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A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Owen Bruce Author: Elle Canada Credits: Owen Bruce

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A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Novelist Emma Hooper imagines the story behind the characters in our September issue fashion shoot. Scroll to the bottom to see all of the images from the shoot. You're in for a wild ride!

For my 10th birthday, I asked for an inter­national ­law textbook. I didn’t get one. Instead I got 100 pink balloons, a full ­sized carousel and a brand­ new ballet out­fit, even though I’ve never had lessons. Some kids dream of running away to the circus; I dream of running away from it.

I have no dad. Not anymore, anyway. He left when I was two. Fire­-eating – like my mother, like me – had been a passing fancy. The note he left said: “I’ve gone to law school. Please don’t try to find me.” It didn’t say anything about me.

What I have instead of a dad is a mom and a grandma and Aunt Sanddune and Uncle Zephyr and his girlfriend, Ocelot, and all the people who come to the house every Friday and Saturday and Sunday when we are Open and Business Is Good. That’s when I put on my ballet clothes and dance in the garden, even though I don’t really know ballet. I just do moves I think real ballerinas would do and imagine that someone in the cot­ton­-candy­-eating, lemonade ­drinking audience is my father. That man in the khaki shorts holding the hand of a just­ normal woman in jeans. The balding guy pushing a stroller with a baby. I look them in the eye and dance as beautifully as I can, until they wander off toward Ocelot’s accordion show or the fortune teller who is actually Grandma or the contortionist who is ac­tually Uncle Zephyr. They never stay in the garden for very long.

READ MORE: Women on the verge

Before the doors opened on the day after my birthday, I told everyone that I was leaving. That I was going to find my father.

“Where?” said Aunt Sanddune.

“The law firms,” I said. “Downtown.” I would look all day during normal business hours, and if I still didn’t find him I’d hitchhike to the next town big enough to have lawyers.

Then you’ll probably be back by six?” asked Uncle Zephyr.

“Or maybe six­-thirty, if some of them are workaholics....” said Ocelot.

“No,” I said. “I won’t be back until much longer than that. I might not be back ever.”

“Well, then,” said my grandma, “we’re coming with you.”

Beside her, my mother nodded. “Yes,” she said, quietly. “Yes, we’re coming with you.”

They put a “Closed for Family Emergency” sign on the door, and a bowl of free un­inflated balloons underneath for dis­appointed customers, and went off to get ready for adventuring. Grandma got sunglasses that made her eyes look like a fish’s, Mom and Aunt Sanddune got matching fake­ fur jackets in pink and yellow, Uncle Zephyr got a brown cowboy jacket with dangling frills all up the front and back, and Ocelot got a neck­lace made of hundreds of fake pearls stuck together into one giant fake­pearl ball. She tried to bring her accordion, strapped around her arms like a backpack, but it kept bumping the pearl ball so she had to leave it behind. I found my most normal jacket, dark denim, and put it on over my ballet things.

READ MORE: Are you a fauxcentric?

People thought we were a parade. They lined the sidewalks to watch us pass, and some clapped. Little kids gave us high­-fives. We walked in a line all the way to the first law firm, in a building that was all square and glass. “Do you want to go in by yourself?” asked my mother. Her yellow faux fur brushed my arm.

Yes, please,” I said.

“Okay,” she said. “Then you should know, Lily, that your father’s real name is Henry, not Flames Inferno – Henry Dowell.”

“Okay,” I said, “Thank you.”

They all stayed in the lobby while I took the elevator up. Grandma distracted the security guard by telling his fortune.

My father wasn’t there. He wasn’t at any of the next six firms, either. Or the next six after that. But then, at a firm in a tall square glass building, a woman all in navy cocked her head and said: “Henry? Henry Dowell? Yes, I think he does work here. Here, follow me.”

She led me down the hall, away from the bright lighting, to where it was dim. At the end of the hall, she stopped at a door that said “Custodian” on it and smelled like lemon bleach. “There you go,” she said and left. I lifted my hand to knock but didn’t. I just held it there, breathing in the lemon, the bleach.

