Interview with Lesley Hampton

Meet Lesley Hampton, a talented fashion designer and creative director based in Toronto, who established her label in 2016 after graduating with honours with Bachelor of arts from University of Toronto and Sheridan college. Although Lesley only launched her line last year, the young and ambitious designer has already showcased her collection at Fashion Art Toronto, Toronto Women’s Fashion Week, Vancouver Fashion Week, and was also featured in Elle, Vogue, and Glamour.

We met at Stylist Box, an exclusive showroom for fashion stylists, fashion editors, and designers, founded by Christian Dare and Gail McInnes. The modern space was filled with the designer’s pieces from her current collection. Lesley welcomed me with a smile. She is naturally charming and her personality shined through her honesty and confidence.I was amazed by her determination to focus on important issues in society, such as body awareness and breaking the rules of what considered the ideal female body. We spoke about her collection, current fascinations, and  goals for the future.

Liat Neuman: At what point in life did you decide that you wanted to express your creativity through design? 

Lesley Hampton: I did a fashion designer internship the summer before I started university, and I studied art and history, which definitely help me to make my way to fashion design. During my study at the university I realized that I definitely see myself working in the fashion industry.

LN: How being a fashion designer has changed your life and is it helping you to enhance your point of view on things you believe in?

LH: It’s definitely helped me figure out how people feel in clothing and how you can make them feel more comfortable or stronger based on what you dress them in or what they choose to put on their body. It helps me to understand that anybody can look beautiful and you don’t have to strive to be in a specific size. It is more about how fashion works for you and makes you happy

LN: Which materials are you using for the collection and how is it different from your previous collection?

LH: The materials for FW 2017 collection are made from sequins, including sequinned mesh, embroidered lace, and Palmira sequins lace and poly finish like poly cotton. It’s different from the summer ’17 collection, I was focusing a lot on sequins and sparkle,with floral printed crepe and stretch sequinned mesh. The collection before, which was shown at FAT, was called City Warrior and I used mailer pleating.

LN: Where do you find your inspiration? Does everyday life inspire your work?

LH: The colours of the collection was inspired by the golden hours, which is when the sky turns a soft gold, the hour before sunset or after sunrise. The golden hour is also a term used  in trauma cases, that is the most crucial period for treatment. Since the golden hour refers to a period of time that lasts for one hour, following tragedy or injury, I brought it into my runway people that experience the golden hour, like Adrianne Haslet, the dancer, who was one of the Boston bombing survivor.

LN: Who is your target audience?

LH: I like to say that my target market is any woman who feels comfortable in her own skin and wants to look strong and powerful when she is attending a red carpet event or an evening party. My target audience is mainly women between the age of 25 to 40, but of course I’m worn by women of all ages that feel comfortable in my design.

LN: What message do you want to convey through the creation of your design?

LH: The message I want to convey is to be comfortable with the body that you have and do it through clothing. Don’t feel like trends or body ideal should hold you back from wearing what you want.

LN: What motivates you?

LH: Every time I see someone wearing my clothing, it makes me happy and motivated. The energy and the excitement come when I see people wearing my designs. It helps me push myself forward and  to continue designing.

LN: What are your goals for the future?

LH: My current goal is focusing on production and be able to reach a wider audience. Right now it is definitely expanding and moving into sales. Another goal is to be able to inspire more people to feel comfortable with their body and what they wear.

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Art x Fashion: Fashion inspired by history’s most stunning gowns

Fashion and art have always worked hand in hand like a hall of mirrors. When one creates something, the other reflects it. For centuries, art and fashion have danced with one another. Creating memorable images in either fabric or paint form. When I chose to venture into art and fashion in the first “Art x Fashion” article, the comparisons made between the artwork’s and the clothing was based on colour, print, pattern, etc. Now, the comparisons are based on some of the most stunning gowns ever painted throughout history.

