, I can never go wrong with such a comfy outfit.


Michelle: I’m just going to start off by saying that I hate dresses because they require a certain femininity that I do not possess. Rompers or jumpsuits are just their awkward and unappealing half siblings because when you have to go to the bathroom, ain’t nobody got time for all that work! Needless to say, this romper was a challenge, both physically and emotionally. It was also a full-on floral print with a ribbon tie back, paired with a Supreme Deluxe pizza purse. There was a lot going on. My petite frame was fully submerged and drowning in colour, pattern, and print, and quickly moving through the five stages of grief. Initially, I was in denial thinking, “maybe this works.” I quickly moved to stage two and three, realizing that I had put both legs in one leg of the romper but bargaining with myself that no one would realize my error. I then became depressed, realizing that colour was not for me and finally accepting that only Liat would ever be able to look cool in this outfit. This outfit was way too far out of my comfort zone.

Liat: The black top featuring a built-in corset belt was extremely comfortable and it’s definitely something I see myself wearing with a colourful flowy skirt or high waisted pants. I love the idea that this corset is already attached to the shirt, which saved me the time of figuring out what to wear. Plus, it’s super trendy this season. Pairing it with black skinny jeans and oversized shirt makes it too casual for my fashionista soul, especially as an evening look, since I am the type of person who is always trying to mix things up and create an unexpected combination. Also I was afraid that that the button up shirt looked quite boyish. Even so, it’s not an outfit I’d normally pick for going out. But I must say it looks great together and I am willing to adopt it as a day look. I was really satisfied with what Michelle picked out for me and I think it’s also flattering to my body shape.


Michelle: Despite my pessimistic attitude toward all things colourful or peppy, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun with Liat and this exercise. It made me realize that society does not care what you wear as long as you own it. I learnt to be less anxious about colour and more willing to try something new, so next time I see colour on a rack, I will at least give it a shot. But, I am not sure if I’d ever wear yellow again, so don’t hold your breath.

Liat: As a fashion addict, I am always willing to go on a shopping spree. For me this experience was pure fun. I noticed how I am always looking for outfits that will let my individuality pop up, which leads to a closet that lacks basic pieces like plain t shirts or simple black jeans. I realized that I need to increase the causal department in my closet. It also made me realize that I have too many girly dresses, which I got just because I couldn’t leave them hanging in the store. At the end of the day, I bought the black corset top Michelle offered me because of it versatility.

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Paul Mason: VIP Interview

After more than 30 years in the fashion industry, renowned model Paul Mason remains as down­to­earth as though his professional career has just started. In fact, behind that silver beard—his signature feature—there is a fresh, youthful energy that’s infectious to anyone around him. Upon meeting him in person, I found myself wondering if the polished Mason has more in common with Mr. Newman than just a first name.

I had a roster of questions prepared for my interview with “Fashion Santa” (that’s the title he earned during his latest gig, which launched him even further into superfame), but a few minutes into our conversation I completely forgot them. Sitting in Le Gourmand at Richmond and Spadina, with Mason sipping a black coffee and I a decaf Americano, the mogul’s warm genuinity let our interview sink easily into more of a friendly chat during which he revealed the most important things he’s learned as a model and his hopes for Canada’s fashion industry.

His journey began in the midst of a Bachelor of Social Work at Ryerson University. Sometime during his studies the young, less bearded Mason was asked to walk for a presentation in a sociology class. Afterwards, he was handed the phone number of Judy Welch—the head of one of the first modeling agencies in Toronto. Mason made the call, and it wasn’t long before he was on the runways in Tokyo and Paris.

It’s a killer origin story, and it launched Mason into a lifelong and very successful career on the catwalk and in front of the camera. Naturally, he’s picked up a few jewels of fashion intel since then. For one, he sees fashion as an expression of how we feel and perceive ourselves (“Through our clothes, we tell the world who we are”) and thinks style is all about the details (“They define our personal style. Through them I can totally see which people are stylish”).

Then he touches on the street style phenomenon that’s had an increasing effect on the fashion world in recent years.  “Even designers look at what people are wearing on the street,” says Mason. “It’s the trickle­up effect! One of my favourite documentaries is the one about Bill Cunningham, the renowned street style photographer at The New YorkTimes. That’s a great example of what you see on the streets, which a lot of the time is much more interesting than what you see on the runway.”

With a solid career on his back as a fashion model, any advice from Mason has more value than anybody else’s. He encourages up­and­coming designers, models, stylists and makeup artists to fight for their dreams and always keep an open mind. He also stresses that in this industry, working hard is definitely more important than playing hard, despite what it might look like on Page Six.

“I think that people working in fashion are probably the hardest­working people,” says Mason. “From editors, to photographers, to stylists, to models, it is a really tough industry to work in!”

In the last few minutes of our interview, I ask Mason for his opinion on the Canadian fashion industry and how we should go about resolving the lack of local support that we are dealing with. His response sounds as calm and cautious as usual, but more determined than ever.

