Last week I had the pleasure of trekking down to our city’s eastern-most undiscovered outskirt-turn-hotspot at 732 Queen Street East. The Rouge Concept Gallery, along with Magnet Creative, played host to ANNIE THOMPSON: I AM NOT THE POLICE. A hybrid presentation of contemporary fashion and art; a chosen medium with dual platforms–convenient for the designer going beyond the thread to prove her point.
Arriving just in the nick of time, I hovered in the entrance of the gallery as a sea of scenesters gripping their wine glasses had already parted ways down the middle of the room,(like a spectacle from the old testament) designating the perfect runway space for the main event. Thompson, (easily mistaken for a taller Betsy Johnson) stood playfully poised in her platinum pigtails behind me, surrounded by a room filled with chosen onlookers and random women who cling to her like long-lost friends. She seemed to be sampling the energy from the crowd’s reaction to her debut of fashionably-tactile nomads and lemon-lipped urbanites, draped in gypsy pants, angel dresses and corsettas. For those at a loss for words, a few single-syallabled, self-actualized statements like “I am” or “I am not” garnished the orange fabric to help get her message across. And clearly.
I Am Not The Police was sandwiched between a demonstration of interpretive dancers cascading down the runway to taunt us with the notion, “Only You Dictate What You Should Wear!” For designers like Annie Thomspson, this was not just a tagline, fleeting theme, or even a gimmick.
It was religion.
There was something in the way, she slipped a few long-standing clients between a roster of usual models that exemplified both Thompson’s demand, and, in this age of brand influx, her under-rated loyalty. After decades of service, the designer continues to create seasonless clothing and inevitable consumer devotion by infiltration at ground zero–a vantage point fit to experience ultimate and bona fide inspiration. “We’ve become a homogeneous society. Who wants to be just another number? We need to get back to expressing our unique traits and celebrating them. My clients are in charge of how they want to wear my clothing,” preaches Thompson.
Noteworthy: Amidst the fashion futurity, was a subtle rawness in Thomspson’s line. A puritan gypsy vibe, woven into each textile construction. A few signature pieces for Annie Thompson’s F/W10/11 were created in India, via a venture recently ignited to create jobs for local artisans in fashion communities abroad. Here is what Annie had to say about immersing herself in her latest muse: South Asian Textiles.
“I’ve been doing some work in Calcutta. It started off when I closed my store (after ten years) on Queen street, because I wanted to travel more. India was a place that kept coming up. I met a woman during a painting residency in Newfoundland who was raising money to build schools in Calcutta, so, I volunteered to help teach local Indian women about bag-making at the Neer Ideal Home a few hours outside of Calcutta.That led to meeting a few people who invited me to exhibit my art at a gallery in Calcutta. After the show I met the President of Crafts Council for the state of West Bengal, Ruby Pal Choudhury, and started working with her on this next textile project.
The whole concept of the fabric project is working with various local artisans on dying, printing, silk screening, block printing, and embroidery. With the expertise of these artisans we’re embellishing 200 years of fabric. I’ll return to India Feb to March over the next three year to cut and install fabric sculptures for an upcoming exhibit in 2013.”
Thompson and her affiliates are seeking immediate funding to the tune of about $500,000 to support the installation project and is reaching out for corporate sponsors to get the ball rolling.
For more information, visit www.anniethompson.ca. Have a question Drop me a line @solowe
Annie Thompson FW10/11 collection- Photos by Jakob Burkhardt