Day 3: Serious business and a shop show
Fashion Design Council of Canada president Robin Kay is known for taking an existentially air fairy angle when talking about the business of style and fashion’s place in Canadian culture. This season’s “Piece” theme (with the word overlaying a scan of Kay’s peace-signed fingers on fashion week programs and press badges) was an easy target for cynical fashion media who would much rather report on behind the scenes slip ups than the clothes that walk by on the runway. But buried in Kay’s fashion love-in line is an important question she is posing about design as an art and the government support that is lacking for our local style talents.
She raised the issue for a second time during Holt Renfrew’s L’Oreal Fashion Week kick-off cocktail party last night (the first time was during a scrum at Queen’s Park on Monday, March 12) and got the crowd chattering all night long about including fashion in Ontario’s arts and culture mandate.
Unfortunately, the philosophical enthusiasm didn’t boil over into the Liberty Grand’s main runway room where the front rows looked bored stiff before the first big show of the week began. Boutique Le Trou (there it is again!) showed off a collective of the Canadian labels sold in the Queen West shop. Models in black and blonde up-dos resembling store owner Marlene Shiff’s skunky locks took to the runway in evening pieces by Jason Matlo, Karamea, Nada, Marie Saint-Pierre and Jason Meyers.
An ex judge from America’s Next Top Model cycle who-cares sitting next to me spent the show asking everyone around him if the lackluster (by his worldly, Tyra has-been standards) models and clothing were common for Toronto fashion. To this backwater style writer’s eyes Nada’s paisley wrap look and Marie Saint-Pierre’s crinkled coat dresses with zip up fronts and oversized hip pockets looked just dandy.
Mackage is always the big draw on opening night (besides the after party honouring local modeling agencies where everyone and their lecherous cousin Larry crashes the Liberty Grand to ogle barely legal women in half undone hair and makeup). This season, spotlights followed models in sharp black bobs as they pounded the concrete runway wearing bomber jackets with chunky knit cuffs and twists on the classic trench accented with a sleeve puff at the forearm. Though Mackage is known for glam outerwear, knit jumpers and belted turtleneck dresses in dove greys, navies and blacks were a chic step towards a more diverse collection.
Mackage available at: Mendocino, 131 Bloor West, 416-927-8618 and others.
On today: The big boys (Arthur Mendonca, David Dixon and Montreal’s Andy The-Anh) show of their skills but we’re betting Toronto fave Comrags steals the night.