The first sign of spring in Toronto's fashion community is the arrival of the city's fall fashion week.
Just as the temperature starts warming up and you're tipping off your readers to the new season's hottest trends (see this NOW's prescription for mod womenswear, colourful men's accessories and pink-hued makeup), you somehow trick yourself into expressing excitement for the parade of wooly coats and oversized sweaters that wander down runways around town.
But before you catch yourself typing out a think piece about the topsy-turvy timing of the style biz, you accept it and move on. Move on to the Comrags show that kicked off the Fall 2013 calendar on March 13 at Andrew Richard Designs.
Wearing Fluevog heels and oxfords, models marched by in standout pieces like outerwear in rust-hued jacquard and dresses cut from a painterly, brush stroke print. It would be fiercer to say I love every Comrags show for its edgy styling and subversive attitude but, the truth is, I love every Comrags show because I know that if I feature a piece from the collection in the magazine, someone will not only be able to buy it but they'll be able to love wearing it for years to come.
I can still get behind a more experimental talent though. The biggest surprise of fashion week's first week (if you haven't heard, Toronto's event still lasts a bit longer than seven days) was Vancouver-bred, London-based Steven Tai (pictured above). His skiwear inspired show featured technical textiles like cast silicone ribbing in bright colours laminated on fabric and then stitched onto the collars, cuffs and waistbands of oversized sweatshirts.
In this nostalgic age of design, that kind of material manipulation is what keeps fashion moving forward.
Jeremy Laing has an unquestionably contemporary aesthetic. He's also been around long enough that he inspires the same sort of fan loyalty you find at a Comrags show. Waiting to clear the runway room after his beautiful presentation on Thursday evening, it was easy to identify the collection's biggest hits (a tailored coat in a stuffed jacquard and anything cut from flowing gold seersucker), as guests rattled off their fall shopping lists of must-have pieces.
Twitter @NOWLifeStyle for capsule show reviews and grainy catwalk shots.