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EHC 2012 – Dress Code fashion event!

EHC 2012. Click on link for Dress Code in summary!http://animoto.com/play/XSV70fPvK5E11aIejo1avg

Dress Code opening act...

Dress Code opening act…

 

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How about an ECO friendly picnic destination….

How about an ECO friendly picnic destination….

As a celebration to mark the successful completion of the 2011-2012 school calendar year EHC hosted a leisurely day in the countryside for its staff and students. Last year was a ‘graduation year’ for which EHC organized Dinner at the hip Hotel Arts for the grads, students, their friends and family to share in.

But as this year was an in-between graduation year, a less formal event was hosted in the countryside – for all who felt comfortable with the lack of visible concrete and traffic noise – in the outstanding Rocky Mountain foothills area near Sundre Alberta.

After a full-on buffet picnic lunch everyone hiked the short distance through the bush from our location to Bearberry Creek Water Gardens for a behind the scenes tour with owner Heinjo Lahring. Bearberry Creek nursery (horticultural zone 2, at 4000 ft. elevation) specializes in aquatic plants for northern region ponds and wetland rehabilitation and is incidentally located near the Bearberry arts community in the foothills of Alberta.

Here hardy wetland plants have been selected for their ability to survive in the relatively short northern cool growing season. All the plants are grown outdoors (most of which are native to Alberta) which provide food and cover for wildlife, and help to establish and maintain a healthy wetland environment. These plants are raised for wetland restoration, wildlife enhancement, water treatment, bio-filtration, or other aquatic projects such as shore stabilization, erosion control, planting in flooded areas, nutrient utilization, waste water treatment and clarification, shading, and ornamental plantings.

As a modern day homesteader in the Canadian back country since 1983, together with his wife Jan (fellow botanist and business partner) and the seasonal staff, Heinjo established and operates the nursery, gives tours for school children, does research, speaks at conferences, and has authored “Water & Wetland Plants of the Prairie Provinces” a 326 page paperback field guide [ISBN: 9780889771628 – available at the nursery or through Amazon books]featuring colour photos, line drawings, and detailed descriptions of over 400 species of water and wetland plants found across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Written for amateur and professional botanists alike in other parts of Canada, the United States, and even Eurasia, many of these northern wetland species are circumpolar in distribution.

As a lover of nature, Heinjo and family regularly ski and cycle in the back country in their spare time, but he also plays and teaches drumming.  Now if that isn’t enough, he also heads up the Sundre Gymnastics Club coaching team, is one of its founding members, and continues to take NCCP training and works with the Alberta Gymnastics Federation.

We had a great time and are thankful to Heinjo for giving us a very passionate and informative tour of the facilities, the showy tropical water lily tank specimens, the tree seedlings, the transplanting  house, and all the various garden offerings, but more importantly for explaining the hidden work and importance of environmental rehabilitation [especially in our oil industry based province], the challenges of operating in this particular climate and the competition bestowed by the indigenous wild creatures that crave these water plants!

It was a long glorious day, and a memorable one shared with our very talented, passionate and hardworking students at a destination that perhaps we will visit again in the future…

Heinjo Lahring – owner operator Bearberry Creek Water Gardens

Pond bed for water plants

Muskrat challenges

Water lilies in bud

Water lily in bloom

Water bed preparation

Water grasses featuring a type of cotton producing water grass – centre

Tropical water lily which only blooms at night

Bearberry Creek regularly hires national and international summer students providing specific practical work experience in the field of water plants

Domestics are always on duty to keep rodent population under control

After a long day…

…let’s do this again….

Field guide cover

Field guide back cover

 

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Who are we? CRAVE: Calgary

…found this great video seeking to articulate who we are and what the soul of our city is. You may say that your own city is the same…what do you think?

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

A call went out to the students at EHC for inspiration for this week’s weblog – they came back with the theme of Mother’s Day.  Looking into the origins of this celebration I came across several versions of its history and its varying celebratory traditions.  But, it is important just to recognize the contributions of all great women, mothers, and in my case, my mother the founder of EHC, who is strong willed, energetic and has a great Vision.

As Founder of EHC, Elfriede has dedicated the past 20 years of her life to developing Ecole Holt Couture based on her ideals, 60+ years of experience and the fortunate opportunity of her own training.  Not one to be put off by some resistance and more than a few obstacles she has contributed a wealth of knowledge to be passed on to future generations to take advantage of as the basis for a career in Couture Fashion.

