Style 2007 Ins & Outs

Rating: NNNNNWe're all shopped out (just for one week, we promise)! While we recharge our retail lust and pack piles.

Rating: NNNNN

We’re all shopped out (just for one week, we promise)! While we recharge our retail lust and pack piles of wrapping paper and chicken- scratched gift guide lists into the blue box, it’s time to reflect on another fabulous and frivolous year in the Toronto style trenches. Here are 10 chic and not-so-chic trends, people and buys that marked the ins and outs of 2007.

Fashion on TV

Toronto has been home to boob-tube style staple Fashion Television since 1985. The genre was bound to boom locally after Canada’s Next Top Model tested Canadian audiences’ interest in shmata-related reality TV. This year saw Adrian Mainella score the talking-head spot on CBC’s Fashion File Host Hunt, while Project Runway Canada made instant stars out of a ragtag group of Canuck designers. Good ol’ FT is still the one to watch, though, especially now that flush CTV execs hold its purse strings.

Hot man lines

Classic, handsome menswear has the international fashion scene smitten, and we’re well represented at home. Names like Bustle, Krane and Philip Sparks are keeping dudes dapper whether they’re dandies or modern dressers, and shops like Trend Custom Tailors and Theodore 1922 are feeding the hunger for all things bespoke.

Shaun Moore and Julie Nicholson's Made was a major design destination.

Photo By Kathryn Gaitens

Ministry of the Interior's designs made an impression.

Photo By Kathryn Gaitens

Decor finds from Umbra beautified our homes

Photo By Kathryn Gaitens

Design renaissance

The ROM opened its doors, the AGO closed up for its final rebuild push, and shops like Ministry of the Interior, Made and the Umbra Concept Store filled our pads with hot home products. Events like Architectural Digest’s Architecture Days fest and the annual Interior Design Show/Come Up To My Room weekend feted our architects and interior talents. Whether you like the look of Toronto or not, the fact that we’re gabbing about it is a step in the right design direction.


Photo By Mark Coatsworth

Swoonin’ over Swaby

Every year, one Toronto designer stands out as our favourite discovery, and 2007’s crown belongs to Shernett Swaby. We’re ashamed to say it took us too long to boost this talent (Swaby was creating for years from shops in Greektown and Yorkville before she landed at her current Queen East address), but it must be those seasons of experience that have us so turned on. Her fall ribbon-wrapped collection is full of sweet jewel-toned dress confections, while spring’s looks bear her impeccable attention to detail in a neutral palette of beige and grey.

Border beckons

A strong dollar was enough to cause shopaholics to forget their ecoholism and make a beeline for the border this fall. A tank full of gas, a trunk full of Target and a well-edited stash of receipts in the glove box trumped a trip to local boutiques. T.O.’s retailers suffered and prematurely slashed their prices, but everyone was too busy sneaking through customs to notice.

Laing thang

We don’t dish about designer Jeremy Laing much because, frankly, he doesn’t need our attention. In 2007, Canada’s great international fashion hope scored a spot as one of Vogue’s top three labels to watch. Laing is a rare Toronto talent who contributes to city life in other ways besides dressing us up. He and his Big Primpin’ crew continue to offer the queer and queer-at-heart a first Saturday every month to bounce to Beyoncé and Missy. Here’s hopping a gay hiphop collection inspired by Parkdale fashion fags drops some season soon.

Blogging bites back

Toronto’s online fashion community buzzed this past fall when an open e-mail timed to Toronto Fashion Week circulated through cyberspace calling for reforms to the Fashion Design Council of Canada, which organizes the event. An online petition filled up with a measly 62 anonymous and not-so-anonymous signatures, and a few reasonable questions about how the organization can better respond to market and designer demands was lost in a dish of flaky gossip.

Rocking reinventions

Damzels in This Dress ruled the spring runway with the return of its fun, frilly frocks. The Nada collection’s first Fashion Week turn instantly elevated the line to A-list status. Off the catwalk, the Toronto Fashion Incubator, which was pushed off Queen West by the condo crowd, ended up with another prime piece of real estate on the Exhibition grounds to call home.

Green scheme

The greening of the retail scene made us a little eco-suspicious, especially when it came to our weekly grocery shop. Just why are we being surcharged for shoddily stitched reusable bags – that break after one use – over-printed with mega-mart logos? We’re all for earth-conscious behaviour modification, but we feel duped by paying for branding campaigns and padding the pockets of supermarket dynasties one 99-cent tote at a time.

Fashion farewells

We said so long to fave shops like Mexicana spot Clandestino and Kensington Market’s Iki. Honest Ed Mirvish died in July, leaving a big development question mark over his discount store’s Annex site. Cabaret’s Thomas Drayton passed away October 24, but his vintage legacy lives strong on Queen West.

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