Breaking down the Toronto Fashion Week schedule

We call it like we see it. Sorry, publicists.


• Mikhael Kale, the sort of highly talented designer who should be closing Fashion Week, is inexplicably opening it at 5 pm Monday (March 17) in the tent’s small studio space. An excellent opportunity for front-row wannabes to snag seats from top editors and socialites who never seem to make early time slots.

• Forget Kim and Joe. There’s a hot new fashion couple in town. Chloé Gordon of Beaufille and Sid Neigum (showing Monday, March 17, at 5 and 7 pm respectively) are two of the most talented young designers in the country, and sorrynotsorry if I can’t help but get a little giddy thinking about their soulmate status. Expect signature tough-girl looks from Beaufille and artfully constructed garments layered in symbolism from Neigum.

• So let me get this straight: Mercedes-Benz Start Up doesn’t award designers any cold, hard cash, and Malorie Urbanovitch and Matière Noire, who tied for the win last season, have to share a time slot on Tuesday (March 18) at 7 pm?

• Montreal designer Mélissa Nepton (Tuesday, March 18, 8 pm) has noticeably upped the sophistication level of her collections for urban career women in the last year. Maybe it has something to do with her winning Target’s Emerging Designer Award, which does carry a $25,000 cash prize.

• Power duo Pink Tartan and Joe Fresh (Wednesday, March 19, 7 and 8 pm) haven’t been scheduled back-to-back in a few seasons, and with good reason. The two shows are notorious for long lineups, overcrowding and delaying the whole damn program. There are better designers elsewhere on the calendar minus the headaches, and, in the case of Joe Fresh, without Bangladeshi blood on their hands.

• Notable absences from last season: Caitlin Power, Travis Taddeo and Cara Cheung Barbie in the sponsor category. One Sports Illustrated cover and she ditches Toronto. Typical.

• PETA’s going to love this guy. Farley Chatto (March 20, 6 pm) is using the hashtag #furtastic to promote his new fur-centric collection. If he’s lucky, the animal rights organization’s local chapter won’t be much to fear. Last season the group staged a small off-hours protest that went virtually unnoticed.

• The last thing anyone wants to see after this winter from hell is more outerwear. That said, the newly grown-up version of Soïa & Kyo (March 20, 8 pm) is worth watching. Last season the label outshone its more high-profile sister brand Mackage (Wednesday, March 19, 9 pm), but can they keep the fresh designs coming?

• Printophiles will want to catch local textile and clothing designer Anu Raina (March 21, 3 pm), whose prints are hand-drawn with watercolours, dyes and inks. She re-enters the fold with a Toronto-inspired collection after being off the schedule for a few years.

• Matthew Gallagher (March 21, 8 pm) was last season’s breakout star with a feminine Italian Riviera-inspired collection that made even this black-hearted editor want to drape herself in his pretty pink styles. Another strong showing would cement Gallagher’s spot as one of Canada’s most promising emerging designers.

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