The Genteel
March 5, 2021


Daphne Guinness with Alexander McQueen. Source:


As 2012 comes to an end, we pick our favourite Society stories of the year.


From the Highlands to the Catwalk. The British monarchy has a long history of incorporating different styles into their mode of dress. Royal appropriation of the textile design known as tartan is bound in a historical and political power struggle that pitted Scotland against England and took tartan from the Highlands to the catwalks of the world. Andrew Adebowale examines fashion's enduring love affair with arguably the most rebellious of textile designs.


Dressing Downton. Ralph Lauren is taking us to Downton Abbey for Fall 2012, and the fashion world is swooning. What about Downton Abbey and its fashions is so appealing to an audience facing difficult economic times? Kate McFarland explores how the illusion of luxury in fashion and entertainment can provide escapism from economic turmoil.


Portrait of a First Lady. Oscar Wilde, the literary master of the nineteenth century, once claimed, "The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple." One hundred years later, Wilde's point rings true with the recent lifting of Vogue magazine's illusionary curtain of couture and cultural authority. Olivia Wilbury on the controversy surrounding Joan Juliet Buck's profile on Syrian First Lady, Asma al-Assad.


Eco-Fashion: Trendy or Timeless? Eco has become fashionable, and the public appears to be buying it - in more ways than one. But with the concept of fashion essentially depending on the turnover of tastes, is sustainable fashion here to stay or will it just move to the back of our closets?


The Haiti Design Matrix. The BRANDAID Project has been working hard to give talented Haitian artisans access to bustling global markets. But make no mistake; with attention-grabbing tag lines such as "Poverty Needs Marketing" and a recent collection launch at Selfridges, the project is firmly a for-profit initiative. 


Comics With a Clue. Can comic books be valuable resources of knowledge? Chere di Boscio investigates the authors and academics mobilising the medium.


A Muse on a Mission. Couture muse and heiress extraordinaire, Daphne Guinness sells a healthy portion of her collection to feed a new passion - The Isabella Blow Foundation.


Canada's Most Fashionable Biker Gang. Late last year, the BBC aired a segment about Toronto's plentiful and competitive vintage fashion scene, which the BBC noted "is attracting shoppers from all across the world." Among the profiled was a group of young Canadian designers collectively known as The Deadly Nightshades which runs The Style Spin, a unique bike tour that takes the public on a behind-the-scenes spin around Toronto's fashion landscape.



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