Walking into The Waterfall Building for the September launch of standing armed's S/S 2012 offering, the first thing you noticed was colour. 16 models were arranged along the walls in a wash of inviting hues including ivory, hot coral, olive and mud. One could almost feel a warm breeze bringing thoughts of the Mediterranean. Designer Lindsay Walsh soon shared her secret. The inspiration was Morocco and her collection captured that essence beautifully.
Moroccan Markets and Gypsy Culture
By MARILYN R. WILSON
Growing up, Walsh's family enjoyed sports. Winters were spent on ski hills and summers at a lakeside cabin. They also travelled extensively, exposing her to culture and fashion aesthetics from all over the world. In her mid-teens, the move to a new high school saw her focus change from sports to the arts. It was while taking a career prep course she discovered fashion was an option. "It was a turning point for me. I realized I didn't have to do a BA to just check it off the list. Fashion is what I loved." For a year after high school she travelled around the Mediterranean soaking up the culture and then it was back to Canada where she enrolled at Ryerson University.
Ryerson's technically demanding four year fashion degree program saw many of the less determined students walk away that first year. Walsh not only persevered, but excelled. In year four she wanted to design a grad collection that both showcased her creativity and challenged her to explore couture skills. The result was a mix of extravagant gowns inspired by palace life in historical Versailles. "I had to stay up all night many nights, but the results were worth it. There was a lot of hand beading and quilting plus really luxurious fabrics." Her collection caught the eye of Holt Renfrew and was chosen as one of ten to be displayed in store windows.
Travelling again beckoned. This time it was Australia followed by a year and a half in England - the perfect jumping point to explore from. Morocco became an instant favourite. "Morocco was just different. I loved the markets - the combination of all the textures and prints created almost an overload on the senses." Then it was back to Vancouver where she settled into a job at lululemon while the dream to create her own line continued to simmer. It all began in 2009 with the decision to do a name search. Next? Where would the raw materials come from and who would sew the garments? Everything snowballed from there until the launch of standing arm's first mini collection for F/W 2011. "I knew I wanted the collection really small until I had the production figured out. It was a line of classic dresses inspired by the cocktail hour."
Walsh loved the freedom and creativity of owning her own business, so there was no turning back. The creation of Spring/Summer 2012 came about via a very organic journey. There were travel photos from her time in the Mediterranean and an old Gypsy Caravan photo shoot by Kate Moss she stumbled upon. Then came the unexpected discovery of mud-dyed silks and a white cotton lace in the Telio showroom to compliment the Thai Silk already incorporated These separate influences all lead to the final garments that in Walsh's own words are of "...elegance and ease. Inspired by Moroccan markets and gypsy culture; rich colours, prints and textures are contrasted against stark ivory. The result is a collection perfect for any urban landscape."
Locally standing armed is available at The Velvet Room Boutique in Kerri. For more information or the new e-Commerce store, please visit her website at www.standingarmed.com.