It appears that the Mother’s Day that we are familiar with in North America can be traced back to the name of three incredible women.  In recognizing these women who have been given the credit for establishing Mother’s Day, countless others – who to us are now nameless – have also given their support to these heroic efforts.

Anna Reeves Jarvis and Anna Marie Jarvis

In the 1850’s, American – Anna Reeves Jarvis, organized Mother Work Day Clubs that focused on providing medicine for the poor and on improving sanitary conditions. Then, during the Civil War, Mother’s Day Clubs cared for all soldiers — regardless of which side of the battle they had chosen. After the war ended, Anna continued her peacemaking by working to bring people together to heal the deep wounds of those who had been divided by the war. In light of this, in 1872 Anna celebrated a special day terming it Mothers’ Day for Peace.

After Anna Reeves Jarvis died, her daughter Anna M. Jarvis campaigned for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in remembrance of her mother and in honor of peace.

In 1908, Anna petitioned the superintendent of the church where her Mother had spent over 20 years teaching Sunday school. Her request was honored, and on May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day celebration took place at Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia and a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The West Virginia event drew a congregation of 407 and Anna Jarvis arranged for white carnations—her Mother’s favorite flower—to adorn the patrons. Today, white carnations are used to honor deceased Mothers, while pink or red carnations pay tribute to Mothers who are still alive.

In 1912, Anna M Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association. In 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

Anna had become disappointed with its commercialization already by the 1920s.”Any mother would rather have a line of the worst scribble from her son or daughter than any fancy greeting card,” she also once pointed out, “There is no connection between candy and this day.”

As Mother’s Day celebration began in 1908 in the US, it was followed in Canada a year later in 1909.

Julia Ward Howe

Social and Anti-Slavery activist Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) who wrote ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’, also wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870, which she delivered at a Women’s Peace Conference in London. The proclamation was an antiwar reaction and belief that women had a social responsibility to shape their societies.

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:
 
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.
 
“We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
  
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.
 
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
 
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
 
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
 
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.             Julia Ward Howe Boston 1870

Mothering Sunday in the UK

In the Roman religion the Hilaria festival was held in honour of the mother goddess Cybele and it took place during mid-March. As the Roman Empire and Europe slowly converted to Christianity, this celebration became part of the liturgical calendar as Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent to honour the Virgin Mary and the “mother church“.

Although the beginnings of Christianity in England can be traced back to 300AD, it appears that by 1400 AD like the rest of Europe, England and Ireland were observing the mid-Lent holiday and honored their “Mother Church,” by decorating the church with flowers where they were baptized; it was considered important for them to return to their “mother” church at least once a year.

Mothering Sunday by the 1700’s, was observed by taking a break from the fasting and penitence of Lent and having a family feast. Children would make a rare journey home from their apprenticeships and jobs in ‘service’ to spend one day a year with their mother and family. They would pick wild flowers along the way to place them in the church or to give them to their mothers as gifts. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday and the secular tradition of giving gifts, cakes and flowers—especially violets—to mothers.

Constance Penswick-Smith

In the early 1900’s to 1920s, the custom of keeping Mothering Sunday had tended to lapse in the UK, Ireland and in continental Europe. But, in 1914 inspired by Anna Jarvis, Constance Penswick-Smith created the Mothering Sunday Movement,and in 1921 she wrote a book asking for the revival of the Mothering Sunday festival. It also experienced a wide scale revival in the UK through the influence of American and Canadian soldiers serving abroad during World War II.

The traditions of Mothering Sunday, practised by the Church of England and Church of Ireland were merged with the newly-imported traditions still celebrated in the wider Catholic communities. By the 1950s Mother’s day was celebrated by everyone in Ireland and the UK on the same day that Mothering Sunday was celebrated, however, the two celebrations are not the same observance.

Today over 70 countries observe Mother’s Day  http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/about-mothersday/history/#anna

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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Calgary Spring War-drab

Caught on video Banff National ParkThis Photo captured by video in Banff National Park on March 28, 2012 even Lynx is looking for Spring…

An interesting time of year Spring, when one starts to experience symptoms of cabin fever and the longing to just get outside in the sunshine and warming fresh air. Here in Calgary Spring really doesn’t exist as most people know it. The clocks change to daylight savings time – we can’t imagine why this tradition still persists, the calendar proclaims the vernal equinox, and yet we don’t experience flowers bursting out of the ground, greening of the grass or buds on trees. In fact at Easter, we could still be dealing with grey frozen mounds of dirty snow, cold winds and threats of freak snow storms.

