Canada Has Some Incredible Designers
Although I decided to take in the shows at my own pace, I found myself at the tents, everyday and ended up enjoying all that WMCFW has to offer. What I missed, I learned from eavesdropping in on people chatting about the shows they’d seen or the trends they’ve witnessed over a bottle of Peroni. It was pretty fabulous in the “Fashion Environment” where you got to hear all about how the hemlines had changed since last season, what materials and prints were new and how they measured up against any particular designer’s previous collections. But as a quick side note: This is my sixth fashion week in Toronto and I’ve noticed that there are a bunch of designers who no longer show at Toronto’s Fashion Week… and without quoting some of the skuttlebutt that some of the other bloggers or members of media have come up with, I can only assume that it’s due to cost which… is quite sad. In any event, showing during fashion week means better exposure and a chance to enthuse buyers and befriend media… like me! So, it’s really in the best interest of a designer. But even with the dropouts, it was still a packed week.
I’ll start this with answering the question I get asked most frequently… “What was my favorite show?” That’s obvious… Mikael D. His previous work with PAVONI has lead Mikael Derderian to carve a name for himself in 24 carat gold. His bridal and evening wear dresses are the makings of resplendent dreams. They move magnificently down the runway the same way they do on red carpets the world over. This collection was so stunning I had to give it a write-up of it’s own and I highly encourage you to see these statuesque gowns first-hand in High Def here. (coming soon)
But the Mikael D collection closed fashion week down and so by answering that question first, I have mixed the order of things up! So to turn it back in the correct order I’ll tell you about the Pink Tartan show which was actually my first show.
Since the purchase of the Pink Tartan line by designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran’s husband Joseph Mimran of Joe Fresh, the line has changed significantly. A focus on hemlines and color composition or in this case, an adversity to color took the theme from playful and feminine to more serious with a dash of resolute prints. With brilliant whites, shimmering blacks (and the occasional robins-egg blue, blush, and neon yellow tossed in), the collection felt much more stern than in previous seasons. It seemed that Kim was cornered into incorporating over-sized flowers and bold monochromatic gameboard looking knits to compensate for the atramentous collection. I have to tip my hat to the long hemlines though, they’re a huge trend and women who embrace this (regardless of height), will find themselves on-trend and developing a more contemporary feel for Spring. Click here to read my write up of the Pink Tartan Spring 2014 show and longer hemlines including how to style them.
The next day of fashion week was chock full of tension as the collections of up and coming designers took to the runway for the Mercedes-Benz Start Up program where one winner got to walk home with some serious mentorship and a fully paid runway show at next season’s WMCFW. The winner… well there were !!TWO!! this season. A tie! What what! The Alberta based Malorie Ubanovitch and Quebec’s Matière Noire. Malorie showed a series of soft textiles from mohair knits to silk sheaths and the feel was simple and sexy which came across as refined rural. Matière Noire on the other hand was all urban with boxy silhouettes and took a futuristic approach to femininity. I actually loved the collection created by designer Cécile Raizonville and look forward to the Fall 2015 collection.
A runner up at the MBSU was HD Homme. Now aside from some minor fit issues with his men’s suiting the collection was so powerful. Designer Hussein Dhalla (HD… get it) is one of the first evening menswear designers to come out of Canada with such a strong debut. I can say with certainty that I will be wearing a great deal of his collection in the near future as it is exactly my style and speaks to me as a blogger and TV personality. It’s shows like this that make me realize the potential and raw talent that Canada has to offer. Also, I have to say “Thank You” to Mercedes-Benz Start Up for introducing me (and the world) to these upcoming designers and brands.
After MBSU I quicky ran to get my ticket for Mélissa Nepton who in the past has delivered well tailored womenswear line that’s more salable than many of the collections I get to see throughout the year. I wasn’t let down for Spring 2014. The show started with whites and swirled into a sea of cream, algae blue and sequinned python…. or a facsimile thereof… but it was still… really cool. I have to say my favorite pieces were the quilted knitwear. They were so wearable and really looked like luscious investment pieces for Spring 14. After the knits, the line quickly went to what I’m goign to call “Post Apocalyptic Buddhism” with patchwork squares sewn together on a mesh backing. Nothing could have been more avant-garde. Nepton is stepping out as a designer and really embracing change. Maybe this had something to do with the fact that the last time I interviewed her she was pregnant and come to think of it I DID see a very small child in the audience… hmmm… anyhow. I really liked this collection. One thing I thought was a bit out of place in the line-up was the mini skirts. THEY WERE SO SHORT! Did they fit within the collection? Definitely. Were they on trend… not so much. Whatever I know of about a million of my fashion gal pals who’ll be picking these up come Spring.
