Lucian Matis is known for his dramatic, over-the-top designs – with more than enough embellishments. Yet for his spring/summer 2012 collection, the Project Runway Canada alum showed some uncharacteristic restraint. Gone were the chaotic designs of collections past; in their place were chiffon, ruffles, flowers, studs and basket weave. While colour groupings were often unexpected — who knew orange and turquoise went together — and many pieces were quite sheer. Matis, as a result, managed to evoke airy-fairy springtime nymphs. Taking inspiration from the Matisse painting The Green Stripe, the other Matis presented floor length gowns and micro minis in pop art shades of mustard yellow, blood red, deep turquoise, orange and bright fuchsia alongside skin tone jackets, poufy mini dresses, and studded bodysuits and under things. Nail art courtesy of the talented ladies at Tips Nail Bar, natural makeup, sleek high ponytails and outsized earrings accented Matis’ glamorous designs. In a stark white room, gorgeous pop art gowns truly, well, popped (!) in the sparse space. The gorgeous woven ribbon was paired with wonderfully draped sheer swathes of fabric, chiffon flowers in contrasting colours or were presented in brightly clashing hues.

What most surprised me about Matis’ spring line was the real-world “wearability” (read: accessibility) of many of his designs. While his creations are always artful, it can be difficult to figure out where they would fit into a woman’s wardrobe (even among the closets of the most glamorous of Toronto’s style set would find it challenging to rock a Matis creation). This time around, these dresses would fit in quiet nicely, from the office to the, um, red carpet.

LUCIAN MATIS S/S 2012 RUNWAY photography by Ryan Francoz