The fashionable DX

When Design Exchange president Shauna Levy was quoted as saying, “We want to show people that design is not just about buildings and furniture, that it can be seen in every facet of our everyday life – from our red-soled shoes to the box they came in, the shop we bought them in to the vehicle we took to get there,” she wasn’t kidding. First came “Christian Louboutin at the Design Exchange,” an exhibition that immersed the visitor in the world of the French luxury designer, best known for the coveted, iconic red-soled shoes of which Levy speaks. A theme seems to be developing with the offerings at the DX this fall, a theme that might be entitled Fashion & Accessories at the Design Exchange.

First up is the “Lingerie Française Exhibition” (Sept 26 to Oct. 13), a retrospective covering over 100 years of glorious French lingerie. The exhibition features 210 objects, from old corsets and bras to prototypes of modern lingerie combining a functional and aesthetic importance. Eleven renowned French manufacturers are represented: Aubade, Barbara, Chantelle, Empreinte, Implicite, Lise Charmel, Lou, Maison Lejaby, Passionata, Princesse tam.tam and Simone Pérèle. The exhibition culminates in the irresistibly named “Trans-Historical Striptease”: a life-sized hologram illustrates the development of lingerie with a view to the change of the female silhouette and body language. The “Lingerie Française Exhibition” comes to Toronto following showings in Paris, London, Shanghai, Dubai, Berlin and New York.

Up next is the “Festival des Métiers” (Oct. 2–6), which translates as the “Festival of Crafts” and is presented by French luxury brand Hermès. The exhibition provides an insight into the longstanding traditions and values of the company (which opened in Paris in 1837) in the crafting of objects defined by an uncompromising commitment to the highest standards of quality. It features intimate, behind-the-scenes demonstrations by masterful craftspeople, illustrating the methods in which products – handbags, silk scarves, ties, watches and other iconic objects – are painstakingly made by hand using techniques passed from generation to generation. 

Rounding out the fall events is “DX Intersection 2013: Market” (Oct. 18). During this annual fundraising “do,” all 40,000 square feet of the DX are transformed into a marvelous market, “where people will experience the intersection of sight, smell and sound.” This year’s VIP dinner is located within the exhibition hall at one large communal table; halfway through the evening, the space opens to all party guests and becomes a lounge. 

At DX Intersection every year, Levy and company celebrate an acclaimed game-changer – one who effortlessly moves between creative disciplines, demonstrating creativity across all platforms. In the spotlight in 2013 are a “matching pair” of game-changers: Byron and Dexter Pert, known affectionately in the fashion world as “the Twins.” Born in Ottawa, and educated at the University of Western in London, Ont., the stylish brothers are the duo behind Montreal’s WANT Les Essentials de La Vie line of luxury bags and accessories.