Homeaboutour membersresourcesmentorsdiarieshappeningsshop
 
You are here: home > happenings > tfi news

TFI News Blogspot LGFashion Week

Here’s the TFI News team’s (Susan Langdon, Gail McInnes and Doris Montanera) summary of the hits, strikes and home runs at LG Fashion Week fall 2009.

LG Canada (LG) made its first foray into the Canadian fashion scene by becoming the new title sponsor of Toronto Fashion Week held March 16 to 20, 2009, under the tent at Nathan Phillips Square. Former title sponsor L'Oreal Paris continued to support Canada's biggest fashion week as the exclusive beauty partner and presenting sponsor. This season's lineup of runway shows marked the Fashion Design Council of Canada's (FDCC) 10th year at the helm producing the bi-annual event. —SL

Not that I want to dwell on bad news, but I was curious how fashion week would look with the downturn of the global economy hitting the industry so hard. The answer? Not very different. You couldn’t judge the state of the economy by hem lengths. If it was a skirt, it wasn’t long. And designers weren’t afraid to get creative. The most noticeable difference was the lack of swag—which wasn’t such a bad thing. This season’s theme was Show Love. Most people did. —DM


Thursday, March 12, 2009
Philip Sparks
Easing us into the impending madness of LG Fashion Week were two off-site shows held the week before. The first being menswear designer Philip Sparks. In a loft space in the Burroughes Building, where he also has a studio, the vibe was relaxed and friendly. It was my first time there and I instantly fell in love with the raw, yet historical charm of the structure. Inspired by the story of Peter and the Wolf—a Russian musical symphony written for children—Sparks showed us a dressed-up outdoorsy collection of shirts, jackets, and sweaters using fur, flannel, wool and a paper cotton, strengthening his reputation for creating charming, boyish looks. —GM


Friday, March 13, 2009
Greta Constantine
Design duo Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong proved themselves two of Canada’s most visionary designers. As I walked along Adelaide towards The Courthouse I saw a long line of people I was expecting to already be inside. It was half an hour after the doors were supposed to open. The venue wasn’t ready for the cold and fashion-hungry crowd of celebrities, fashion editors, and buyers who huddled together outside. Some were shocked to hear one of the bouncers yell, “I don’t care if you’re VIP or media —you’re not getting in!” Not exactly the welcome we were expecting. Finally, about an hour after the doors were supposed to open we got inside. The crowd was expansive and pushed back towards the bar making it impossible for some people to see. Stepping away from their reputation as luxury jersey gown designers, the Greta Constantine presented a collection of separates, coats, and layered dresses. Standout pieces included the gold leopard print jumpsuit, the mesh layered jersey dresses and the seatbelt jackets (which supermodel Coco Rocha wore Thursday evening to the Project Runway Canada show). Here are some images below but you can view the entire collection of my photos here: www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=65970&id=516494126&l=5895e93ee2 —GM


Monday, March 16, 2009
Holt Renfrew Cocktail
It was my first time being invited to the Holt Renfrew Media Cocktail so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been warned by a few regular attendees that it’s really quite boring and the speeches fill up most of the time. This year it seemed those whispers had found their way back to the higher ups at Holts and it was more of an actual cocktail party. The speeches were short and to the point, followed by brief presentations of five designers: Greta Constantine, Mikhael Kale, Jeremy Laing, Philip Sparks, and Montreal’s Denis Gagnon. Many media outlets called out the fact that it was an entire line up of male designers, which was pointed out in many articles that followed. Read The Toronto Star’s article here: www.thestar.com/article/603360. —GM

