Sunny Fong may have went astray last season, but his fall/winter 2011 VAWK collection was one of the best I've ever seen on the runways of Fashion Week here. It was that good.
Coats were the main focus of the collection, and DAY-UM, were they ever spectacular. There was leopard-print ponyhair coats trimmed with white leather and worn over nothing at all ("I WANT THAT COAT" was scrawled across the length of my notebook), fur-trimmed leather car coats, a double-breasted maroon coat with military buttons and a fur-trimmed hood, teal shortie jackets, wool coats adorned with a bold chevron of fur
marching up and down the circumfrence....The creativity with fur and trim was astounding.
But don't get me wrong, Sid was so good. Coming to Toronto via New York (where he's studying at the Fashion Institute) via Edmonton, Sid's the kind of guy who you can instantly spot in a crowd or, as it seems, on a runway. His cool minimalism - so cool that I'll only refer to him by first name - and stark black palette give strong indications that things will be this way for a while, and he's okay with that.
Gold. Black. Silver. A steady stream of statuesque models came down the runway in this glamorous colour palette, which Matis combined in exquisite designs on blazers, coats and dresses with exaggerated shoulders and figure-flattering folds. Chunky knits were paired with intricate beading to create unexpected combinations, like the sexy one-shoulder mini-dress with a black knit bodice detail that had the cozy feel of one of my grandmother's sweaters, but paired with an insanely short beaded hemline of which my dear old Granny would most certainly not approve.
David Dixon kicked off last night's show - after over an hour delay and swirling twitter rumors of a possible cancellation - with a retrospective of his 16 years as a designer. While I don't begrudge anyone a proper Sweet Sixteen celebration, I wonder, did Dixon really need two? And did we all really need to be invited?
This initial part of the show was hodge-podge and overly sentimental - narrated love letters between his grandparents, old family photos, a cheesy intro video featuring an uncomfortable-looking Dixon. It was a digital scrapbook trainwreck. I'm a fan of taking runway shows to a multimedia level. I love props. And celeb cameos. But not when they distract from the real purpose of the show (the clothes, duh).
It didn't feel like fall or winter, but that didn't stop the crowd watching the Shan swimwear runway presentation from enjoying the show. It was tough denying that the floppy hats, string bikinis and full piece suits looked good on the models - with hair and makeup done just so. More visual evidence below.
"It's just so...craft," a certain Toronto Life intern told me yesterday, on the subject of Comrags. Or did she mean "kraft", in reference to the muted and textured browns and taupes that often take shape in the label's collections? True, natural fabrics and neutrals are definitely common threads, but brights do creep in each season usually in prints. It's handled in such a great way, but I wasn't a fan of last season's somewhat matronly and dated Spring florals. Or most of the collection, in fact. Comrags needed to win me back.
The FW11 collection did just that. But not immediately. The first dress out - a crumply matte black shift - was in such serious need of Static Guard or at least a slip that it failed to make any sort of impression on me. It bunched and stuck to the model's legwear (cute DIY-esque wool stockings with embroidered buttons accenting the ankle). Awkward.