After the now-infamous ramblings of Robin Kay at the opening night of L'Oreal Fashion Week, I wasn't sure how focused the fashion set was going to be when Pink Tartan kicked-off the week with their vision for Spring 2009.Fortunately for Kim Newport-Mimran, the clothes -- which seemed entirely based on TV's über-successful show Mad Men -- spoke for themselves. Within seconds from the start, all eyes were steadfast on the gorgeous models parading the runway with ruby-red lips, Hermès-inspired headscarves and towering platform heels. The looks were decidedly classic Pink Tartan fare with the close-cropped cardigans, sweet floral A-line skirts and ruffle-front blouses, but what made it all the more interesting was the injection of candy-coloured hues: Gorgeous coral pinks, canary, almost neon yellows and bright blues. My personal faves? The shamrock-stenciled wrap dresses (reminded me of Van Cleef & Arpels!), the stuck-on-skin '50s-inspired halter-tops and the floral trench cinched with a wide belt across the waist; all slick, sexy and perfect for those ladies who lunch. And clearly I wasn't the only one who gave my stylish support: Phillip Bloch, the outspoken stylist to the stars was bobbing his head in apt approval as the models sashayed before him. Now, if only I could find out whether the bags the models were toting were *real* Birkins …
I've had the pleasure of knowing Nada Shepherd since I first interviewed her after she competed in the Toronto Fashion Incubator New Labels Design Competition several years ago, so I was excited to see what she was doing for Spring 2009. Needless to say, her charm, charisma and sense of unique style flourished on the runway with looks that were sexy and strong. Citing Athena the Greek Goddess of War as her inspiration point, Nada's attention was all in the details: Long, flowing goddess gowns with braided shoulders, copper maillot embellishments on belted ombre-pleated shift dresses and sequined tanks with studded leather pants. Near the end of the presentation, I nearly fell of my chair in glee when I saw the gold, metal-beaded leggings that reminded me of Balenciaga's S/S'07 collection. Although not for the faint of fashion heart, those are surely something I could see myself sporting come my next Saturday night outing.
Check out runway images from the NADA show
Minutes before the show, I'm sipping my first of many glasses of champagne when I run into the affable –yet frazzled – girls of Milkmaid PR: Bronwyn Aikens and Pat Angelakos who represent one of Toronto's most beloved designers, Joeffer Caoc. Apparently the show garnered over 900 RSVPs (!!) and as a result, neither girl had slept in over 24 hours trying to get the who's-who into the show. Nervous to get my front row seat (Fashion Week can be notorious for seat-stealers!) I gulp the remains of my libation, wish the girls good luck and head inside the runway room. If there is one thing Caoc does well, it's his loyalty to modernist, no-fuss tailoring. The asymmetrical cuts, simple lines and voluminous shapes all made for very pretty silhouettes. The colour palette, although muted in tones of ivory, black and nude (the latter of which was the title of his Spring 2009 collection) had moments of artistic freedom like the black chiffon with nude silk dress that looked like it had been splashed with Jackson Pollock's paint brush. Loved the cream double-crepe tie leg pants and the silky suede jackets with folded collars; uncomplicated fashion at its finest.
Check out runway images from the Joeffer Caoc show
I know a lot of people were disappointed when Shawn Hewson and Ruth Promislow decided to axe their womenswear line and focus exclusively on menswear, but I tell you, the anticipation of this show was almost palpable among the female attendees. Rumours abounded on which male models were going to be working for Bustle and let's just say the designer didn't disappoint. Clad in sexy aviator shades from Ray Ban, the cuter-than-possible models showcased slim pinstripe suits, classic trenches and flat-front Bermuda shorts. Arguably one of the few designers who can make kitsch cool, blazers were emblazoned with map motifs, a nod to the collection's world traveler vibe.
