Fashion editor Bernadette Morra and stylist Derick Chetty discuss how Derick chooses merchandise to photograph for his Shopping News column. Send your comments to nakedlunch@thestar or click on the comments link below.
|Handmade shell necklace, $995, Kumari's, 94 Cumberland St.|
So Derick, how do you come up with story ideas for your column? Bernadette
Judging by some readers' comments, I think they think it is all rather random. It's not. For this week's cover story on necklaces, I wanted to feature something new about necklaces. Aren't we tired of beads on a string? I know I'm tired of seeing another "designer" jewellery collection which is basicly beads strung on a string. I'm sure there is a huge market for that but it's not newsy.
The necklace idea started with a fab piece I saw at Noir on Bloor St. W. The necklace was made of eyeglass lenses strung together. I thought how original was that!
Another local designer I met showed me a necklace he fashioned entirely out of coloured plastic spoons - a one of a kind piece.
Suddenly everywhere I went I was seeing wierd oversized necklaces. The windows at Kumari's (94 Cumberland St.) featured giant necklaces made with shells. At Holt Renfrew, there were some showpieces by Chloe, Marni and Etro. Which of course, reminded me that yes, I had seen the trend on the runways in Paris and Milan. Derick
But if the Noir necklace and the plastic spoon necklace sparked your story idea, why aren't they in the newspaper? Bernadette
It comes down to editing and availability. The spoon necklace was one of a kind. And the Noir necklace was expensive. We can only feature so many items on the pages. I wanted to include the designer Susie Love because we have never featured anything by her. She makes a lot of whimsical jewellery. Check out her site at www.myspace.com/susielovesfun. And her prices were very inexpensive considering no two piece are alike.
I also wanted to include local designer Basia on Dupont St. Readers can go to her store where she has many more interesting jewellery to select from.
And I felt it was important to feature some designer pieces like Marni for those avid fashionistas. Derick
You mentionned that you didn't include Noir because the necklace was expensive. But the necklace from Kumari's in the main photo on the Fashion front page is $995. How do you define expensive? Bernadette
Some people might find that expensive but there was a customer waiting to buy the Kumari necklace when the staff arrived to open the store this morning! Similar pieces sold soon after the store opened, also to people who had seen it in the newspaper. Our readership is broad and definitely includes people who can afford a $995 necklace.
Also Mother's Day is a special occasion so people might tend to splurge. Derick
So do you balance price against how eye-catching something is going to be in newsprint? Bernadette
I think the most important - yes, even before price - is how eye-catching the item is and how well it photographs. And of course, is it new - as in unusual and newsy. But of course, I also try to balance it by having a few pieces that are wallet-friendly. Derick
You used to work at Flare. Is there a difference between what you would choose for a magazine and the items you select for the newspaper? Bernadette
Yes, there is a difference. At a fashion magazine, it is a lot more niche. Stories are very focused on runway trends. Here at The Star, I've learned to look at many difference angles. The street, major events, pop culture all contribute to how and what we cover in the Fashion section. With the huge readership we have, including the majority of non-fashion followers, it is important to look beyond the runway for trends.
In terms of how products are selected here is my checklist: the item must be available to purchase somewhere in the city. I must have a variety of price points and a variety of stores include chain stores since they are widespread and have a greater reach with our readers across the province. Also, this is newsprint. There are some products that will be difficult to photograph and also a lot of quality is lost in the reproduction in newsprint. For example, when it comes to jewellery, bigger, bolder and colour works best for us as opposed to fine, delicate, chain-like items - which of course would not be a problem for a glossy magazine. Derick
As an independant jewelry designer who currently sells direct to customers at shows like One-of-a-Kind, how can this work be showcased? Lori Cranson
We get many, many emails, calls and letters from jewellery designers who want us to write about them. In fact, that is one of the reasons I wanted Erin Kobayashi to profile some new young designers on page 3 of today's fashion section. Erin and I went over the many submissions we received over the past few months. We looked at the designers' work on their websites and iwe debated who to put in her story. In the end we chose the group that we felt had newer, fresher-looking designs. There was one more young man we were going to include but he does bracelets and necklaces and we only had room for the one photo of the rings on the spoon. So we hope to feature him sometime down the road.
If you send us information about your work, we will consider you next time we feature jewellery. However, bear in mind we probably won't do that for a while - at least not until there is fresh news in jewellery or a news hook like Christmas gifts. Bernadette