Thursday, June 18, 2009

It is all about the female form: Magpie Designs, Sophie DeFrancesca. Dawn MacNutt

Thursday June 18th 2009, Queen Street West is fluid with form. I had been invited to Magpie Designs to celebrate the launch of their new website. The designer team of Cathy McDayter and Angela Mann have been cutting, ripping, dying, pleating and basically being as aggressive with textiles, and leather as they could to bring forth and incredible line of wearable clothing with high art aspirations.

These jackets seem to have been pulled from fashion history: with possible inspirations from garments such as the mens Coat picture below, with a nod to the sixties hippy designs from Barbara Hulanicki founder of the Biba line and seventies punk goddess Vivianne Westwood while having a contemporary look completely their own.

Coat, England, 1760-80, from the Opekar/ Webster collection, T94.0392 TMC (note the pleated ribbing, not to mention the embroidery ) From the Cutting Edge Exhibition November 19, 2008 - July 7, 2009, at The Textile Museum of Canada (you still have time to see it for real)

Sophie DeFrancesca: Phantasmagoria"
Lausberg Contemporary,
880 Queen Street West,

These new wire constructions from the elegant hand of Sophie DeFrancesca, are dresses coming from designs across many decades of the 20th century and have begun to appear as couture production with her piecing and draping. this work is being shown along side Swiss artist Marc Rembold
"Juxtaposed with the sophisticated, shiny, minimally "Rothkoesque" colour field pigment prints on diasec * of Rembold, DeFrancesca‘s lush, wire mesh, gowns inspired by iconic dresses of the 20th century invite a reflection of the changing perceptions of women today." Lausberg Contemporary press release

PHANTASMAGORIA includes "A Show of Pride“ - transforming the white cubed Lausberg Contemporary Gallery into an improvisational theatre space that presents the work of Canadian/German artist and designer, Nancy E. Watt explores sustainable solutions from the archives of NEW Organic - the eco-logical underwear movement she initiated in Toronto beginning circa 1992.

Staging multi disciplinary dancers from the Joy of Dance Academy, Watt pays homage to the June 20th Society, (the group of intellectual artists that the late Harold Pinter gathered together in London with his friend Samuel Beckett who created the "Theatre of the Absurd"), as an inspiration for celebrating Pride in Toronto - the Multicultural Mecca.

"A Show of Pride" butts off at Lausberg Contemporary in the NEW Dancing Windows, on June 19th from 3-9 pm! On Saturday, June 20th at 7-8 pm
Lausberg Contemporary, 880 Queen Street West, Toronto ON M6J 1G3

* Diasec is a patented process used for face mounting prints like photographs on acrylic glass. The process was invented by Heinz Sovilla-Brulhart in 1969.

DAWN MACNUTT at the Gladstone

When Dawn, a sculptor from Nova Scotia, was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts in June 2008, she stayed at the Gladstone Hotel and attended an Academy reception in the second floor exhibition space at the Hotel. Attracted by the high ceilings and ambiance of the foyer, she visualized bringing her work from her rural studio in Nova Scotia to exhibit in this very space.

She and her husband have rented a large van to bring her new work to the Gladstone for four days. What does not remain in Toronto will vanish back into the van to return to Nova Scotia.

So get to the Gladstone and see the work of this renowned sculptress this weekend.
Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West Toronto on

If seeing all these takes on the female form in fashion, wire and weeds (reeds, willow, sumac) on my way home I walked by my favourite "Toy" and Book store MAGIC PONY at 694 Queen St West Toronto ON Canada M6J 1E7 , Tel: 416.861.1684

Tania Sanhueza ; “the magic meeting of the dreamers”
Store Window installation at Magic Pony.


websites :

Magpie Designs:

Biba experience

Lausberg Contemporary,


Magic Pony


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