How appropriate that for S/S 2010 (a nod to the sequel to Kubrick’s 2001) Evan Biddell would look to the stars for inspiration. Easily the most entertaining opening all week, the show began with a short that featured cartoon blood, spaceships, and spacemen superheroes. In a Biddell future, women don flowing maxi dresses, harem pants and onesies, and colour-blocked outerwear with latex busts. The future-inspired garments were outfitted with robot accessories badass enough to hang with H.A.L. Also covetable was a flowing grey maxi that hugged at the ankles, flowed at the hips, and then connected with a rubbery long-sleeved cowl neck and an über-sexy hooded metallic body suit.
A minimalist collection paired with an earthy clean palette of taupes, violet-tinged-greys, blacks, creams, and cotton-whites can make for a humdrum fashion show. But making minimalist out of leather is a whole different story. For their S/S collection, Rudsak reworked season favourites such as pintucked dresses and safari jackets out of leather, and paired their signature ensembles with beautifully crafted side-bags, fold-over clutches, satchels, and duffle bags. The aforementioned earthy palette was offset with occasional pops of fire-engine red, royal blue, and grape. Blending the leather look with satin or cotton shirt-dresses was nice, but the two-tiered strappy sack dress under a short motorcycle jacket was truly something to remember.
Shying away from the usual pastel or neutral spring/summer palette, Nada, by Toronto-based designer Nada Shepherd, showcased a near all-black collection. Perhaps the word “shying” is inaccurate when describing Nada’s part-boudoir, part-vampiress designs. Dripping in lace, pearls, or black satin, models stomped down the runway with confidence as high as their comb-backed beehives. Occasionally the all-black parade was broken up by an azure flower detail on a skirt or bodysuit, or a sky-blue button-up paired with strands upon strands of pearls. Peaked shoulders on two of Nada’s standout jackets gave a hard edge to an otherwise soft, romantic collection.
So far, former Project Runway Canada contestant Lucian Matis has been spot on with his accessory choices. For Fall 2009, we saw antler jewellery worn on wrists and shoulders, protruding out of teased hair, and wrapping around the torso like a primitive sash. For his latest collection, models in studs, pearled, and jewelled headgear marched down the runway in pastel bandaged stilettos. The theme this season was the circus — although looking to the shoes and palette one might think “ballerina”. Looking more Cirque de Soleil than Barnum and Bailey, the collection was soft in nearly every aspect: from fabric choices, to colour choices, to prints which had a watercolour aesthetic. Blush pink satin, powder blues, nudes, baby yellows, and eggplant draped and elegantly cascaded over strong svelte figures. Offsetting the overall collections softness were thick metal necklaces — sometimes chainmail linked, or strands looping and falling onto each other — of silver and gold. Matis’ juxtaposition of textures made us wonder what the young Toronto native has in store for next season.
It was 8pm and the crowd is buzzing with anticipation — and hunger no doubt. Luckily (or unluckily; consider your stance on Spanx) miniature tubs of Baskin Robbins are dished out at the door. Pat McDonagh’s collection, inspired by sweet indulgences, obviously needed calories to match. The seats were filled, the lights dimmed, and over the speakers (appropriately) we heard “Big Spender” from the musical Sweet Charity. Models in chocolate fondue garments poured one by one onto the runway in ultra-feminine dresses, pantsuits, and a sheer coat over a cut-out two-piece. The next group was all cotton candy pink, cotton candy red, whipped-cream-white with cherries on top — literally: tiny cherry ornaments hung from bust and hat, even appearing on the shoulders of a marching band blazer. A little too sweet for my tastes, though I appreciated McDonagh’s whimsy. And besides, dessert for dinner is always fun, though not as much fun as a well-concocted Caesar.
To cries of a violin song, a model walked out wearing a beige, asymmetrical, wide collared vest. And then another wearing a dress with the same collar detail. I was instantly interested in what was to come in Ula Zakowska’s Spring 2010 collection. I can honestly say the show had me pleasantly surprised. Showcasing a collection of neutrals intermixed with reds, lavender, and rainbow organza — specifically rainbow organza dresses and drop crotch onesies — Zakowska strategically injected some layerable black pieces perfect for those cooler summer nights. Prior to the flowing, pearlescent organza things, a group of vanilla-coloured shirt-dresses with pockets, peaked shoulders, and printed images (faces and landscapes is what it looked like) sashayed down the bare white runway. At the show’s end, “Islands” by The xx played as a smiling Zakowska waved to the crowd. It really doesn’t get more feel good than that at Fashion Week.