Images by George Pimentel
It has to be said: My favourite show of the entire week! And here's why: David has been a long-standing favourite for all of us at ELLE Canada because of his undeniable ability to create perfectly polished, sophisticated and classically cut pieces. But, beyond the wearability factor, this time around David took a risk and showed looks that were edgier, slightly more trendy and risqué. I couldn't help but think about a younger Marc Jacobs when he presented his first collection for Perry Ellis back in 1992. Going against the grain, he created his first-ever “Grunge Collection” and although at the time he was unceremoniously fired from the house because of it, Marc's passion back then for thinking outside the box and giving the consumer something different is highly, if not obsessively, appreciated today. David's Spring show was no different. Titled “Walk To Freedom” (an ode to a Nelson Mandela quote), the looks were almost primordial in their tone with hand-beaded cracked leather dresses, bone button details on the jackets and stove-pipe pants, alligator skin wide belts and animal-printed silk dresses. I gasped at the “porcupine leather” fringed tank dress; how nouveau! For the loyal Dixon shopper, there were plenty of other, more-traditional offerings from the designer: Hibiscus silk print toppers, linen denim bustiers, sequin tanks and cute pleated black jersey dresses.
Count on Andy The-Anh to stage a show to remember. Utilizing the insane talents of Dr. Draw, a Toronto-based Indie violinist, models were sexy and strong as they showcased Andy's signature styles: Luxurious laminated basket weave jackets with long black chiffon jersey dresses, ultra-girly double-slit skirts in ivory and mauve, and the must-have for the new season: a chocolate brown java jumper with a belted waist and tied ankles. Andy's collection wouldn't be complete without recognizing some key trends: The white and brown colour-blocked blazer is a key office piece and who can forget accessories! Brooches set with sparkly rhinestones adorned everything and where everywhere: On shoulders, on the backside of pants, hips and waists. I was fawning over the absolutely gorgeous accordion-pleated raw silk flower blouses in desert rose and the matching dress in Moroccan red. The bejeweled tank top paired with the close-fitting walnut zipper pant was to die for!
I love Rudsak just as much as everyone else (they do leather goods better than anyone) but this season their Slave to the Rhythm collection fell a little short for me. Although my mouth was watering over the silky skinny lamb leather pants with matching fedoras and the super-huge silver belt buckles, I did find myself zoning out at the length and repetition of the show. Perhaps I can chalk that up to the champagne consumption earlier on in the evening as their gleaming white 3?4 length trenches and motorcycle jackets did seem to perk me out of my reverie. The quick pops of cherry and almond colours noted in the leather satchels and clutches was a nice touch.
Check out runway images from the RUDSAK show
GSUS Sindustries Immediately following Rudsak came Gsus Sindustries and I have a confession to make: Yes, I've heard of the label before, but no, I had no idea what to expect with their collection. Our Transcontinental offices have their fair share of fans, so my curiosity was piqued. Within the first few seconds, this adorably dressed dancer (in, no doubt, Gsus clothes) bounded down the runway to heavy beats whilst laying down some seriously good dance moves. A mystery man to me, the girls behind me were giggling a go-go over him as, it turns out, the man behind the hoodie was no other than Blake, a much-loved dancer on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. That set the pace for the week's most energetic and entertaining show. Loved the shorter-than-short shorts, the splashes of bold colours in lemon, tomato red and robin's egg blue and the geometric printed hoodies. It was adorably appealing, which reminded me of Diesel but more playful. Case in point: Their parrot motif, which flew its way onto floaty skirts for the ladies and golf pants for the men.
Images by George Pimentel
How cute is Joe Fresh?? Honestly. Although I do think the brand hits a younger demographic than say, ahem, the 30-somethings like me, I still found a lot to love in this collection. Take their sweet bubble skirts in shades of, well, bubblegum colours: Pinks, purples and yellows, oh my! The liner notes did nothing to dissuade my need to go find the nearest Loblaws as all price points for each garment was listed. With cropped navy nylon jackets for only $34.00 and the lavender colour block tulip dress ringing in at a mere $39.00 I will definitely have enough funds left to pick up a pair of their new bone-white ivory brogues for a cool $59.00. Also of note were the stretch poplin blouses ($19.00), the French, terry short ($16.00) and roomy yoga pants ($29.00). My Sunday's never had it so good!
Images by George Pimentel