Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leanne Delap for The Style Notebook

LETTER FROM LEANNE: Lauren Bagliore’s fresh start

A look from Lauren Bagliore Spring 2011, a collection that our veteran fashion writer saw through fresh eyes (with a little help from a friend). Story by Leanne Delap

Fashion reporting has changed completely since my days on the tour. I whipped around London, Milan, Paris and New York for a half dozen years in the mid-90s as fashion reporter for the Globe and Mail before I had kids; later I cherry-picked ready-to-wear shows and five-starred the haute-couture a couple of times as editor-in-chief of FASHION. Though in the years hence I never stopped writing about fashion, I oft maintained that I’d sooner eat beetles than sit through another show. It sounds so glamorous, but humping through the full seven-week tour filing stories made me more tired than a toddler with projectile stomach flu.

That was a puerile dismissal, for I now realize I was very privileged to have witnessed some extraordinary moments: I remember now crying at the first McQueen show I saw at the Royal Horticultural Gardens when the late genius sent models out in filmy gowns shackled inside cages, wading through water. That was the show he hand-carved a leg prosthesis for model Amy Mullins. I sat behind the legendary Suzy Menkes from the International Herald Tribune, and beside Jerry Hall. Everyone was moved.

I was crammed into a gate rushing the buzzy first Theyskens show, where then-Hole bassist Melissa auf der Maur was his Goth bride in elaborate black crepe corsetry. I saw Miyake’s final show, where 30 supermodels were strapped together in an undulating green silk cocoon at the Academy des Beaux Arts. (I was lucky enough to see the real supermodels in their runway heyday, the Naomis and Kates, even the Lindas, Helenas, and Christys at the Versace tribute show after his untimely death.)

“I almost didn’t show,” she said. “But in the end, I was rewarded. Buyers from all the major stores came to see me, and I’m so flattered and I got great feedback.”

Bagliore’s work comes from within: “When you grow up in New York, there is so much noise, so much input. The only place to go was within,” she says.

And my fashion show companion got that before I did. At 14, she had no reference for the sharp shouldered jackets or skinny legged looks with billowing tops. She wasn’t tarnished by MC Hammer when she looked at the harem-style pants. They looked fresh to her.

And it made me realize that Lauren Bagliore’s take on them was fresh too. Her grasp on draping kept the silhouette fresh. And her eloquent use of black and white made me think long after the model parade ended.

See the post on The Style Notebook here: