hellorousseau

an eloquently warped point of view from the tongue of a cartoon character.

Tag: review

I Was Not Prepared for my Interview with Peter Nygard

When I met Peter Nygard, my shirt was stained with makeup. I had foundation tacked to my wrist, lipstick smeared down my collar, and eyeliner doodled across my thumb.

As I stood in the crowd at St. Vital Centre, I admired both the tall, picturesque models who towered over me with laser-whitened teeth and perfectly curled hair, and the clusters of other people, both men and women, most brimming with anticipation to catch a glimpse of the Winnipeg-based fashion executive.

The mall was packed, and as people examined Nygard’s new SLIMS, I was handed a microphone and put face-to-face with the man by one of his security personnel.

Two days before my encounter, I had been invited to attend the launch of INDIGO SLIMS at the Kenaston location. I left school between spares to get false eyelashes glued on, slipped into a dress that said ‘BOOM’, and touched-up my red lipstick.

AAAAAA

Me looking glamourous n’ shit.

It was was raining that evening, and the sky was dark and gray. As I approached the building, I could make out a blue carpet spread across the pavement as a welcome. I slipped through the doors quietly, and was met with a flood of flash.

About half a dozen videographers and photographers stood underneath a mass pyramid of mannequins and SLIMS, all constantly taking pictures. Above, a silver halo littered with blue lights illuminated the front entrance. I caught my reflection in the metallic face of a mannequin with a burgundy hat.

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One of several Nygard-pant-pyramids.

A server in a small black dress walked past me with a plate of appetizers and I followed. She stopped near a small crowd of people. As I managed to get my fingers around a chicken-kabob, I had a chance to properly scope-out the massive store.

Large clusters of fashionably dressed people lifted and admired clothing on the racks. Employees of Nygard were sharply dressed in the new signature SLIMS, some pairing the pants with heels and a red plain suit-jacket, others opting for a relaxed split-backed sweater. Loud, high-energy pop music mixed with people’s voices.

Some mothers held the hands of their young daughters in glittery tutus, walking throughout the crowd to find a seat for the show. Others sat with friends, admiring the different styles of SLIMS from a laminated pamphlet. The photographer in his checkered blue shirt brought a camera to his eye, signaling for the hip-hop dance crew in gold body-suits to squish together, quickly snapping a picture of their toothy smiles.

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Post-confetti dance party.

I was shown to my seat, but was promptly pushed into the back row to make room for others. I took a moment to admire the SLIMS that were given to me, lifting the bag on to my lap.

The pants were soft to the touch and stretchy. I turned over the waist band to check out the high-quality fabric, running my finger over the gold ‘NYGARD’ bar on the back pockets. When I flipped the tag, I caught a glimpse of an big S. I paused. A size small? With my massive thighs, perhaps two size smalls stitched together would make for a good fit. My face sunk and I dropped the pants in the bag.

Before I could readjust myself to watch the show, an employee appeared in a flash of blonde hair, apologized, and switched out the small SLIMS for a size of greater booty control (large). That’s when people began taking their seats, and the DJ started really blasting the music. I slid forward and stole a program from a chair in front of me.

Arial acrobats, wearing SLIMS and flesh coloured body suits, lifted themselves to the roof of the building by wide purple and red ribbon. While they spun, effortless and weightless, the announcer loudly screamed: “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BOOTY”.

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No, it’s all about the talent.

The commentary does not distract from the acrobatics, though. One girl loops her leg through an opening and suspends upside-down, her arms fanning out with the wide span of ribbon. Another in the background does the same, her arm extended to the crowd.

The models that walk the runway shortly after the acrobats are high-energy and poised. Nygard’s style calls for accents of fur and leather, with high-waisted SLIMS taking centre stage. Styles of blue and black knit denim, both bellbottoms and skinny jeans, make their way around the store. Models with berry-red pouts turn the corner to show off wide-brimmed sun hats and dark, round sunglasses.

But professional models weren’t the only ones walking the runway. A few of Nygard’s staff also joined the strut, showing off the SLIMS in their variety of body types. The employees smiled and waved, some dancing a little as they made their way around the store, drawing thunderous cheers and support from the audience.

The jewelry and accessories worn by the models are bold and bright, but do not distract from the clothing. In some instances, bright bling is combined with clothing, one of my favourite pieces being a blue, metallic, long-sleeved shirt with a sparkling leopard’s face on the front. This shirt in particular was paired with black denim SLIMS.

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I’m a sucker for cat-faced-anything.

After a few songs and outfits, the announcer introduces two dance academies, both of which are dressed in different styles of slims. Some bust out hip-hop moves in leather style SLIMS. Others keep the beat in knit denim, the audience engaged and clapping as the girls make their way to all corners of the show.

