"A couturier must be an architect for design, a sculptor for shape, a painter for color, a musician for harmony, and a philosopher for temperance." ~ Cristobal Balenciaga

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Year of the Serpent

Dearest Readers,

I am so sorry for the almost year-long delay in posts, but I was so busy with so many exciting and wonderful projects!  The coming posts on all the news will be well worth the wait, I promise!

For my first post this year, I wanted to tell you all about my début fashion show of my eponymous womenswear line, Corinne Monique, during New York Fashion Week this past February!  Thanks to some wonderful sponsors, friends, and family, and to Rogues Gallery Presents, run by the extremely talented Ron Cooke, who put on the Emerging Designer Showcase, I was able to live the dream.  It truly still feels like it might have all been just a fabulous dream and I keep having to pinch myself to remind me that the experience was real!  I was the only Canadian designer invited to show & I actually ended up closing the Showcase, which was such an honour as the other designers I showed with, Urban Masala by Sehar Peerzada, Willie Hall, Mikasa La Charles, Diane Linston, 7T7 by Tarique Tabani, and Brehon Williams, were all amazingly talented.

My Fall/Winter 2013 collection, entitled ‘The Year of the Serpent,’ was inspired by a sense of wanderlust surrounding the exoticism of the Far East and is a modern take on the Orientalism of bygone eras.  The decadent and dramatic, yet controlled collection examines the symbolism of the poisonous serpent, a mythological creature familiar to all cultures, and often a symbol of female power.  The Orient of my mind encompassed Asian locales including China, Japan, Tibet, Russia, Mongolia, Iran, Indochina, and India, with a few non-Eastern influences thrown in from other sunny faraway cultures, such as Argentina, Spain, Peru, and Mexico.  Here are a few photos of my mood/inspiration board, fabrics, including hand-felted silk, and my sketches:

The collection was envisioned for a global warrior-empress of the future.  I was inspired by everything from high fashion editorials based on the Far East and Nomadic cultures to the Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China, from foreign films such as "Memoirs of a Geisha," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "House of Flying Daggers," "Hero," "Curse of the Golden Flower," "Monsoon Wedding," and "Baran," to the latest James Bond Movie, Skyfall, to Old Hollywood films, such as "The Big Sleep,"where Orientalism featured strongly in the settings and costumes of the film.

Terracotta Warriors

The Big Sleep

Vogue Australia, April 2011

House of Flying Daggers

Elle, April 2007

Harper's Bazaar Indonesia, November 2010

Vogue España, January 2011

Vogue Germany, November 2010

Vogue UK, December 2011

Marie Claire, December 2011

Vogue Russia, August 2012

Memoirs of a Geisha

Flawless Magazine

The Curse of the Golden Flower

Princess of China

I was also inspired by ethnic or Eastern-inspired music, such as Rihanna's "Princess of China," which was one of the songs I chose for my runway show, along with Grace Jones' "I Have Seen That Face Before (Libertango)," Gotan Project's "Santa Maria," and Britney Spears' "Toxic."

Elements of Asian dress, such as the kimono, obi, Mandarin collar, and tunic, are also hinted at in the collection.  Folkloric images are conjured up through the use of opulent finishes and sensual textures, such a brocades, silks, wools, velvets, and laces in seductive colours of crimson, persimmon, ruby, fuchsia, ultramarine, midnight, cobalt, malachite, onyx, gold, and the colour of 2013, emerald.  Cloaked in mystery, majesty and a hint of danger, each gilded piece combines the techniques of haute couture methods I learned while studying in Paris, France, with ready-to-wear ease.  I wanted to use print and shine as the base to my palette, having it become the background, rather than the accent.  The pieces are dressy, as I'm kind of a cocktail queen, but I've worn a few of them throughout the day as well, changing my shoes and accessories when it's time to go out for the night.

The day of the show actually ended up being on Chinese New Year, which I didn’t realize until later that day and is a pretty amazing coincidence.  It was also really interesting that almost all the other designers at the Showcase had at least one piece with a snakeskin print in it.

Here are some backstage sneak peeks!

Here is a video of my runway presentation, followed by photos of all 21 pieces of the collection.  My fiercely gorgeous models, including my dear friend, Jeanette "Cookie" Dabney, really strutted their stuff! 

