And it’s a wrap, ladies and gentlemen! After much hustling and bustling – in style, of course – the Spring/Summer 2013 edition of Toronto Fashion Weeks is over and what a season it was.
This season Rogue Fashion Week gained steam with the creation of The Collections, the fashion presentation formerly known as The Fashion Collective that nurtures up-and-coming designers, and the continuation of the shOws, which showcases Canadian talent at home and abroad.
IMG World took over the official World MasterCard Fashion Week from the Fashion Design Council of Canada and the changes, though largely superficial, were immediately felt. The Target Canada-sponsored media lounge was greatly improved, the shows ran on schedule and the much griped about bleachers were replaced by actual chairs.
The runways were not as racially diverse as seasons past, however, there were still some major runway highlights. World-class models shared the runway with local favourites and Jessica Stam, Ataui Deng, David Agbodji, Charlotte Free and the inimitable, energetic, legendary Pat Cleveland walked alongside my faves Jacqueline Summers and Naro Lokurka.
Now, enough of the preamble. Here are my top 5 collections from Toronto Fashion Weeks (in alphabetical order for fairness).
The inspiration for Arthur Mendonça’s latest collection was Taylor’s Technicolour Cleopatra. While visions of acid-hued shades and OTT glamour may spin through your head Mendonça gave the inspiration the Arthur treatment. Sorbets shared the runway with muted earth tones and stark whites and the designs were more understated, elegant glamour than Queen of the Nile extravagance. Feminine tailoring and draping were enhanced with soft silk , cotton and linen and accented with almost-psychedelic, artsy patterns for a collection that left me fiending for summer weather and ice cream dates.
Click here for more from Arthur Mendonça
Mercedes-Benz is the latest in a growing line of brands who have decided to invest in budding Canadian design talent. Their contribution? The Mercedes-Benz Start-Up competition, which offers “mentorship and professional council [to emerging designers] to help provide the tools necessary to build a successful and sustainable business.” Finalists Caitlin Power and Duy Nguyen of high-end ready-to-wear brand DUY were two of my favourite collections from the presentation.
Caitlin Power is known for her sleek tailoring, modern design aesthetic and leather accents and the Calgary-native continued to build on that solid foundation with a dark, moody palette was accented with hits of gold.
The peplum has been done and done and done again to death but Montreal-based designer Duy Nguyen of Duy made it seem fresh and new. His light, airy ladylike collection included slick tailoring, tone-on-tone looks, ladylike details and a healthy serving of summer knits and denim. When the runway cleared the Montreal-based designer was crowned the 2012 Mercedes-Benz Start-Up competition winner.
Jean-Pierre Braganza returned to the scene of his youth (he was born in London, England but raised in Toronto and Montreal) to present his Spring/Summer 2013 collection that was all about truly modern tailoring, draping and design. The simple was made complex and the complex was made elegant courtesy of futuristic suiting, sensuous draping, origami designs and deconstructed looks that resulted in a complex precisely disheveled aesthetic. The cutouts on the suits were a modern update on a well-worn staple (I’d love to see a leading man wearing the male version of one of these suits on the red carpet).
Click here for more from Jean-Pierre Braganza
Restraint. I never thought I’d use that word to describe a Lucian Matis collection but that is exactly what the Romanian-born designer presented for Spring/Summer 2013. Titled Mosaic, the collection was inspired by the mosaics of Morocco and the “the beauty of the Moroccan art and its ornate elements.” What the collection lacked in trademark Lucian embellishments and beading it made up for in show stopping prints and fabrics. The aforementioned kaleidoscopic mosaics were given the digital treatment and appeared on maxi skirts, long-sleeve tees and shirts, skirts and pants that featured relaxed tailoring. But the custom prints and fabrics did not stop there. Mosaic prints made way for floral prints, sheer crocodile print fabrics and crocodile-embossed leather. As the collection progressed the designs began to shed their soft, resort feel and evolved into sharper, darker designs that are best described as elegant S&M.
Click here for more from Lucian Matis
UNTTLD is the new kid on the Toronto fashion block. The brand is a collaborative effort between José Manuel St-Jacques and Simon Bélanger who showed their first collection during the Fall/Winter 2012 season. For Spring/Summer 2013, the duo were inspired by the “intricacy of Kabuki theatre”, which they gave the modern treatment. Sleek almost cocoon shapes shared the runway with Japanese-inspired wrapped looks and dark, urban looks shared the runway with bright, white hopeful looks and luxe metallic numbers.
Click here for more from UNTTLD
Chloé Comme Parris is a brand to keep an eye out for. In the past the duo have had trouble translating their urban nomad aesthetic for the spring and summer months but for their latest collection the sisters presented a cool city girl with a touch of California. The lighter palette didn’t seem forced and the jacket detailing (think chains, fobs and drawstrings) and nightwear as daywear really worked.
Modern urban sportswear for the fashion enthusiast. That is the most succinct way to describe Jeremy Laing’s latest collection. Anorak details carried into the clothes and the collection looked like an interesting hybrid of Japanese football gear.
The Vawk runway show is always a Toronto Fashion Week treat but this season the accessories, designed by Niki & Lola, ruled the runway. Both collections were inspired by Madonna and Frieda Kahlo and the husband and wife duo behind the contemporary jewellery brand presented hammered brass hair bows, crowns and a stand out cone bra.