TORONTO - After decades spent turning the lens on designers as host of the long-running series "Fashion Television," Jeanne Beker is poised to experience a role reversal on the airwaves by unveiling a collection of her own.
The pioneering fashion and media maven is slated to appear on The Shopping Channel on Sunday at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET. in support of her new eponymous line of women's apparel and accessories, which will also be available online.
Beker's latest fashion venture follows a string of partnerships with other homegrown retailers. She launched Edit by Jeanne Beker at Hudson's Bay Co. in 2010. Two years later, she teamed with Addition Elle on a plus-size capsule collection to bring extended sizing of Edit to their stores. Previous credits also include a limited time only clothing line for Eaton's in 2001 as well as a line of bodywear sold at Sears Canada in the fall of 2003.
Beker hosted "Fashion Television" for 27 years before the trailblazing style series was cancelled in 2012. She has remained at the forefront of the fashion industry as a columnist, editor and commentator, but is keen to break fresh ground as she debuts her new line to viewers.
"Shopping on television is so widespread now, and obviously, there's a certain style to the way it's presented. I'm hoping that maybe I could bring some of my experience and my savvy to this particular platform and present home shopping in a way that's a little bit different," said Beker, who has been appointed to the Order of Canada and was honoured with the vanguard award at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards last February.
"I think home shopping has the ability to not only service people in a most wonderful way and make it all very easy and accessible... but it also has a potential to really educate people and really entertain people — and that's what I want to do," she added.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to create the kind of content that's a little bit different, that's a little bit certainly more trailblazing, let's say, than anything that's been done before with home shopping. I'm really looking forward to that."
Beker said the "pragmatic" pieces in the collection are akin to those in her own closet. Items range in price from around $20 to $240, with offerings including chunky knit sweaters, jewel-toned silk blouses, a menswear-inspired jacket and stretch denim as well as accessories like sunglasses and jewelry. She has also enlisted daughter Bekky as part of the creative process, with the illustrator designing what Beker described as a "woodsy" scene printed on a silky top.
"They're pieces that can be worn in multiple ways. They're pieces that can take you from day to night, they're pieces that can be the punctuation marks sometimes for your wardrobe — and I find that's what we're all craving," said Beker, sporting a sleek little black dress from her collection.
"We all talk about the trends. To me, sometimes, that seems a little passe. 'What's on trend? What's hot? What isn't hot?' I think people have to go to what resonates with them and what they feel good in, what they feel comfortable in."
Having interviewed fashion legends like Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino and the late Oscar de la Renta, Beker described herself as "so privileged to pick the brains of some of the most creative people on the planet." But rather than settling on a lone favourite designer or style influence, she said she's learned to appreciate a variety of styles of dress and design approaches which she has then tailored to meet her own needs.
"We all do that now. We go into the store and we're bombarded with so many options now — it's dizzying. But it's up to each individual woman to know what's right for her," she said.
"I know sometimes it takes a little courage to do that, and hopefully, I'll be able to help empower women to make these choices themselves."
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