“Fashionality” is a newly coined term that refers to the visual culture and semiotics of dress and adornment. Combining the words “fashion,” “personality,” and “nationality,” it suggests the interplay between clothing, identity and culture. Reflecting wide geographic and cultural diversity, this exhibition focuses upon the ways in which the concerns, identities and aesthetics of those living in Canada are expressed, deconstructed and reconfigured through the idiom of dress.

This blog records exhibition-related information, as well as work and events related to artists appearing in the show.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Going Bespoke

Have you been to Gallery Bespoke?  If not, you're in for a unique experience, described as "a showcase of home furnishings as high art." Open by appointment, it is the Logan Ave. studio of Toronto-based designer and artist Camal Pirbhai, and a place to view his conceptual works, along with collaborations with other artists. You can learn all about it, and about the artist, here:


Camal Pirbhai

Camal is also the creative genius behind Studio La Beauté, also located on Logan Ave in Toronto.  Here he works closely with architects and interior designers (locally and internationally) to produce uniquely crafted furnishings for high-end residential and luxury commercial projects. They are known for their artisanship and their meticulous care in creating exceptional draperies and window treatments.

You can learn more about this side of Camal's practice here:


and be sure to follow his excellent blog, put together by his assistant extraordinaire, Inyoung:


Camal Pirbhai, Untitled Branches, mixed media, 2009.

You may have seen this one of two extraordinary pieces by Camal in Fashionality. How beautiful is this?!

Miss Canadiana does Toronto International Film Festival

Fashionality artists Camal Pirbhai and Camille Turner have joined forces to collaborate on a project that responds to the star-studded celebrity culture of the Toronto International Film Festival where fantasy meets reality. Social media will announce the arrival of Miss Canadiana who will be seen during the festival making appearances in various locations. Pirbhai has used couturier techniques to create a series of sashes for the occasion and each day Miss Canadiana will be spotted wearing one of his fabulous creations. The responses of the public will be documented to reveal a portrait of the city during the festival.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

New Sweaters for Lost Boys

These tiny sweaters were knitted by volunteers and donated during the Fashionality exhibition, for Michèle Karch-Ackerman's The Sweaters, which is part is part of a nationally-touring installation ongoing since 2003, entitled The Lost Boys. It explores the loss of young lives during the First World War and in particular, the Newfoundland regiment who fought in the battle of Beaumont Hamel. It weaves together the story of James Barrie's Peter Pan with the stories of so many lives lost in the First World War, and expresses loss, remembrance and consolation.

The artist's intention is to knit or collect from volunteers 801 sweaters for each soldier from the Newfoundland regiment who fought in the battle of Beaumont Hamel. So far the project consists of approximately four hundred miniature hand-made and -dyed woollen sweaters knitted by the artist and an "army" of volunteers at knitting bees across Canada. The artist dyes the sweaters and hangs them on twig armatures for exhibition. Each volunteer adds a personal touch to the pattern, and each sweater takes on a life of its own. Sometimes special details are added (like a tiny toque, or a tag), and inside some of the sweaters, knitters sometimes hide devotional letters.

If you would like to contribute a sweater to the project, please contact fashionality2012@gmail.com for the pattern and instructions. Feel free to add a devotional letter to the soldiers, which you can tuck inside the sweater, where it will remain. Sweaters will be accepted until September 1, 2012. At right is one included by a recent contributor.

About the Battle of Beaumont Hamel
Beaumont-Hamel is a  commune in the Somme department in Picardy in northern France. During the First World War, Beaumont-Hamel was very close to the front lines and saw heavy combat, especially during the Battle of the Somme which was the largest Allied offensive of the entire war. July 1, 1916 was the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, and was a slaughter for the Allies. Total Allied casualties on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme were 57,470, of which 19,240 were fatal.
The 1st Newfoundland Regiment was one of the four battalions of the British 29th Division's 88th Brigade, and was virtually annihilated at the Battle of Beaumont Hamel. 733 of 801 men in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment were killed or wounded. In Newfoundland and Labrador, July 1 is Memorial Day to commemorate Newfoundland's heavy losses in the battle.