Down The Rabbit Hole and Into Fashion Wonderland

Silvia Di Iorio
Saturday night at the Darling Foundry in Old Montreal, the fashion world stumbled down the rabbit hole and into Fashion Wonderland. The collective fashion show, organized by Heels & HeART, benefitted the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. Young Montreal designers and artists displayed their creations inspired by the characters of the classic Alice In Wonderland tale. The show was critiqued by a renowned panel of judges: womenswear designer Marie Saint-Pierre, menswear designer Dimitri Chris, Janna Zittrer of FLARE magazine, and Joshua and David of the JoshuaDAVID boutique.

All of the participating designers have done a wonderful job and the show was executed much to the crowd’s delight. There was an abundance of queens, mad hatters, and Alice’s, and yet all so different and creative. That being said, I present to you three talented designers from the night who I believe rightfully earn the public’s recognition for the hard work they put into Fashion Wonderland.

Fashion Wonderland


Daian Tang’s two creations were inspired by the Rabbit and the Caterpillar in Alice In Wonderland. The Rabbit was meant to portray a "Victorian fashionista" with a touch of comic relief. The red floral textured jacket was contrasted by a satin collar and cuff to give it a traditional quality, while the gold graphic print on the black pants displayed the rabbit’s most famous saying, "I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!" The Caterpillar’s look was softer and voluminous, with 30 hand-sewn floral appliqués at the top of the organza dress. Both ensembles really reflected the show’s theme and character selection. The accessories were essentially quite clever – a round chain purse for the Rabbit that resembled a large pocket watch and a hookah for the Caterpillar.


Tang’s intention was to make it look wearable but creative as well. She did not make the final three, however she says she benefitted from this experience nonetheless: "It’s for a good cause, it’s not completely about winning". She wanted to be critiqued by the judges and also to show the crowd her talent as a designer. Hopefully we will see more from Tang in the near future.




Jennifer Laoun-Rubenstein’s blue and orange tie dye gown clearly stood out from the rest, in a good way. She describes her look as a fashion-forward "Alice all grown up". What was really impressive was when she revealed to me after the show that she began sewing just a few days before the show! Regardless, she says there was a lot of planning and sketching months ahead of due time. The end result was a beautiful dress that was proportionate, symmetrical, and perfectly sewn. It had the best of both worlds: Completely wearable for real life and creative enough for Alice to wear in Wonderland.

Jen Laoun-Rubenstein with Gorgeous Lydia Ochieng

Rubenstein believes in taking opportunities as they come. Her greatest passion, however, is making custom designed jewellery. Her "Alice" model wore a necklace designed  by the artist herself. Large gold chains with large colored jewels accentuated the deep v-neck dress and further added to the idea that Alice was all grown up. And what about Rubenstein’s future plans? She aspires to continue making fabulous jewellery and taking on any creative challenge that comes her way.

A Jen Laoun-Rubenstein Creation



Finally we have Michael Eardley, who has been previously featured in BizVie on several occasions. As part of one of Montreal’s designers to look out for in the following years, it comes to no surprise to us that he was part of Fashion Wonderland.

Michael Eardley

Michael Eardley

Eardley’s model was the last to walk the runway that night in a stunning red silk taffeta gown described as "The New Queen of Hearts". He perceives her as "a younger, sexier, bitchier Queen". It’s the Queen’s dramatic personality that really inspired him. Her entire look would make a huge impact: "If she walked into a room, everybody would be looking at her".

What particularly amazed me about this dress is the fact that nearly 4000 rhinestones were individually placed on the hearts by Eardley himself, which he later told me took him about 24 hours in total to accomplish. And what an accomplishment it was! Despite not being selected in the top three, Eardley is proud of his creation and also to be a part of helping the leukemia society. Eardley’s future plans include the Spring/Summer 2012 debut of his Live Now collection, and hopefully within the next year and a half to present at Montreal Fashion Week. So keep an eye out for this promising young designer.

Michael Eardley Design


Image credits: Ron Gauthier Photography and Silvia Di Iorio

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