Friday, April 13, 2012

Fashion Forward

Barbara: So last night, my daughter Stefanie was part of a fashion show presentation of the graduating class of her university program—Ryerson University Fashion Design. Four years of work, four years of growth, four years to prepare for this moment: the next phase in her life, the one where she faces the world and, hopefully, finds her passion and talent fitting nicely into the market and demand.

For me it was an emotional moment, sitting in the semi-dark in the audience, Phil and Stefanie, Deb and Colin, and my sister at my sides as we waited for the show to begin. Oh, let me just interrupt my unchecked tears here by adding that thanks to a perfect storm of Deb’s computer somehow deleting Colin’s e-ticket which prompted a contrite visit to the box office combined with Colin’s shall we say Recognizability Quotient, instead of all of us being seated in a hodgepodge throughout the auditorium (each of our assigned-seat tickets had been purchased separately and so we were all seated apart), we were graciously whisked to THE FRONT ROW and seated all together!! Yes, fame does have its privileges. And I was happy to partake thereof! Thanks, Colin *mwah*!!

Okay, back to my maternal sobbing. For the record, I didn’t expect to be so overwhelmed with emotion. I don’t know why. One would think, given my close relationship with my daughter, knowing that this would be her last school-inspired fashion show, that she would be facing her future and most probably one involving a move out of our city and most likely the country, I would’ve been inclined toward heavy emotion going in. But I think I was too elated and excited. More distracted by the promise and potential and—because I know her collection so well—so filled with parental pride about how it turned out that I forgot to be wistful. Instead, we all met for dinner before the show and feted Stefanie and laughed and caroused and I was just feeling so so good.

Flash forward to the lights going down and us sitting side by side in that theatre and the music starting up and my emotions suddenly and unexpectedly swelling and shifting to those of the proud mom who’s watched her child grow from a baby (who at 18-months would routinely pull herself out of her crib to change into elaborate outfits then crawl back into bed where we would find her later, sound asleep, peacefully donning—over pajamas—layers of swank tops, several posh necklaces, and a bedazzled headband or two) to a crayon-carrying child (no blank page would go left undrawn) to a fashion-curious teenager who HATED to sew, to a first year fashion design student (who had to turn down an opportunity to go to a top American university and who shouldered the disappointment with grace and determination) with lots of talent but only basic skills, to a mature and dedicated young woman who works two jobs (one as a paid design assistant at amazing Canadian fashion house, Greta Constantine, and one at super-cute retail store, Frock), designing several illustrations for online mags, while also going to school full-time, honing her sewing skills, developing her creative talent, and designing and building the extremely work-intensive collection you see here.
Stefanie and I holding the gorgeous programs--yes, those are her dresses in the spread.
Behind the mag, Deb, Colin and my sister,  Nicole.
It all came rushing at me as the music started and the show began and I had to literally hold myself in my seat to prevent myself from grabbing my daughter and clutching her to my chest and sobbing out loud.

But the show did go on—and it was a magnificent display of talent and vision. Every student was required to design and create 5 outfits from any category they chose. There was everything from ballet tutus to Shakespearean costumes to bondage-wear to wearable art to men’s and children’s fashion to outfits for the fashion-conscious woman of today. Stefanie chose to design for women—and that’s the market she sees herself designing for in the future. Clothes that are classy and still sexy, that are beautifully and lovingly crafted, that are timeless while also being fashion forward. I know I’m her proud mother, but I also know what I like—and I LOVE her collection.

I also love the girl, this daughter of mine, who never stops dreaming and creating and pushing herself, no matter what the obstacles. Both my daughters constantly remind me that this is the joyful and courageous way we all should—and can—be living our lives every day.

Deb: I was praying that Barb was going to blog about Stefanie today. If she didn’t, I would have. Colin and I love Stefanie and have always stood in awe of her considerable talent and grace. Stefanie was nervous last night although you would not have known it until she said so. That is part of her charm. I had seen the sketch designs and knew they were good. I started to realize just how good, when we got there and found out that her designs would be closing the show. Then we saw them and knew why. They were ethereal and wearable, fanciful and edgy, sophisticated and sexy. They were Stef.

As I sat in that theatre I had my own feelings ruminating in my head, as this was the school that I had attended for four years, and we were in the theatre where I had done all my shows.  And for the record it did not look smaller. And I remembered how it felt after the last show I was in and how, although scared, I felt I had the world at my feet.  I hope Stefanie feels that way. Because she does. 

The dresses are all silk chiffon, with details in leather and wool.








Us at the end of the show (Nicole took the pic!).
All photos: Philippe Ayoub, all dresses by Stefanie Ayoub. All rights reserved.