When I got back downstairs, my mother asked, as always, “Did you find him?”

And I answered, as always, “No.”

“...And then you’ll die of heat exhaustion,” said Grandma, finishing up with the security guard before turning to me. “On to the next?” she said. It was five­-forty-­five.

No,” I said. “I’m done.”

“Done?” said my mother.

“Yes, done,” I said. Everyone was looking at me. Mom, Grandma, Uncle Zephyr, Aunt Sanddune, Ocelot.

READ MORE: It’s the season of the stylist


“They...” I said, swallowing, “they told me about him. About Dad. That he used to be a lawyer, but then he ran off. That, now, he is off with another circus, swallowing fire. In China. Far, far from here. Too far for us to go.”

Oh,” said Uncle Zephyr.

“Okay?” said Mom.

“Yeah,” I said.

We paraded back down the streets to our house, and people watched and clapped and gave us high­-fives and Mom said to me, “You know, I guess that means he’s still Flames Inferno after all, not Henry Dowell.”

Yes,” I said. “I guess so.”

“That’s good, isn’t it?” asked Mom.

“Yes,” I said. “It is.” I used one hand to high-­five a toddler in a stroller and, with the other, held my mom’s, yellow faux fur brushing against my wrist with every step.

For more from Emma Hooper, check out her debut novel, Etta and Otto and Russell and James, which was published in January 2015.

READ MORE:
11 fashion pieces you need to add a little eccentricity to your wardrobe
Our favourite images from the Fall 2015 fashion campaigns
Here's how to make lingerie part of your daytime look


Click through below to see the images from our September issue fashion shoot...

Slideshow

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A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Double-jersey coat, silk shirt, napa-leather gloves, Plexiglas and crystal brooch and Plexiglas hair clip (Prada), pewter, rhinestone and crystal brooch, silver and crystal lizard brooch, metal and glass-pearl brooch and metal, rhinestone and crystal cuffs (Rita Tesolin), suede and leather booties (Nicholas Kirkwood for Roksanda) and paper hat (David Dunkley Fine Millinery) READ MORE: 10 multitasking fashion items for any weekend adventure

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Merino-wool sweater, silk-georgette shirt and lace skirt (Gucci), leopard-print hat, plastic telephone-cord purse and leather purse (Gadabout), polyester scarf (Au Jour Le Jour), vintage crystal brooch worn on hat, cuffs and rings (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection) and titanium earrings (Noor Fares, at Archives) READ MORE: Inspiring fashion Pinterest accounts we love

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

On Juliann: Silk-crepe and satin top, cashmere and silk-mouline dress and brass-plated earrings (Céline), polyester flower necklace (Dries Van Noten), Plexiglas hair clip (Prada), marabou-feather boa and plastic bracelet (Gadabout), calfskin “Kelly” bag and enamel and gold-plated bracelet (Hermès) and leather shoes (Peter Pilotto). On Hannah: Wool dress and sequined wool-jersey top (Dior), Mongolian-lamb hat (Gadabout), Swarovski-crystal necklace and vintage stone-bead necklace (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection), white-gold and diamond hand bracelet (Yeprem, at Archives), metal and rhinestone clutch (Rita Tesolin) and calf-leather shoes (Delpozo). Cakes (Nadia & Co.) and plates (Cynthia Findlay Antiques) READ MORE: Consider these fashion myths officially busted

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Felt coat with eco-fur, Lycra leotard, microfibre tights, polyester scarf and leather boots (Au Jour Le Jour), metal and rhinestone brooch (Rita Tesolin), lace and feather headpiece (David Dunkley Fine Millinery) and vintage crystal rings (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection) READ MORE: 19 spots in Toronto to take your next fashion Instagram

