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Taking Turbine for a spin

It’s easy to tell that Lisa Drader-Murphy is passionate about her work. Her eyes light up when she talks about her inspirations, and the excitement she has over prints and fabrics is contagious. The woman is clearly devoted to style.

It’s easy to tell that Lisa Drader-Murphy is passionate about her work. Her eyes light up when she talks about her inspirations, and the excitement she has over prints and fabrics is contagious. The woman is clearly devoted to style.
But what more would you expect from a designer who has been dominating the Halifax fashion scene for the last ten years?
Drader-Murphy’s nationally acclaimed brand Turbine celebrated a decade of success on Nov. 5 at their annual fashion showcase in Saint Patrick’s Church.
The collection featured at the showcase—a luxurious mix of classy and comfortable—did not stray far from the traditional Turbine aesthetic, retaining the trademark kimono-style wraps and wide obi belts of past years.
“I’ve always had that as a signature look,” said Drader-Murphy. She said that she has the utmost respect for Japanese designer Issey Miyake, and pays homage to him in her work, along with American minimalist designer Donna Karan.
Building on this characteristic aspect, the Fall/Winter 2010 line features monotones and metallics, with occasional pops of vivid colour. The line’s luxurious fabrics, from velours and silks, reflect the overall trend this season towards excess and extravagance in the fashion world.
The obi belt, a recurring piece in the Turbine arsenal for the past few years, was easily the most coveted item of the night. Every fashionista in attendance lusted after the $56 original item, while the sleek and sophisticated kimono-style wraps, on sale for $148, were a close second in popularity. Both items are available in various colours, fabrics, and styles at Turbine’s chic Bishop’s Landing boutique on the harbour front.
If these hallmarks are the demure and classy bass line of the collection, then Drader-Murphy’s addition of asymmetrically draped mini-dresses and exposed zippers are the youthful melody.
And though they may not be sexy in the same way a mini-dress or exposed zipper is, Drader-Murphy’s original knit hoods also add an energy and daring to an otherwise reserved line. The hoods, attached to sweater-dresses and shrunken knit tops, stood out shockingly from the rest of the collection, adding a welcome avant-garde aspect to the line.
Drader-Murphy explains that the daring idea came from her one of her favourite films, Grey Gardens, and specifically from the character of Little Edie, a quirky social recluse who has now become a fashion icon for her oddball style.
But the designer’s inspirations do not stop at fashion; she is also a large proponent of women’s and children’s charities. The Turbine Fund, established in 2003, has given over $75,000 in donations to various charitable organizations since its establishment.
Each year, Drader-Murphy attempts to find a new, relatively unknown charity to donate a portion of the funds raised at Turbine’s Fashion Showcase to, giving back to the community that was “so helpful” to her in her first years in the city.
This year, the charity is Amanda’s Gift, an organization which gives bursaries to youth who were formerly in care and are now attempting to further themselves through post-secondary education or career opportunities.
Amanda Sutherland, founder of the program and the first gift giver, is a special guest at the showcase. As she speaks with a young recipient of the bursary on behalf of the charity, Drader-Murphy looks on with a glowing smile and tears brimming at her eyes.
It is a touching moment, one that shows what a significance charity has to the designer in respect to her career: “It’s important,” says Drader-Murphy intently when asked about the subject. “Fashion is a frivolity, [charity] is a way to counter that frivolity and make it meaningful.”

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

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