48 comments:

  1. Congrats to Stefanie, her collection is absolutely beautiful! And congrats to you, Barbara, and to Phil, for having raised such a talented daughter! Her work really is lovely, something to be proud of, for sure. You can tell that a lot of work, heart, and soul went into those creations. Just love it all!
    Congrats!!

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    1. Thanks, Steph! And the talent is alllllll hers :)

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  2. Bawling...for two reasons...Firstly...for the heartfelt tribute to a young women who clearly stands on the cusp of greatness and second, for the painful realization that I am too old to wear that backless dress with the one long sleeve. Oh the emotion...

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    1. I know, Annette!! I sooooo want to wear that dress, sigh.

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    2. Oh..thank goodness..I thought I was the only one who wanted to do that XD

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  3. Congrats to Stefanie and your family - what a wonderful milestone. All of those dresses are lovely, fun and flirty. Adore them!

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    1. "Lovely, fun and flirty" -- that's what I love about them too, Marisa!

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  4. Congratulations to Stefanie!!! What a collection!! Amazing talent, with a very interesting and I am sure successful future ahead of her. So feminine, the dresses seemed to flow.... You must be extremely proud of her, and well deserved.

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    1. So so proud, Mary-Jo! I will pass everyone's wishes onto Stefanie (or make sure she remembers to read this! After her crazy night last night, she still had to get up at the crack of dawn this morning, head to school, do a final presentation and then go to work for the day. Thank god she's young.)

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  5. YAY !!!!!!!!!! I honestly could't wait for this post..I was so excited !!
    and now...I SWEAR...I AM GIGGLING HERE......SO SO SO PROUD AND HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY !!!!!! OH MY GOD...
    PHIL BLESS YOUR HEART FOR CLICKING PIX.......!!!!! I was so sad I missed the live stream....and was hoping that he mustve click pix !!!!
    And what a wonderful thing..you all got to sit together !!!! :)
    And Barb... Of course...you are proud...you're her mother..! Its written all over your face in the pix....
    Oh my god THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS !!!!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY !!!! I am floored...!
    Gorgeous...Gorgeous...Gorgeous...!!
    Congratulations Stefanie....Wonderful Wonderful work..!!! I am so overwhelmed with emotion right now....WHOOOOOW...Reminded me of the time I won that prize for my paintings !!!! Woow..!
    And Barb...SO VERY HAPPY FOR YOU.....xoxoxoxo

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    1. I will tell her, Shalaka! Also I think we might be able to get a link of the show later, so I will definitely keep you posted.

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  6. Beautiful work. She does amazing. Great job to your daughter Barb

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  7. Congratulations to Stef and to you, Barb, the mother who has invested so much of her artistic and discriminating self into this glory of a daughter/woman. Some stories are purely good and happy and this one of them.

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    1. Aw, Cheryl, what a great way to put it: "Some stories are purely good and happy and this one of them." That's certainly how it feels on this end! Thanks, doll!

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  8. I can only imagine the hard work and heart that went into these designs she did a great job. You've raised a girl with good taste! Those dresses are absolutey gorgeous, I love the flow of them she should be very proud. Congrats.

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    1. Erin, while I take no credit for her taste, I am happy that it is of such good vintage!

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  9. AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! Stefanie!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Those dresses are all so gorgeous and so ORIGINAL! So very unique and very Stefanie!!! So fresh and airy and this really great blend of feminine and strong. Absolutely beautiful!!!

    My favorite is the backless one with the one sleeve. My second favorite is the flowery one where the top has the pointy collar.

    :( that Michele wasn't there.

    I think it's also fabulous that Stefanie has already been able to get her foot into the business via Greta Constantine. I was trying to figure out why that name felt familiar, and then I thought, "Wasn't there an outfit under that name in Deb and Colin's fashion show last year?"

    Will the video of Stefanie's class's show post online anywhere? I'd like to see all the collections.

    So, what is Stefanie reaching for next? UK? Paris? NY?

    (p.s. Stefanie - The rudest things I ever say are rants directed at my sewing machine.)

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    1. Yes, you're remembering exactly: Greta did indeed design a dress for the Red show fundraiser last year. Don't worry, the moment I hear about a link with the show itself, I will pass it on. PS we did get into the "industry" show last night and did take some video of her show, but need to see if it will be watchable (when Phil gets home later) -- if it is, I might embed that too. Thanks so much for your support, Rigel! (and yes, :( that Michele couldn't get back for it...)