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

On Sam: Wool coat (Marshalls), cotton shirt, wool pants, silver necklace and calfskin shoes (Dior Homme), raffia hat (Gadabout) and brass brooch and vintage crystal ring (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection). On Juliann: Wool jacket, cotton skirt and silk scarf (Marc by Marc Jacobs), wool hat (Gadabout), vintage crystal earrings (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection), rhodium-plated 18-karat-gold, sapphire, onyx and diamond ring (Jaleh Farhadpour, at Archives), gold-foil lunch bag (Zilla, at Archives), metal and rhinestone clutch (Rita Tesolin) and velvet and leather shoes (Mary Katrantzou) READ MORE: Our favourite images from the Fall 2015 fashion campaigns

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Polyester and polyurethane coat, stole and dress (Issey Miyake), crystal bib necklace, crystal and metal ring, crystal and metal earrings and emerald and crystal brooch (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection), Plexiglas green brooch (Prada), 18-karat- gold, amethyst and rose- quartz butterfly ring and rhodium-plated 18-karat- gold, blue-topaz and black-sapphire ring (Jaleh Farhadpour, at Archives), 18-karat-gold, sapphire, emerald and diamond mono earring (Ileana Makri, at Archives), metal and rhinestone knuckle ring and rhinestone flower brooch (Rita Tesolin) and acetate sunglasses (Karen Walker, at Archives) READ MORE: These French women are giving us full-on wardrobe envy

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Silk-mohair dress, organza skirt, metal and pearl necklaces, calfskin flap bag and suede grosgrain shoes (Chanel), felt hat and felt fascinator (Lilliput Hats), silk necktie (Stella Jean), vintage brass necklace (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection), pewter and rhinestone ring (Rita Tesolin) and foil clutch (Zilla, at Archives). READ MORE: Now this is how you do Casual Friday in style

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

On Hannah: Silk-brocade and Mongolian-goat shearling coat (Mikhael Kale), crystal earrings and pewter and rhinestone brooch and rings (Rita Tesolin) and foil bag (Zilla, at Archives). On Juliann: Poly-twill dress (House of Holland), velvet turtleneck (Delpozo), leather and Lego tote (Les Petits Joueurs, at Archives), vintage crystal cuffs and brooch worn in hair (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection), rhinestone and metal brooches and earrings (Rita Tesolin) and leather shoes (Peter Pilotto). Tray and teacups (Cynthia Findlay Antiques) READ MORE: We break down Balmain's Fall 2015 campaign  

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Silk dress (Sacai), pewter and rhinestone brooch worn in hair and pewter and rhinestone brooch (Rita Tesolin). READ MORE: Yes, you can wear a T-shirt to work. Here's how.

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

On Liisa: Tapestry and jacquard dress and leather and copper belt (Roksanda), silk shirt worn underneath (Winners), rhodium-plated 18-karat-gold, brown-diamond, quartz and sapphire earrings (Jaleh Farhadpour, at Archives), rhinestone brooch worn on hat and acrylic and rhinestone ring (Rita Tesolin), acetate sunglasses (Linda Farrow by Erdem, at Archives), vintage rhinestone minaudie?re (Archives) and felt hat (Lilliput Hats). On Juliann: Crepe de Chine shirt and wool skirt (Jonathan Saunders), gold earrings (Archives), leather gloves (Winners), plastic and Lego clutch (Les Petits Joueurs, at Archives), felt hat (Lilliput Hats) and rhinestone and metal brooches worn on shirt and hat (Rita Tesolin) READ MORE: The playsuit is the new jumpsuit

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Stretch-velvet turtleneck, wool dress and calf-leather shoes (Delpozo), tulle headpiece (David Dunkley Fine Millinery), vintage crystal necklace (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection) and metal, rhinestone and crystal cuffs (Rita Tesolin) READ MORE: These stylish women of Instagram are taking #curvy back

