Tuesday, February 9, 2010

To Mark Fast, A Love Letter

img courtesy of Raymund Galsim

I’ve been called a hopeless romantic. Some whisper it in whimsy and understanding, while others choose to the spit the words at me, almost hissing with disdain.
I am a romantic. But am I hopeless? Yes. I believe in it more than religion and science.
For romance is love, and love is good.
Love is great! Love is everything and anything you want it to be.

I tend to fall in love often.
I am in love with my friends and family.
With chocolate biscuits, the nineties and camels crossing deserts.
I am in love with pop art, flat faced kittens, sketchy loft parties and afros.
With melodies, memories and men.
There is one man in particular who holds my current fancy (and no I don’t mean Cole Mohr, although my love for him is eternal).
The man I speak of is the darling Mark Fast,
the Canadian born wunderkind that I was lucky enough to meet, one frosty morning. It was my first ‘real’ interview, and one that I wasn’t at all prepared for to be completely honest. Only expecting a few moments to glance at Fast’s pieces I was pleasantly surprised to find that his initial appointment was running behind. So I jumped at the chance, and I am still grateful for the chat!
“No, No, don’t worry!” the soft spoken Fast ushered me to a white lounge chair where we sat and I had admitted my fear of looking like a fool. “You’ll do fine.” We spoke of his homecoming, and how happy he was being back to his beloved great white North. Based in England for the last eight years, Fast, welcomed Toronto’s change of pace but there was nothing but love for the great London Town. “There is inspiration in every corner and every alleyway. You can’t help but be inspired.” And what of Central Saint Martins? A school so steeped in history and talent and where Fast graduated with both a BA and MA degrees. “At Saint Martins I was allowed to explore. There was always someone there for you, but we were given free reign. It was just so great because you were mixed in with all the artists, photographers and MA designers. All of us in one building… it was exciting.”
Long before the London Fashion Week commotion, and the scrutiny to follow, it was my mother- a great admirer of Stuart Vevers and the Loewe brand- who turned me on to Mark Fast after their collaboration for the brands Fall 09 collection. Fast forward a year later, I sat, skimming through style.com and marveling over his SS10 pieces. Here cocktail dresses were spun together with Swarovski crystals and pearls. The intricate cobwebbed knits were barely covering the models’ delicate bits, skin playing a teasing game of peek-a-boo. My favourite, the little grey number, where little leather scallops were stitched tight around the sleeves and body. As the model walked the leather pieces would swish and dance, a sense of movement I found to be total genius.

“I’ve always been texture driven.” Fast replied when asked about his use of knits. “In knitwear you are in charge of the texture, in charge of the fabric itself, so anything is possible.” He describes the use of the A-Poc machine, made famous by Issey Miyake, as his state if the art kitchen. “It used to be fire and sticks at first, but once you get a kitchen you can start cooking.” He adds walking me through his pieces, and the detailing behind each. “(Now) this is fine cuisine.”
And I couldn’t agree more.

Then came the big question- or at least the one most asked. Hesitant, I looked down at my notes, before biting the plus-size model bullet. “As a curvy girl I was thrilled! But were you expecting such an overwhelming response?” I asked, expecting annoyance, but in turn I received a smile and was answered with such genuine honesty. “No! It’s just that my clothes suit girls with real curves.” He replied laughing. “I knew that the clothes would be for all types of bodies, because it stretches, and that’s the nature of the product. I just thought these women were gorgeous and why not? Let’s have fun with fashion, let’s not be so serious and robotic.”
We chatted a bit more, ate chocolate cupcakes, and gossiped about the lovely British ‘It Girls’ I admired. “Who your ideal Mark Fast woman?” I asked at one point. “She changes all the time. Tilda Swinton, or Jen Brill. Do you know her? Terry Richardson’s girl friend.”
Yes! I agree. Total girl crush. My zeal catches him off guard, and we laugh again. But soon it’s time for me to leave, and I feel oddly heart-broken. I mention my move to London at the end of the year, and my combined sense of fear and excitement. “You’ll love it,” he replies as we air-kiss good-bye. “Come by the studio and we’ll have tea!” And it was at that very moment I realized I had fallen in love.

The Mark Fast collection and the diffusion line Faster can now be found at Holt Renfrew, Browns Fashion and 10 Corso Como.


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