This was a coming-of-style year for Toronto's fashion and design scene. Boutiques and galleries loaded with locally made goodies sprang up from Parkdale to Leslieville, and shoppers turned savvy to the city's roster of labels and lines. Our 10 Ins and Outs from the last 12 months highlight the personalities and places that kept us looking damn good and a faux pas or two to ditch for an über-chic 2007.
The ROM's (100 Queen's Park, 416-586-8000) very cool Italian Arts And Design and Carlos Garaicoa exhibits made us antsy for the opening of its Crystal addition. If the bright new Asian galleries featuring angled cases packed with Chinese, Japanese and Korean treasures are any clue, we're in for a world-class treat.
TORONTO DESIGN AT HOME
This year's opening of Koma Designs ' gallery (1239 Queen West, 416-532-5662) and MADE (867 Dundas West, 416-607-6384) means that Toronto's young furniture design talents have a place to show and sell long after they receive their OCAD and Sheridan diplomas. T.O.-created home stuffs are developing a strong and modern look with an eco ethic that makes us proud.
BLOGGING FOR THEIR BREAKFAST
Toronto fashion blogging has become so big that the authors of some of the city's most popular dot-com style diaries (including Sonja Andic from http://TorontoStreetFashion.com and www.fashionincubator.com blogger Carolyn Rohaly ) get comped Sunday blogger brunches at the Drake Hotel, where they dish about the local scene. www.JakandJil.com editor Tommy Ton 's site stands out from the pack for it slick look and swanky party pics featuring Balenciaga and vintage couture shout-outs.
THREE DESIGNERS WE WATCHED
Jason Meyers (www.jasonmeyers.net) earned the most ink in our style columns this year for the launch of his bow-tied high fashion line. Kensington Market indie designer guy Dean Horn (www.deanhorn.com) made his establishment debut at Fashion Week on October 18 and wowed the crowd with his reconstructed take on next spring's T-shirt dressing trend. Of all the fashion kids we cheered for in 2006, no one delighted us more than Natasha Lenart and her inventor-inspired couture collection for Ryerson's Mass Exodus show.
We've heard rumours of a top-secret warehouse where the city's best vintage pickers pay to scavenge through heaps of second-hand clothing, but damned if any retro retailer will confirm this urban fashion legend. Wherever the stash is coming from, Toronto is full of great gently worn finds at shops like I Miss You (63 Ossington, 416-916-7021), Second Time Around (111 Yorkville, 416-916-7669) and Spa_ce (608A Markham, 416-916-6219).
Vanja Vasic and her Toronto Alternative Fashion Week crew put together a three-day extravaganza of art and design that celebrated our town's indie style talents like never before. It's great to watch fashion whippersnappers take centre stage and not just be another sparsely attended L'Oréal Fashion Week opening act.
We forgot that puberty gave most of us hips and ass and vacuum-packed our gams into figure-flaw-forgiveless stovepipe denim in 2006. Luckily, the fashion gods told us to pair those skinny jeans with tent-like tunics and rump-camouflaging blazers so we didn't have to do too much sucking in.
Just because anyone can blog doesn't mean everyone is good at it. The Toronto Star's Naked Lunch online style chat, in which the paper's fashion editors bicker about cheetah-print loafer purchases or the personal style of the Countess of Wessex, and man-style misstep www.xyyz.ca both proved to be a world wide waste o' megabytes.
BASHING ROBIN KAY
We admit to having an occasional chuckle after one of Fashion Design Council of Canada prez Robin Kay 's meandering "welcome to Fashion Week" speeches, but let's quit the Kay-bashing spirit that grows in the city's style community each season. The woman has busted her Canadian-designer-clad butt to create a stage worthy of our local labels, and deserves well-manicured snaps for October's shows, which lived up to her Canadian cool promise.
R.I.P. THE LOOK
The last issue of The Look, the high-style-with-a-high-IQ quarterly published by St. Joseph Media, is on newsstands now, and we'll miss editor David Livingstone 's brainy and fashion-forward mix. Winter-edition highlights include a feature on the resident designers at the Toronto Fashion Incubator, well-dressed curling and velvet-themed editorials styled by associate fashion editor Laura Minquini .