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Fashion & Style

Strapless and In Spandex, Models Strut Their Superhero-Inspired Looks at the Rivoli

Posted by Briony / August 16, 2009

Fashion ShowFashion gives us glimpses into other worlds, whether it's the austere intellectualism of the Belgians or the straight-up sex appeal of the Italians.

Or, in the case of Friday's Made by Sarah Catalfo show, the fashions of Toronto's under-20 club and rave set.

The 20-year-old designer displayed her newest collection, titled "Bandits in Bows," at the Rivoli, after a performance by the spandex-clad Lauren Elle and her back-up dancers. Strutting down a truncated runway fashioned from the Rivoli stage, the collection was like an explosion of the $5 bin at the fabric store, purple sequins, black net, and fuchsia nylon everywhere.

Fashion ShowIronically, it was the simpler pieces that I thought were the most wearable, including the white cowl-necked t-shirt dress with a hazy gray print, and the super-short tan minidress.

But Catalfo, who started out designing prom dresses when she was in high school, doesn't do plain. "When I see a garment that's just plain, I imagine what I could add to it," she said.

Fashion ShowAnd add she did: most of the pieces wouldn't look out of place at a late-nineties rave, with fluorescents and synthetic fabrics manifesting themselves in black and neon-yellow spandex minidresses, and teal and cherry-red sheaths draped with sheer black fabric. One electric-blue lamé strapless dress even had its own neon-yellow cummerbund and hot-pink lace overlay.

Fashion ShowWhile neons and the outlandishness of the eighties have been enjoying a comeback lately, the haphazard colour combinations here were hard on the eye, rather than stylishly shocking. And, when trying to pull off flamboyance, construction has to be above reproach--here, the cheap-looking fabrics merely added to the amateur feel.

Fashion ShowAlso troubling was the fact that everything was insanely low-cut, backless, or short, or usually a combination of the above. I'm all for showing some skin (or even, um, a lot of skin), but many of the dresses didn't even fully cover the model's asses, their cheeks bobbing in plain sight as they made their way back up the few stairs.

Fashion Show"I design for events where you want to be noticed and to be looked at, like the red carpet, proms, or parties," said Catalfo, whose designs have been worn by petite popster Lights. "This collection was inspired by bandits--by rebelling against the laws of style, they become like superheroes almost."

But to break the laws of style, you gotta know 'em first.

Fashion Show

Fashion Show

Photos by Jade Lee Portelli.



nutellapr / August 16, 2009 at 06:14 pm
"But to break the laws of style, you gotta know 'em first." Well said. Those photos remind me of strung out in the gutter crack tranny whores. I regret even looking at them. Need to go wash my eyes out with soap.
handfed / August 16, 2009 at 07:05 pm
skanky and scandalous. i like.
Katy / August 16, 2009 at 08:03 pm
Hooker Barbie wear. I'll pass.
jinxx008 / August 16, 2009 at 11:12 pm
designer she is but Lacroix she ain't. I'm sorry, but this clothes are whorendous!!!;;HOOKERIFIC!
Louise / August 17, 2009 at 12:47 am
I'm kind of tired of all the callous comments against sex workers, trans or not, on blogTO. Aside from how I find these underlying attitudes offensive - yeah it looks like these pieces suck.
Dominique / August 17, 2009 at 07:54 am
Very tasteless indeed, why don't you cover up and coming designers who have actual talent?
Tina / August 17, 2009 at 07:26 pm
I think this show was supposed to be fun and different. If any of the people commenting harshly had been there, I think you would have thought otherwise. Also, the designer is 20 for goodness sakes! Props to her for even putting up a show with so many people involved. She's quite petite herself, and perhaps she didn't expect the dresses to fit so small on the models - fittings are often just days before the show, would you expect her to put it all off because she has to remake everything? I think the pieces were quite simple, other than the colouring of the fabric, but some of them were also quite original, like the bubble wrap skirt. I'm no fashion expert, but I thought it was a cute idea.
Elora / August 18, 2009 at 11:46 pm
Keep in mind, that fashion is also art. There are PLENTY of fashion shows that are only meant for the 'SHOW' effect. How many times do fashion designers present looks on the runway that can never actually be worn for everyday life. ALL THE TIME....It looks like this young designer was being creative and giving everyone a good show.
Tina replying to a comment from Elora / August 19, 2009 at 02:09 pm
Thank you, that was a point that I forgot to add... I just hate it when people judge things that they probably would pull off much worse. Especially when there is artistic value involved.
Amanda / August 19, 2009 at 03:56 pm
I was at the show and it was amazing! The designer is extremely talented.
J / August 22, 2009 at 01:17 am
Clearly this writer has a "DIFFERENT" sense of fashion...
Looks like it would have been a cool show. I think for being only 20 this girl has been doing a great job :) I've been following her progress!
Corina replying to a comment from Elora / August 22, 2009 at 02:15 am
Thank you - I always laugh my head off when people comment on the practicality of run way fashions - a fashion show isn't intended to display items you'd see for sale, even in a designer store. It's more of a conceptual walkthrough of the designer's ideas, in the context of a thematic impact.
steve lam replying to a comment from Elora / December 8, 2009 at 09:43 am
this is embarrassing. this was clearly not going for the "show" effect nor pret-a-porter. just looks like a failed high school coffee house project.
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