Denis Gagnon, Jeremy Laing, and Mikhael Kale rock Holt Renfrew
Holt Renfrew kept it right and tight this season by taking their media cocktail intimate and into the morning hours, showing the city's fashion elite a trio of looks from a few of the country's best design talents, including Denis Gagnon, Jeremy Laing, and Mikhael Kale.
Jeanne Beker and Holt Renfrew doyenne Barbara Atkin hosted the petite party, conducting mini-Q&As with the boys perched on the chairs at the head of the makeshift runway (a very chic pale-grey carpet). Greta Constantine (who hosted their blockbuster show the week before last) and Lida Baday (who was out sick) also showed a few looks. The set-up was much better than last season, which featured an event so packed that the models could barely make it down the runway.
I was most excited to see what Gagnon had to show: the old hand from Montreal is one of my all-time favourite designers, and I was sure he wouldn't be able to top his gorgeous leather jackets from last season. As Beker said, over the years, his pieces have just gotten "edgier, more artistic, and more statement."
I Oh, but he did, dear reader. The bespectacled Gagnon went femme with heavily fringed mini-dresses that would look equally in place on a flapper fox or today's fashionista (leather turtlenecks and crocheted midriffs added interesting detail).
His craftsmanship and originality never fail to just blow me away. (Sidenote: Gagnon always looks amazing, too. At 9am, the man was rocking a bejeweled vest, a sharp blazer, and a great pair of high-tops. Definitely one of our industry's most stylish men.)
Jeremy Laing chatted about how it's been getting easier and easier to show at more high-stakes international Fashion Weeks. His pieces this season are inspired by seventies-era Bill Reid silkscreens, an indigenous colour palette, and Canadiana all the way. His simple, unadorned pieces are always fan favourites.
Mikhael Kale's work, on the other hand, is far, far from unadorned. I'm a fan of Kale's dark aesthetic, although I found his new designs to be a little much, with the pieces sprouting ruffles, chains, mesh, appliqués, and leather. Each would be a lot more effective with a few of the bits removed. (Although it is admirable that Kale does all the work on the pieces himself. "I spend a lot of time alone!" he said, only half-joking.)
Fashion Week has so far shown a bit of a sexier, darker vibe this season, which I love, but it's always nice to get a glimpse of the boys who do it best.
Photos by Jonathan Loek.