Ann Demeulemeester x Thomas Hudson

Ann Demeulemeester fw17 by Sebastien Meurnier | “Portrait of Lady Frances Courtenay, wife of William Courtenay, 1st Viscount Courtenay” by Thomas Hudson | Photo: Vogue Runway

Until recently, black was a coloured reserved for mourning, not elegance. So when it came to finding a gown that matched today’s modern obsessions with the shade, a deep dive into the world of classical art was the only way to go about it. Luckily, I stumbled upon Thomas Hudson‘s beautiful painting “Portrait of Lady Frances Courtenay, wife of William Courtenay, 1st Viscount Courtenay” which showcases its main subject wearing a beautiful black gown. The sheen on the black fabric, white ruffled collar, and sleeves was mirrored by a look that walked the runway at Ann Demeulemeester this season, which featured a black dress and white shirt. The two gowns almost look like doorways. One leading to the past, the other, the future.

Loewe x Giovanni Boldini

Loewe fw17 by Jonathan Anderson | “Madame Charles Max” by Giovanni Boldini

Powder blue, not only was it named the colour of the year last year (along with rose quartz) It has steadily filtered its way through everything from fashion, to home decor, and even car colours. What sets this colour apart from other blues on the lighter spectrum is its softness, its cleanliness, its elegance, and it’s ability to remain an extremely dominant colour without looking juvenile. At Loewe, a stunning powder blue gown came down the runway looking like a clown in the wind. Immediately Giovanni Boldini came to mind. The effortless brush strokes of the blue dress in Boldini’s “Madame Charles Max” look as light as air, mirroring the billowing blue gown on the runway.

 

Calvin Klein x Thomas Cooper Gotch

Calvin Klein fw17 by Raf Simons | The Lady in Gold by Thomas Cooper Gotch

Gold is one of those colours that will always be associated with royalty. It represents the thrown, the sun, wealth, extravagance, and the God-given right to rule a kingdom. In Thomas Coop Gotch‘s painting “The Lady in Gold,” we can see how gold plays a vital role in creating an elegant and domineering atmosphere. Not only is the dress itself a beautiful hue of yellow gold, the entire painting itself is painted in various hues of warm yellow. Giving the woman in the painting a sense of sheer importance and status. At Calvin Klein, A stunning gold coat walked the runway. The gold fabric and cleave PVC overlay looked made the garment look like liquid gold. Twisting and swirling onto itself. Truly a modern take on an old royal favourite.

 

Gucci x Frans Verhas

Gucci fw17 by Alessandro Michele | “The New Bracelet” by Frans Verhas

Call it lilac, periwinkle, or lavender, or aubergine, but no colour can match the unbridled intensity of purple. Which screams “look at me!” regardless of which hue is being shown. In Frans Verhas The New Bracelet,” a soft lilac jumps out from the canvas against a neutral background. It’s clear that the intention of the painting was o put the gown itself into focus while letting the background fade away. And what a perfect colour to do just that. However, at Gucci, this purple gown was one of the only colours that was featured entirely by itself. The dominant colour creates a mesmerising look that needs little more than a lustre in the fabric itself to stand out. Just like Frans Painting, this Gucci dress captures the eye and lets the background fade away.

Chika Kisada x William Ross

Chika Kisada fw17 by Chika Kisada | “Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg” by William Ross

What do you think of when you think of pink? For me, I see candy, extravagance, sugar, delicateness, and power. Now, most people would agree with candy and delicateness, but why power and extravagance? It’s simple, pink is one of the strongest colours on the colour wheel. It gives off an intensity without ever experiencing any muteness in its hues. Whether it’s baby pink or fuschia, pink lights a fire unlike any other colour on the spectrum. In William Ross‘ “Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg,” we can see that even though the pink chosen for the gown is the softest imaginable, it still draws the eye to it. Dominating everything around it in the painting. This is also the case with this stunning pink dress at Chika Kisada aw17. The mix of bubblegum pink and dusty rose creates levels of excitement and interest in the dress. Pulling your eyes towards the harness on the model’s chest, and drawing it all the way down to the train.

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The Best of PFW Street Style

In terms of style, there are few things more iconic or elusive than the “French woman.” It has always served as the pinnacle of effortless chic. Despite certain well-known tricks of the trade (i.e. lots of black, tailored jackets, simplicity), it has always been difficult for those of us not French to emulate.