Tirzah dress & Kumiko obi beltmodel: Soliél Padenphotographer: Brian Branch Price

Naiya top, Zulaika blazer, & Zarine pajama pants model: Erin Gabriella Birminghamphotographer: Brian Branch Price and Brooks Fotographie

Firenze tunic top & Nafrini skirtmodel: Allie Thomas-Willwerthphotographer: Brooks Fotographie and Brian Branch Price

Malikeh jumpsuit & Saskia fur vestmodel: Elisia Aychephotographer: Brian Branch Price and Brooks Fotographie

Kobra top & Olesia skirtmodel: Kay Woodsonphotographer: Brooks Fotographie and Brian Branch Price

Delilah top, Sayuri robe, Aisha pants, & Kumiko obi beltmodel: Jasmine Monétphotographer: Picture You Studios and Joe Clarke Photography

Azaran dressmodel: Megan van Oekelphotographer: Brooks Fotographie

Isis top & Chiyo skirtmodel: Robyn Griffinphotographer: Dana Broeker Photography

Anoushka dressmodel: Tonya WilliamsPhotographer: Picture You Studios and Brian Branch Price

Jezebel jumpsuitmodel: Jaylynn Musephotographer: Brooks Fotographie and Brian Branch Price

Seraphina dresscelebrity model: Katrell Mendenhall of Chicagoliciousphotographer: Picture You Studios and Dana Broeker Photography

Nikhita top, Mikayo jacket, Zahara pajama pants, & Kumiko obi beltmodel: LaCrown Johnsonphotographer: Brooks Fotographie and Brian Branch Price

Khadyjia dressmodel: Alysa Алиса Даниловаphotographer: Picture You Studios and Brian Branch Price

Lakshmi top & Yasmina skirtmodel: Idia Aisienphotographer: Brian Branch Price

Sabine dressmodel: Casey Barberphotographer: Dana Broeker Photography and Brooks Fotographie

Akari top & Amaya pantsmodel: Alyssa Mariephotographer: Brooks Fotographie and Joe Clarke Photography

Lalita dressmodel: Rocky Hesphotographer: Brooks Fotographie and Brian Branch Price

Daksha dressmodel: Shalea Poolephotographer: Brian Branch Price and Dana Broeker Photography

Ophelia dressmodel: Tierra Johnsonphotographer: Brooks Fotographie and Brian Branch Price

Hatsumi dressmodel: Thomasina Hamiltonphotographer: Picture You Studios and Brian Branch Price

Sitara dress & Sakura robemodel: Jeanette Cooke-Dabneyphotographer: Brooks Fotographie and Brian Branch Price

Since the show, I've been lucky enough to have a lot of attention from the press - both here in Canada from the Montreal Gazette and Edmonton Journal and in the USA from many bloggers, newspapers, and magazines, including Desirable Magazine (Issue #11)!  I cannot tell you how exciting and rewarding it is to pick up a magazine and actually see your designs in it!!

My collection was also featured in a music video - how cool is that??!!

You can hear me briefly talk about my collection immediately after the runway show ended here (I'm around 9:25, but I love what Ron Cooke has to say about the RGP show as well :)

I've set up a Corinne Monique Facebook page dedicated to the launch of the line and will have a new website up shortly to replace my online portfolio.  I will try my best to keep this blog updated with the latest news about my line, including a photoshoot for a magazine coming up very soon!  But if you want to follow the line more closely, you can always check Facebook for the latest news or contact me directly for information about the line including orders, photoshoots, interviews, collaborations, upcoming runway shows, etc :)

So excited to be back blogging and able to continue to share my journey with you!  More posts coming up real sooon!



PS  This post was chosen for Independent Fashion Bloggers Links à la Mode! Thank you IFB!

PPS  quick update on the 'Year of the Serpent' collection - I'm showing at Tobago Fashion Week & you can help!  PLEASE click, read, and share XO


  1. great post! loved all the inspiration pics :) especially loved the video of the runway, since it shows the amazing detailing on the back on the clothes as well, everything is gorgeous! can't wait to see more from Corinne Monique

  2. Amazing pics! And great collection:)


  3. So cool! Congrats on the music video! I came across your blog and am your newest follower. I would love if you’d visit me at : the daily savant : and (if you like) follow with GFC and Blog Lovin'!

    : signe

  4. I really loved the post and your designs so much! I'm Canadian too so it's pretty cool that you were at NY Fashion Week, that's really, really amazing. Congrats!

    - Juliana

  5. I saw your post at IFB!

    Good work!



  6. Congrats! Phenomenal collection but I especially want the Azaran dress. Incredible

    xx from Hong Kong

  7. thank you so much, everyone!

    I'm currently campaigning to take my 'Year of the Serpent' collection to Tobago Fashion Week - check it out here:

    Corinne xo

  8. Nice pics!


Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I really appreciate your support! Please leave your blog address, and I will repay the visit! :)

Corinne xo