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

On Sam: Wool jacket, cotton shirt, cotton hat and silver necklace (Dior Homme), vintage crystal brooches (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection) and silk scarf (Hermès). On Juliann: Cotton sweater, poplin shirt and crystal earrings (Miu Miu) and metal and rhinestone pin (Gadabout) READ MORE: Cara Delevingne and everything else the ELLE Canada fashion team is obsessed with this week

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Tapestry cape, tulle dress and pearl necklace, brooch and earrings (Simone Rocha), rhodium-plated 18-karat-gold, sapphire, onyx and diamond ring (Jaleh Farhadpour, at Archives), pewter and rhinestone ring (Rita Tesolin) and vintage crystal rings (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection) READ MORE: 5 ways to get away with sneakers at the office

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Wool blazer, silk and tulle dress and crystal brooch (Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane), vintage crystal brooches (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection), 18-karat-gold, amethyst and rose-quartz ring (Jaleh Farhadpour, at Archives), pewter and rhinestone ring (Rita Tesolin) and velvet and leather shoes (Mary Katrantzou) READ MORE: How to really wear this season's '70s trend

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

On Judith: Wool coat with wool-fur collar (Peter Pilotto), vintage crystal earrings (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection), crystal and rhinestone cuffs and pewter and rhinestone rings (Rita Tesolin), acetate sunglasses (Linda Farrow by Khaleda Rajab and Fahad Almarzouq, at Archives) and vintage rhinestone clutch (Archives). On Hannah: Silk blouse and cotton pencil skirt (Stella Jean), crystal earrings (Rita Tesolin), metal and stone cuff and vintage crystal cuffs (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection), velvet sandals (Giuseppe Zanotti Design) and felt hat (Lilliput Hats). On Stella: Wool jacket with brass buttons (Gadabout), cotton and spandex leotard and tulle tutu (Malabar), sequined felt and plastic headband, polyester and elastane hairband, nylon and spandex tights and polyester socks (H&M) and vegan-leather flats (Zara). On Liisa: Baby-alpaca sweater and crepe-wool skirt (Peter Pilotto), paper and parasisal-straw hat (David Dunkley Fine Millinery), gold earrings (Archives), pewter, rhinestone and crystal brooch (Rita Tesolin) and velvet shoes (Simone Rocha). On Juliann: Wool coat with eco-fur, cotton sweater and silk plissé skirt (Stella Jean), rhinestone brooches (Rita Tesolin) and vintage crystal rings (Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection). READ MORE: Our editors' pick where to shop in Toronto

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

Faux-fur coat (Dries Van Noten), polyamide and silk-lace top and viscose and polyester trousers (Christopher Kane), parasisal- straw, silk and feather hat (David Dunkley Fine Millinery) and silk scarf (Herme?s) READ MORE: 10 luxe fashion items to splurge on after a bad breakup

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada

A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel

Eccentric fashion shoot

On Juliann: Mohair coat and wool dress (Isa Arfen) and leather boots (Dries Van Noten). On Hannah: Mohair coat (Isa Arfen), lace and tulle dress (Marco de Vincenzo) and velvet and leather shoes (Mary Katrantzou). For details, see Shopping Guide. Models, Liisa Winkler and daughter Stella (Mode Elle), Juliann H. and Hannah D. (Elite Toronto), Sam F. (Elmer Olsen Model Management) and Judith Maria Bradley; hair, Susana Hong (P1M.ca/TRESemmé); makeup, Simone Otis (P1M.ca/Shiseido); prop styling, Suzanne Campos; assistants, Brittany Sinclair and Caroline Levin (P1M.ca). Special thanks to Nancy Phillips’ family for allowing us to shoot at this beautiful location. READ MORE: Here's how to make lingerie part of your daytime look

By: ELLE Canada Source: Owen Bruce Credits: ELLE Canada


Photographs by Owen Bruce. Fashion direction by Juliana Schiavinatto. Art direction by Brittany Eccles & Denis Desro.
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A ride on fall’s eccentric fashion carousel