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
Bella Hadid and The Weeknd at the 2016 Grammys. Image by: Getty
Potential run-ins with our exes send us diving behind friends, light posts, mail boxes, moving cars, etc. – anything to avoid seeing them. Bella Hadid is far more mature. Remember when, three weeks after she and the Weeknd broke up, the model walked the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show while he was singing like it was NBD. She even gave him an friendly shoutout on Insta. See below.
I can't believe it! 💘💘💘 I was smiling SO HUGE on the inside I promise!!!! The most fun and nerve racking experience of my life but I wish I could do it over and over and over again!!!!! 🎀🎀Thank you @theweeknd for being the best and most incredible performer on the planet. You KILLED it, as always 😍 ❤️ And not enough thank you's to @ed_razek @10magazine @johndavidpfeiffer @monica.mitro and the whole VS family!!!💕🙏🏼💗🎀thank you for believing in me I love you all so so so much 💗💗💗💗
Now, the model's opened up about how she really felt. “It was my first breakup — or second, next to the horse [she gave up riding when she was 16] — and so public. As an outsider, you might think I handled it so well, but it’s always in your heart, and you always feel it very heavily,” she told Teen Vogue. “It’ll be hard for a while. Love hurts, but you have to pull through.”
Added the model, “But I’ll always respect him, and I’ll always love him. Sometimes you want to be sad about it or handle it differently, but at the end of the day, you never want to burn a bridge that you’ve fought so hard to build.”
Like we said, way more mature than us.
It's safe to conclude that Selena Gomez's new single is not about her new relationship with The Weeknd, purely because it's about the sad demise of a relationship and last we checked the couple were going strong.
So is it about Justin Bieber then? Well, we'll let you listen and weave your own lyrics-based-theories, but it does reference "when we were seventeen" and calls out the ex-lover for too much partying, not enough stay-at-home time.
Most confusing of all, perhaps, is how incredibly catchy and upbeat this collab with Kygo is, given the majorly down beat lyrics. Seriously: You'll have "nah, nah, Bowery, nah, nah whiskey neat" in your head all day.
For a conversation that’s ostensibly about her big TV show The Crown, Claire Foy and I spend an awful lot of time talking about cake. Part of it is a question of timing: It’s late on a Friday afternoon, a.k.a. sweet-craving o’clock. It’s also the day after I had tea with an ex-chef of Queen Elizabeth’s (relevant because Foy plays the Queen on the breakout Netflix hit about the early years of her reign) and was full of fun facts about her eating habits. (Side fact: The real Liz Windsor’s favourite treat is chocolate biscuit cake. When it’s served at tea, it’s the only one she eats more than a sliver of.)
Foy also has sugar (or a lack thereof) on the brain. She’s a self-described “addict” who recently got “back on the wagon” (all the better to fit into the wasp-waist fashions her character wears on the show, currently in production for its second season). “I was on, like, an eight-month bender where I just ate anything that had any sugar in it,” she confesses over the phone from London, where she lives with her husband and daughter. “I definitely live to eat, but giving up sugar just makes you feel so much better. I’ve become sort of evangelical about it.” In fact, “giving up sugar” is one of the things that Foy and her co-star Vanessa Kirby (who plays Princess Margaret) talk about between takes.
She also mentions that she really struggled to keep a straight face while filming scenes with John Lithgow (Winston Churchill). “You’ll notice that there are no lingering shots of the two of us,” she shares, pinning the blame on Lithgow. “They cut quite fast because I just can’t be in a room with that man without laughing. He’s got funny bones.”
Of course, not every scene could be taken quite so lightly, especially given that the series is high in interpersonal and political drama. I mean, in the 10 episodes of the first season alone, we see Elizabeth’s uncle abdicate, her father die, her husband’s attentions wander and her sister’s heart break—not to mention the symbolic weight of her taking on the changing British Empire at the age of 25.
“I remember when we shot the coronation,” recalls Foy, referring to the showstopper scene in the first season of the most expensive Netflix series ever. “I thought that Elizabeth would have been more nervous when it came to making her vows to God, but that moment actually gave her strength, as opposed to being a massive weight on her shoulders. She might have felt quite lonely before, but in that moment she felt a union and a reassurance. She suddenly got it and realized that that was what she was supposed to be doing.”
The series, for which Foy just won a Golden Globe, emphasizes the young queen’s strong sense of duty and how it is sort of a North Star that guides her life. Foy, well, not so much. “It did make me think, ‘Would I stick with something I didn’t want to do because I felt it was my duty?’” she says. “The answer is I don’t know. It’s day by day, isn’t it? You can’t look at the next 60 years of your life and say ‘I shall do this forever.’ You just have to live each day well and hopefully get to the end of it.”
And, yes, that includes going sugar-free.