Here's what caught our attention at last week's Fashion Week extravaganzas.
There was a lot of talk about Canada's fashion identity at this season's Fashion Week (www.lorealfashionweek.ca), which wrapped up on March 16. Fashion Week organizer Robin Kay brought it up at the March 12 press conference at Queen's Park when she asked the Ontario government to add fashion to its definition of arts and culture.
Holt Renfrew (50 Bloor West, 416-922-2333) president Caryn Lerner raised the issue at the store's opening-night cocktail party on March 13 when she pondered the existence of a coherent Canadian sense of design. Her exact words at the Holt's kickoff were "Canada as a brand is invisible."
After a week of Bay blankets, chic and cozy coats and a penguin print dress in Pat McDonagh 's 40th anniversary collection, we think the country's couturiers are ready to convince shoppers that Canuck fashion is connected to a national design tradition and proudly wearable.
The crowd at David Dixon 's ( www.daviddixon.ca) late-night "kumbaya" presentation held around a roaring fire pit in the Liberty Grand's courtyard on March 14 left with a definite sense of his collection's take on True North style. Wrapped in Hudson Bay blankets and politely braving a trickle of rain, they soldiered through paillette-covered tweed suits and rectangular-wood-buttoned jackets.
Comrags (www.comrags.com) did intelligent Canadian with abstracted plaids and hairy wools cut into simple sheath dresses and satin, drop-waist slips. Izzy Camilleri (www.izzycamilleri.com) did über-glam Canadian and cut glossy patent leather into hard, cinched looks. Newbies Lucian Matis and Andrew Majtenyi showed off strong skills and creativity that will, hopefully, be de-styled and tamed into a new breed of Canuck couture within a few seasons.
As diverse as the showings were, there was a greater sense of trend and direction than in any other fashion week in memory. Hoods were everywhere, from the Little Red Riding Hood-meets-Grace Jones glamorama gowns at Andy The-Anh (www.andytheanh. com) to the gender-bending, luxurious basics at Common Cloth (www.commoncloth.com). Dove grey anything, woven knit fabrics and a good pair of thick black-and-white ombre heels from Town Shoes will get the Canadian content consumer through fall 2007.