The Sid Neigum presentation during RE\SET in Toronto. Image by: George Pimentel
Did RE\SET, Toronto’s new designer showcase, shake up the city’s fashion scene?
For the past few months, Toronto has been settling into a post-Fashion Week era. After global management company IMG (which also oversees New York, Berlin and Sydney fashion weeks) pulled out of staging the twice-annual event July of last year, and the industry let out a collective “what now?” shrug, we’ve begun to rebuild — and hopefully reinvent. Although the city lost its international backer, the pool of designers remained, as did a supportive community ready to attend whatever new iteration of fashion week came next.
The aptly named RE\SET, started by Toronto-based production agency The Collections and the Fashion Design Council of Canada, was the first event to take up the void this season (the newly formed Toronto Women’s Fashion Week and the second instalment of Yorkdale’s FashionCAN event are coming up later this month).
RE\SET was not a traditional fashion week – nor did it set out to be. The two-day event, which took over a West End concert venue, The Great Hall, featured eight shows by names like Sid Neigum, Beaufille and WRKDEPT. In addition to these presentations, up-and-comers like jewellery brand Dolorous, denim brand Triarchy and unisex designer S.P. Badu showed off their wares tradeshow-style, which attendees checked out between shows. Many designers cited their established relationship with The Collection’s founder Dwayne Kennedy as a reason for partaking.
On the first day it became clear that runway shows are no longer the norm – most designers opted for static presentations. “You can see the clothing up close, and I’d like to think you can walk up and touch it,” said Toronto-based womenswear designer Sid Neigum, who used the event as a platform to show his spring 2017 collection, which hits stores now. “It makes sense [for me] to show an in-season concept,” says Neigum, “Toronto Fashion Week was always more of a consumer event because we didn’t have a lot of international press.”
Designers Chloe and Parris Gordon of Beaufille pose with their models. Image by: George Pimentel
It’s worth noting that Neigum and Beaufille, arguably the biggest names on RE\SET’s lineup, opted to re-show spring 2017 collections we’ve technically already seen. Neigum showed his collection at LFW last fall and returns there this month for the fall/winter 2017 shows. Beaufille, run by sisters Chloe and Parris Gordon, showcased its spring collection at New York Fashion Week in September 2016 and is there for the fall shows this week. Although the Beaufille duo continues to manufacture in Toronto, showing during NYFW has “helped get a lot of international traction and retailers and press,” says Parris Gordon.
One thing the press and consumers have in common? We look to fashion for the next wave, and up-and-coming brand Markoo is one to watch. Designers Tania Martins and Moona Koochek presented their fall 2017 collection at RE\SET, their first showing since launching the brand in 2013. The look was a high-low mash up of luxe materials like satin and leather and streetwise silhouettes. “We went for an inside-out vibe, employing quilting and things that you would see on the inside of garments on the outside,” says Martins. When asked why they chose to show at RE\SET, they praised the intimate nature of the event and the timing. Crucially and unlike Toronto Fashion Week, RE\SET took place “ahead of schedule,” allowing buyers time to pick up collections to carry in stores for the following season—a hope for fledgling brands like Markoo, who opted to show a fall collection instead of taking a see-now, buy-now approach.
The Markoo presentation at RE\SET. Image by: George Pimentel
For Vancouver denim label Triarchy, who displayed their collection in the showroom, the event allowed the founders tell a story on their own terms. “A lot of people don’t know that our clothes are sustainable and low-water [consuming] and that’s something we were able to tell everyone here,” says co-founder Ania Taubenfligel. Designer Hilary MacMillan, who went against the grain with a runway show for her retro-feminine fall 2017 collection, also pointed out that entry fees are lower compared to the “well-oiled machine” that was Toronto Fashion Week.
For Canadian designers, international success is still very much contingent on leaving the proverbial nest (Tanya Taylor and Kaelen are examples), so time will tell if RE\SET and its ilk are the way of the future, and, perhaps more importantly, if they are what local designers need to grow their presence locally and abroad.
Tinashe Musara of Montreal-based artsy streetwear brand WRKDEPT, the final show of RE\SET, also puts the responsibility on retailers. “Canadian [shoppers] are still obsessed with [foreign] brands,” he says. “In cities like Copenhagen they support their own brands because they are well represented in stores.” “They have a clear point of view and it’s important to push that so that Toronto can be seen as an innovative city that’s moving forward.”