But for Paris Fashion Week, the focus is not actually on Parisian style per say. It’s about the individual, about the movers and shakers who come for the shows and linger long after in the blogosphere consciousness. For the Fall/Winter 2017 collections, we saw a parade of styles and creativity. We saw bright colours, graphic patterns, mixed textures, and, as always, the casual air of someone who is rocking their look and completely knows it. That, more than anything, might be the biggest secret of effortless style.

Here are some of our favourite trends from PFW street style.

Floral Accents

I, unfortunately, hear Meryl Streep’s voice saying, “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking,” every time I consider wearing florals this time of year. The truth of the matter is, I do like wearing florals, and they do appear in the spring more often than any other time of year. The floral accents we saw at Paris were mainly outerwear details, as show-goers were still fighting the cold while welcoming the change in season. These gorgeous floral prints definitely stood out during the gray days in Paris.

Photo By Jonathan Daniel Pryce via British Vogue
Photo By Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo By Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar
Photo by Tyler Joe via Elle

Denim on Denim

The Canadian Tuxedo trend has officially taken over, and I’m ambivalent about it. Mostly because I associate it so much with my parents’ friends in the 90’s, but here we are seeing it go international. I’ll allow it, mainly because it has brought out some crazy good streetwear looks both back here in Canada and worldwide.

Photo By Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Imaxtree via The Fashion Spot
Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar

Shoe Gaze

Colourful, statement shoes were one of the main accessories seen in Paris, from the new Balenciaga heels to the mismatched Celine booties. Shoes are the perfect way to make any outfit a little bit more, to add some extra drama. The photographers’ gazes dipped a little bit lower on the Paris streets to catch some of these wickedly cool kicks.

Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar
Photo by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar
Photo by Sandra Semburg for Vogue Paris
Photo by Tyler Joe via Elle

Vinyl Tap

Standard leather fare needs to take a breather because high-shine vinyl has arrived. Not to say it wasn’t here before, but it’s definitely here now in a big way. It was seen on the streets in pants and jacket forms. This would seemingly be a difficult trend to style on the regular, but the folks at Fashion Week have shown that it’s actually pretty easy to wear and easy to pair.

Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar
Photo by Brock Cardiner via High Snobriety
Photo by The Stylograph via Who What Wear
Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar

Statement Shades

When the sun finally came out in Paris, the best accessory to whip out was a killer pair of sunnies, and the show-goers certainly delivered. Glasses are an accessory, like a great watch or a pair of earrings, that can tie a look together. It’s that finishing touch, that metaphorical cherry on top that takes an outfit to another level.

Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris
Photo by Diego Zuko via Harper’s Bazaar

The New Monochrome

Traditionally, I considered monochrome to be when one dresses entirely in black or white. And while that is true based by definition, for the past few years, street style has given us a new way to think about monochrome. It’s wearing only one shade or colour, but picking any shade or colour you want — it can be blue, red, green or yellow, but that colour takes over the look. And the effect is striking.

Photo by The Stylograph via Who What Wear
Photo by Tyler Joe via Elle
Photo by Imaxtree via The Fashion Spot
Photo by Sandra Semburg via Vogue Paris

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Four collections that Highlighted Stockholm fashion week

When we look for a city that encompasses contemporary cool on a global scale, most people tend to point straight to Stockholm, Sweden. Sweden has always been on the cusp of contemporary design, with designers interpreting global trends through a distinct nordic point of view. This season, Stockholm delivered on its promise of beautifully clean and luxurious clothing, with a modern Swedish twist.

Photo: Fashion Week Stockholm

Whyred

Roland Hjorth presented Whyred’s women’s collection alongside the brand’s menswear designer Jonas Bladmo last week, to great success. The collection, which featured 70’s inspired men’s and women’s clothing, focused heavily on many of last season’s biggest trends like gingham check, shirting, and androgynous design.

For their fall 2017 collection, designers Roland and Jonas infused their collection with heavy 70’s scholar influences mixed with bohemian ease and splashes of casual wear. The collection hits the mark on what’s happening right now around the world in fashion, with wisps of Prada, Jacquemus, Aalto, Monse, and Gucci all coming together neatly in one contemporary package. What sets Whyred’s collection apart from many modern designers comes down to the ease of wear; something that comes naturally to the Swede’s. The brilliantly smart mix of formal wear and casual wear creates a mixed matched collection that fits anyone’s personal sense of style.

