If there's a banana and a bottle of lube waiting for you on your Toronto Fashion Week seat, you can bet it's time for a Ginch Gonch show. The B.C.-based underwear brand kicked of Tuesday's show lineup with a cheeky and butt cheek-heavy, Jungle Fever-inspired collection. Ginch Gonch mixes super greased up beefcake styling with bras and knickers paying homage to childhood super hero underpants. This year's theme printed eagles, stalking panthers and cutesy monkeys on briefs, boy shorts and jock straps with fluorescent piping and colourful waist bands.
The conceptual ying to Ginch Gonch's playful yang was Zoran Dobric's spring presentation of crinkled and creased dresses for modern day Edith Piafs. Black net mufflers encased models in Dobric's artful takes on the little black dress. Options ranged from a fairly literal take on a fifties, full skirt shirt dress to a black cocktail shift in a fine white-on-black inkblot print. Hits of royal blue gave the audience a better view of Dobric's signature pleating and hand-drawn prints.
Nada Shepherd has shown her collection once before as part of the Toronto Fashion Incubator's 2004 New Labels competition but last night's show was her true coming to the local industry. A dreamy, underwater video introduced a lineup of gorgeous siren gowns in light fabrics which flowed down the runway suggesting the models were walking on the ocean floor. The presentation included a tight colour palette (canary yellows, deep purple, a coral ginkgo leaf print and burnished mauve metallics with splashes of sequins), clever design details (smocking worked equally as well cinching in the waist of a formal dress as on the casual cuffs and collars of linen lamé warm up jackets) and consistent mermaid-esque styling.
Equally tight was Bustle's menswear presentation. Designers Shawn Hewson and Ruth Promislow obviously thrive on a good, sporty theme (past collections have referenced race car drivers or skeet shooting) but their Spring 2008 day-at-the-races collection succeeded by not letting the shtick overshadow the style. Models emerged from race track wickets in ticking stripe suiting in a washed out palette of blues, browns and ivory. Shirting featured upturned cuffs in a contrasting yellow horse print and pant pockets were embellished with embroidered horseshoe silhouettes. MTV's Dan Levy and Jessi Cruickshank did a celeb model walk by with Cruickshank sporting a cinched in, double breasted, navy blazer.
The night's finale was Joeffer Caoc. He titled his collection Momentum but years in the business has refined Caoc's sense of progress and the line's evolution is always studied, subtle and chic. Signature bright satin gowns and dresses with wide black elastic bands across their back returned while a flowy black and white zig zag fabric and matte black sequins kept Spring 2008 modern and fresh.