The parties at Toronto Fashion Week
Although it's hard to nail down the exact cost of showing a collection at World MasterCard Fashion Week, it is undoubtedly a big investment. But designers do it, year after year, because everyone who matters in the Canadian fashion industry is paying attention.
It seems that designers only have that 11 to 15 minutes their collection spends on the runway to grab the attention of editors and customers - but that's not always the case. The shows wrap up at 9:30 every night, and finding a way to capitalize on the remaining hours in the evening gives a designer a special edge.
This is where the after parties come in. There is at least one every night of the week during WMCFW, and hundreds of fashion week attendees flock to the buzziest venues in Toronto to take part.
"It's a way for designers to thank their staff, models who walked their runway and customers for all their continued and loyal support. It also generates great brand building buzz." says Muriel Alexander of fashion week parties. Alexander works for ASC Public Relations, the firm that represents Mackage and also took care of their WMCFW after party.
The Mackage party took place at Soho House on Wednesday evening, a risky choice given that the Joe Fresh party was happening just down the street. But the first and third floor of the members-only club were filled with people getting a closer look at Mackage's latest line of handbags that were arranged carefully amongst the rustic decor.
Whether it's offering partygoers a 20 per cent discount on handbags, like Mackage did, or having an anonymous pair of typists quickly evaluate peoples' outfits at Holt Renfrew's fashion week kickoff party, the party has to be memorable, because there are so many.
The Joe Fresh party is a favourite of editors and the local fashion crowd. This year, Lee Restaurant hosted the crowd arriving straight from the Joe Fresh runway. Incredible food was the name of their game, and chef Susur Lee's team did not disappoint.
Aside from choosing the right hors d'oeuvres to circulate, and keeping the open bar stocked, creating the perfect fashion week after party atmosphere is a lot of work.
"Like any multi-faceted party during a high profile event such as World MasterCard Fashion Week, a successful one takes several weeks careful planning to execute effortlessly, from curating the guest list to food, beverage, music, furniture layout, lighting and set-up details," says Alexander.
These events really are the place to be after the runway lights go down. Beyond the free drinks and swag, they offer networking opportunities, not only for the designers who host them, but everyone who works in the Canadian fashion industry.
And Alexander knows what makes a successful World MasterCard Fashion Week after party.
"When all your target influencers, celebrities and media attend creating great energy and attention for the brand," she says. "Not to mention when guests have such a great time that they're already asking when the next one will be."
Photo by Mauricio Calero