Tag Archives: Amsterdam Fashion Week


Amsterdam Fashion Week Closing Party

While I wish I could have seen all the action from some of my favourite Dutch designers at Amsterdam International Fashion Week, I was living stroopwaffle-less in Canada. My Dutch friend and blogger Amber De Smet caught all of the party action and went to AIFW’s closing after party. Read on for her review of the closing ceremonies.


Last Sunday was the final day of Amsterdam International Fashion Week. But a final day is nothing without a final night, or at least that’s what the organizers of SALUTE – the so-called Closing Party of AIFW – must have thought.

The final event was held at ‘Culture Park Westergasfabriek’, an old industrial site. (For the ones among us who aren’t too familiar with Dutch – ‘Westergasfabriek’ literally means ‘Western Gas Factory’.) The Culture Park was about a ten minute bus ride from the city centre, which meant that mainly dedicated fashionistas took the effort to travel there, so that the crowd looked completely different from last time. People looked very stylish and seemed to know their faux fur from their Fendi, as illustrated by two impeccably dressed ginger kids who decided to adopt me later that evening.


Fleurien and Sabine from Made by PR immediately recognized me when I arrived and gave me a friendly welcome. Although the venue was large and dark – as I imagine a factory hall ought to be – it was brightened up with pink lockers, and lightened up with illuminating ice cubes in Grand Marnier glasses. Just after I’d put my coat in my locker – which was not only pink but also decorated with a mirror, very cute and convenient – the event started.

Just like last time, Amsterdam’s ‘Nachtburgemeester’ was present, along with the organizers of the event. After a little summary of the week’s events, Kypski & Matangi Quartet took the stage. Their music could probably be described as ‘oriental’, combining electronic music with traditional instruments. Original, but not exactly danceable. However, the next performance did receive more positive responses. ‘Under her Skirt’, a performance by Victorine Pasman, consisted of a woman walking on stilts all night, dressed in the longest dress with the most massive skirt I’ve ever seen. I just kept wondering how she could keep walking and smiling at the same time without falling over.


Eventually, people started to leave earlier than I had expected, which suddenly made the factory hall seem even bigger and darker than it was, with ice cubes still flickering lonely in the dark. I also decided to cover up my green dress with a coat, and take a cab back to the city centre again.

It’s always sad when festivities come to an end, but let’s hope AIFW will keep up with these public events, and turn them into a tradition that’s accessible for anyone who’s interested in fashion. Because fashion’s worth celebrating, right?


Amsterdam Fashion Week Opening Party

While I couldn’t be in AMS to attend Amsterdam International Fashion Week’s kick-off party, my friend and fellow blogger, Amber de Smet checked it out. Read her story below:


What springs to mind when I say the words ‘Holland in January’? Ice skating, frozen canals, slippery bicycle paths, snowy windmills, or perhaps… Amsterdam International Fashion Week?

This year, AIFW organised their first ever Official Opening Party in Club AIR. A public event for which I was on the guest list, thanks to my dear Canadian friend Natalie. I admit that when – in my case – your last Fashion Week experience has been a cringe-worthy Liverpool Fashion Week, it’s easy to be impressed by a nice venue. But even to Fashion Week Veterans, AIR would probably come across as one of Amsterdam’s most impressing clubs: well decorated with smooth, black walls and cleverly placed lights near reflecting surfaces. A very pretty, but very dark environment which made it nearly impossible to take decent pictures, unless you were walking around with a giant headlight taped to your camera.


I arrived early, and after a ten minute struggle with my intricate locker I decided to have a look around. Whereas I had expected the typical combination of fashionistas, bloggers and journalists, I found that the crowd was made up of a strange mix of people. Half of it consisted of older, slightly out of place fashion people and the other half consisted of ‘girls clad in black lacy thingies with a black bra underneath’, as one of my newly-made friends put it. But then again, this year’s AIFW is all about ‘Fashion is for Everyone’.

Amsterdam’s ‘Nachtburgemeester’ Mirik Milan kicked off the event with a little speech about the events of the coming week, before introducing Dutch band Daily Bread. To those who do not happen to be fluent in Dutch – the term ‘Nachtburgemeester’ is a typically Dutch phenomenon, which literally means ‘Night Mayor’. Every big city in the Netherlands has a ‘Night Mayor’, who is basically the most influential person in the city’s nightlife scene.


As Daily Bread’s final song died away, DJs Chris Julien and Bear Damen took the stage. One of my companions described their music as ‘rather unisex, because guys can dance to it too’. Which, I guess, is a good thing. Halfway the set, two dressed up acrobats even entered the stage to perform some tricks. After a while I decided it was time to leave this fashionable place again, and hop on the train back to Utrecht, with a goody bag under my arm and some good memories in my head.

