Though some standout Canadian designers (Phillip Stark and Greta/Ezra Constantine) showed previous to the official week, all days yielded memorable collections.
Day One saw Project Runway Canada winner Sunny Fong preview his debut collection, Vawk, below Frank Gehry’s iconic spiral staircase in the Art Gallery of Ontario. Opening with a cream pantsuit paired with a primitive straw and leather necklace, Fong referenced French Polynesia with an overall palette was consisting of creams, sandy and dark browns, and a fuchsia the colour of hibiscus. Standout pieces from the Vawk collection featured graphic flowers and foliage cut from dark brown leather.
Drawing inspiration from the Middle East, David Dixon’s collection, titled “Hanging Gardens of Babylon,” was as refined as it was unified. With models’ arms decked out in near-elbow-length silver bangles and the occasional one-shoulder gown reminiscent of an Indian sari, the collection’s intermixing of soft contours (a violet skirt with circle fringe and a yellow coat evocative of petals) and hard textures (metal jewellery and aluminium clothing) was a crowd pleaser. Amongst the most memorable pieces from the collection: the floor-skimming metal maxi.
Post-Middle Eastern glam, Barbie by David Dixon took the stage. A show dedicated to an iconic plastic woman, helmed by an iconic Canadian designer, should rightly begin with an iconic clip from the 1957 movie Funny Face, accompanied by Kay Thompson singing “Think Pink!” In true Barbie fashion, the collection featured blush pink, fuchsias, flowing fabrics, polka dots, flower motifs, full skirts, and pencil skirts, on models with glossy bouncy hair and pink pouts.
Travis Taddeo of Montreal previewed his collection earlier in the day. Taking his cue from popular street-style motifs such as oversized racer tanks (possible post-9pm dresses), light cut-off denim, flowing graphic T’s, and bodysuits, Taddeo showcased a youthful and casual collection. Despite having substantially less pieces, Taddeo’s menswear line, with its leather basketball shorts and structured shoulders, managed to overshadow the women’s collection.
In an intimate space away from the frenzy of the official runway, Andy Thê-Anh unfurled his latest collection. Against a backdrop of black lacquered furniture, zebra print, and chandeliers, Thê-Anh’s sophisticated designs looked at home. Statuesque yet languid models entered the room in their flowing and tailored champagne-coloured evening frocks, dispersing throughout the space, silently sitting, standing, and draped over the furniture. After the models’ entrance, attention was then drawn to the short stage, where more models emerged in sleek, tailored pants and jackets, paired occasionally with zippered dresses. As the procession of models walked back behind the curtain, it was a tailored white dress showing off a bandage-wrapped shoulder that stood out amongst the collection.
Jason Meyers S/S 2010 collection was inspired by the 1955 Katherine Hepburn movie Summertime, though you’d be hard pressed to have guessed his muse from his designs. With some pieces looking more 80s and others looking architectural, it was difficult to place what elements were inspired by the film. Borrowing from the 80s, there was a pink peplum number, high-wasted cigarette pants, and a purple puff-sleeve bolero. In the same show, a two-toned dress with an architectural hip, and an orchid dress with oversized looped shoulders made their way down the runway. Although more interesting than his previous collections, the overall show appeared confused.
Twenty-one-year-old self-taught Katrina Tuttle showcased her collection on Day Three. Initially the collection seemed themed to springtime (the show opened with bright lights and birds chirping), but as skirts, dresses, or jackets trickled out — many with lovely hand-folded detail — Tuttle’s garments looked more like wearable pieces of origami, featuring prints that could easily be stacked upon the shelves of a Japanese Paper store.
Although we’ve seen most of the elements in past seasons — motorcycle-inspired boots, dresses with bustier busts, nautical stripes and structured shoulders — Kimberly Newport-Mimran’s Pink Tartan label made us fall in love with the trends all over again. The perfect black-and-white striped casual T (soon to be available in a heather grey) with outer padding on the shoulders preceded a light grey, cropped trench with a folded curtain detail. Dresses, jackets, and aforementioned T-shirts all assumed the soft structured shoulder described by Mimran as “soft armour.” Other notables included a shiny light grey blazer with reinforced shoulders, and a mid-length light grey trench paired with a flowing charcoal shirt-dress.
An over-capacity room watched as Theodora Richards, daughter of Keith Richards and famed for drawing in large crowds and wrangling fashion’s ‘It’ girls to strut the catwalk, danced her way down the runway. Celebrity models included Amanda Laine (winner of V magazine’s model search who has opened shows for the likes McQueen and Miu Miu) and Toronto native-cum-runway star Tara Gill. While the clothes were monotonous — familiar SS colours such as white, yellow, and creams, button-up shirts, button-up shirt-dresses, gingham, gingham bras over tops — the audience patiently (a group fidget here or there) sat watching to see who (perhaps slightly more than what) would appear next on the runway.