The Fashion Twitterati
I had signed up for Twitter in March last year after receiving a few invites, but only one person I knew was on there at the time so I threw it back into the Internet void along with Friendster, Hi5, and MySpace. Then November came around and suddenly all my friends were talking about it, so I logged back in and started micro-blogging. It was a nice little place with a few friends sharing interesting links, but then media caught on and everyone starting joining. LG Fashion Week was fast approaching and suddenly en mass all the fashion journalists joined the pack. During fashion week you’d be inclined to think the likes of Derick Chetty from The Toronto Star weren’t interested in the clothing being sent down the runway because they were constantly tapping into their smart phones, instead they were sending their thoughts into the Twittersphere. To catch up on all the tweets go to www.twitter.com and search for the hashtag #LGFW to see what they were saying. You can follow me @TheStyleBox. (P.S. TFI’s Susan Langdon is on there now too!) —GM

David Dixon and Barbie by David Dixon
I'm a Barbie girl! Leave it to David Dixon, one of Canada's top designers, to create a womenswear line inspired by Barbie that real women would want to buy. I admit being skeptical when I first learned of the concept but David showed high-fashion, feminine dresses, coats and separates in a palette of hot pink, black and white. The styles are offered in five Hudson Bay stores across Canada and I hear that the line has been picked up by a retail chain in Shanghai! —SL

The pre-show was as interesting as the actual runway show. Comedian Howie Mandel, along with his producer and another from the show Howie Do It, wandered into the tent looking for skate rentals (they wanted to go skating at the rink in front of the tents) and ended up sitting front row, almost centre. “I’ve never seen so many grown men walking around holding Barbie dolls without asking ‘Where’s my daughter?’” Mandel quipped. Barbie was there, personified—a blonde, busty woman, falling out of her low, silver sequined dress and heels. I choose to believe she was having fun with the theme.

David’s line was graceful, sophisticated and classic him, but with more flanges, flounces, double collars and radiating darts than usual. “The Barbie collection allowed me to explore different approaches to make [my signature collection] more interesting,” he says. “I would have done it anyway, but not the same extent. I would probably have watered it down.” The most spectacular piece was the opening dress that looked like it was made of feathers. Each feather, ranging in size from three-quarters-of-an inch at the bodice to four inches at the hem was embroidered and hand-sewn on. “This dress was something I could explore because I knew Barbie would sell.” Thank you, Barbie. —DM

“Ken” pretenders handed out champagne-in-a-can to keep the audience busy, while the backstage crew prepared for the Barbie segment of the show. The clothes were a cut above David’s original designs for Barbie, made when he was a kid mostly out of pink, green and blue Kleenex—or aluminum foil for evening. Back then Barbie by Dixon’s wardrobe consisted of shift dresses with two holes cut out for arms, tied with a belt. His style has evolved into more ladylike shifts and coats with three-quarter sleeves, mosaic jacquards and ’60s pop-art graphics. —DM

Below, left to right:
Nathalie Atkinson from the National Post sporting a hat made from dissected Barbie parts, a frothy white Barbie dress, Queen Barbie, Ken, pink ribbon coat for Barbie by David Dixon

World Fashion Week
Checking out our designers was Paco De Jaimes, the chair of World Fashion Week set to take the stage June 10, 2010, in New York. Forty-two countries will be participating, he says, and the FDCC will be choosing the Canadian contingent. More than that, he wouldn’t reveal. But you can keep your eye on www.worldfashionawards.tv for more information. —DM

Costa Pavlu Premiers Menswear Collection
I tend to avoid Ultra during fashion week for its unofficial fashion week after-parties, but when I heard that Judy Inc fashion stylist Costa Pavlu was premiering his menswear collection, I had to go cheer him on. (I used to represent him when he was at Plutino Group.) I was completely impressed by his collection of leather and cotton jackets, shirts and pants in grey and black. It seems like he’s targeting the casual, yet professional man—a great audience in Toronto. After the show I went to congratulate him. He was so gracious and thankful that I had attended and wanted my honest opinion, which I gave wholeheartedly. —GM


Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Travis Taddeo
We try to be everywhere but we can’t. I missed this show, but it got some buzz. Rie Miyata, a fashion journalist with Nikkei Net, in Japan, praised the collection. “It was sporty, modern and edgy,” she says. “He looks like a New York designer. He has new ideas, fresh. He’s very talented.” —DM

