L’Oreal Fashion Week
March 20, 2008 Day 4 by Doris Montanera
2 p.m. Hush Puppies
Hush Puppies (HP) was one of the few that set up a booth in the fashion environment lining the main portion of the tent. It previewed its first, limited-edition guest designer series collection, launching this fall in honour of its 50th anniversary this year. For women, London-based celebrity stylist Rachel Fanconi flashbacked to the Victorian era with her leather granny boots with organza ribbon ties, and suede high-heeled Mary Janes with paisley insoles. A paisley imprint also adorns the heel of another ankle bootie in HP’s worry-free suede, which is resistant to the elements. Among the men’s styles, look for the classic HP loafer updated in stingray print leather and suede, and a sneaker with interchangeable straps in different colours. New York-based celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch was at the booth conducting media interviews about the men’s line he designed. He says he’s been a Hush Puppies fan for years and has put them on the likes of Jim Carrey and Ellen DeGeneres.
2 p.m. Farley Chatto and Sarah Nicol
Unfortunately I missed this show because it wasn't listed on the fashion week schedule.
3 p.m. Tatsuaki
For his first fashion week showing, designer Dan Liu sent out a mix of looks, with items that were all right and could be combined to create a street vibe. The overall collection seemed like a mishmash of Japanimation characters. One model came out in a slim-fitting suit, stopping mid-way to shoot her pretend finger-gun at the audience, doing the Bond-girl pose again at the end of the runway. Shortly after, another came out in an ingénue-style white baby doll dress, with little puff sleeves that was so childish it was only appropriate on a toddler.
4 p.m. Zoran Dobric
At the top of the runway, Zoran Dobric set up a judy and boxes covered in muslin and tied with twine, setting the mood for a very singular, stark studio-like collection. Dobric’s fans know he tends not to follow trends so much as follow his own sense of style. His models wore their hair scraped into a tight braid pinned into a bun to the side of one eye. There were grey T-shirt tunics sported only a hint of a cowlneck to offset their minimalism, military-inspired jackets and jodhpurs with side, gold zips. Most lovely were his scarf-print sleeveless sheaths. Beautifully simple in cut, they relied mainly on Dobric’s textile designs to set them apart.
7 p.m. Paul Hardy
Paul Hardy is known for creativity. He’s known for innovation. He’s known for being inspired by passages, usually Biblical, and are key to understanding the subtlies of his designs. His Moulin Rouge-like trek for the fall ’08 season comes from Alexander Supertramp (“The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild.”) and a Wallace Stegner quote (“It should not be denied…that being footloose has always exhilarated us.”). His show notes claim his collection is about “deconstructing the security, conformity and conservatism that exists as a consequence of living at the mercy of one’s circumstances.” He translated that into models sporting madcap makeup, with red painted streaks in their centre parts and red streaks on their lips, and in various states of undress—wearing either tops or bottoms, with nude merry widow bustiers visible on top or nude control-top pantyhose on bottom. “I get it,” said one fashion veteran. “You’re supposed to focus on each of the pieces, but couldn’t he have chosen better hosiery? It was distracting.” Also distracting was the lining hanging out of the sleeves of his opening piece—an otherwise clean-lined kimono sheath in a pale blush—and the occasional dangling thread. Among the good points: beaded sheaths, shells and skirts with oversized sheared roses, along with spikey muffs, bibs in feathers and pony fabrics, as well as fingerless biker gloves as a striking styling contrast.
8 p.m. Rudsak
For over a decade, Evik Asatoorian has provided fashionable outerwear options for the cold weather—because winter is long in Canada (especially this past one). Rudsak does double-duty, showing in both Toronto and its headquarters, Montreal. Like Andy The-Anh and Joeffer Caoc who explored the yin-yang and the naughty and nice sides of us, Rudsak’s theme was Beauty and the Beast. Asatoorian says “the beast” side showed through some of the puffed collars, which more resembled life preservers, and flame-like burnt orange clutches, bags and gloves that added colour to an otherwise neutral collection of silvery-grey (called pistol on the line sheet), ivory, brown and black. Look for down-like, pistol three-quarter length coats looked like leather from a distance but were actually nylon, and knee-high boots made of leather and neoprene that hugs the calves.
8:30 p.m. Franke by Kendra Francis
Franke by Kendra Francis was one of the mid-point fashion environment installations. Carried out with the crowd from the Rudsak show, I struggled my way to the front where her dresses were being shown on a raised centre stage—at least I think they were dresses. I couldn’t see and I couldn’t move. Thank you to the anonymous masses that wacked me with their enormous bags (mine was huge too) and their shoulders; it helped propel me toward the media lounge, where I took refuge (such as it was—the media lounge was the size of a large walk-in closet) until Pink Tartan.
Photo: TFI's Nina Facciolo (left) and designer Kendra Francis
9 p.m. Pink Tartan
High-top Doc Marten boots and fingerless, chained and studded leather gloves—what show is this? Although Pink Tartan had its usual ubiquitous white shirts and skinny pants, refreshingly it amped up the punk and down-played the pink with its styling. Even some of the pretty ’50s-inspired dresses (uber-tight in the bodice, full in the knee-length skirt, with tulle peaking below the hem) made the most of its zip closures. Gold zips also flashed along sleeves, on zippered cami shells and the pockets of vests. Along with its ties, vests and double-breasted jackets, it zipped along with a solid, cohesive collection.
Contributors: Susan Langdon, Nina Facciolo