“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.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

This Just In . . .

Fashionality has been over for two months, but this late review just came in -- clearly from a couple who really enjoyed the show. Thank you Rich and Annie!


Cathy Daley, Untitled. Pastel on vellum, 2012. 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Fashionality Farewell

Fashionality closes at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection today. It's been an amazing show, and response has been fantastic!  How wonderful to have so many incredible artists together in one place -- and a place that lends itself so well to the many themes of the exhibition.

Many, many thanks to all the awesomely talented artists, the supremely generous lenders, to the incredibly hard-working and gracious McMichael staff, and to the numerous, and highly enthusiastic visitors to the show. It's been a immensely creative, social, and educational experience, not to mention a delight to the heart and to the eye. 'Till next time!

Meryl McMaster, Caduceus, 2010. From the ongoing In-Between Worlds series. Digital C-print.
Copyright and collection of the artist. Courtesy of Katzman Kamen Gallery.

Canadian Art Feature

Canadian Art magazine's most recent e-update revisited the Fashionality Faces feature from the summer issue. The introduction reads: 
"The flamboyant exhibition Fashionality closes at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection this week. Find out more about its larger-than-life feel and its works by Kent Monkman, Camille Turner and others in this feature from our Summer 2012 issue." 
You can read the article here:


And check out the über Canadian Canoe Lake photo spread featuring artists Camille Turner (as Miss Canadiana) and Cathy Daley, with curator, Julia Pine, in the middle.

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.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Planet IndigenUs Fashionality Feature Tour

Come join a special tour of Fashionality on Thursday, August 16th as part of the Planet IndigenUs Festival at Harbourfront Centre:


Here's all the info. you'll need to get there, from the McMichael programming department:

"Visit Planet IndigenUs at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre before hopping on the bus that departs at 12:30 p.m. to join Anna Stanisz, Assistant Curator, Education & Programs on a tour at the McMichael focusing on the works by Kent Monkman, KC Adams, Lori Blondeau, Dana Claxton, and Meryl McMaster, who are featured in this special exhibition. Spend an afternoon outside of the big city and be sure to enjoy a walk along the Humber river before your return bus trip."


Also in celebration of the festival, is another event, Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Humber River Aboriginal Heritage Celebration. Check here for more information on this inspiring program: 


Fabulous Fashionality Fashion Fix on Film

More kudos from Jeanne Beker -- this time on video. Very nice "Fashion Fix" piece with an interview by McMichael Executive Director and CEO Victoria Dickenson: 


Fashionality quote of the day: "Makes my heart sing!"
- Victoria Dickenson

Etra D'Exras: Yurt Skirts and Little Green Dresses

Impossible to keep up with environmental fashionista extraordinaire, Nicole Dextras, these days. Don't miss the construction process of her astonishing "Yurt Skirt" unveiled on Canada Day at the McMichael, all documented on the gallery's Facebook page. Also, her "Little Green Dress Projekt," based on the four seasons, which features twenty-four "little green dresses," all made of organic materials using the measurements of, and inspired by the personalities of, real women. This will be part of the Earth Art Exhibit at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver. 

Leaf-o-Licious!  Petal-tastic!  See Nicole's blog, Extra D'Extras, to keep up with her amazingly energetic production: http://ndextras.wordpress.com/

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Stellar Review in the Toronto Star

This just in: a rave review of Fashionality by Canada's doyenne of fashion, Jeanne Beker, in conversation with McMichael CEO Victoria Dickenson. Well done, ladies!  The article also appeared in hard copy, in the Wednesday, June 20th edition of the Toronto Star (p E9). The word is out!


This seemed appropriate, somehow . . .  Jeanne Beker with some Canadian fashionistas.