Back in black .
The year’s biggest trends (sharp shoulders, precarious platforms, light-washed denim, black leather and so many studs) came together to create one hard-edged, neo-80s, sorta androgynous look favoured by fashionistas far and wide.
Fashion Week’s new not-at-Nathan Phillips Square front row was a little squishy and its schedule a little light on big Toronto designer names, but the tent’s move to King and Shaw got more love than anyone expected.
TheSelby.com, a website that photo-fetishizes creative-type homes around the world, became the star of the style blogosphere, but our must-click of 2009 was KitkaDesignToronto.com. Juli Daoust and John Baker document their DIY home projects, Scandinavian furniture finds and, most recently, the opening of their Junction shop, Mjölk.
Following Alexander McQueen’s lead, Project Runway Canada season two champ Sunny Fong live-streamed his spring Vawk show from the AGO’s Walker Court in October. But instead of the former’s awe-inspiring runway and out-of-this world styling, Fong kept things simple, letting Frank Gehry’s curling staircase set the scene for a capsule collection highlighting his own sense of softly structured womenswear.
There was a time when every Canadian designer wanted to see his or her collection at Holt Renfrew. Now they’d rather be on the Shopping Channel, where cheap ‘n’ cheerful offerings from Lucian Matis, Brian Bailey, Kendra Francis, Wayne Clark and David Dixon make it to the masses and sell out in an hour.
Speaking of Holt’s, in the middle of September’s TIFF pandemonium, the department store let loose, taking its annual Film Fest bash downtown to Queen West and packing the Burroughes Building with celebs, socialites, designers and model favourite Coco Rocha. It was a wonderfully sweaty mess. That it offended so many of the city’s see-and-be-seensters’ posh party sensibilities was icing on the cake.
The Bay began its reinvention this year, but it wasn’t until the designer-label-drenched Room at its Queen and Yonge flagship opened in October that we got behind it. Then it went and partnered with Toronto labels like Virginia Johnson, Jeremy Laing and Comrags on its Blanket Coat Project and Olympic merch and we swooned.
Blame it on the recession or Toronto’s natural retail turnover, but we lost a lot of favourite storefronts in 2009. So long to Token, Koma Designs, Pages, Studio Labiri, Finishing Touches and Zola Shoes. You’ll now find Green Is Black, Eye Spy, Six Shooter Records and Heart on Your Sleeve online.
Balisi opened its third location on the Danforth this year, and we hear another store at Yonge and Eglinton is in the works for February. Other notable openings included Teatro Verde’s Yorkville manse (100 Yorkville, 416-966-2227), Anthropologie’s arrival at The Shops at Don Mills (19 Clock Tower, 416-449-6666) and chic footwear on Roncie at Imelda (123 Roncesvalles, 647-344-1006).
For taking Toronto fashion show production values to dizzying new heights, we bestow designer-of-the-year honours on Greta Constantine’s Stephen Wong and Kirk Pickersgill. Their spring 2010 presentation in the concrete bowels of a Don Valley Audi dealership was as dramatic as the collection’s piped body suits and billowing jersey.