Today, I’m going to tell you the story of how I fell in love with fashion. I feel like most of you, especially if you follow me on Instagram, probably think I fell in love with fashion because of my dad’s menswear store. Working at my dad’s store is how I fell in love with service, but it wasn’t where I fell in love with fashion.
I fell in love with fashion through television.
Yep, that metal box everyone said was so bad for you…. is exactly how this small town Canadian first got really excited by style.
There were two shows in particular. One was on daily and the other was once a week. So if I missed them.. I missed them. (Remember what that felt like?)
The first show… was Mr. Dressup.
Mr. Dressup was the best kids’ show. You probably won’t find a Canadian kid who wasn’t enthralled. The host (Mr. Dressup) would get together with his puppet friends, Casey and Finnegan, who lived in a treehouse, and lead us through songs, crafts, and games. It was all super smart and sweet, but what really blew my mind wasn't the experiments or the games. It was how in every episode, Mr. Dressup would go to his tickle trunk, and the exact outfit he wanted to wear… would be sitting there at the top. Neatly folded. Waiting for him.
That, to young Karla, was magic.
In hindsight, yes duh I know they put the outfit at the top of the trunk. But I loved his costumes. Something about it just totally captivated me. I spent every day of my childhood watching.
A few years later, in 1989, the second show changed my life. It was called Fashion File and it was hosted by this pristine journalist, Tim Blanks.
Tim showed me the highest of high fashion. From the models, to the runways, to talking to designers. It was the greatest education I could ever have gotten.
I got to watch McQueen shows, and see Madonna at Helmut Lang and hear Marc Jacobs talk through his new season. Tim is a real journalist. He knew how to ask all the right questions. He asked about process, and methodology and why a designer chose this colour and what they were trying to say. He showed us how everything really worked, and what impact it had.
I still, to this day, remember every single episode. It was just so intellectual, and so well thought out. It’s never been replicated.
About 10 years after I left Canada, I got to go to Paris with Olivia Wilde for an event. We were at a dinner, and the hosts said to me, “ok Karla, you’re going to be sitting next to Tim Blanks.”
Well, reader. I am not sure how I am still here today because I really almost died.
Honestly, I’m not even a fawner! Not cause I think I’m too cool, but because I’m just too shy. But I looked at him, and I said…. Well I can’t remember exactly what I said cause I was so nervous.
But I thanked him. And I told him he was why. And then we ate Dover sole together.
So why am I telling you this?
Because it’s all part of my story. There’s a thread between that girl watching Mr. Dressup. And that girl working in her dad’s store. And that girl who got into restaurants, only to meet Matthew. And that girl who loved that runway show on the CBC.
It all led me here. None of it was random.
So, reader. Please, watch everything. And pay attention to what feels like magic.
Cause maybe that’s saying something about you that you don’t even realize. And maybe it’s the beginning of something so, so much bigger.
And shout out to CBC - the amazing Canadian Broadcast Corporation with the best logo! Bring back Tim Blanks and Fashion File! And RIP Ernie Coombs!