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He Said: Five Things We Liked at Toronto Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2012

For this season of Toronto Fashion Week, we sent our two interns, Hilary and James, to the tents to take in all the shows, the new fall trends and the local fashion scene. Then we asked them to compile a list of five things they liked from the experience. You read Hilary’s take yesterday, now here’s what caught James’ eye on the runway and behind-the-scenes this season…

1. Identity Crisis

This season marked the first instance in recent memory that Toronto fashion week was not sponsored by electronics conglomerate LG. One of the most notable debuts at the Fall/Winter 2012 showings was that of new principle sponsor: World MasterCard. The Toronto fashion week website was totally revamped to reflect the change, most notably, the vowels were removed from the words “fashion” and “week” because fshn wk is so much cooler, right?

Another new feature indicative of the change was the rather aggressive marketing campaign; we couldn’t walk more than five minutes along the streets of downtown Toronto without running into huge ads featuring some of Toronto’s most notable and stylish residents, mostly bloggers.

However, despite the media blitz, World MasterCard Fshn Wk curiously resembled its predecessor. When push came to shove, we saw the same familiar faces dotted along the front rows, the same stark white presentation space beneath the tents, and the same designers that have been showing for years reappearing without fail. And maybe that’s the thing: despite the (still) relative insignificance of Toronto Fashion Week on the International scene, we like that it has become this sort of warm and familiar institution that welcomes us back year after year.

2. Lady-like Chic at Lovas
This season, Wesley Badanjak did double-duty, designing his inaugural collection for Basch in addition to producing an offering for the designer’s 4-year old Lovas endeavour. However, Badanjak didn’t seem particularly phased by the prospect of multi-tasking when we interviewed him backstage following the show. “I used to work for David Dixon for years so I was doing Lovas and David Dixon at the same time,” he told us, in between sips of water.

Badanjak’s juggling act certainly reflected positively on the clothes. Our favorites were a series of outfits which immediately had us fantasizing about a modern Jackie O. Tailored all-white evening coats and sparkly cocktail dresses were cut at the “new length” – slightly below the knee. Badanjak evidently seems to work well under pressure; we wonder if he’ll raise the stakes and present three collections next season? Here’s hoping…

3. The Feathers Fly at Lucian Matis
For his Fall/Winter 2012 showing, Lucian Matis decided to show off-site at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Immediately upon entering the stunning venue, with its chandeliers, mirrored walls, and parquet floors, we knew we were in for something special.

This season, the designer was inspired by the symmetry naturally occurring in nature, and the inspiration took a very literal form as models paraded down the runway in head-to-toe feathers. Despite the literal interpretation, we thoroughly enjoyed the textile’s presence, making appearances on everything from the bottom-half of an evening gown to an entire coat. While not for everyone, Matis certainly broadened the appeal by sourcing a feather that had a distinct iridescent quality, almost like they were plucked from a radioactive raven. The end result was something textural and luxurious, without sacrificing the basics of sound tailoring and an understanding of strong design.

4. Leather, Leather, Leather!
Among the more avant-garde showings, leather was a mainstay. Our favorite rendering of the hide came courtesy of Martin Lim designers Danielle Martin and Pao Lim. The duo opened the show with a black and white-paneled leather dress which, from my vantage point, was arguably the best single look shown in Toronto last week. We really liked the stark, graphic appeal of Martin and Lim’s use of two tones of leather, while the boxy shift-dress silhouette was totally in line with all the other 20s inspired collections we’ve been seeing on the international runways.

Another honorable mention belongs to LABEL designers Shawna Robinson and Natalie Sydoruk. First meeting as co-workers in a retail store, Robinson and Sydoruk’s retail roots were evident throughout the duo’s Fall/Winter collection. Opting to present a fashion film this season, we saw leather accenting almost every garment in the form of a shoulder-pad, a pocket overlay, a collar, or on the bottom-half of the must-have “Regression top.” Not only incredibly covetable, the pieces are ridiculously affordable and sure to be must-haves for many women we know this upcoming season.

LABEL | Fall/Winter 2012 | A Dangerous Mind from Sean L T Cartwright on Vimeo.

5. Dressing up the Neck
Maybe it was the obnoxiously-large fur hat obstructing our view, but the collar embellishments at Caitlin Power really stood out to us. A relatively new designer to the scene, Power’s futuristic yet wearable collection was one of the most well-received of the week. The Calgary-native certainly made her mark with separates, though it was her edgy take on collar-embellishments that caught everybody’s fancy. Virtually every model was outfitted with the silver accessory, which resembled an inverted triangle. While Power’s aesthetic is the furthest thing from casual dressing, we really liked how the finishing touch to the collar manage to elevate each look even further. It was a small detail that made a big impression.

- James Lavapie

(photos courtesy Jenna Marie Wakani for Corduroy / Magnet Creative / Brill Communications)

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