L’Oreal Fashion Week
March 17, 2008 Day 1 by Doris Montanera
The tent in Nathan Phillips Square is bigger and better than last season (glass-fronted to let in the light, or to help the directionally challenged find the entrance?). Together, with City Hall rising up behind it, it seems to makes a statement that something important is happening in the city. Refreshing.
I quickly find out there is no coat check or indoor washrooms. Cut the coffee. Ration the water. I don’t relish making the trip, in the sub-zero temperatures, to the public loos at the outdoor skating rink. It’s either that or walk all the way around the tent, into City Hall and down the stairs to the cleaner toilets. For the amount of time it will take, I could miss a whole show. Tomorrow I’m channeling my inner camel and wearing flats.
The 2 p.m. opening show is that of Project Runway winner Evan Biddell. Although before prime time when the crowds come out to play, Biddell’s show is packed with media and celebs. I spot popstar Fefe Dobson with boyfriend Michael Seater, who stars in Family Channel’s sitcom Life with Derek, sitting in the second-to-last row (they arrived a little late, Seater says of their back-row seats).
Kudos to Biddell for choosing fabrics that are, apparently, organic or sustainable, such as raw silk and organic wools and making them fashionable. His horizontal pleating, and the pleated seaming details on some of his dresses were especially interesting—as was his sign language when he took his bow at the end of the show. You’d think he’d wait for the review before giving the audience the finger.
3 p.m. Max Chernistov
A star of Russian Fashion Week and a 10-year veteran on the design scene, Max Chernistov is part of the international contingent of designers, press and buyers who have been brought in to up the cool factor and lend some cred to fashion week’s Wear in the World tagline.
Chernistov says his aim with this collection was to portray power. That would explain the heavy unibrow on both the male and female models’ faces, and the slick, matador-style stirrups and puffed-sleeve tops—and variations of the same theme—that showed up throughout. He played with proportion: a male model in bikini briefs and a shaggy fur shrug and, more wearable, a female model in a grey dress with full sleeves.
4 p.m. Mellinda-Mae Harlingten
According to her show notes, Vancouver native Mellinda-Mae Harlingten combined Edie Sedgwick in the movie Factory Girl and the circus ringmaster for her fall ’08 collection. But the leggings and little hats (by Canadian Hat Mfg. Corp.) were more Boy George in the ’80s. Despite the mixed message, the pants (capris, jodhpurs and slim-fitting tuxedo-styles), along with her striped tunics and sweaters, had a casual, chic look. The wool car coats and capes were especially strong.
5 p.m. Nadya Toto
Montrealer Nadya Toto let her textures take centre stage. She bonded black lace onto grey wool in dresses and jackets, and mixed embroidered boiled wool and black boucle onto the hems and sleeves of otherwise simple dresses. In a nod to her recent pregnancy, along with slim-fitting dresses were loose pieces worn as tunics with leggings and cocktail dresses that were a cascade of ruffles falling from the bustline. “I like comfort. That’s one of my signatures,” she says. The effect was understated and chic.
6 p.m. Denis Gagnon
Heap on the praise. Denis Gagnon’s show was a slam-dunk in silhouettes and styling. Leggings covered the models down to their shoes, with only a wickedly high Lucite heel showing. It was a refined Mad Max look but with a futuristic edge. He manipulated geometric cuts into tucks, folds and drapes, making them new. Knit sweaters featured exaggerated smocking as seen under a microscope. Leather dresses, pants and jackets looked patched together but were actually just seamed into vertical and horizontal lines and spirals. Trailing scarves were edged with long horsehair and billowing parachute silk blouses were grounded with leather trim. The models, appropriately, wore necklaces by Harakiri, who describe their collection as expressing “a soft aggressiveness”. They also carried huge patched leather bags (a collaboration between Gagnon and private-label manufacturer Fullum & Holt), which were big enough to an arsenal of weapons. I could have used one for fashion week.
9 p.m. Joe Fresh
With the exception of Evan Biddell and Joe Fresh, the attendance so far was at half-capacity. But for the commercial, easy-priced Loblaw’s line there was standing room only—maybe because of the appearance of Coco Rocha, the latest Canadian It Girl in the modeling world? The styling was impeccable and showcased how to dress for the budget-minded. The most costly item was a sport coat for $79. Nice. Besides a marked equestrian theme, with jodhpurs, equestrian hats and little wool blazers, there were the usual fresh-faced models we’ve become used to seeing from this brand, in schoolgirl knee-socks, simple bow-tie dresses and comfy, oversized cable-knits.
Scene + Heard by Gail McInnes
ZINK CANADA LAUNCHES
New York-based ZINK Magazine officially launched their first Canadian edition of ZINK Magazine during Toronto's fashion week, with other launches to take place during Montreal and Vancouver's fashion weeks.
The "Blame Canada" themed issue brings emerging Canadian talent to the forefront, highlighting the best and brightest in fashion, photography, beauty, and entertainment. ZINK Magazine was founded 6 years ago in New York City by Canadian-born model Isabelle Sabourin, aided by her husband, publisher and editor-in-chief, Sheriff J. Ishak.
RAGS AND MAGS
TFI Blogger, Carolyn Rohaly teamed up with fashion illustrator, Danielle Meder of Final Fashion to create Rags and Mags. Follow the fictional fashion careers of a struggling designer, Max Velosse and fashion journalist, Lucinda McRuvy in the real fashion industry in Toronto, Canada at www.ragsandmags.com.
Contributors: Susan Langdon, Nina Facciolo