Joeffer Caoc
Joeffer, can I buy your whole line please? Joeffer's outstanding collection featured elasticized shirring detail, draped jersey tops and lots of zippers in a colour palette that was predominantly black, grey, copper and red. Shiny patent leggings and accents added a hard, sexy edge to impeccably tailored pieces. —SL

A modern-day superhero. I love it. So did Edward Enrique, one of the buyers from Taf Buying Service in New York. “I think he’s a talented collection designer with real clothing you can wear, but that’s also interesting fashion…He has a great balance of design and price point.” Enrique is interested in Joeffer’s line for Fenwick, a UK department store. Even if Joeffer hadn’t played the remixed Wonder Woman soundtrack during the opening of the show, the first few outfits announced his theme. It’s all about empowerment: bold shoulders and sleeves, shiny silver fabrics, almost masculine jackets, even sleek faux-fur coats. He went all out in the design, but kept costs reasonable by masquerading cotton/viscose as fox fur in the coats and coated cotton as patent leather. (Last season he used plenty of the real thing.) This collection is for powerful women, he says. With their slicked-back hair, dark eyes, nude lips and studded high-heeled sandals, the models did have a certain “don’t mess with me” attitude. —DM

The Art of Fashion
Spotted at many of the shows with sketchbook and pencil in hand was fashion illustrator Danielle Meder who decided to create 4x6 postcards of watercolour pencil sketches from each show she attended. “I've been pencil sketching from the runway for a few seasons now, and this time I wanted to do more finished pieces. I had these postcards in my drawer so I brought them to Philip Sparks and did a sketch,” she says. “As I was blogging the image, it occurred to me that it was a nice compact finished art piece on its own, and maybe someone would like to buy it. So I went to the art store and bought more cards and sketched all the shows I went to.” The original artwork is for sale for just $50. Visit www.finalfashion.com to view the postcards. —GM


Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Cheri Milaney
I had to see Cheri Milaney's show not only because her publicist is a TFI Board member, but also because Cheri hired models from the Ben Barry Agency and Ben is TFI's chair of the Board of Directors. All of the models, who were real-life women and catwalk newbies, were extremely well poised and elegant and entirely suitable for the Cheri Milaney brand. Jackets, dresses and separates fit great, were well made and very marketable. —SL

The catchphrase for Vancouverite Cheri Milaney’s collection was “Celebrate with us these women who dare to be themselves”. What followed in her show were day to evening cocktail separates, tunics, leggings, blouses, skirts and jackets that were pretty and completely wearable—no matter your size. One fashionista termed the collection “accessible designer”, which is true, not only for style, but also for the price point, which runs an average of about $300 to $495 for jackets and $150 to $180 for bottoms. Although she’s celebrating her 10th anniversary as a designer, this is Cheri’s first Toronto fashion week. From it, she doubled her retail accounts—stores she had been trying to sell for years, says her show producer Kirsten Mogg. It was a logistical nightmare showing in Toronto, and it cost her at least double the FDCC fees, but it looks like it was worth it. —DM

Plus Size Model Search
So nice to have a Plus Size Model Search announcement at something like fashion week, where almost all models are a below-average size 2. Brittney Fisher from Vernon, BC, won a one-year modeling contract with Montreal-based Specs Model Management, a $2,500 wardrobe from Addition Elle, Penningtons and MXM, as well as a chance to appear in a national advertising campaign, and will be featured in LouLou magazine’s plus-size supplement. As a political statement, this was a start. Although what statement was being made by hosting it in the too-small VIP lounge? —DM

Comrags
What's not to love about Comrags? Joyce Gunhouse and Judy Cornish stay true to their brand, and loyal customers, by reinventing new takes on menswear-inspired looks. Soft knits and floral prints mixed with haberdashery worsteds and tweeds in stylish, easy-to-wear dresses and separates. —SL

