On September 28, 2011, fashion elite gathered inside the Art Gallery of Ontario to view the world’s only Cashmere BT (bathroom tissue) couture collection. The collection celebrates the annual return of limited-edition Pink Cashmere in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, with 25 cents from the sale of each package going directing to the cause.
The all-Canadian designer show featured top names including Philip Sparks, Marika Brose, Christopher Paunil, LIZARES by Brian Maristela, L’autre Couture by Luco Marion and Carrie Hayes. You can view the entire collection at Cashmere.ca and vote for your favourite couture until the end of October. Cashmere will donate $5,000 to breast cancer research in the winning designer’s name.
Faze went behind the scenes to get the DL on TP couture from designers Luco Marion and Brian Maristela, neither of whom had worked with the unconventional material before.
Brian created the first menswear piece to appear in the collection. He told Faze that his biggest difficulty was figuring out how to
manipulate the toilet paper: “When you’re sewing the seams together, it’s not like fabric where you can just run it through your machine. You have to be a little more delicate with it.” Brian even admitted to accidentally ripping the paper a few times in the process and having to restart! Now that’s dedication.
Luco created a masterful dress composed of 3,500 buttons from compressed layers of toilet paper held together with metal links. Luco told Faze he has a personal connection to the cause: “I lost a friend a couple of years ago from breast cancer. I think it’s something that touches everybody… the whole family becomes involved. That’s why I created this dress; the metal rings represent the support of all those women and humans together.”
Cashmere’s one miss? Their toilet paper is as unsustainable as it gets. Cashmere chops down Canada’s Boreal Forest by the acre to get that blanket-fluffy feel recycled paper can’t produce. At least one notable designer abstained from participating in this year’s collection due to environmental concerns.
MORE…Our backstage interviews with the curator and designers
By CASANDRA DEBARTOLO
Faze caught up with Farley Chatto, the curator and artistic director for the Fashion with Compassion collection. “This show just pushed it over the edge, and the evolution was like watching a child grow.”
Breast Cancer has touched so many lives. Why did you feel it would be important to be a part of an event like this?
FC: I lost two very dear people, my aunt and my friend. It’s something that we do in the fashion industry: if we can give back through anything, whether it’s clothing, or time, it’s important because it helps the cause and shows solidarity.
What does this mean to breast cancer survivors and to the families dealing with this all over the world?
FC: It tells them to continue, and that there is hope, and to never give up hope and be strong because there is strength in numbers.
What was your overall take on the designs–were you surprised at what was created?
FC: Yes and no. I was surprised at the creativity, but then again, the designers I assembled were brilliant, and to see how some of them took the mantel and challenged themselves really showed how they can go outside of the box.
Carrie Hayes created a stunning strapless, full-skirted gown, trailed by a graceful train covered in pink-hued blossoms. She says it took about 40 hours to construct.
How did you feel seeing your piece on the runway?
CH: It was awesome to see all the hard work put together and to see it on a model going down the runway.
What was the biggest inspiration for you piece?
CH: My inspiration came from wanting to do a lot of detail. I wanted to do flowers and create something sculptural out of bathroom tissue. It was a challenge to see if I could do it.
Only taking him a couple days to construct a breathtaking wedding gown, Christopher Paunil admits he works well under pressure. Voted by Facebook users to complete the lineup of this year’s designer roster, time was no issue for him to create a drop-waist gown complete with shoulder to hem pastel pink flowers.
What was the overall inspiration for your piece?
PC: Well, because I am a bridal gown designer, this is my chance, and an opportunity to make a garment where I can showcase my abilities and my strengths and aesthetic. I looked to Valentino as one of my inspirations.
After the collection was showcased, what message did the audience walk away with?
PC: Everyone has obstacles every day, and I think this event shows that we can still bring beauty into our lives, even though we do have the pressures and stresses that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. It gives people hope that there is a lot of support and there are people still working towards a cure.
Check out the rest of our photo gallery here!
Photos by Steven Edmond and Alexis Scordino