Our winter weather is prolonged until well into late April or May when one day it seems everything suddenly changes and wakes up as if late for work, hurriedly gets dressed into bright greens, and manages to catch up to Summertime knocking at the door offering everyone a lift to mid-summer activities. The roads may still be heaped with dry pickle from the winter until July when the City trucks turn up in swathing teams to sweep it all away.

Wardrobe planning sort of skips spring season here, and marches straight from Winter to Summer in the respect that light coloured trench coats and pastel trousers don’t seem to work well facing cutting icy wind gusts and possibly new snow, dusty rain with some intense sunshine – all within the same day. Everyone is loath to put away down filled jackets too soon, but has no problem wearing short pants with it – just in case.

Our spring wardrobes really are reincarnations of Fall season wardrobes that work perfectly well until we shed the cashmere sweaters and change into summertime cotton dresses, linen suits, and trade in winter boots for rainbow striped sandals.  We envy those who can sport white and bright colours with open toes shoes in April as displayed on the runways.

One great thing about Calgary summers, when they finally arrive, is that they rarely like to give up until the end of September and sometimes tease us with gorgeous hot sunny days into October when finally relenting to Fall weather. Calgary wardrobes are really most effective consisting of interchangeable pieces for Winter, Summer and Fall. Plan ahead and save the spring wear for your next vacation to Paris….dream on J…

Very Chic for Autumn or Indian Summer

Photos thanks to http://www.thesartorialist.com/  OK so he can get away with white jeans and no socks…lol

 

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Happy Easter

Hope

 

 

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featuring Eleganza Couture Fashion Show

featuring Eleganza Couture Fashion Show

Eleganza – Pattison Outdoor Advertising Calgary AB – visit www.couturecalgary.com

McKnight Blvd. Calgary

 

 

 

Thank you Tania Lavoie – Pattison Outdoor Advertising

 

 

 

Students of EHC will feature their latest couture projects along with vintage couture garments and new couture wedding gown at the event. Sponsors will be there supporting the event, relax and enjoy live music (see who below) with wine and nibbles!

Couture vs Labels continued: Couture

…FOR the wedding gown we assimilated all the information gathered in the consultation process and started to produce sketches putting to paper a variety of ideas. Starting with sketches too early in the couture process just creates wasted time and effort; couturiers should more or less understand their clients before putting pencil to paper. Unfortunately, what may happen in very rare cases is that the client may take the couturiers creative ideas and abscond to someone else to be constructed. If this happens the other couturier should have the integrity not to copy someone else’s designs. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence; by the time the couturier ought to be creating sketches is when the couturier/client relationship has been well established, trust has been developed, a contract signed, and the deposit paid with the cheque cleared.

Couturiers must understand and become very familiar with their client’s preferences, needs, lifestyle, etc. and – this is a very big AND – keep it to themselves as private not-for-public-consumption as confidential as information between doctors and their patients. Fabrics are sampled and sourced to make the whole image come together with sketches. Sketching is used a technique to communicate ideas – not an end in its self – rather a means to an end. Many ideas are explored, revised and developed but, this stage has a definite duration. After which, the client approves of the design in writing before anything else is done.

What happens if the client changes her mind along the way about the design? More on that next time…

Couture vs Labels: Labels

…BACK to ready-made wedding gowns, hems always need adjustment but, the other thing that needs altering nine times out of ten is the lining. Linings of production line garments seem to be a ‘one size fits all’ component.  Beautiful gowns on the outside frequently have unsightly rippling showing through. Most people think what they see is the result of the dress being too big, in a way they’re right, but unless you are more experienced with dressmaking and tailoring you may not realize that it may only be the lining which is supposed to be exactly the same size and shape as the outside or slightly smaller.

In most ready-made garments the linings are not even seamed in the same place as the top fabric, excess fabric being only pleated in to match a seam line or folded over to take up excess lining. Let me repeat: this is NOT how it should be.  Linings should be like a second skin to the top fabric following the contours and seaming of the top fabric. Overcoats and jackets may have special ‘giving pleats’ for ease of movement when a more flexible top fabric than lining is used. Please don’t confuse a ‘lining’ with an underlay, slip or underdress to the face of the garment.

Why don’t ready-made garments have linings these days? That next time….

 

Eleganza will be featuring the very talented Sarah Vann www.sarahvann.com singing and Los Morenos www.losmorenosmusic.com live band playing at Eleganza on November 20th, at the Calgary Winter Club www.calgarywinterclub.com

 

 

 

This is not project runway!

