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.
"I’m going to keep it pretty casual this year."
Victoria's Secret angel Taylor Hill has a low-key Valentine's Day planned this year. "I’m going to keep it pretty casual with some great NY pizza and a movie," she says.
Casual it may be, the supermodel will obviously still look fab (naturally). "I’ll probably go for a topknot," she says when asked how she will style her hair for the occasion. "It’s simple but still really cute and looks sophisticated without trying." Below, Hill tells us her beauty look and lingerie picks for V-Day, and reveals what she does to feel her sexiest before a date–even if she does just find herself at the back of a movie theatre, 'za in hand.
Are you hoping to receive anything special this year?
"I don’t really like getting material gifts from people! I would much rather receive a hand-written note or flowers."
Are you buying a gift for your BF?
"I think a nice cologne or a stylish tie."
Any tips for feeling sexy before a date?
"Pick an outfit you feel confident in and make yourself feel glam. I like to take my time getting ready so I’m not rushed or nervous. I also love listening to music beforehand, anything by Rihanna or Beyoncé puts me in such a good mood."
How are you going to do your makeup?
"I keep my look pretty simple, but will probably add a cat eye for a bit of drama. I usually like to keep my look natural and wear minimal makeup, so I can let my skin breathe a bit. I’m definitely going to wear my Tease fragrance too, because it’s so warm and sexy and makes me feel confident."
Lipstick or no lipstick on V-day?
"I say no lipstick, because touching up throughout the night can be hard."
Do you have any outfit ideas yet?
"I always feel sexy in bodysuits or teddies. Lately I think it’s really sexy and cool to wear lingerie as outerwear. I’ll wear something like the new Very Sexy Cross Back Lace Plunge Teddy tucked into black jeans with a blazer and feel really chic."
Crossback Lace Plunge Teddy ($58), at victoriassecret.com.
"I love wearing pink lingerie, because it makes me feel super flirty, without being too bold and in your face."
For the girls celebrating Galentine's Day this year–what would you suggest to wear for a night on the town with your best friends?
"Spending Valentine’s Day with your girls can be so much fun! It’s all about appreciating the people in your life and your friends are always there for you, so make sure you make them feel special too! I’ll usually wear black jeans with a crop top or t-shirt and probably a heeled bootie to dress it up a bit."
The view over Hvar Town. Image by: Ivo Biocina
Yachts and parties aren't the only thing on offer.
On the third day of my week-long journey through Croatia, I picked up a local phrase: “Ste uzimanje masnoća iz mene” – or “You’re taking the fat out of me.” Although the literal translation sounds like something you’d say to your personal trainer, it’s actually a lighthearted way to say “You’re making me jealous.” And that’s exactly what I was doing, according to my friends via Snapchat, as I shared a play-by-play of my day exploring Hvar – a ruggedly picturesque island off the country’s southern coast.
The port at Hvar Town. Image by: Getty
Hvar’s draws are plentiful: secluded pebbly beaches, weather so sunny it borders on obnoxious and a wine-making legacy dating back more than 2,000 years. The most famous feature of all, however, is the pretty 13th-century port town that shares the island’s name. Thanks to the surge in the Croatian Riviera’s popularity as a summer getaway spot, Hvar Town has earned a reputation for two things: yachts and youth. The former, moored in Hvar’s rocky inlet, are unapologetically lavish (who needs a helicopter pad?), while the latter emerge at night and travel in packs toward the neon lights and thumping beats emanating from the clubs that hug the island’s shoreline. Hvar Town is party central.
The writer in Hvar.
Which is why my guide, Sinisa, took it upon himself to show me “secret” Hvar with an off-road tour of the parts of the island that are often overlooked by visitors and locals alike. So while the previous night’s revellers were still sleeping off their après-beach apricot radlers, I was in Sinisa’s road-battered Toyota 4Runner, driving down dusty paths flanked by olive trees, in pursuit of Hvar’s alternative attractions.
The village of Malo Grablje.
The first stop was Malo Grablje, an eerily idyllic ghost village located in the island’s interior. The tiny settlement was largely abandoned in the 1920s when the local grape crops failed. In the early ’50s, the last holdouts – a man and his goat – finally packed up and moved on. The crumbling stone houses are overgrown with wild capers; it seemed like the village was under a spell and that life would resume if I simply pressed a “play” button. I imagined that the communal olive press would start up again and an elderly man would appear to ask what I was doing in his yard, his goat giving me the side eye.
