How much better can life get for Paul Hardy? Calgary’s internationally renowned fashion designer can now add museum curator to his list of couture accomplishments. I caught up with him last night at the VIP opening reception for his new exhibit, Kaleidoscopic Animalia, which opens at the Glenbow today. Through a feat of accidental iCamera magic, his head appears to almost float away from his dark-colored clothes, in a dramatic echo to brain beside him, culturally influenced by animals. Also available on a scarf in the gift shop — the kaleidoscopic brain, that is, not Paul’s head.Even though Paul was double-booked, expected at a party at his own studio (which tend to be fabulous) he took time out to give a Kaleidoscopic personal tour. The displays are a mashup of his original designs and artifacts he found languishing in Glenbow’s vaults. As the museum’s Artist In Residence this year, he had special access.You’ve got to see the exhibit in person to experience the true hustle of a Bay blanket bustle. Anyone who knows their Canadian history realizes those blankets weren’t originally a branding brainwave — they were all about the fur trade.My fave is “Homestretch,” which sent me off into a trippy polo fantasy. But Paul told me it was inspired by the Run for the Roses, aka the Kentucky Derby, in which the winning horse is draped in a blanket of roses. Besides being inspired by the mannequins, the exhibit reminded me of the opulent department store window displays that seem to be nearing extinction. Grouped around themes instead of strict museum sorting by date or place of origin, the creativity is easy to consume, yet complex in meaning. In Everything Isn’t Black and White, Paul delves into a time when the Haida created argillite art for Europeans, in reaction to a declining sea otter trade.
With wind chill making it feel like -30, it was a cccold red carpet last night. Nevertheless, it was braved by hundreds of hatless fashion fans…… who crowded inside Belgo Brasserie, where their efforts paid off: everyone’s hair was fabulous. It was all in the name of the second annual Schmancy Style, which supports the Glenbow Museum. The crowd parted for the main event when the first model strutted like Moses through the Red Sea. Below are some of my favorite looks, all available at Holt Renfrew.
The crush of cameras at the end of the runway was as feverish as a New York fashion show. Except the dude kneeling in front of us who kept getting up to give his knees a break, blocking our shots. That would result in bloodshed at NYC’s Fashion Week. But we kept it injury-free in YYC.The finale flaunted fur, which we Calgarians will probably need to keep wearing until June.Silent auction featured many stylish items, including this Jekyll & Hyde Harness by FarLee Mowat.Stylish people included three quarters of the Vinegar Designs Lab. Vincent, where are you? The Schmanciest Man of the Evening Award goes to Jason Gogo, who executed a high kick during our photo op. Now that’s Schmancy Style!