Eleganza, our Couture Fashion Event in November is progressing nicely and we have more than enough material for the content – the show would be too long to show all the wonderful garments that the students have created. We are working hard to make sure our sponsors are acknowledged for their very generous support of Eleganza and Making Changes Association of Calgary. www.makingchangesassociation.ca

Eleganza Sponsors:

Tania at Pattison Outdoor Advertising  www.pattisonoutdoor.com

Jason and Val at Speedpro Signs http://airdriesigns.com

Don at Smart Betty http://calgary.smartbetty.com

Beverley at Lia Sophia Jewelry www.liasophia.ca/sites/beverleyparkin

Aaron at Red Dot Photo www.reddotphoto.net

Kelly at Kaydee Web Design www.kaydee.net

Margo and Leela at Lava Hair Studio www.lavahairgroup.com

Val at My Day Designs www.mydaydesigns.com

Aaron at  www.reddotphoto.net

Stacy at www.sweetsbystacy.com

Hannelore of One of a Kind Designs hannelore765@gmail.com

Heidi at Jamesons Pubs http://www.jamesonspubs.com

Neil and Barbara at Hidden Springs Retreat www.hiddensprings.ca

Tom and Marty for Rocky Mountain Accomodations  http://www.rockynow.com

 Eleganza’s featured Wedding Gown

Couture vs Labels continued…. couture is not instant gratification it is the journey following the client’s dream ending with the expected desired destination, with all the memories of discovery and delights along the way.

THE consultation with the client is the first serious discussion to find out what your client has in mind and in couture customer service is the all-important issue to address no matter what follows. Your client must be made to feel as though they are the most important one you have. However, if during or even before the consultation, this person treats you unfavorably or without courtesy – drop them immediately – it truly is a sign of things to come. Be seriously courteous and explain your position with integrity – do not burn any bridges.

Please don’t take to heart what you see on TV regarding temperamental prima donna fashion designers carry on the way they do and getting away with it as being true – that is for television entertainment value only. In professional practice, they do not get away with it. They get fired.

The consultation is always a paid visit – to ensure that no one is wasting each other’s time and will provide the couturier and client with enough information to carry on to the next stage. How each couturier will handle the consultation fee is up to them and there are several ways of doing this.  After the consultation, a contract is written up so that both parties know exactly what to expect of each other so neither one is disappointed or confounded during the process. The couture experience should be and always remain a pleasurable one.

The really fun part of this wedding gown journey began two years ago with the bride bursting with ideas – some definite, some exploratory. Brides often change their minds about their perfect gown, and ours did too but, came full circle back to her initial gut feeling. Excitement is so infectious and becomes the stimulant for creativity. Our bride knew exactly what color she wanted, and overall what theme her wedding was taking on. It’s a good thing to consider and explore other options just to rule out the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘should-haves’ before you actually walk down the aisle and Couturiers are trained to extrapolate all those ideas and design something unique which essentially ‘hits all the notes’. Keep tuned for more…

Talk soon, J            Visit:   www.couturecalgary.com   for Eleganza Fashion Event information and tickets.

 

 

 

Couture vs. Labels

The Label says you are ‘one of the girls’; Couture says: You Are The Woman.

Couture Wedding Gown

As one of the many great wearable couture items in the couture fashion event ‘Eleganza’ www.couturecalgary.com, EHC will be featuring a wedding dress – more correctly wedding “Gown” which in concept, was started in 2009.

First let me explain why ‘gown’ and not ‘dress’. A ‘dress’ is a one-piece garment for women and girls combining a bodice, with or without sleeves, and a skirt, and covering most of the body and even though the clothing is required for a particular occasion the definition and connotation doesn’t quite measure up to the distinctive occasion such as a wedding.

This ceremonial declaration of two individuals in agreement vowing to share a life of love, companionship and devotion forming a recognized legally binding relationship called marriage is a big deal – sorry – an IMMENSELY BIG DEAL. (For those of you who don’t agree – try getting yourself out of this simple little contract with your emotional and financial health intact).

Therefore, for this occasion deserves to be called a ‘gown’, an elegant dress or a woman’s full-length or formal dress worn for special occasions. This wedding gown will be modelled by the bride herself in Eleganza on November 20th, 2011. How this couture gown evolved will be revealed in an ongoing feature…to be continued keep posted…

The Labelled wedding gown

About ready-made, made-to-measure, prêt-à-porter, and off the rack wedding gowns, these are all pre-made or manufactured on an assembly line with standard measurements no matter how unique they claim to be – at or after production may be altered to suit the buyer. In our experience with these bridal gowns no matter how close they come to fitting the bride-to-be one thing that never fits properly around the bust line is the strapless gown.