Sid Neigum never disappoints and has created quite the following from his eclectic collections. I have literally followed his career from a small town out west to the bustling metropolis of Toronto. His designs have blossomed from arcade prints to edgy laser cut pieces and updated outerwear that would fly off shelves if it were only in larger retailers. The thing with the collection is not that it was beautiful (which is was) but that most people reading this right now won’t get a chance to buy it. Canadian retailers need to step up and start carrying these incredible brands and promote our nations talent from within. As a consumer you can get the phone number or email address of the buyer in your favorite boutiques or large retailers and tell them you want to see your favorite designer on their racks. Of course there is a small caveat to this… make sure that when the product is in stores, that you support it by actually buying it 😉 Okay I’ll get off my soap box now…
Going back to Mercedes-Benz Start Up for a moment, a huge success that came out of last year’s MBSU was the Christoper Bates line. I have always enjoyed his collection and this season was a lot of the same blissful menswear looks I’ve come to expect. Slim cut suiting, stark white cotton poplin shirting and this season… a lot of navy. The show opened with a white unlined Spring suit that was TO-DIE-FOR but to be honest my favorite look was the pink and white look that was more pink that what most men would be comfortable with but that’s okay… style’s not for everyone.
Next up was Triarchy with more denim than I could shake a stick at. Of course that’s what the show’s all about and the brother, brother, sister team did exactly what they are best at… pumping out sexy ass denim. Of course the sexy shirtless male models helped to draw focus to just how hot their product really is. I can’t say enough about them and want you to know we may be doing a collaboration of sorts in the near future but I can’t say anything just yet. I’ll save that nugget for a later date. Loved the show though! Seriously get into a pair of Triarchy’s because that’s the only way you’ll ever understand what I’m really talking about.
Day three of fashion week had me looking at leather in a whole new way. Mackage has transformed their brand by incorporating beautiful genuine leather handbags that are as excitable as they are striking. The handbags were fierce with polished metal arrows acting as closures but the real treat came in the form of perforated leather everything. From dresses to skirts and shirts, square laser-cut patterns were sliced out of the thin leather like a fashion forward colander. Designers Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan also took shiny metallic leather and turned it into belts, bags, hot pants and accents on the high fashion collection. It was also later used to create the after-party bracelets that were used to mingle and drink all night at the Soho House. Awesome Party! But back to the collection for a minute… I loved the layered look for the women which had tulle placed atop leather creating a simple yet youthful false hemline. But for the men I loved the white moto jacket that closed the show. Stunning!
On day four of WMCFW there was something in the air, a quiet excitation rumbled through the tents before what was expected to be one of the week’s hottest shows. Caitlin Power who also hails from Alberta is blooming on the Toronto stage with an aptitude that can only be referred to as staggering. Her presence that can be seen through the clothing she creates has a strength that is both intimidating and encouraging. From the first olive silk and brown leather coat you get a sense of the difference from other designers as seen by her linear silhouettes, in your face shoulders, and dynamic prints. When Caitlin decided to combine structured leathers with soft cotton and silks, or snakeskin with thick shantung silk in a coat, you felt the determination and capability of the Caitlin Power woman. The line had a feeling of élan that when worn correctly could make any CEO or businesswoman a powerhouse.
Attending Rudsak each season is a treat and a privilege as Evik Asatoorian typically puts on a splendid show full of leather, canvas and Montreal street chic style. This season was in no contrast which was both good for sales and continued success but by no means did it inspire provocation. I felt the collection was simply Okay. No big hoopla, no grand celebration, just good. Employees can remain confident that sales will remain relatively unwavering but with little pizzazz on the runway comes little excitement in stores.
On the last day I had two shows to attend… Bustle, and Mikael D. Since I already told you all about Mikael D I’ll regale you with tales of the menswear brand… Bustle by designer Shawn Hewson and Ruth Promislow. Many of you have seen Shawn Hewson on television. He’s done Project Runway and Celebrity Style Story (which I want to be on as a contributor SO BAD! Soon… soon my pretties) but he’s, in short… kind of a big deal! His shows (which always have a charming quality to them) have a full set, smiling models and occasionally drunken behavior which is all in good fun. The clothes on the other hand are cut sharply to the frame, designed with crisp floral textiles and absolutely sing when on the body. A color blocked look was one of my favorites from the Spring 2014 collection. Hewson designed it with navy and black layered upon each other while still adhering to the strict guidelines of classic men’s tailoring. Then again… there was that popping floral printed suit coat in marigold yellow, royal blue, coriander and lavender. However, one thing must be present when wearing most of the pieces from this collection, a cocktail… and some sun.
Mikael D. Sneak Peek (see the post: Mikael D Spring 2014):
I had a blast this season and am actually super sad to find myself writing this recap instead of attending more shows. But… I hope through this, you felt as though you were right there beside me. Stay tuned for more fashion events through the year and be sure to sign up for my newsletter for frequent updates. Or just follow me on Twitter @Marquis_Fashion.