Makeup by JANINE BOWEN for M*A*C Cosmetics (maccosmetics.com)
On the runway and off, our emerging style players are taking Toronto's fashion rep to new heights. Just in time for Fashion Week (October 20 to 25 at Nathan Philips Square, lorealfashionweek.ca), we present our annual portfolio of the faces stitching up another fabulous season.
Owner, 69 Vintage
Thank 69 Vintage's Kealan Sullivan for Toronto's rep as one of the world's best second-hand shopping towns. Other retro clothing retailers following her merchandising mix and trend-pioneering have created a network of grade-A vintage boutiques for fearless dressers.
Sullivan's entrepreneurial drive stands alone, though. In 2008 she expanded her empire to include 69 by the Pound and the Queen West Market. Her next venture is the launch of a clothing label called Butcher Tailor that elevates the usually crafty racket of reworked vintage to the level of high style.
Jenny Bird compares the appeal of a clutch to that other fashion classic the little black dress. "It's stood the test of time," she says of the hand-held style she creates in art deco shapes, embellished with vintage jewellery as hardware.
Searle on New York City's swanky Madison Avenue was her first retailer, and the list of stockists has grown to include swish shops in Chicago, Miami, Toronto and e-boutique Ravinstyle.com. Style sometimes has to bow to practicality, though, so Bird's next shape will be a big bag that mixes textures, a sleek look and ample room for what she calls "all our everyday everythings."
Designer coordinator, Fashion Design Council of Canada
Forget fashion school. What better style education could Brooklyn Brownstone have asked for than to grow up with Robin Kay, the resilient lightning rod of Canadian fashion, as mom and mentor?
Before you run to your blogs to write a nepotism rant (Kay is FDCC prez, after all), consider that industry insiders credit Brownstone's curiosity and empathy for making Fashion Week more designer-friendly than ever.
This year's best step forward is a long-sought-after second, smaller runway room for more intimate presentations by new-to-Fashion Week labels including Jason Meyers, Karamea and Janet Hill.
"I admire her thoughtfulness," says Kay. "She has taken her job very, very seriously."
Photo By David Hawe
Makeup by JANINE BOWEN for M*A*C Cosmetics (maccosmetics.com)
Street style photographer
Tommy Ton has been a NOW style staple since he launched JakandJil.com three years ago. He's just back from the month-long New York, London, Milan and Paris runway circuit, where he earned more never-ending praise from his own fashion hero, Paris Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, and hurt his back falling down an airport escalator under the weight of a suitcase full of fashion magazines.
Those are the highs and lows of the international catwalk tour, but with work appearing in Vogue Japan and a growing stable of style A-listers to call his friends, Ton's ins are definitely outnumbering his outs. He is, admittedly, a sporadic poster, but luckily, Flare recently recognized his photography skills with a monthly column, so we know when to expect our next hit of haute street style.
League of Lovers and Thieves
Eco clothing labels
Eco won't be able to hold fashion's attention without style. Thankfully, League of Lovers' Dana Kiyoko Takeda and Thieves Sonja den Elzen are collaborating on making green dressing chic.
But concentrating on the fibres and fair trade manufacturing of this pair of earth-friendly labels sells their design angle short. For their "cabinets of curiosities"-themed show on October 23, den Elzen focuses on a mix of sharply cut bamboo suiting and slouchy jumpsuits and rompers, while Kiyoko Takeda plays with cinched, flowing shapes in hand-stained tassar silk.
A final grouping of co-designed dresses will share Thieves' tailoring and League of Lovers' signature organic prints.
The second big handbag story of the year is designer Jessica Jensen, who can't decide between landing at Takashimaya New York on Fifth Avenue or in the pages of Italian Vogue as her year's best fashion accomplishment. They're bittersweet scores for Jensen, who launched her collection in Toronto but barely made a blip on the radar of retailers and media here.
TNT was finally the first local store to bite, picking up her fall line of oversized portfolios and embossed totes for its Toronto and Montreal outlets. Jensen describes the collection as quiet, but we bet Canadian customers respond to their chic, effortless look loud and clear.
The Deadly Nightshades
Fashion bike gang
When fashion bike gangs rule the world's runways with shit-disturbing bedazzled brass knuckles, you'll remember these early days of the Deadly Nightshades. The seven-member crew spread their message of sustainable fashion from Critical Mass's street rallies to Fashion Week's runway (which they hijacked last season to film the climax of their Night Out With The Nightshades short).
The group evolved from kNOwdresscode, a collective of Ryerson fashion kids that boosted newbie designer talent. With chapters planned for Vancouver and New York, it won't be long before the sight of their designer low-riders signal a new era of eco fabulousnessness. Follow their rise at nightshadesbikecrew.blogspot.com.
Unit production manager, Fashion Television
Christopher Sherman first met Fashion Television host Jeanne Beker when he was a 15-year-old fashion fanatic working behind the counter at an Orillia Tim Hortons. These days, he's at Beker's side as FT's unit production manager, accompanying her through the frenzy of New York's Fashion Week.
On his travels, his quirky and dapper sense of style (Sherman busted out a pair of lederhosen to cover Vienna's Life Ball AIDS fundraiser) has won kudos from fashion icons including Victoria Beckham, Andre Leon Talley and Tom Ford.
Beker's bit of advice to Sherman back in his donut-pushing days was "Know your dreams and go for them." Needless to say, the advice worked.
The killer platforms are coming! Those teetering pumps and wedges that strutted (and sometimes buckled under models) on spring 09 international runways are the accessory that prolific Plutino Group stylist Juliana Schiavinatto is pulling out for her foursome of Fashion Week shows. She'll be backstage at Pink Tartan, Buffalo David Bitton, Mikhael Kale and Eugenia Leavitt, translating the commercial into the catwalk-ready.
"The trick to doing that in Toronto is working with limited resources," says Schiavinatto, whose creative style solutions also serve clients like FQ, Zink and Glow magazines.
"Keeping it unexpected and interesting to look at is my job," she says. "It's adding all the little details that make a show come to life."