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Fashion Week

My Top 3 Fashion Week Secrets

Posted by Briony / March 17, 2009

Toronto Fashion Week
1. Robin Kay Watch

After last year's drunken debacle and chaste apology, the golden grand dame of the FDCC is under a lot of scrutiny. So far, so good, even with the season's theme of "show love." At last night's Holt Renfrew industry cocktail party, Kay leaned in close to the microphone and put a lot of emphasis on the final part of her speech: "And especially, show love to each other." She seemed slightly slighted, not slurred or shaken, however. Lesson learned, I guess. When I raised a brow at her entrance, a colleague whispered, "I bet she's dry as a bone."

2. Escaping The Ghetto

Last season, the FDCC attempted to ban Web media mid-Fashion Week from the media room after a digital camera was stolen. The reason given? "Well, the Web media could be just about anybody." This goes against what they'd said recently about how dozens of fashion bloggers and online fashion writers had applied and been rejected since they only accepted the best of the online crowd.

A long-time member of the Web media valiantly - and rightly -put up a big fuss and privileges were reinstated. "It's pretty ridiculous," she'd said. "As if the magazines' interns (who, she meant, are unpaid and generally only around for a few months) are less suspect just because they're at a magazine!" And, ironically, Web media are often the ones who need to use the media room so that they can file their stories immediately--the power of the Web!

Now, I feel lucky to have snagged a seat at Fashion Week at all last season and this, but I did find it odd that the Web media - who are, more often than not, actually on deadline - were always seated in the fifth row (just a row or two in front of the jostling, excitable day-pass folks), when there often were empty seats of print peeps who didn't bother to show in the first few rows, or they were filled by people who texted throughout the show or gabbed with their friends. (At the tiny, hard-to-get-in-to Afshin Feiz show, I asked the bored-looking man next to me who he was with, and he said, "Oh, I'm a lawyer. I'm only here because my girlfriend dragged me.")

"It's so ironic," she said. "Just a few short years ago, they couldn't fill this place to save their life, and would beg us to come. And now? Why does everyone want to come? Because of all the fashion they've learned about from blogs and online."

I was tickled pink to get in to the Greta Constantine show, but once I got there, I was shuffled off to the raised stage behind a few rows of chairs where me and the rest of the second-tier attendees had to stand packed together for around 30 minutes as the show time came and passed. This made taking notes somewhat awkward, as I had to do it standing up and bobbing about to see the clothes through the bodies in front of me.

I can appreciate the fact that it's good for any brand to have the high-powered fashion editors and local celebs up-front and am indeed very grateful for the seats we are given, but promoting their brand can become very difficult, thanks to a mound of honey-blond hair or someone's ass pressed up against my notebook.

3. Eyeing the Economy

Arthur Mendonca was my first Canadian fashion love, so it broke my heart to hear that he had recently closed up shop. As did Izzy Camillieri and Tevrow + Chase. Stores around the city have been shutting their doors, too.

This is the first Fashion Week since the economy's gotten really bad, so it will be interesting to see whether it's had any effect on the designers' choices (less fancy fabric?), the attendees' outfits (fewer furs and diamonds?), and the price-point of the parties (no more swag bags at the Holt Renfrew cocktail party?!).

The Holt Renfrew cocktail party featured some capsule collections and there are a few unofficial shows (such as Greta Constantine); undoubtedly, at least a couple have shied away from Nathan Phillips Square due to the costs involved (I've heard that it costs many thousands of dollars to mount a show there.) Some, however, are doing well enough outside of Canada to throw their shindigs elsewhere. (I love you, Jeremy Laing!)

Photo by James Kachan

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