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  10. I wish I could buy that last dress!! They're all so beautiful. I can't imagine the mixed emotions you must be feeling- I've told my 3 year old he is never allowed to move away from me when he grows up, because I want to see him every day. Somehow I can't envisage him agreeing to that tho... :)
    It must feel really wonderful to have raised such a talented driven person.

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    1. So funny, Samara. I bet at 3, he's totally cool with never moving out.

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  11. what beautiful designs . well done stefanie .

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  12. Super talented daughter that you have there!

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  13. Your own Project Runway daughter. I would love to see her on that show. She is lovely and I absolutely think her designs are fabulous. You can be so proud-she really is an artist. Thanks for sharing. She also has the name for it as it sounds like a designer that one would love to meet-exotic and mysterious.

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    1. She has toyed with using my last name in her future branding: Stefanie von Radecki to make it SVR, with V (or Roman five) being used for a more casual line. We shall see!

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    2. I kinda hope she remains with Stefanie Ayoub. I'm with Madge -- Stefanie Ayoub is very designery-exoticy-mysterious sounding, a swirl of the feminine and intriguing. No offense, but while going with your maiden name looks visually interesting, it would, when spoken aloud, have her 2 names be allllmoooost a sweetsy cutesy sing songy rhyme with 2 long ee sound endings, especially with the rhythm of each of the main words having 3 syllables (not counting the von in front of Radecki). Although, the "von" in the middle does reduce this a bit. (PLEASE take no offense!). Also, at least until she were famous, she'd run into people having a tendency to sloppily spell the last name wrong by trying to tack an e onto the end to match it to the first name. Add this onto the fact that many people will default to a ph Stephanie instead of paying careful attention to the f. (I even had trouble with that at first months ago.) With Stefanie Ayoub, the 2 names contrast both visually and aurally (by sounds and rhythm of syllable count). How badly would putting up with a time span of dues paying with Stephanie von Radeckie or Stephanie Radeckie grate on her nerves?

      OK, sooooo, I LOVE playing word games. And, my brain is having fun tinkering with this. (I'm also trying to distract myself from a lousy shift at work and the fact that my kid got in trouble on the school bus this afternoon. *sigh*)

      If she stays with Stefanie Ayoub, she could have one of her lines be named for the first pairs of letters: "STAY" .

      If she ever did a children's line, she could call it "Stef" - it's monosyllabic, cute, and youthful while still a being clean and refined. (Or,she could go with "Steffie," although that might be a queasy level of cutesy and an uncomfortable fit if she included little boys' clothing in her children's line. "Steffie" has the sweetness and charm for a children's line but lacks the refinement that comes with the simpler, more elegant "Stef".) Or, she could call the little girls' line "Stef" and the little boys' line "Stefan". OR, she could just call the children's line as a whole "Stef & Stefan" (a la Jack & Jill). Think about how people would speak that aloud. Many regions' English speakers drop or minimize the "d" in "and" if the following word begins with a consonant. So, "Stef & Stefan" would often be pronounced "Stef an' Stefan" (Stef Anne Stef Ahn) CUTE! Cute visually and aurally!

      If she ever did a men's line, you could play on the reverse of her last 4 letters and call it "Buoy". It rings of the masculine and nautical, and it has a faint hint of a play on the word boy both visually and aurally.

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    3. Oh, and I forgot to mention: Stefanie, you might want to rethink using the monogram SVR. SVR is to the new Russia what the KGB was to the Soviet Union. SVR is Russia's CIA, their foreign intelligence gathering spies. Do you really want to name your design label or one of your lines after the Russian intelligence agency?

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    4. No offense taken at all, Rigel -- I love how much thought you gave to this! I will say this: Stefanie gave an enormous amount of thought to branding this year, her decision to possibly use the other name came our of intense talks with industry professionals (including ones from her tour last summer in Paris), it developed out her design esthetic and her philosophy (it's one thing to look at her beautiful dresses, but what I didn't convey is just how important philosophy is to Stefanie -- her concerted minor -- and how large a role it played in her collection this year; the philosophy of dreaming based on Gaston Bachelard's writings). Anyway, the name wasn't a cute or loving homage to her mother! As for spelling yes, the f ph thing has been a constant problem, but she's not thinking about stuff like that when it comes to her branding; Proenza Schouler (et al) didn't worry about it! As for SVR, if she decides to go that way, I doubt that they will be either confused or overlapped in any way. And MOST importantly: ultimately, it's none of my beeswax: her creative work is entirely in her own hands.

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    5. Steph (not Stephie)April 15, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      Love reading your Stef, Steffie, etc thoughts! I agree about the Steffie (or in my case, Stephie) thing. Only one person in my family can call me that; it is so annoyingly cute when anyone else uses it!

