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Fashion & Style

The best & worst looks at Toronto Men's Fashion Week

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / August 17, 2014

Toronto Mens Fashion WeekToronto Men's Fashion Week (TOM) made a debut appearance on the Toronto fashion scene this week. From August 12 to 14, the Fairmont Royal York was swarmed by gents - ranging from dapper to avant-garde on the style spectrum - and other fashion fans looking to take in the collections of up-and-coming menswear designers from around the globe.

As with any new event, it wasn't without its speedbumps - occasionally less-than-smooth logistics (including an awards-show delay they called on Stacey McKenzie to liven up) and one honest-to-goodness media snafu in the form of L'Uomo Strano's off-again, on-again collection. But the lineup of dozens of designers - many of whom were totally new to the fashion scene - was still a breath of fresh air, bringing collections that ranged from the beautiful to the shocking to the unusual. (And they definitely didn't shy away from the unusual - but then again, that's why we're looking at it on the runway, and not buying it at the Gap.)

Here, in no particular order, are 10 of my favourite looks - and five of the wackiest ones - from the first-ever TOM.

David C. Wigley
The common thread in Wigley's collection was feminized athletic influences: teeny-weeny shorts, voluminously-tailored tops with linebacker-like shoulders, and a few Tumblr-appropriate flower crowns. It may be flashy, but if every dude in Toronto started walking around in floral bomber jackets, hot-pink shorts, and Doc Martens tomorrow, I would be thrilled.

paulo succarPaulo Succar
I'm a sucker for prints, and Paulo Succar's collection of vivid, oversized insect motifs was repeated and remixed over and over throughout his collection. Bug patterns on bug patterns - it's the new monochrome!

sons of odinSons of Odin
Toronto-based Sons of Odin delivered a strong show to their hometown crowd - a collection of monochromatic basics beautifully updated with rich texture, pattern (ropes 'n' roses), and leather details. There's nothing flashy about this mid-length tweed jacket, but the tailoring, details and drape are all spot-on - this is a brand doing practical casual menswear right.

luomo stranoL'Uomo Strano
The week's most contested collection was equal parts feminine and futuristic, with the latter seen in pieces like this sculpted coat. All told, it was one of the week's most out-there shows (hell, the line's name means "the strange man") - but given designer Mic. Carter's stance on exploring gender roles in masculinity, it was also one of the most intriguing.

som kongSom Kong
Som Kong was the clear audience fave at the Emerging Menswear Designer Awards, though the top prize went to the still-deserving Joao Paulo Guedes. The texture and layering in Kong's show-ending look (check that subtly shimmering grid in the jacket) made it an undeniable winner, even with the Bane face mask.

andrew coimbraAndrew Coimbra
Poppy pixel prints broke up the clean tailoring and squeaky-clean details in this EMDA finalist's collection - like classic camel trenches and shorts (a major shared thread throughout the collections).

noel crisostomoNoel Crisostomo
Crisostomo did crisp, structured casualwear right, with sharp-edged colour/pattern blocking and unique takes on a classic houndstooth pattern (think tiny cutouts, or black houndstooth shapes stitched onto a white background). The real killer here, though, is this punchy bomber jacket, which would slot nicely into any modern, urban dude's wardrobe. Someone send one of these to Drake or something.

christian lenfant roiChristian L'Enfant Roi
The Danish designer (props for calling your line "Christian the boy-king", btw) showed a flowing, minimal line with touches of equestrian and martial artist-reminiscent details (think "Jedi-chic".) Though the paper-bag silhouette of these pants is unusual in menswear, with a black buttown-down, the challenging silhouette reads as surprisingly wearable and neutral.

patrick salongaPatrick Salonga
EMDA finalist Salonga's collection of jersey sportswear separates was marked by a series of graphic designs that may or may not have been a secret message written in Gallifreyan. With coordinating bandannas and shirts sent out on the runway together against basic black pieces, it's a great example of a simple motif done well.

benji wzwBenji WZW
The Lady Gaga-approved designer served up another round of surreal, pop-art-inspired pieces. The collection revolved around roses - both with blooms stitched into jackets and jeans, and the word "ROSES" printed in italic Arial across the backs of jackets. This gold moto, complete with stitched-on black Plexi smiley faces, falls into the latter category. (The designer himself walked around with this piece draped over his shoulders for the rest of the fest.)


pedram karimiPedram Karimi
Karimi's collection, featuring androgynous, belted tunics with hand-drawn graphics, wasn't wild by TOM standards - it was the models' makeup that put things over the top. Pieces of Scotch tape were placed on each face, with a few of the models' lower lips taped down to create a strange grimace. I will relive the magic of TOM forever as this particular gent's thousand-yard stare makes guest appearances in my nightmares.

tom wearable techWearable Tech show
TOM gave the techies some love this week, with a wearable tech pavilion and a runway show featuring the latest in futuristic fashion. The wackiness factor of this boyshorts-and-headgear look is obvious, but I also want to see a sci-fi movie in which someone wakes up in an isolation chamber wearing this exact outfit.

luca galardoLuca Galardo
We saw a lot of tighty-whiteys on the TOM runway this week, and Luca Galardo's iridescent, transparent bodysuit was absolutely no exception. But, in small doses, this futuristic finish was a showstopper - Galardo's athletic, sleeveless tank, made out of the same material, was one of my favourite pieces on the TOM runway.

