Nothing says fashion week like women dressed in pirate costumes handing out chocolate loonies to grabby front row editors. Nope, the Disney store wasn’t debuting its new Pirates of the Caribbean collection of couture eye patches and silk pantaloons. It was the Diesel Kids fashion show. A memo must have been missed between Diesel’s design and marketing departments because there wasn’t anything “Arr Matey!” about toddler-sized jeans, ponchos, duffle coats and leather bombers. The kid models were alright though (and in some cases, walked better than many of the week’s more seasoned catwalk regulars) so I’ll rate this one a “cute!”
But now on to the serious stuff. Not that Comrags is all business. A show by designers Joyce Gunhouse and Judy Cornish is always the perfect mix of craft and commerciality and this season was no exception. Out of a projected forest backdrop stomped folk heroines in a woodsy mix of tweed and taffeta. Branch broaches dipped in gold sparkles highlighted the collection’s metallic accents like a quilted, copper jacket and an iridescent leaf print. A finale grouping of black linen/wool maxi dresses dusted with sidewalk salt at their hems felt smarter than Prada, exhibiting a genuine intellectual and organic quality that could only come from a true understanding of dressing for the great urban north.
After such a natural presentation, the Andy Thê Anh show that followed felt a little synthetic. To the blaring soundtrack of Tina Turner singing her way from Proud Mary to the James Bond Golden Eye theme, Montreal’s favourite dress up designer rehashed the usual mix of svelte red carpet gowns, balloon sleeve blouses and body conscious pants. There were innovative moments, especially in a series of collar pieces including asymmetrical cowls and detachable shirt collars strung with costume jewellery.
Where a label like Bustle playfully slaps you across the face with a show concept, David Dixon takes a subtler approach. For his “Long Way Home” show, he lit the end of the runway with two park lanterns and sprinkled a pool of snow over the first exit. The line was romantic but sleek, best articulated in a fluttery opening group of black pieces covered with laser cut silk hearts. Triple brimmed Wildhagen hats, slouchy Daniel Storto gloves and knit Olena Zylak lariats finished off tone-on-tone graphite tree branch prints and embroidered duffle coats.
Next, it was over to CIRCA and Greta Constantine’s “Part Four” presentation on a mirrored catwalk stretching down the centre of the club. Aside from the perpetually summer jersey fare, Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong impressed with structured coats and vests made from chunky, scuba suit neoprene. Boldly colourful gowns with thick knotted necklines upped their eveningwear offering. Pickersgill and Wong should retire the bathing suit beefcakes they send down the runway to break up their shows. The line has come too far to be dumbed down by a now predictable pecks-and-ass gimmick.
Above: A selection from Comrags.