Every amazing thing Christian Allaire wore for Canada Reads_freckle removal 1930

Every amazing thing Christian Allaire wore for Canada ReadsThe writer and style icon’s on-point looks were a parade of Indigenous designs.

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The writer and style icon’s on-point looks were a parade of Indigenous designs

Yasmin Seneviratne · CBC Life(Images: @chrisjallaire/Instagram; art: CBC Life)

I don't have to bother with a spoiler alert. The news is outabout Canada Reads 2022: Christian Allairetriumphed with his passionate defence of Cree writer Michelle Good's novel, Five Little Indians

Allaire's devotion to his arguments and the themes in the book were evident in the show's debates and in the conversationsbetween Allaire and Good too. And if you're familiar with Allaire's work, you know he's not new to championing Indigenous culture. Among his reporting on all things style, the Ojibwe author of The Power of Styleand Vogue fashion contributor writes frequently about traditional Indigenous clothing, beauty and crafting techniques. So it's no surprise that Allaire styled himself for television with that intention. 

"I instantly knew I'd want my fashion choices on the show to champion Indigenous culture," he told us. "I'm a big fan of thematic dressing. I had ideas right away." Allaire was deliberate about mixing contemporary pieces with traditional — and quite personal — ones. On the first day of the show, he wore a traditional Ojibwe ribbon shirt which he wrote aboutmaking alongside his mother, Nancy, and aunties Joanie, Lee and Tammy. 

He settled on a rollout strategy too. "I wanted each day's look to get progressively more bold. Almost like as the debates ramped up, so did my outfits," he said of his plan. "I started out simply with my sleek ribbon shirt, and by Day 4, Jamie Okuma's blazer adorned with ribbons, quillwork and crystals ended with a bang. It's not every day you get to be on national television, so might as well go for it."

When asked about wearing Indigenous designs to support Indigenous culture, Allaire talked about the pieces' inherent ability to do the same. "Indigenous fashion design is so special because not only do artists create beautiful garments, their garments are embedded with an upholding of tradition and craft. The pieces reflect the designer's tribe and where they're from," he said. "I wore a lot of Tania Larsson's jewelry on the show, for instance: her beaded medallions, quillwork necklaces and caribou antler rings are informed by her Gwich'in background."

Luckily, Allaire documented his outfits for each appearance on his Instagram, describing the items he wore and the designers and artisans behind them. Definitely worthy of a second look, here's every amazing thing he wore on Canada Reads.

Allaire on his Day 1 look: "I wore my Ojibwe ribbon shirt created [by my] mother, Nancy, and aunties Lee, Joan and Tammy. I paired it with a medallion necklace by Levi Shawana of Wikwemikong."

Allaire on his Day 2 look: "Today, I wore a vest made by my mother, Nancy, and auntie, Joanie, using @laurengooddayx @tetontradeclothfabric. I love the details like the buttons made of wood. I also wore a beaded bolo tie by my talented cousin, @farrahxlewis."

Allaire on his Day 3 look: "Today, I wanted to sport a more contemporary Indigenous outfit: I wore @eliasnotafraid's printed floral and skull tee with his beautiful beaded cuff. I also wore two of my [favourite] contemporary jewelry artists: a @tania.larssonnecklace and @molina_two_bullscuff. Also had to wear this shiny @dhruvkapoorshirt on top (because why not!)."

Allaire on his Day 4 look: "For the finale episode, I of course wanted to champion Indigenous style to the most dramatic degree. [Honoured] to wear this blazer by my dear friend @j.okumathat's adorned with ribbons, dentalium shells and crystals. I also wore a beaded medallion necklace, dentalium necklace and muskox horn/caribou antler rings by my dear boo, @tania.larsson— two Indigenous women who are totally badass and remind me of Clara in the book."


Yasmin Seneviratneis a producer at CBC Life and the creator of Le Sauce Magazine.

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