Come on, Vogue!

Vogue 2010 puts the spotlight on fashion with eight student designers

Vogue’s proceeds will be go to Frontenac Public School and Holy Family Catholic School.
Vogue’s proceeds will be go to Frontenac Public School and Holy Family Catholic School.

Fashion icon Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion fades; only style remains the same.” That may be true, but the Vogue Charity Fashion Show is working hard to make its mark. This year’s show falls under the themes of fashion, fiction and fantasy. They guided all aspects of the show this year, including the charitable donations Vogue is giving to two Kingston schools, Frontenac Public and Holy Family Catholic School.

“We chose the theme because we are focusing on literacy,” Co-President Melin Peng said. “We came up with this idea of having a theme that revolved around fashion, fantasy and fiction. A lot of this theme is reflected in the collections the designers are putting forth this year.”

Naomi Blackman, co-head of independent design, said this year’s show features eight independent designers, an all-time high for Vogue. She said the Vogue executive team is hoping to take the show back to basics with a strong focus on design this year.

“All of the designers fund their own way,” she said. “We also went to [Toronto designer] Linda Lundstrom’s studio and she donated a ton of material.” The prize has also been upped this year, with the winning designer winning much more than a photoshoot—a standard in the past.

“We’ve also talked to Vanja Vasic from Toronto’s Alternative Fashion Arts and Fashion Week and she has offered the winning designer a spot in her 2011 show,” Blackman said. “She’s going to mentor them through their design process for next year and then organize models.” From Alice in Wonderland-inspired frocks to flowing fabrics, this year’s impendent designers have a range of inspirations to draw from.

Designers Aleksandra Bibic and Jennifer D’Andrea agree that despite doing all the sewing themselves in the living rooms of their homes, Vogue has been a worthwhile experience.

“It’s been really positive and really great,” Bibic said. “The whole Vogue family is really great—everyone’s worked really hard to put together a very unified vision of Vogue.”

“It’s amazing to see how each designer internalizes that general theme of fashion, fantasy and fiction.” Clothing sponsors, shop owners, Vasic and selected audience members will vote on the winning designer to be announced at Saturday night’s show.

The decision to have a theme has helped give the show a new focus and energy.

“It helps us have rules as to what we wanted to see in the dance scenes,” Head Choreographer Taila Anandasagar said. “So rather than going to watch a variety show, this year there’s an actual theme so right from the get-go, from the opening video you get swept into this world. It will be an experience rather than just a show.”

In the past, Vogue has been branded as more of a dance show, something this year’s exec is hoping to change.

“We wanted to have a cohesive theme to bring every aspect of Vogue together. So it’s seen in the design, the dance, the set, the music—everything,” Co-President Matthew Biehl said. “Some of the criticisms we’ve had of the show is that people come in expecting more fashion. We’re trying to push to fashion more this year.”

Focusing on independent design was something that came easily for the executive.

“It was a decision we made this year to emphasize the fashion part of it, especially because the designer prize is so big this year,” she said. “We had a lot of designer interest this year.” The history of the show was another factor in amount of design interest.

“So many designers had seen the show in the past and wanted to design for Vogue,” Anandasagar said. “For designers, there aren’t a lot of outlets to show their creativity.” Biehl also hopes that the focus on design will define Vogue primarily as fashion show.

“It’s made it a more legitimate aspect of Vogue,” he said. “Rather than maybe someone just doing it for fun—it’s not that we don’t want to take the fun out of it, but I think that people are taking it more seriously this year, which is great.”

This year, Vogue is focusing on two schools in the Kingston community.

“Every year we tend to focus on children charities. As people have worked in schools in the communities, we saw that people are working really hard to improve literacy in schools and reading,” Co-Charity Liaison Heather Love said. “The schools that we chose are in lower-income areas of Kingston. This money is to add to the work that they are already doing in the community.”

Vogue is also donating books to the school’s libraries.

“We’ve asked everybody that’s involved with Vogue to bring in a children’s book and sign the inside explaining why they donated that book,” Co-Charity Liaison Christina Nestor said. “This will help in building the libraries and get each member of Vogue to take to heart what the message of Vogue is.” Over the last five years, Vogue has donated over $105,000 to various charities.

“This year our goal is to raise over $40,000 so we can donate $20,000 each school,” Peng said. “All the money goes to charity. So the more people who come out to support Vogue the more money that goes to charity.”

A $0.50 opt-outable student fee for Vogue was also established this year.

“It’s hard because we want all the money to go to charity,” Biehl said. “But not having a student fee leaves next year’s exec in a really awkward position because they really don’t have any funds coming into that new year of Vogue.”

Despite the student fee, some don’t see the pursuit as worthwhile. To that, the Vogue family has a lot to say.

“You have so many people who are able to do many different things. You have people who can dance, who can model, videographers, people who can take photos,” Anandasagar said. “Vogue doesn’t build an exclusive family. We build a little family that creates something for such a great cause.” Peng is also quick to remind everyone of Vogue’s goal.

“All the time everyone puts into Vogue is all for charity. It’s being done for someone else—it’s being done for the community,” she said.

Biehl said he also sees Vogue as more of an artistic endeavour.

“We can understand where those comments come from because it’s based around fashion and dance, and stuff like that, and when you see it in the magazines you can see it as a narcissistic type of thing,” he said. “I prefer to think of Vogue as an artistic initiative that can impact the community in a positive way.”
The Vogue Charity Fashion Show runs tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

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