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Local designer finds beauty in the dark side
There’s no doubt about it, when it comes to image, sex sells. Having said that, one person’s interpretation of the word “sexy” can be very different from the next. Yes, I have no doubt that many men in Calgary just happened to catch the Victoria’s Secret fashion show on television a few weeks back, but let’s get real here, there’s a lot more to sexuality and sensuality than some lace bras and panties. Whether you’re a man or a woman, there is always something to be said about one’s confidence and sense of style. One local fashion line, NRT, is taking this idea of self-assurance and running with it. Into the dark.
“Confidence in what you are wearing is the best form of sexy. If you’re dressing how you want, and in a manner that is featuring your best assets, that to me is the most attractive and sexy thing about a person,” says Nicole Rita Tomney, creator of NRT. “Of course, if you’re wearing anything leather... or minimal trashy, like ripped up tights, then you’ve got my attention.”
Tomney started her namesake fashion line in 2010; her pieces have brooding undertones and are able to attain a certain sensuality that is not typical of most designers. Tomney skilfully blends darkness and sexuality — think Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga music videos colliding (in a good way) — into boldly constructed pieces.
“I feel like NRT is about finding the beauty in the dark,” says Tomney. “Yes, the clothing that I create is dark and gothic, but it is also about being feminine and showing that you are sexy... maybe not in the traditional way of thinking. I try and think about the body and what shapes and cuts are going to scream, ‘look at me,’ but also make the client wearing the piece feel sexy.”
NRT’s mandate to design high-end wear for those not afraid to stand out holds true in every outfit Tomney produces. From lace, to fur, to leather, these garments are definitely for the most extroverted of individuals.
“I have everyone from drag queens and strippers, who want to be in leather pants and topless, to everyday women who love to be different and are confident in dressing exactly how they want,” she says. “They are not afraid to stand out in a crowd and be the centre of attention.”
While Tomneys calls Calgary home, she is by no means contained within the city limits, showing past collections in Vancouver, Toronto and Mexico. As well, she regularly completes custom pieces for various magazine spreads, music videos and other fashion-related events.
“I have been lucky enough to have worked with so many amazing people in the fashion and music industry and grow my business,” she says. “The biggest thing in fashion for me is art and expressing [that] through my garments. I am inspired by music, sex, art, literature, people, religion, and everything around me.
“Each piece is handcrafted to fit the [specific] person wearing it,” she continues, “So, by getting to know the body and personality that I am working with, I am able to create a garment that is going to accent the beauty of that individual.”
For the average person who may not be quite ready to don an avant garde piece from NRT, Tomney offers this last piece of advice: “I think that as long as you keep the words ‘classy’ and ‘fashion forward’ in mind, dressing slightly provocative is the only way to dress. If you’re embracing your sexuality in a manner that is minimal, like pairing a sexy corset with a pair of black pants, heels and a leather jacket, you look damn hot — not trashy. I find that women strive to look sexy, but tend to miss the [mark]. A cincher from Victoria Secret’s is not a dress ladies, FYI.”
Duly noted. For more information about Tomney and the NRT line, see NRTfashions.com .