“My biggest hope for the Canadian fashion industry is to keep it at home,” he says. “We should start buying more clothes by Canadian brands and supporting each other. This is a place that’s unique on the planet. I think now through TOM* we have kind of set a standard even that there is a lot of controversy around us. I believe that through more initiatives like that, the cultural institutions and the government in power really can’t turn their backs on what is going on. We have to support this industry from the ground level but once we get the government involved, everything will be easier, definitely.”

2253 PM_interview2

Photographer: Yannick Alain Gauthier

MUA: Marika D’Auteuil

Hair: Patrick G Nadeau

Stylist: Emmanuelle Neron

Paul Mason wearing Philippe Dubuc

Female model Marie Laurence Goyette (Montage Models) wearing Marie Saint Pierre

Top 10 Designers from Vancouver Fashion Week

With six days showcasing Vancouver’s rising up comers in the fashion world, Vancouver Fashion Week brought out what seemed like a consistent theme of an array of colour for the Fall/Winter 2016 collection season. Among the 96 designers showcased throughout the week, Novella has their eyes on 10 designers that seemed to make the cut in colour, design, and overall aesthetic when they graced the catwalk during Vancouver Fashion Week.


VFW 2016-03-16 Photo by Dale Rollings- IMG_0301
Ed Ng Photography

Showcasing evening elegance with a hint of sexy, Lesley Hampton shows the runway how to work sequence and patterns cohesively. ,making what looks like liquid metal as the gowns cascade down the runway, Lesley Hampton dresses male a great choice when wanting to stand out in a crowd.


VFW 2016-03-16 Photo by Dale Rollings- IMG_9268
Ed Ng Photography

Showing everyone how to layer for the chiller seasons, NOCTEX brings the layering aesthetic to the runway with the use of neutral tones such as beige, black and grey. Even though these shades may seem like a major bore, the way NOCTEX blends the shades with the use of flowy fabrics and layers creates an aura of comfy chic.


Bernardo Moura Photography

Bringing South Asia to the catwalk, Akshay Wadhwa exudes a sense of royalty in her Fall/Winter 2016 collection with the rich colours of gold and navy blue. The traditional South Asian embroidery on the various pants, skirts and tops, with the accompaniment of draping in the pants and capes gives an international feel that is needed on North American runways.


Bernardo Moura Photography

Cut and sophistication are the two words that come to mind when looking at Danya Weevers Fall/Winter 2016 collection. Giving off a “first lady” appeal with the use of structured coats, skirts and culottes, the eclectic collection would be admired by the elegant woman wanting to make a statement with bold and solid colours.


Vancouver Fashion Week
Bernardo Moura Photography

Fusing the male tuxedo aesthetic with the femininity of the female dress, Melanie Dylis flawlessly combines the two in her collection for Vancouver Fashion Week. A highlight piece of the collection is a button down, long sleeve pleated dress that has velvet accents and an array of other material aspects.


VFW 2016-03-19 photo by Dale Rollings-IMG_1787
Dale Rollings Photography

Fur, tassels, and intricate embroidery is the eye opening and jaw dropping factor that had many at the edge of their seats for Noe Bernacelli collection during Vancouver Fashion Week. Reminiscent of Balmain’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection with the use of layers, embroidery and textures, Bernacelli puts his own twits on the collection by staying with dark colours with the pop of neon greens and pearly whites. Still very chic and show stopping, Noe Bernacelli is definitely one to watch!


Kerp Photography - Encima_97A5086
Kerp Photography

Not forgetting about the men collections during the week, Enicma brings traditional pieces with a homegrown label. With trench coats, long sleeves, and a variety of basic everyday essentials, the collection is one of timelessness and practicality.


VFW 2016-03-20 Photo by Dale Rollings- IMG_9358
Dale Rollings Photography

Think modern western with a couture aspect and you have Evan Clayton’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection. With ruffles and off the shoulder styles being a consistent theme, the brand uses a lot of neutral colour such as olive green and white to show versatility with the pieces in regards to switching up the style and making them your own.


Kerp Photography - Heill_97A7314
Kerp Photography

By designers Nicole and Nathan, the duo want to showcase the versatility of the tuxedo, for both men and women, and that the traditional piece can be styled and combined in a variety of ways. Ranging in patterns and textures, the brand showcases the potential that a traditional suit has when cut to the body and accompanied by stand out accessories.


Kerp Photography - Samuel Yeung - _97A4018
Kerp Photography

Continuing with the print and textile theme of the week, Samuel Yeung brings his take of graffiti art on dress for his collection for Vancouver Fashion Week. And not just keeping with the bright colours that the textiles bring, he also incorporates a woven textured dress to begin the show. The see-through frock with a ruffled bottom is a staple for the warmer season despite its Fall/Winter collection debut. Paired well with either a trendy sneaker for a day on the town or heels for an evening out, the versatility of the dress goes above and beyond for any season.