After a brief stop at the nearby straight-from-a-postcard village of Velo Grablje (not quite abandoned – population: seven), it was time for another perspective. I bounced in my seat as we drove up a precarious cliffside path to Sveti Nikola, Hvar’s highest peak, and its tiny chapel and even tinier weather station. From the 628-metre height, the Adriatic appeared boundless beyond the bulging tops of the neighbouring isles Brac and Vis on one side; on the other, Hvar’s craggy landscape, with its ancient vineyards and sleepy townships, opened up before me. They are views you could never see from the deck of a 60-metre yacht, and I revelled in the fact. Then, the “aha” moment: I figured out what the helicopter pad was for. It was my turn to feel jealous.
One way to get to Hvar is to fly into Zagreb and then take a boat from the southern port town of Split. Here’s how to make the most of your time.
Ban Jelacic Square. Image by: Istock
Don’t overlook the country’s capital city, located east of the Adriatic coast, which combines striking Austro-Hungarian palaces, a vibrant arts scene and plenty of foodie delights.
St. Mark's Church. Image by: Istock
MORNING Grab a cheese bureka (a flaky savoury pastry) in the city’s Lower Town neighbourhood and claim a bench in the verdant Ribnjak Park, a quiet spot hidden behind Zagreb Cathedral. Then, after a brief stop to admire the ornate art-nouveau facades of Ban Jelacic Square, climb the stairs to Upper Town, the city’s historic heart. The coloured-tile roof of St. Mark’s Church is a must-see.
The Dolac food market.
AFTERNOON Head to the Dolac open-air food market, known as the “belly of Zagreb,” for lunch. On the menu? Whatever catches your eye, like nutty sheep cheese with lavender honey. For shopping, check out the Croatian Design Superstore. The name is a bit misleading (the shop is more quaint boutique than Costco), but it’s well stocked with local designs. You’ll find leather accessories by Kon2re and zany printed sweatshirts by Ana Krolo.
The Croatian Design Superstore.
EVENING Book a table at Vinodol’s walled-off terrace in Lower Town. Peka, a traditional Croatian meat-and-veggie dish cooked under a cast-iron dome, pairs nicely with a glass of the country’s underrated red wine made from indigenous high-altitude Plavac Mali grapes.
Zagreb's Zrinjevac Park. Image by: Istock
LATE NIGHT Finish your day the same way you started it: at a park. Zrinjevac comes alive at night, with couples and families coming out for a starlit stroll under the plane trees. If you’re still hungry, try some freshly grilled corn from one of the street vendors.
Croatia’s second-largest city leads a double life. Where else do raucous bars share walls with ancient Roman residences?
Diocletian's Palace. Image by: Istock
EXPLORE Diocletian’s Palace was built in the fourth century by one of the few Roman emperors to enjoy retirement. Some 1,700 years later, the Unesco World Heritage Site served as home to Daenerys’ brood of dragons. But you don’t need to be a classics nerd or a Game of Thrones fan to appreciate the labyrinthine halls, which are packed with restaurants, shops and people.
A view of Split from Marjan Forest Park. Image by: Istock
HIKE Marjan Forest Park is just steps away from Split’s main strip. If you’re up for a bit of a walk, the pine woods are worth breaking a sweat for. They look dark and imposing from a distance, but the hilly hike offers an escape from the bustle of the town’s high-traffic port and some of the best sea views in the area.
Split's trendy Bokeria.
EAT Set in an old hardware store in Split’s historic Old Town, trendy Bokeria is the go-to for elevated Mediterranean fare – think risotto with pesto and capers and sea bass ceviche made with local ingredients.
FLIGHT PLAN Air Transat offers flight and hotel options for two- or three-stop stays in Croatia. I chose the three-stop option (Zagreb, Split and Hvar) and found that I had enough time to seek out adventures despite the multiple transfers.
WHEN TO GO July is considered high season; expect crowds of bacchanals wherever you venture. A visit in late August will find the beach towns winding down for the season.