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  14. That's just amazing. Congratulations, Stefanie. Your dresses look awesome. They remind me of some Greek goddesses. Elegant, simple, but so alive.

    It's so wonderful that you're so proud of her! I wish that someday my Mom can say the same thing about me...I'm working on it.

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    1. I'm sure your mom feels it all the time, Becki.

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  15. WOW her designs look amazing : )
    She is gonna have a great future : )

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  16. Did you have wine with dinner, Barbara? Hm? It tends to bring out the tears. Speaking for myself, anyway.
    Your daughter and her dresses are gorgeous. Yay for the front row seating (I knew Mr M was good for more than keeping his family well fed and making me giggle) and such an accomplished grown child. Sounds like a lovely evening.

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    1. Yes, I did have wine with dinner, Kate, but I am going to go out on a limb here and say it wasn't the wine!!

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  17. very very simply: as a mom and an artist, I'm very moved. Your daughter is extremely talented, her dresses are gorgeous (I know which one I want)! and she's also so beautiful. I am sending you both warm hugs of congratulations and cheering her on along with you--may the next stage of her life treat her gently. and if she (or you both) come to NY to check out the fashion possibilities, you both have a place to stay--

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    1. That's great to know, Lori, thank you!! NYC is definitely top on her list of next destinations. It would be so so exciting.

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  18. Wow...your daughter is amazing!!!! Beautiful work! Digging Colin and the pink shirt/glasses that look like mine, ha!

    Barb, you definitely have something to be proud of. I'm sure that many a tears will be shed at my college graduation, no doubt (happening in 22 days...not that I'm counting).

    Best of luck to Stephanie!!!! :)

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  19. Oh, thank you all so much for your sweet words here. Stefanie came home after along day (and nursing a terrible cold) and just read the blog and all your words of support -- and I can tell you she is just so touched and so appreciative. It takes a village... love you all!

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    1. Awww, get well soon, Stef. I have a nasty cold, too. Feeling with you!

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  20. You have every right to be proud Barb, Stefanie is indeed a very talented young lady. Thanks so much for sharing all the photos and congrats to Stefanie she is going to do great things. I'm so glad you could have your dear friends with you lending support as well.

    Don't feel bad about crying when you least expect it, I always cried when Amanda won at horse shows and when she did her runway walk at her modeling graduation class. And Ricky in his plays, same thing. I was crying the hardest when Rick got a standing ovation after he was introduced at the end of the King and I for his performance as King Chulalongkorn when he was fifteen. I think we have a right to be proud of our children's accomplishments and to share in them. All my best to you and the family, must have been an amazing night. XOXOXO

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    1. Thanks so much, Mary -- and I can't wait to hear all the stories your beautiful granddaughter will inspire that will make you proud!

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  21. Colin's new specs look like MINE!!!! :D Random sidenote...just got back from children's clinicals...

    Wow Barb! That is AWESOME what your daughter is doing! Can't believe she designed all that. And it's NICE; most of the stuff I see on the runway is like...gross. But wow! Way to go, Stef!!! :]

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  22. Oh wow! I love both of the dresses witht the patterned material and I love the collective 'look.' <3 <3 <3

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  23. I am curious, though. Why was Stefanie sitting in the audience with y'all? Why wasn't she in back seeing to her models, etc.? How did they work styling, last minute changes, and everything for this show?

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    1. Such a good question! Another one I could've addressed in my post but didn't think to: she would have given anything to be backstage with the models, making sure her outfits were assembled properly (in fact, on the first night, there were 2 snafus that she would have made sure to avoid!) BUT the fashion show is the platform for the Fashion Communications students to do their work and learn their craft and they have long had the tradition of taking over the show. Of course, it doesn't make sense to exclude the designer -- this will be part of a designer's experience moving forward and they should be learning that too! But it is what it is, and everything worked out fine...but believe me those designers were all itching to be backstage!!

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  24. Wow! Amazing design. I already have my eyes on one... (Though I love my clothes to be black, so the color wouldn't fit me). I was wondering too about the backstage thing, but you already explained it, so thank you.

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  25. What a beautiful collection! Your daughter has a fantastic talent and combined with all the hard work she's done, she must be so proud of herself.

    Almost as proud as her mom is of her. Barb, it has to be impossible to feel so many emotions at once. Were I in your shoes, I would have burst into tears, being unable to hold them all in, especially while wondering how she could do all that work so quickly, since she was five years old only last week.

    Such a fantastic night for you all! I'm glad you all had so much fun, too!

    xx

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