Tag Archives: amsterdam fashion


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?

United Nude Shopping Night in Amsterdam

Last week, I attended United Nude‘s shopping night, at their Amsterdam flagship store. I’ve always loved United Nude’s creative and cutting edge footwear, and their marriage of fashion and architecture. The brand was actually
created by an English shoemaker, Galahad Clark (of the Clarks family) and Dutch architect, Rem D. Koolhaus.

I had to pick up a pair of these shoes, the Eamz sandal in pewter, because I think they epitomize Dutch design.

To the event, I wore a black bustier and graphic-printed maxi skirt from Primark.

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Red Storm Shutters

This look was inspired by a traditional Dutch country house near my home in Utrecht. I fell in love with the red shutters and wanted to bring that out, as well as parallel the texture of the thatched roof with my fur coat.

I’m wearing a vintage fur coat from Bij Ons vintage, located in Amsterdam. The first few weeks I arrived here were freezing, so I definitely got good use out of this coat.

I accessorized with a pair of bright red suede booties from Cafe Moda, once again, located in Amsterdam. The wool hat is from H&M.

Maybe it was because this house appeared to be a daycare, but there was something very playful about the environment and my outfit. I love the way the red booties add an accent to an otherwise neutral look.

I hope I have space in my luggage to bring this beautiful vintage jacket home. The history behind it, and the experiences I’ve had wearing it are sure to be memorable.


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.

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.