This one area either gapes losing the less-than-full bust altogether (crumb catcher), or worse presents the bust like cream puffs on a platter, with the underarm and back really MT (muffin top). Sadly, one may think this is attractive or erotic, but most women (and men if you ask them) find it vulgar or embarrassing to look at. Rather, the strapless bodice should be sensual with the fabric moulding over the bust embracing it, holding you under the arms, following around caressing the back enhancing your allure.

Why is this always a problem with ready-made? My polite guess is that when the dress is assembled on the production line, very little time is spent and little expertise employed to shape the bodice properly – straighter lines are just easier to handle. So make sure to ask your dressmaker to make certain that the strapless bodice fits properly when having alterations done. More on this later as well….

I won’t request wedding gown disaster stories – I couldn’t cope with them all, but perhaps some of your questions will be answered and problems explained as you follow EHC on this lesser traveled road called… ‘Couture’.

www.ecoleholtcouture.com

Proud sponsors of Eleganza:

 

Silent Auction prize - retreat getaway http://www.hiddensprings.ca

 

 

 

Eleganza!

Find it at:      www.couturecalgary.com

 

We are getting close to Ecole Holt Couture’s Fashion Event this year titled ‘Eleganza’. How do we choose the name for the event, you may ask? Well I could say it is a long complicated process but the truth is that the name evolves organically through discussions and ideas generated by students and staff at EHC influenced by what we have on our curriculum plate at the moment – and one day we say that’s it!

Last year ‘ONE’ seemed to be the definitive word essentially fusing the idea of ‘Couture’ and the aim of Making Changes program ‘Walk in Closet’ – helping women to be confident and distinguishable entering a competitive job market by people united in the effort. Plus, we implicitly give the ultimate credit to the ‘One’ who makes this and anything else possible. One defined came up as: Unique, Distinguishable, Essential, Basic, Core, Key, Cardinal, First, Being, Self, Spirit and Soul, A body of People in general, United, or Unified. The event last year was a success because everyone seemed to work together as one, and every one did make a difference.

This year the title ‘Eleganza’ embodies the core definition of Couture which is elegant, stylish, well-designed, chic, smart, tasteful, pleasing to the eye, beautiful, well dressed and tasteful – include the opportunity to display the craftsmanship and skills of our up and coming couturiers and ladies tailors for a worthy cause and that was it elegant extravaganza.

The worthy cause of EHC’s choice is Making Changes Association – a vibrant organization that empowers women in transition by providing relevant programs, services and resources whose goal is to help women build confidence and skills so that they can participate more fully in the community.

Making Changes Association assists over 1,200 women each year to build a better future for themselves and their families.  The organization’s strength lies in their rootedness in the community and in building collaborative partnerships and creating a more inclusive range of opportunities for women in transition. What they are able to achieve as an organization is directly related to their committed and talented volunteers and staff members, and they continue to develop new ways to deepen the impact of their services.

The Making Changes – Walk-In Closet Program provides 90 minute individual consultations on professional business attire, to women facing financial barriers who want to join the work force, return to school or engage in volunteer opportunities. In addition to information on business culture and appropriate dress, participants are offered gently used clothing and accessories, at no cost, to help them feel and look their best. Women of all ages seek service from the Walk-In Closet and have two things in common – they face financial barriers and they need appropriate business attire for interviews, new jobs, school or volunteer work.

This year we have attracted some great sponsors to this event, who support the ideals of both our organizations. We are very happy to have them on board with us and guests will have the opportunity to visit with them at the Event at their respective booths. All proceeds from Eleganza will go to Making Changes Association. At this point we are still accepting sponsors for the Event on November 20th, 2011; please email media@ecoleholtcouture.com for more information about how to get involved.

Thank you to our Sponsors:

Beverley at Lia Sophia Jewelry http://www.liasophia.ca/sites/beverleyparkin

Kelly at Kaydee Web Design http://www.kaydee.net

Margo and Leela at Lava Hair Studio http://www.lavahairgroup.com

Val at My Day Designs http://www.mydaydesigns.com

Tania at Pattison Outdoor Advertising  http://www.pattisonoutdoor.com

Don at Smart Betty http://calgary.smartbetty.com

Jason and Val at Speedpro Signs http://airdriesigns.com  Aaron at  http://www.reddotphoto.net