Highlights from the Whyred collection include a stunning red herringbone dress worn over a wide shouldered white shirt, a beautiful sand coloured coat worn over a navy slack and white shirt, and a gorgeous Prince of Wales plaid coat paired with matching pants and a bright orange fur trim.

Fashion Week Stockholm

Stylein

In today’s day in age, it can sometimes be hard to translate ultra-feminine design with contemporary style trends. That was definitely not the case at Stylein, which managed to fuse the beauty of classic feminine silhouettes with sharp and architectural minimalist design. The collection features an outstanding palette of neutrals that work perfectly together. The gowns are especially eye-catching. Creating a fluidity that can sometimes be hard to capture in clothing, however, the knitwear dresses do a perfect job of capturing the female form through the stretch and movement of the fabric. But the collection doesn’t just rely on the female body to invoke a sense of modern and powerful sexuality. It also showcases the powerful female form with suiting and menswear inspired outerwear. One of the great defining factors of this collection is the close resemblance to many of the trends that walked the runway during the 90’s, with cool and warm neutrals working a perfect mix of retro simplicity and modern elegance.

Highlights of the show were a stone grey knitted dress, a black knitted gown, a beautiful burnt orange wrapped blazer and black leather skirt.

Fashion Week Stockholm

Ida Sjostedt

Fairytale fantasies have been very popular this season, with Dior, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, and dozens more reinterpreting and creating their own takes on fairy tales. At Ida Sjostedt, the tulle and chiffon came out in full effect. Gorgeous embroidered gowns harked back to the days of princesses and magic. But there was another trick up the designer’s sleeve this season. Sjostedt must have known that simply creating a princess like collection wouldn’t be enough to set her apart from the pack. After having started with a gorgeous array of voluminous gowns and off-white formal wear, she quickly began sending models out in a darling mix of athleisure and ball gown mixes that work perfectly together.

After having already shaken up the collection, Ida does it again by sending out outfits comprised of soft, crushed velvet in shades of gunmetal and stone grey. Once the velvet had made its mark, it was time for the fairy tale to turn to the dark side. Black lace outfits began to dominate the runway, giving the collection a more grounded and serious feel, but never mature or matronly. After the entire spectacle had gone underway, Ida finally finishes off her collection with gorgeous pure white lace ensembles that bring the collection back to its whimsical roots.

Standout pieces in the collection are hard to choose because of how perfectly consistent the collection is. However, the most eye-catching pieces would have to be the white lace and tulle two-piece ensemble that closed the show, a tulle skirt worn with a lurex style hoodie, and a beautifully simple spaghetti strap maxi dress in velvet.

Fashion Week Stockholm

Velour by Nostalgi

Street style has undoubtedly become one of the biggest influences in the fashion industry and Swedish designers seem to be noticing as well. At Velour by Nostalgi, the audience was treated to a controlled and refined take on street style. All the staples were there. Everything from puffer vests and dad jeans to slouchy knits, logo, and shirting all had their moments to shine on the runway. But even as the collection seemed riddled with street style influences, it never ventured into tacky territory. Rather than rely completely on gimmicks, as many contemporary “urban” brands do, Velour’s collection was deeply rooted in good design.

Like all good Swedish design, the biggest asset of Velour by Nostalgi was its’ ease of wear. With so many brands adding ridiculous lengths and volume to their casual wear, it’s refreshing to see a brand create a collection that is truly wearable for the everyday fashion aficionado.

Highlights during Velour by Nostalgi are a simple crew neck jumper in grey worn tucked into a light stone washed jean, a wonderfully 80’s inspired striped shirt paired with a white tank top, a bandana with a pair of black trouser, and a relaxed blush coloured jumper worn tucked into a black trouser and topped off with a black puffer vest.

Milan Men’s Fashion week recap

Milan Menswear has just wrapped up and the Italian fashion capital has once again taught the fashion world what stylish menswear truly is. Unlike its contemporary fashion capital counterparts, Milan has a long history of adding a Mediterranean freshness and zest to men’s fashion that really isn’t seen anywhere else in the world. However, adding hints of bright Mediterranean colour to many collections doesn’t mean the clothing comes off as childish or irreverent. Rather, the collections remain as stylish and elegant as they always have in Milan.