Pink Tartan & Joe Fresh
The Mimrans hit home runs with their two collections. “I like Pink Tartan,” said Perushka De Zoysa, the buying manager for contemporary for Selfridges in the UK. “It was really focused and the message was simple.” As for Joe Fresh, “I loved it. I wanted to get on a plane to Norway,” said Edward Enrique of Taf Buying Service in New York. Me? I loved the gospel choir that followed who got the audience bopping to the song All You Need is Love. Yes, that’s what we need after every show. —DM


Thursday, March 19, 2009
It pains me to watch inexperienced models who cannot walk the runway. Designers: You need to realize that the audience is distracted by bad walkers and that means we're not looking at your clothes. If you're showing a luxury line, be sure your models are on brand with your company mandate. —SL

Aime Luxury
I missed the show but, fortunately, some of the contingent of international buyers and press hosted by the FDCC didn’t. It got rave reviews by both the contemporary buyer at UK department store Selfridges and by the owner of Taf Buying Service. “She’s one to watch,” Edward Enrique says. “She has a certain signature—a charming femininity. Not hard. Soft. A little girly. I’m interested in Aime for contemporary. She’s very commercial but interesting. I see it selling really well.” —DM

Project Runway Canada
The Project Runway Canada show is always interesting because you simply never know whose designs belong to whom; the TV producers are very careful to keep the live audience guessing. But now that episode # 211 has aired (April 7, 2009, on Global) at least we know that the three runway finalists are Sunny Fong, Jessica Biffi and Jason Meyers. Personally, I loved the line inspired by Alexander The Great. —SL

NADA
Nada Shepherd has come into her own. She nailed her show. Future warrior women unite. From the clothes, to the hair, makeup and styling, the message was empowerment. The models, hair scraped into a ponytail, eyebrow-less, and lips rimmed in black, with just a spot of red in the centre, were dressed, primarily, in long lengths of black. Black leather leggings, leather sheaths and jackets and gunmetal belts were sharp, sleek and strong, and only softened by the occasional cream dress and blouse with artfully ruffled necklines and shoulders. —DM


Friday, March 20, 2009
FDCC Fund
At a press lunch, the Fashion Design Council of Canada announced the establishment of the Fashion Designer Development Fund (FDDF), a new fund to support emerging Canadian designers. The first $10,000 bursary, created to nurture new and emerging talent and assist them with marketing and launching their collections, will be awarded during the spring 2010 fashion week in October 2009. Each year an independent panel will choose the winning designer or design team. Submission information will be available at www.lgfashionweek.ca soon. —DM

Evan Biddell, Lucian Matis, PRC Alumni
Congrats to Evan Biddell and Lucian Matis, PRC alumni, who both presented fabulous shows. Biddell (below, left) continued with his namesake street couture collection mixing high fashion anoraks with bustiers and pegged skirts. The colour palette was mainly black and grey with shots of citron, magenta and teal. Matis' fall collection (below, right) , shown in autumnal shades of russet, oak and mushroom, featured intricately cut separates with pleated and ruffled accents. —SL

Saturday, March 21, 2009
Closing Week Parties
The volunteers in the tents were handing out flyers all week to the official closing night party at Muzik nightclub down at Exhibition Place. I didn’t go—and no one I know went. I haven’t even read a thing about it. I think they were all where the true party people were at—the Burroughes Loft Party where local fashion favourite Fritz Helder & The Phantoms, who recently was the first act to be signed to Nelly Furtado’s new record label, performed. BlogTO had some great images from the night: http://blogto.com/toronto_fashion_week/2009/03/fashion_week_finale/ —GM


Heard Around
“Show Love—that represents the feeling I got from the audience and the shows and the designers for the audience. There’s a mixture of North American sensibility with European influence [here].” —Edward Enrique, owner, Taf Buying Service, New York

 

 
e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page