Yellow Is Forbidden: Designer Guo Pei

When Rihanna walked the red carpet at the 2015 Met Gala sporting a 25-kilo dress spun from gold and fox fur, the fashion world gawked, and a new star was born: Chinese designer Guo Pei. Raised in Beijing (and still based there), Guo has become much more than a top fashion personage—being Chinese, she is both a living example of China’s rising fortunes and a political symbol, whether she wishes to be or not (she says not), of the possibilities for achievement under the Chinese regime. (It is not for nothing that Time magazine put her on its list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2016).

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Now, the legendary designer’s story has spurred the new documentary Yellow is Forbidden, made by Auckland filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly.

Brettkelly’s deep-dive chronicle of Guo as person, fashion star and emblem benefits enormously from the fact that she had full cooperation from the energetic designer. But this isn’t hagiography: the behind-the-scenes access to the preparations for Guo’s make-or-break Paris runway show, while both fascinating and tense, show the conflicted side of the fashion world and Guo’s place in it.

With a client list that includes Beyonce and Rihanna, fashion lovers ought to be waiting on the edge of their seats to see this eye-opening story and Vancouverites have the chance to see the film on the big screen this week at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Yellow is Forbidden (https://goviff.org/yellow-is-forbidden/) is playing Oct 7 & 10, with Guo Pei herself set to attend the film’s opening screening at the Vancouver Playhouse on the 7th, ahead of an exhibition of her work titled Guo Pei: Couture Beyond opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery (https://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_guopei.html) later this month.

More information about Yellow is Forbidden can be found at the VIFF website: https://goviff.org/yellow-is-forbidden/)

For $2 off your ticket price, order online with the promo code VF18YELLOW

 

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/262913757

 

FILM REVIEW: A PERFECT 14

A film about women reshaping the world.

Where? A film preview at the historic Cultch Theatre in Vancouver, a red carpet event with local influencers, media, film industry and fashion models including the main subjects of the film.

What? The first film of its kind, a feature length documentary about plus-sized models.

With a focus on 3 plus-sized models from around the world (Elly Mayday -Canada, Laura Wells- Australia, and Kerosene Deluxe-The Netherlands), A Perfect 14 follows personal journeys whilst taking a broader look at the harsh beauty standards in the modelling industry.

At some parts cutting and emotional, the film really makes you feel for these women and the struggles they overcome. A Perfect 14 grips you in showing you elements of culture that you're not normally exposed to, going behind the scenes and shedding light on issues prevalent in the industry.

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Being excluded from the world of ‘human coat hangers’ or the industry standard of 34"-24"-34", these women have faced discrimination in their work and personal life, but as their stories unfold we watch them overcoming ever more challenges. As the filmmakers Giovanna Morales Vargas and James Earl O’Brien explain at the preview event, their shooting style is very raw and unscripted, so they were not entirely sure what to expect or what drama was going to unfold in A Perfect 14.

During the filming Elly Mayday, a Canadian Plus-sized model from Saskatchewan, was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. As viewers we get a glimpse into her journey from recovery to runway. It is incredibly inspiring to watch Elly embrace the baldness and the scars, really solidifying her mantra to be happy with your body the way that it is, and to believe in yourself. The film ends with Elly fulfilling her dream of becoming a model in New York. Her story feels so touching as it’s so genuine, and plagued with difficulties.

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“Women are as strong as hell”-Elly Mayday
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Another palpable feeling we sense in watching this doc is frustration. Ironically, plus-sized model Laura Wells explains how on shoots she often resorts to wearing ‘fat pads’ to fill out her size 14 body to a size 16 (UK), adding to her stomach and thighs. On these occasions, her body isn’t deemed large enough for ‘plus size’. This sense of irony is also illustrated through Elly’s story, when as her cancer treatment takes its toll, and she loses weight, some plus-sized model fans condemn her, exclaiming through social media that she is now too skinny. Through this turn of events, the message of the documentary runs clear, you have to foster your own source of self-love. As plus-sized model Kerosene Deluxe explains ‘we don’t need validation from other people to feel self-worth’ encouraging the audience at the Cultch, to practice ‘radical self-love as a form of anarchy’.

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A Perfect 14 is an incredible reflection of the strength of these women, showing us how to be warriors, how to be strong. We see the beauty of imperfection fully realised. The film also demonstrates the positive side of Social Media as a network to boost our sense of personal wellbeing, to look out for one another, and to come together to make a change for a more inclusive industry.

Kerosene Deluxe’s top tip for a boost of self-love- 'make a list of things that make you, you!'

How do you foster your feelings of self-love?

Film stills courtesy of http://www.aperfect14.com/

A LOVE LETTER TO STREET STYLE

follow at @iamkrystalkay

follow at @iamkrystalkay

My style inspiration has always come from what I see people wearing on the street. It's those moments when I bump into someone at a coffee shop and realise that I'm obsessed with their jacket or love their shoes. When I see someone combine certain colours in a unique way, I think, 'Oh, I could do that.' or 'I have a dress that would look great with that jacket.' Street style is this endless stream of possibilities. It's an expressive form of creativity that gets displayed to the world on our bodies every day. This is my love letter to that concept. 

I admire these people. The beauty of it really lies in the fact that most of them aren't professionals. They're baristas, graphic designers, accountants, therapists, you name it! The point is that they aren't getting paid to be a part of the fashion industry. It's not their job to know the colour of the season or the trends we'll be wearing six months from now. They're just regular people expressing themselves through what they wear. At most, to them, styling is just a hobby, and they're actually really good at it. 

follow at @mars3lwallace

follow at @mars3lwallace

I find unique street fashion so inspirational because of its inherit bravery. The girl walking down the street isn't going to be making any statement on the red carpet.  She'll piece together a creative look simply because she wants to and has the guts to pull it off. She might get a few compliments, some people might stare and not understand the style, but that's it, she'll go throughout her day and wear something else tomorrow. 

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That's where we come in. I think some time ago I realised that if I took a photo of someone every time I thought, 'I love her look' or 'his outfit is on point' I would have this incredible library of real people modelling their personal expression en plein air. Through our street style pictures on Micro Macro, we get to share that moment of admiration with whoever is willing to look. That's really special to me. This is an unapologetic celebration of street style. 

Peace and love, Deanna

Photos by: ByeongCheol Jo