Desperately Different by Katya Revenko
Known for her flattering shapes, soft lines and luxurious sensibility, Katya Revenko returns to L’Oreal Fashion Week with an ethereal collection inspired by the gentle elegance of water. Lulled by a tranquil ocean soundtrack, models emerged like water nymphs from a cloud of dry ice wearing beautifully draped tunics, bubble dresses, harem pants and flowing goddess gowns in misty hues of lavender, aqua, peach and bronze-y neutrals. Relaxed elegance reigned from start to finish (right down to the droopy flesh-tone knee-highs models wore) lending the collection an air of almost sleepwear chic, with structure making cameos in stand-out quilted pieces including a bell-shaped bolero and silvery fitted jacket.
If you’re an LA sex kitten (lost in Toronto?) in search of your next too-short party dress, newcomer Jason Meyers is your new BFF. Specializing in frocks for the sometimes-cocktail-sometimes-club set, Meyers embraced this season’s ruffle trend and upped the sex factor with sizzling silk pieces that flapped and fluttered across the runway, including a skin-tight mini of tiny ruffled tiers, a black asymmetrical number with a ruffle of lace down one side and yet another ruffle-front mini, this time in teal with a pop of electric yellow. The best looks though were simpler and less fussy, as in subtly draped bubble dresses and a stunning floor length maxi dress that appeared right before a blindingly white wedding gown finale that was stunning in other ways.
Damzels in this Dress & Playdead Cult
For their spring showing, dubbed “Pretty Gritty,” Damzels in this Dress once again teamed up with Playdead Cult to put the “show” back in fashion show with a double bill that was fun, youthful and full of energy. Models patted each other bums, starred each other down and whispered to one another between poses, all while carrying curious props, which ranged from unlit cigarettes to baby dolls. Theatrics aside, the show lived up to it’s name, as Damzels took on the “pretty” with distressed gingham frocks, 40s pin-up inspired dresses in canary yellow and bubblegum pink and floral print vintage slips covered in black lace, while Playdead went “gritty” with roughed-up Levi’s, torn tees and arm-less blazers all emblazoned with their skull graphic.
Images by George Pimentel
Unapologetically bold, edgy and oozing confidence-Evan Biddell’s designs aren’t exactly for the fashion timid. Ho-hum silhouettes are made scintillating in sheer fabrics, pleated denim kilts are actually for dudes, even the usually demure eyelet is made X-rated in jumpsuits constructed from oversized eyelet cotton that might be better described as fishnet. But, exposed underthings aside, it was his impeccably tailored pants that had style editors scribbling stars in their notebooks. From dropped crotch denim and flowy harem pants to swagged capris and super high-waisted skinnies Biddell’s androgynous urban aesthetic had everyone in the room looking forward to the return of the pant.
From the moment the first model walked out in a magenta bikini and flowing chiffon cover-up awash with swirls of pink, orange, green and purple, Thien Le had the room dreaming of poolside canapés and luxurious Miami beach houses. Beautiful animal print caftans, exotic Indian-inspired tunics and ombre goddess gowns in warm sunset hues were interspersed with garden party attire as in pistachio day dresses with silver lame blossoms and painterly blouses paired with wide leg trousers. A few gala-type gowns, including an extravagant red Scarlet O’Hara number, had many wondering “why?” but when the next watercolour-swirled caftan floated by we were back on the beach and it didn’t matter anymore.
Evan & Dean
Dubbed “Future Folk,” Evan & Dean’s Spring 09 collection is an attempt to marry old and new by infusing clean lines and high-tech modern textiles with the history and heart of folk art. The theme was carried through in the form of hand-cut flower appliqués and cutouts, which appeared on everything (literally) from smoky shift dresses and mustard blazers to stone grey pedal pushers and coral raincoats. The motif was also echoed in lazer-cut metal arm and leg cuffs (and later in headpieces not unlike She-Ra’s heroic garb) and in the end it became an unfortunate case of one-applique-does-not-an-entire-collection-make.
Images by George Pimentel
After a three-year absence, Montreal artist and designer Renata Morales returned to L’Oreal Fashion Week with an astonishing spring collection that was by all accounts, worth the wait. Ethereal tea party frocks of fluttering organza and pleated tulle in cotton candy shades of pale pink, buttery yellow and baby blue recall Rodarte with their intricate rosettes and swirling ruffles. Next came a different but equally delightful take on whimsy with a series of dresses featuring the work of Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara blown up and digitally printed onto silks, including a shimmering floor-length column gown, which first garnered oohs and aahs and then raised eyebrows as the model heroically shuffled down the runway at a painstaking snail’s pace in the too-narrow but nonetheless lovely design.
Set to a soundtrack of romantic accordion strains and cacophonous seagulls, cherry-lipped models wearing heavy liquid liner and pastel-hued turbans strolled languidly down the runway in simple pieces that exude sophistication, elegance and vintage glam. Large pixilated florals in painterly splashes of pink and red lend a digitized romanticism to bubble-hemmed babydolls, ruffled blouses and strapless gowns of floating silk gauze. Perhaps the theme of relaxed elegance led the way, but Matis’ penchant for drama as in over-the-top ruffles, bows, volume, sequins and embroidery are thankfully edited this season resulting in a sophisticated collection that’s well thought out, flawlessly executed and wearable to boot.
Iran-born, Vancouver-raised and, according to the press kit, “internationally adored,” Afshin Feiz (who has shown at London Fashion Week and dressed the likes of Katie Holmes, Paris Hilton and Christina Ricci) brings his signature soft, fluid aesthetic to L’Oreal Fashion Week for the first time in the intimate (read: small) new Studio show space. Inspired by the delicate nature of flowers, pastel hued dresses, skirts and blouses of chiffon and silk crepe take to the runway, followed by more structured menswear-inspired pieces including pleated trousers rolled up at the ankles and loose-fitting boyfriend blazers. Too-pretty ruffles and rosettes are toughened up by silver chain embroidery that is not always, but more often than not, successful.
The most highly anticipated show of the season, Montreal designer Denis Gagnon had us all picking our jaws off the ground with his astonishing collection of sexy, sophisticated gowns that could only have been created in the moment, led by bold inspiration and a designer’s creative instinct. Black leather shift dresses and tunics are rouched, gathered or painstakingly woven to create a braided effect that is, as one attendee commented, “badass.” Spikey bangles, patent leather belts and impossibly high platforms add to the edgy, high-fashion Goth-inspired look, but just when you least expect it…colour! Supple, jersey fabrics in gold, fuschia and red are beautifully draped, cowled, gathered, corded and tied into sexy, modern takes on the classic goddess gown. Take it from us: jersey never had it so good.