Every girl out there owns a few, if not at least one pair, of amazing high heeled shoes that they consider to be a piece of art. This is a term we usually use lightly to justify the purchase of said fantastic shoe. But there is now literally a range of shoes that are pieces of art. Cult following shoe designer Charlotte Olympia had recently teamed up with Brit artist and body art painter Boyarde Messenger to create a collection of heels that is a nod to six artist legends; Jackson Pollack, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Howard Hodgkin, Piet Mondrian and Roy Lichtenstein.
If you are an art lover, then you will no doubt find these pumps super narly. Also a part of this chic collabo is luxe retailer Neiman Marcus and Art Basel Miami, as if Olympia’s name didn’t already give these shoes enough fashion/art street cred. Messenger took inspiration from famous paintings such as Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and hand painted them on to the shoe designer’s signature “Dolly” pump.
And of course these gems were not readily made available to the masses…there was only 100 pairs of these walking works of art created and were sold at a private event during Art Basel. I pray that someone wants to part with their pair and posts them on eBay. I know that’s a long shot, but a gal can dream!
So what I had been hearing was absolutely true…the Design Exchange annual fundraising gala is a party NOT to miss in Toronto. Friday night, the who’s who in Toronto from the art, design and film scenes gathered at the Design Exchange building for an amazing night to honour Doug Coupland with an event where design infiltrated every single detail. The evening began with guests previewing items that were part of a silent auction. Not just any auction though…20 artists were given the challenge to take classic Ikea pieces and re-design unique creations as part of the Ikea “Auktion”
Hosted on all three floors of the exceptionally curated venue, DJ’s spun tunes (a different genre on each floor), Toronto’s own Keys N Krates had everyone dancing to a collection of mash-up hits, mixologists and chefs served up treats like white fish cakes with aioli, lobster rolls, oysters, spinach and pulled pork gnocchi, seafood paella and a bevy of specialized mixed cocktails. For the ladies, Flare Magazine, one of the event’s sponsors, set up a unique custom accessories bar where women received made to order fascinators and head bands. And let me not forget the Food Dudes late night food truck that served up delectable food till the wee hours of the morning outside the venue.
And just to make this epic evening complete…a few special guests were chosen at random for a pop-up food experience by Parts & Labour, Castor and Tongtong.
For you fashionistas that missed out on this year’s event…Design Exchange has just announced that in June 2013, they will survey the work of French shoemaker Christian Louboutin. I mean, it goes without saying that this exhibit will be a hit. The show drew approximately 900 visitors per day over two months last spring at London’s Design Museum. To keep updated on future exhibitions at the Design Exchange Museum, check out their website Here
I got invited to the opening night of an art exhibit in Toronto’s Distillery District last week titled, “Gowns” by Stan Olthuis. Now, obsessed as I am with fashion and with a growing appreciation for art, I was at the Distillery in a heart beat. The Furbo Gallery’s intimate setting and white back drop posed as the perfect location for these whimsical pieces of art. I have to admit, knowing that the artist does not have a design background or heightened interest in fashion, I was blown away on his portrayal of these gowns…more specifically the attention to detail surrounding the bodice area. Majority of the collection reflected corseted mid-sections and glamorous, full skirts – both short and long.
Upon my first glance around the room I was convinced each piece was done on canvas but after taking a closer look, I realized it was actually layers and layers of construction hoarding on wood panel and this rawness was juxtaposed by the delicate and alluring gowns featured in each painting…BRILLIANT!
I had a quick glass of vino and chatted with the artist about the inspiration behind his latest work and he explained that he loves to take walks late at night. It’s during these walks, Stan notes that he’s always drawn to the window displays containing designer or bridal gowns. As a bride to be, I couldn’t agree with him more. Explaining that these illuminated displays always give off a magical glow, which in fact they actually do. Almost breathtaking!
Without giving too much of the exhibit away – as you MUST go check it out for yourself, the painting that literally jumped off the wall to me was “Bodice #2” featured below…
This is a certified showstopper, with the haunting black background and elaborate corseted dress with a skirt so full, it looks like a frothy confection. It’s just absolutely beautiful. Wouldn’t mind at all if my future husband purchased it for me as a wedding gift…hint hint! Sprinkled amongst the paintings, I found equally stunning sketches, also of various corseted gowns.
If you haven’t seen the collection yet, make sure to check it out at The Furbo Gallery (12 Case Goods Lane), in the Distillery District. …Exhibit runs until November 30th.
To contact the artist or to view more of his work, please visit StanOlthuis.com