Soon, the models resume, introducing more sleek styles. Hints of lace and animal print were littered throughout the clothing. Modern zipper details played up basic pieces, giving them more of an edge. Gold accents were also popular for both the jewelry, and outerwear.

As the show wound down, the music picked up, and a burst of confetti covered the audience. I slid through the throngs of people to talk to Nygard himself, but soon realized the mass calamity would stop me. Security was present as people snapped photos with the designer, the crowd so densely packed that I found myself getting claustrophobic. I caught my reflection in the metallic face of a mannequin with a fur-lined hat.

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‘Sup.

Two days later, I found myself scrambling to get to another Nygard show after work. This time it was at St. Vital Centre, the location of a small mall tour Nygard was doing which included Polo Park the day before.

I didn’t have time to change or touch-up my makeup, so I ran to centre court in turquoise floral socks and brown leather loafers.

As I stood to the sidelines, my face red from rushing, hands clammy from nerves, I watched as people posed with the man, camera flashes erupting as he smiled, his hand a blur as he signed his name to pamphlets.

I was taken past the line, and waited as a man who claimed he was a childhood friend of Nygard snapped a photo with him. I readied my voice recorder and questions on my phone, but it was taken out of my hands by Nygard’s security. Instead it was replaced with a microphone.

Before I had a chance to react, I was face-to-face with Peter Nygard. The cameras in front of us buzzed. I thought for a moment before opening my lipstick-smudged mouth to ask him questions about his new SLIMS.

Nygard told me that a key area they wanted to tackle was the butt- specifically, lifting and shaping the butt. “To us, the butt is like Victoria’s Secret with the bust. She does the bust, we do the butt,” said Nygard.

The second part of the design for the pants was to make the wearer seem taller. Because the pants are high-waisted and form-fitting, they’re styled to fit comfortably like a second skin.

Nygard also explained that the evolution of knit fabric was another challenge he had to overcome. Knits from fabric like ponte roma are starting to become really popular, and Nygard admits that he “screwed up” with that when he first started in the business 47 years ago.

As for SLIM reception? Well, it’s been stellar. Nygard said that they can’t keep the pants in store, claiming that there are people looking to copy the style now. “It really is the biggest product in the market place today,” said Nygard.

For me? SLIMS are the the definition of cheating on denim, and Nygard agrees.

“You are cheating on jeans! We do everything with a knit denim, we do everything a jean does, but we also make it compressed and comfortable,” said Nygard. “We can do with this fabric we do everything jeans cannot do.”

So, at the end of the day, what do other people think of my butt in Nygard SLIMS?

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“They look very comfortable! I’m all about jeans that aren’t really jeans. I would buy a pair. They look legit. I’m impressed!” – Kristyn

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“The pockets are nice. They make the pants look slim, and I love the waist, too!” – Adriana

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“Look’s good! I would buy them if I were a girl.” (Then he sang If I Were A Boy, but If I Were A Girl) – Luke

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* The quotes used in this piece were not directly transcribed by the author.

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Tiny Town, Big Bras

braaa

Moulded and mesh and maternity, oh my!

18-year-old Carrie Nagy demonstrates how her breasts open the cash register when she leans to ring through a customer. “My boobs keep getting in the way,” says Nagy with a laugh, slamming the till. She gestures to her top. “These guys always get in the way!”

At 231 Second Street in Kenora, Ontario, a left at the third set of lights after the roundabout, there is a shop filled floor-to-ceiling with brassieres.

Bright blue mesh with turquoise-spotted floral ridges. Soft pink moulding with thick, adjustable straps. A jet-black base with sparkling spiky studs.

The shop carries plus size panties, petite lingerie, bra carrying cases, cleaners, and accessories, while cup sizes range from an AA-cup, to an L-cup. Amongst the moulded cups, wires, straps, and padding, there are nursing bras, mastectomy bras, and specialty fits for whatever the debracle.

But before Island Girl, “The only place for women to buy bras in Kenora was at the local Walmart”, says Nagy. The largest size in some styles being a DD-cup.

With the Kenora population around 15,000 people in the winter, and nearly double that during the summer months, variety in women’s undergarments run sparse. Those who find themselves outside the realm of a DD are left stranded, scooping, binding, and often double-bra-ing, just to find some kind of comfort and security.

“I’ve always loved bras. It’s super important women wear the correct bra size,” says owner Michelle Livingston, who bought a failing lingerie shop, and transformed it into Island Girl (named after the hundreds of islands in the Lake of the Woods area).

After her frustration with the lack of bra options in her small town, she decided to take on the challenge of properly fitting the women of Kenora herself.