In an oh-so-shocking concept I think may have been plucked from the pilot episode of Ugly Betty, Montreal designer Benjamin Lafaille showed a collection inspired by car crashes, complete with fake road rash makeup. Easy there, David Cronenberg.

paul nathapolPaul Nathapol
Playing with proportion and tailoring is key in a fashion collection - but I found myself just wanting to tuck in guy's shirt for him. Is it just me? Anyone? Bueller?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Photos 1, 6, 15 by Arthur von Tyrpa. Photos 2, 5, 8, 11, 14 by Shayne Gray. Photos 3, 12 by Paolo Musa. Photos 4, 9, 10, 13 by Constantine Digovets. Photo 6 by Jowel Villa. All photos courtesy TOM.



Iris / August 17, 2014 at 12:44 am
to Natalia Manzocco :Som Kong's collection was way too conceptual, this is not a school design competition! He put men in dresses, this is Men's fashion week, man should look like a man. Joao Paul made a great collection and tailoring was impeccable.
Misleading / August 17, 2014 at 08:46 am
The title says "Best & Worst" but I'm unable to locate the "Best" photos.
T replying to a comment from Iris / August 17, 2014 at 10:10 am
"man should look like a man"
.... what's that supposed to mean?
seexyy / August 17, 2014 at 10:45 am
For best collection is non the worst all of them look afful cloths or designs it reminds me an elementary program design what a waisted of time and fabrics
Zee / August 17, 2014 at 01:34 pm
These designers seem to be trying way to hard to be "different" no man is going to wear any of that garbage walking around like a unicorn on meth shat you out of its ass.
The Ripper / August 17, 2014 at 02:23 pm
Seriously? I doubt a regular guy would even think of wearing any of this stuff. Men's fashion, phffft, what a joke.
Hair Salon Toronto / August 17, 2014 at 02:32 pm
Some looks are fantastic, some not so much, extravaganza is good but recycling some Pet Shop Boy looks from the 90's not too great.
Thomas / August 17, 2014 at 03:00 pm
To everyone saying "no man would wear that" that is never the point. No designer would expect any man to wear that. Fashion shows are hyperbolic we examples of trends that get mini military and reworked before they come prete a porter.
Ruth Treloar / August 17, 2014 at 05:52 pm
As a fashion victim, I realize I haven't fashion sense but I now realize that this condition is nearly universal. Many of these outfits remind me me of pieces you see randomly in Winners.
linden / August 17, 2014 at 06:16 pm
Dear Men, please do no take a cue from Toronto Men's Fashion Week. You look great the way you are.
Irwin Mimico's Mommy / August 18, 2014 at 02:31 am
So many pictures of my Irwin! I really like the first one with the Sunflower in his hair, bur my favourite is the one in his big boy underpants showing his Mimico Manpart! Irwin - just like your PopPop!!
Jakub / August 18, 2014 at 04:14 pm
To all the comments "no man would wear this" or "men shouldn't look like this"….very simply…it's just not for you! A designer has his own concept, design atheistic and vision. Who are you to tell the designer what they should be creating?? These are young designers that have a direction for the avant grade, this is how some of the most influential designers of our time gained their notoriety. If McQueen, Owens, going to back to Gaultier listened to the critics, they wouldn't be recognized or have the status they do today. These designers are not limited to a the city they're showing in, fashion is global and they are reaching out on that scale.

And I don't think some of you understand the concept of a fashion show. These designers are presenting a vision, a mood, it's not all about selling. Pretty much all designers only show 20-25% of their collection on the runway, remainder is more commercial. Yes…these clothes don't seem to be for every day, however….they are not for the masses and that purpose.

We may not be in Paris or London, but the fact that designers who are creating collections with a direction for the avant grade and more conceptual are showing in Toronto is a positive. I saw versatility from the designers….elements of street wear to tailored to the extreme. All components of a successful fashion week.

Andrew replying to a comment from Jakub / August 18, 2014 at 06:31 pm
Jacques / August 18, 2014 at 09:22 pm
Awful silhouettes, if there is a context, I don't see it. Authenticity? Well, I'll give it to you this way, I sure as shit hope these are all one-offs Lord Jesus, I don't want to see any of this crap ever again unless it was donated to a homeless person, then at least I know it's helping someone keep point in discussing scale. Don't let me see sleeves that are too long, or shoulder seams that hang OFF the shoulders. What a waste of time, instead of TOM, maybe you guys should consider throwing "Padthaifest" or "A Puppet Show"
r / August 20, 2014 at 04:04 pm
JP's collection was outstanding!! Fantastic, boss~~!!
Jennifer / August 22, 2014 at 04:17 pm
Bane face mask? There is actually a name for that thing?!?!
Do not tuck in that shirt, it would blouson the hideously feminine shiny jacket - are the arms too short or is it just me?
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