Now, colour isn’t the only highlight one should expect from Milan fashion week. Recently, designers in Milan have opted to recreate what a dapper European man should look like. The cuts are still rather traditional, yet they carry a sense of youth that isn’t traditionally associated with the iconic Milan design houses. With that said, Novella has highlighted some of the most inspiring and all around picture perfect collections at Milan menswear week 2017.

Prada

Photos: Moncia Feudi

Starting off the list is Miuccia Prada and her astounding take on the 1970s university “it” crowd fashion, Models stormed the runway in a sea of heavy jewel tone pieces in colours ranging from oxblood to turquoise. These simple, yet direct nods to the 1970s conjured up images of must have mustard and maroon items which swept the fashion industry at the time.

Another vintage staple showcased heavily throughout the show was corduroy, which Miuccia tirelessly splashed throughout the collection. Almost every look in the collection incorporated the use of corduroy in some way shape or form. Whether it was pants or even a jacket, Miuccia managed to take one of the most hated materials in the world and make it a fashion must have for the upcoming fall season. Which truly is a feat in and of itself.

Ports 1961

Photos: Vogue Runway

When Ports debuted their latest collection, it was almost too surreal to be taken all in. Here was a house who was never really associated with following trends or releasing a collection that perfectly mirrors what is going on in today’s fashion world.

In terms of the collection, all the current staples are there; he slight slouchiness of androgynous menswear; the bold colour choices; the shirting. All of the ingredients to make a wonderful menswear label are there. The true winners of the collection have to be the half-in-half-out striped shirts that we’ve been seeing everywhere during men’s and women’s fashion weeks, as well as the brightly coloured puffer jackets that have been seen everywhere from Balenciaga to Raf Simons. All in all, it’s lovely to see an iconic house like Ports 1961 embracing the changes in menswear and taking the time to understand what a newer clientele is looking for in a brand, while still maintaining a sense of European class.

Marni

Photos: Kim Weston Arnold

Fall 2o17 is the first collection to debut at Marni since Consuelo sadly took her final bow at last season’s iconic womenswear show. Now, most would assume the worst. After many years of watching a designer steer a fashion house through the decades, most would be hesitant to embrace whoever is hired to fill the shoes of the original designer. Fortunately, that isn’t the case at Marni. New creative head Francesco Risso has managed to create a collection that translates Marni’s offbeat spunkiness into something inarguably his, while still managing to keep the collection in quintessential Marni territory.

Like Prada, Marni‘s collection conjures up visions of 70’s and 80’s twentysomething’s that walk around oozing popularity. The wonderfully campy prints paired with the bold colour choices and crisp whites really create a sense of modern freshness, a sense of not taking oneself very serious and dressing how you’d like, rather than dressing for those around you. The real focal points of the collection must be the wonderfully belted pantsuits that adds a slight safari touch to a collection, yet still keeps the collection grounded in its central theme.

Marcelo Burlon County of Milan

Photos: Luca Tombolini

It’s always refreshing to see a rarely mentioned brand come out of the blue and present a collection that is truly one of the best for its season. This was the case for Marcelo Burlon County of Milan‘s fw 17 collection, which featured its menswear collection alongside its womenswear pre-fall collection. But that wasn’t what set the collection apart from the best at Milan this season. It seems as if designer Marcelo Burlon was aiming to express his take on the new normal in fashion. Everywhere you looked it seemed as if the lines between menswear and womenswear were crossed. Nothing seemed entirely feminine and nothing seemed entirely masculine. Both his male and female models seemed to melt into one another in a sea of red, black, and olive green cowboy inspired looks.

However, the beauty of this collection doesn’t end with its androgynous influences. The true glue that holds this collection together is the sheer mastery of cut and trend. Not only does Marcelo showcase the ever growing and important oversized trend in his collection, he manages to mesh it together with crisp pinstriped suiting, pajama style two pieces, and clear streetwear influences that have become so successful in recent years.

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