The way a day at Toronto Fashion Week normally goes is a younger, less established designer kicks things off with a later afternoon show and the night slowly builds to a high pressure crescendo around 10 pm when the night’s blockbuster collection takes to the runway.
Friday’s last lineup of catwalk presentations turned that formula on its head sliding Canadian designer superstar Paul Hardy into the day’s first spot. The laid back mood in the room and even a few empty seats only added to the fantasy mood of Hardy’s spring line.
A twenties style flapper dress with an accordion pleated hem and giant, faceted crystal buttons sprinkled across the bodice opened the show. An icy colour palette initially felt a bit winter wonderland for a warm weather collection but Hardy helped that by introducing layered tanks in fine ribbed cottons into looks. Colour arrived in a crinkled, iridescent, kelly green grown with ruffles beginning at the shoulder blade and cascading down to the waist. The models’ powdered faces and feathered hats pushed the fairytale theme without it turning too precious.
New-to-fashion week label Nada Yousif followed the Hardy show with a candy coloured rainbow of satin dresses and separates. Pieces were heavy on kangaroo pockets which worked on tunic pieces but created unforgivable crotch bulge on walking shorts. Short dresses became full length gowns when models released a drawstring at their waists.
Rudsak’s Serengeti-inspired line included men’s and women’s looks which played with trench coat styling. The signature dress (so signature it must have walked by a good twenty times in stone, black and chartreuse colour ways) used a trench collar to create a cowl and cinched in with an overstitched raincoat belt.
And now, our Toronto Fashion Week wrap up:
Most talkative front row guest: Globe and Mail stylist Marq Frerichs held a runway side style salon during each show of the week, chatting up every outfit from the first look to the last.
Biggest fashion week debut: Susie Love's jewellery made it into the David Dixon and Ula Zukowska shows and she tallied up hundreds of dollars in sales at her booth in the reception tent.
Hardest worker: Aside from Fashion Week's legion of volunteers, Jeanne Beker's butt busted the most hoping from the front row to her in-tent studio, delivering designers a coveted five minutes of Fashion Television face time.
Most used runway music: The tribal beat and choppy, earthy vocals of Feist's Sea Lion Woman looped through shows, including Nada and Stephen Trigueros, all week long.
Biggest crush to get into the runway room: Hundreds of fashion fans were kept behind the runway room's velvet rope for Andy The Anh's show which included spice coloured frocks and the week's first model tumble.
The trends: Lots of colour or none at all. Everything for evening. School boy suiting in mint julep-ready ticking. Pleated pantaloons because they're so darn flattering.
Tents: Yes or No? Yes indeed! For the first time I heard people around the city chatting about "that L'Oreal Fashion Week event going on at Nathan Philips Square".
One tip for next season: The paint chemists over at Para would be smart to add some sand to their scuff free catwalk formula if we don't want to end up with a city full of models on worker's comp.
Show(s) of the week: For sheer showmanship, saleability and sticking it to the fashion prudes, the Damzels/Playdead grindhouse wins one of our top spots. The other goes to Paul Hardy who managed to pull off a fantastical spring collection without the fussiness usually associated with such a theatrical and imaginative genre of clothing.