Amber de Smet

Amber de Smet

On the whole, the Official Amsterdam Fashion Week Opening Party seemed like a good collaboration between music and fashion, and a nice start of this important week of the year. I’m curious to see what the rest of the week will bring.



First Impressions of the Netherlands

I’ve been in the Netherlands for almost two weeks now, and one of my first assignments for my journalism program here at HU was to describe my first impressions of the country.

I got off the train and walked along the platform. The PA system said something in Dutch, but I couldn’t understand it. I navigated my way outside of Amsterdam Centraal station and crossed the street. Out of the corner of my peripheral vision, I could see a light blue scooter coming straight at me; I didn’t realize I was standing in the bike lane as I was taking a picture like a tourist.

I walked down the street and found myself in Dam Square. A carriage horse snorted at me and I pet him. I joked that I wish I had a carrot for him as a treat. The carriage driver responded in his thick Russian accent, “He’s okay. I fed him two tourists for breakfast.”

After I left the square, the strong aroma of marijuana filled the air. It wasn’t until that moment that I thought I was in the typical party streets of Amsterdam. In the trendy 9 Straatjes, I fell in love with the boutiques, funky vintage stores and cozy cafes. I stopped in a bistro for a pumpkin soup and sipped it slowly while I admired a delicate pink tulip sitting on my table.

One of the reasons I decided to come to the Netherlands was to see the works of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer in person. I went to the Rijks museum and spent a couple hours admiring the works of the great Dutch artist’s in the Netherlands’ golden age of the 17th century. I wasn’t prepared for the spectacle that was Rembrandt’s “Night Watch”. I couldn’t fathom how he painted something so large. It was so big that I couldn’t even capture it in its entirety with my lens.

I took my camera from the museums to the catwalk at Amsterdam Fashion Week. After attending Toronto Fashion Week for a couple of seasons, I was so excited to see what the Netherlands has to offer in the fashion and design industry. The people working the tent were very friendly. I didn’t feel like other people were criticizing my outfit or giving me the once-over. Everyone I talked to were eager to give me shopping tips! My biggest surprise however, was the way the Dutch attendees dressed. I’m used to seeing the fashionable crowd in head-to-toe labels or attention-seeking get ups that often include fur, leather bondage and armoury (but sometimes all three).  Instead, most people were wearing casual looks that were on trend, but comfy. I noticed this trend on the streets as well. Nearly everywhere I looked, people were wearing the quintessential Canadian winter-weather ensemble; shearling Ugg boots, jeans and Canada Goose down parkas. At home, I completely reject this typical style of winter dressing, so it was disappointing to see the “fashionable” Europeans embracing this North American look.

But on the catwalk, I saw very marketable and wearable clothes. The designers were conscientious about the environment, and all created beautiful clothes that didn’t ooze fashion, but exuded style. I left Amsterdam Fashion week with a few insights into the Dutch design world and celebrity culture, as I even got to see Princess Maxima, an elegant woman who was nothing short of her title.

On my way back to Amsterdam Centraal station, I was walking down the street and nearly tripped. A friendly gentleman helped me regain my balance. It was refreshing to receive help from a stranger when I’m used to witnessing pregnant women stand on the Toronto subway. Chivalry isn’t dead! And for the record, nothing will stop me from wearing 5-inch stillettos on the cobblestone streets.

Amsterdam Fashion Week Day 5: Streetstyle

On the last day of fashion week, which was (sadly) almost a whole week ago, all of the guests at Monique Collignon pulled out the stops donning elegant and trendy looks.

Stylist and PR agent, Graziella Ferraro is wearing vintage Versace. She told me it was from one of the last collections of Gianni Versace, and I love the graphic print and colours combined with the fun tassels. Her purple beret is so cute and her arm candy is executed to perfection. I need to go to Italy ASAP to scout out some Vintage Versace too!

Rosanna Hoo is wearing an asymmetrical sheer chiffon skirt combined with a white eyelet jacket and blouse. I like the play with colours here and that killer belt.

One of the biggest trends I’ve noticed on the streets of Amsterdam are the Isabel Marant sneakers. This woman pulled off wearing them with a button-up and Birkin bag!

Earlier in the day, I saw a woman on the streets wearing a pair with a Canada Goose coat. It’s clear that people from the Netherlands like stylish, trendy and comfortable luxury.

Ronald is wearing a sheer shirt combined with a shredded, deconstructed crocheted sweater. The look is so avant-garde and I fell in love with his boots. I bumped into him later in the week at a Bij Ons Vintage store and he sold me a fur coat. That day, he was wearing a bright purple blazer and pearls. I love his fearless fashion sense!

Speaking of purple, I instantly recognized this bag. I nearly cried when I had to leave my own purple Cambridge satchel at home.  Zuzanna styled it with metallic tights, which are another huge trend. I recognized her from Lookbook with her creative photography.