The WORKDEPT presentation during RE\SET. Image by: George Pimentel
But, in an ever-changing fashion landscape where see-now, buy-now is the watchword and L.A. is the promise land (brands from Rachel Comey to Tommy Hilfiger have opted to show there this season) cities need to take an individual approach instead of attempting to play catch-up with the Big Four. Take Sydney, which switched to showing resort collections in 2014, thus aligning local designers to the international buying schedule. Berlin, meanwhile, kicked of its Mode Salon project a few seasons ago, which sees dozens of designers take over a single space, with press, buyers and influencers dropping in at leisure during the city's fashion week. The pop-in concept maintains a more intimate show atmosphere, but alleviates crowding – something that was hard not to notice at RE\SET.
As I waited to get into Beaufille’s presentation, the crowd clad in Vetements long sleeves and furry toppers (it’s February in Toronto, after all) was packed so tight that I heard someone mutter “this better be Bruce Springsteen.” Then I thought of Triarchy’s Ania Taubenfligel, who offered a different take: “the ice storm didn’t keep anyone away. That should tell you something.”
With files from Elaine Jyll Regio
Image by: Ellen DeGeneres Show / YouTube.com
"Who’d you rather what?"
We never would have taken J.Lo for a Harry Styles fan. The singer was cornered into a game of “Who’d Your Rather” while appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week.
And while she remained super coy about whatever is going on between her and Drake, she got pretty candid during the game featuring some of Hollywood’s most desirable bachelors. Watch below to see which Oscar-winning actor she's not-so-secretly pining for and what star is "like a brother" to her.
Céline spring 2017 RTW Image by: Imaxtree
One writer's take on the oft-misunderstood shoe that is “safe but not sensible.”
Fashion watchers say that the kitten heel is ubiquitous this spring, but is it? Since the kitten heel is neither as flat as a crepe nor as high as a flagpole, much gets dumped into its medium-sized category that isn’t kitten, or, really, even feline, at all. In fact, it’s easier to say what a kitten heel isn’t than what it is.
It is certainly not a stiletto. Neither is it square, squat, sturdy or stacked, even if it’s medium height. What makes the Dior slingback with logo strap, Prada sandal, pointy Acne Studios slingback, Loewe moccasin and Céline babushka slipper kitteny is the indentation right at the top of the heel, called the “seat.” It makes the heel look like a comma. Sometimes, it’s so bent in that it looks like a cartoon shoe that has skidded to a screeching halt. And although the heel is shaped like an hourglass, it is imperatively skinny because a fat hourglass-shaped heel is for high kicks and tap dancing. “They give your leg a pretty silhouette,” says my friend Sabine. “And if you have full calves, kitten heels make them taper away and disappear.”
Christian Dior spring 2017 RTW (Imaxtree.com)
Kittens are great in-between shoes. They are safe but not sensible, dressy but not ditzy, stylish but not slavish. Which is why they were the heel of choice for Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy (and still are for Michelle Obama).
But what do we really think about the kitten heel? It isn’t a heel that inspires heated passion. By nature a compromise shoe, the kitten emerged in the 1950s as a “training” heel for younger girls. Designed for one’s first tentative steps in what was then the high-speed foot race for husbands and high heels, kittens are cute, tasteful, elegant and demure. They are the Baby Duck that comes before champagne. They are the quinceañera of footwear.
Givenchy spring 2017 RTW (Imaxtree.com)
That said, cats have their claws and so do kittens. When the heel is spiky and the toe pointy, like last fall’s white Balenciaga bootie, it can be an interesting, aggressive shoe. Diana Rigg wore a black leather bodysuit and kitten booties as she kung-fu-chopped villains in the ’60s TV show The Avengers. Sharp kitten heels, torn fishnets, bird’s-nest pompadours and gobs of black eyeliner was how punk icons Exene Cervenka, Siouxsie Sioux and PJ Harvey rolled in the 1980s and early 1990s. These were not women of moderate taste, as the kitten heel is wont to express. This shows that it’s a shoe with plenty of wiggle room for personality and, possibly, even rebellion—a shoe exactly suited to our times.
From left: Alexander Wang, Christopher Kane and Lacoste Image by: Imaxtree
The basic knit is reinvented and a new trend is born.
When was the last time you thought purposefully of a cardigan? The button-up knit with preppy roots emerged as a hero piece on the runways of New York and the message continued in London. Like denim and the white button-down before it, the cardigan was taken apart and reinvented by the likes of Christopher Kane, who presented holographic, slightly oversized versions. In New York, Alexander Wang sent model Stella Lucia down his party-ready runway in a loose, borrowed-from-dad knit that read as anything but precious. Lacoste, Ulla Johnson and Dion Lee took a fuzzier approach, while Tory Burch and Victoria Beckham represented the more sophisticated end of the spectrum.
The takeaway? Whether undone, artsy or preppy, the cardigan is infinitely versatile and, for the first time in many seasons, covetable.
Christopher Kane Image by: Imaxtree
Tory Burch Image by: Imaxtree
Victoria Beckham Image by: Imaxtree