“60 per cent of women are still wearing the wrong bra size,” says Livingston. “My goal is to help women, and educate people… If you’re wearing a proper fitting bra, you will be happy all day long. If you want to rip it off…” Livingston imitates grabbing her breasts and throwing them across the room, “You’re going to be thinking about THAT all day.”

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Nagy and Livingston laughin’ it up in Island Girl.

According to Livingston, the shop’s main advertising is through word of mouth. Although traffic is slow, “Less than 10 people a day” in the winter, in the summer, traffic jumps to “Around 450 people a day”. Like all of Kenora’s locally owned shops that are open year-round, Livingston depends on cottage-goers and summertime patrons to help her business.

“I have a lot of the small communities coming in here now,” says Livingston, gesturing over to the massive wall of bras. “Fort Frances, Dryden, Red Lake… We’re kind of the [bra] hub.”

Livingston’s bras range from $40-$120, where Walmart has less expensive styles starting at $10, but while Island Girl isn’t the cheapest, it goes above and beyond with one-on-one bra consults, and professional help.

“I try to listen to what they want… some people have certain issues with their body, and we’re all shaped so differently,” says Livingston. “It’s a service we’re providing, and women need it.”

Island Girl, open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., only had a Facebook page right now, but their website will be up and running this summer.
Michelle Livingston can be reached at
807-468-6116 for any bra inquiries.

(Have any AWESOME local bra places in your community? Message me at hellorousseau@hotmail.ca and tell me your b(r)east bra experience! Until then, I’m off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Bras~
thanks for the joke, Emily)

Sargent & Victor & Me

(Just a heads up, this is a post for a school assignment~ I’ll be back to my regular ramblings at some point.)

I like baths.

When I was younger, I thought that showers were kind of scary. Like I would slip and fall and break my neck or something. Instead, I opted for baths.

See? Doesn’t this look lovely?

I’d dip beneath the waterline. Pretend I was a sea monster. Imagine I was a mermaid (or any variety of sea creature, really). I’d picture myself in a mighty ocean, a storm above; a calm below.

Baths have always been peaceful for me. They had a way of evenly spreading problems through water, letting them dissipate into steam and suds.

So when I went to see Sargent & Victor & Me this week, one line really stuck with me, “I just wanted to get in the bath and dissolve.”

Sargent & Victor & Me was a one woman play set in Winnipeg around the streets (spoiler alert) Sargent and Victor. The whole thing was beautifully written and performed by Debbie Patterson, a very talented actress who uses her coming to terms with multiple sclerosis as a pillar for the play.

What worked best in the play was the detail that Patterson went into. After the performance, she talked about her interview process, and why the characters were written the way they were.

“90% of what they say is what they said in our interviews,” said Patterson. “10% is manufactured”: and that detail kind of blew my mind.

The fact that she took so much time to transcribe hours and hours of interviews with real people (“Down to their sniffs and breaths”, in Theresa’s instance), and then MEMORIZE those interviews, was mind boggling. As Marc Lagace said in my journalism class, it was kind of like watching a documentary, but it was live.

Plus, it’s super cool at the end when you actually hear overlapping tracks of the interviews, and can pick out certain lines from the play.

As for what didn’t work? Well, it bugged me that almost each and every character was a cliche.

Bob, the gruff, yet lovable, brother of the main character who hates cops and talks like a semi-raspy frat boy. Pastor Giles Mitchell, the wise and kind old man who loves helping people in need, and all of God’s children equally. Theresa (arguably the strongest voice), the tough-as-nails, Aboriginal gang-member whose had nothing but a horrible life.

The stereotypes began to wear on me after a while, and I found myself almost waiting for a racist old woman and then BAM: there she was in the form of Sharon Good.

I’m a huge musical junkie. I’ve seen everything from Chicago, to A Chorus Line, to Legally Blonde: The Musical, on Broadway. I’ve played

Inspector Javert from Les Misérables, Old Deuteronomy from Cats, and was in every single production I could be during my Balmoral Hall years.

Although Sargent & Victor & Me was not a musical, both are similar, live-action stage shows (minus some singing). The slight dancing she did during those newscasts might be considered something sort of musical-esque.

Musicals are typically big, melodramatic productions that seamlessly intertwine beautiful music with intense, emotional acting. That kind of happened during Sargent & Victor & Me whenever music was involved.

The play kind of gave me a different perspective on the West End of the city. Though their personas were mostly acted as cliches, the voices of that neighbourhood really did stand out to me. Their words made me think about serious struggles people have in Winnipeg.

Although I do not have multiple sclerosis or know anyone who has suffered from it, Patterson took a horrible affliction, and channeled it into art that served as a powerful metaphor for the deterioration of the West End.