I’m in love with that lion clutch from Mango.

These pants are out of this world! It’s been freezing cold in the Netherlands, and after buying a fur coat, I might as well go all out and buy a pair of fur pants. They remind me of the 2010 Chanel HC collection with the faux fur. As Karl Lagerfeld, “You cannot fake chic, but you can be chic and fake fur.”

Such a well-dressed couple.

She is wearing Monique Collignon from head to toe. It’s nice to see the attendees supporting the designer… and not wearing Uggs (you can see a pair in the background). Turquoise thigh-high boots are such a statement.

I love her cute look. Her top is from American Apparel, believe it or not.

But her shoes are absolutely killer. I’m obsessed with all the colours and shapes.

These earrings from ASOS remind me of a Pamela Love design. The falcon feet are grotesque yet so cool to look at! They definitely get a lot of attention.

This wraps up my street style coverage at Amsterdam Fashion Week, but I can’t wait for the snow to clear (I can’t believe it’s snowed here) so I can capture more stylish people on the streets of Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands as well.

Wearing orange in the Netherlands

Orange is one of the hottest colours this year, and was popping up all over at Amsterdam Fashion Week, on the runways and on the streets. I fell in love with this orange feather boa on sale at Zara in Amsterdam, it shows off my love for the colour and this country.

I styled the boa with a leopard print sweater, and an oversized key necklace from Forever XXI. The orange definitely adds pop to the neutral colours in the print.

I’m also wearing a gold watch and gold jeans from Joe Fresh.

I love how I can wear this boa loose as a quirky stole. It would look very dramatic with an evening dress and a chic undo. My booties were another find in Dam Square, but yesterday I got caught in a cobblestone and nearly face planted! Lesson learned: cobblestones + four inch heels + a few glasses of wine = danger!

I finally got a picture with the sign and no tourists. Every time I take the train from Utrecht to Amsterdam, I fall more and more in love with the city.

Thank you Hanna Downs for the photographs.


Custo Barcelona Fall 2012 Show – AFW

On Saturday afternoon, I saw the Custo Barcelona show. The brand is created by the Custo and David Dalmau (they’re brothers) who were inspired by Californian surfer style.

I definitely could identify the collection’s North American influence, with the thin layering, fitted sweaters and cool accessories.

Models wore stylish sunnies by eyes + more and all had wavy beached-out hair.

There was a lot of colour, with painted stripes. I don’t like wearing boots with no stockings, but those tweed boots with the contrasting leather heel are just gorgeous.

The collection featured a lot of funky tribal prints in rich colours.

There was also some refined, sexy simplicity. I love the way this shirt fell on her back.

I thought this tapestry jacket was so cool. Very wearable and the colour and print is urban, rustic and chic!

I love the pop of red in the gloves and hat.

This textured sweater is very interesting. I wonder if the knitting technique is worn inside out to expose those frayed ends.

This sweater was one of my favourite pieces. It had a unique shape and the grey and black fair isle print was subtle and elegant. I could easily style that with a pair of jeans or on top of an elegant black dress with pearls for a comfy night out.

This water colour print seemed out of place, but it was beautiful. As well as those graphic booties.

This vintage-style jacket made the crowd go nuts. You could hear a simultaneous wow from the audience and everyone picked up their cameras to take a picture.

I love the texture on this leather jacket. I’m not crazy about the styling, but that brown jacket needs to get on me now.

Yet another gorgeous tweed coat.

This textured furry dress is super cute. It would be so warm in the winter.

I also really liked that ladylike bag with the contrasting bow embellishment.

I really liked the textures and accessories in this collection. For me, fall is about rich, deep colours and playing with textures and Custo Barcelona definitely worked with a variety of materials. At times, it was a bit all over the place, but I liked that they unified the collection with those amazing matte orange lips and cute booties.



Amsterdam Fashion Week Day 4: Street Style

On Saturday, I saw the Custo Barcelona show. Here are some pictures of the fashionable attendees and those involved with the show.

The Custo Barcelona show featured models in urban street wear, and I was obsessed with the models’ orange lips. This look can be brought from the runway to the sidewalk by toning down the neon effect with a matte coral or bright pink lip.

I met Mascha, whose blog, Beautygloss is the most popular beauty blog in the Netherlands. She was such a sweetheart and I’ve checked out her YouTube makeup tutorials, they seem amazing, but I wish I spoke Dutch!

This leopard coat + cat eye combo is retro and very cute.

I love her bright orange coat… I’m upset I had to leave my tangerine leather at home.

This young lady is apparently a Modeling Competition finalist. She was working the red carpet outside in a tank top. I admire her bravery!

Wearing Tony Cohen, she was on her way to the Tony Cohen show that afternoon. I love the sheer draping of her dress combined with the masculine black accessories.