Toronto Fashion Week

Toronto Fashion Week Fall 2013 preview

Toronto Fashion Week (née LG Fashion Week, née L'Oreal Fashion Week, née World Mastercard Fashion Week) returns next week (March 18-22), as throngs of editors, bloggers, buyers and the like make their way to the gleaming white tents of David Pecaut Square. This will be the third season hosted at the new stomping grounds just off King Street, a comfortable, central space for optimal cab hailing/streetcar riding.

Expect to be jostled by snap-hungry street style subjects and photographers. Expect to pay too much for a bottle of Peroni (do yourself a favor and wait, there are usually drink tickets to be found), expect terrible coffee from weird space-age contraptions, and don't expect to be fed (we don't eat in fashion, right...). For those of us preferring sustenance over starvation, you're only a stone's throw away from some cheap eats or a nice sit-down meal along King or Queen Street. And a personal suggestion: hit up the hot dog cart at the corner of King and John. Quite possibly one of the best in the city (just try not to spill on those heels you can't walk in.)

I have high hopes for this season, having been freed from the heavily sedated hands of former FDCA director Robin Kay, there will be no more entourage, no more diva behavior...oh who am I kidding, this is fashion week. What I do hope is that perhaps Toronto can begin to take a look at the talent and ability that exists in our city and start supporting fashion from home.

I spoke with Dwayne Kennedy, Brian Richards and Mel Ashcroft of Toronto design collective The Collections, who make their return to the runways of WMCFW (with some of my favorite designers in tow) after two seasons of conducting their own "Rogue Fashion Week". "We decided to go back to the tents this season to unify the Toronto fashion industry and help propel the city into the global fashion arena." Here's hoping their sentiments are shared this season.

Here's my finely curated list of the shows worth watching and why:

Monday March 18
6:30 (Runway): Chloe Comme Parris
7:30 (Runway): Pink Tartan
8:30 (Runway): Bustle
In just six seasons, Chloe and Parris Gordon have managed to crown themselves the Toronto duo to watch. Their personal brand of gothic hipster is wearable, exciting and just plain cool. Plus, the tents will be crowded with wall-to-wall cool kids. You know, the one's you all love to hate when they push ahead of you in line for a beer at Camp 4. Streetstyle inspiration guaranteed. Kimberly Newport-Mimran will deliver to us her usual dose of humdrum office-chic while Shawn Hewson's Bustle, though questionable in the styling department, is usually the spectacle of the week. Though the fashions might not be awe-inspiring (save CCP), the crowds that both Pink Tartan and Bustle attract boast high entertainment value.

Tuesday March 19
4:00 (Studio) Laura Siegel
6:00 (Studio) Klaxon Howl
8:00 (Runway) Line Knitwear
9:00 (Runway) Sid Neigum
If you're only going to spend one day jam-packed into the sweaty, bathroomless tents, I suggest you make this your day. Laura Siegel, Klaxon Howl and Sid Neigum are all products of The Collections group, and make their return to the runways of WMCFW for the first time since splitting off into their own "rogue fashion week". Neigum's collections are beautiful, gothic and architectural; Klaxon Howl dresses the man you want to make chop down a tree and marry you, and Laura Siegel delivers laid back layering that's surefire streetstyle gold. Line Knitwear is arguably one of Toronto's most exciting international brands, always delivering comfort with a dose of luxury and glamour.

Wednesday March 20
5:00 (Runway) Matis by Lucian Matis
7:00 (Runway) Korhani Home
8:00 (Runway) Mackage
9:00 (Runway) Joe Fresh
Don't ask me how, but Korhani Home (yes, purveyors of drapery and rugs) has become one of the most exciting shows of the season, delivering a textile-heavy spectacle and a surprising lack of floor coverings. Project Runway Canada alum Lucian Matis presents his intricate, "high-fashion" to a crowd of B-list celebrities. Mackage is the purveyor of the perfect coat and god bless them for it. Of course, last but certainly not least, Papa Joe. Joe Fresh is by far craziest show of the season. Good luck finding your seat before a trust-fund baby nabs it from underneath you. (And yes, I speak from personal experience).

Thursday March 21
4:00 (Studio) Matthew Gallagher
8:00 (Runway) VAWK
Matthew Gallagher is the latest addition to the roster at The Collections, and I'm personally looking forward to what he has to offer. Another Project Runway Canada alum and one of the most celebrated new designers in Toronto, Sunny Fong, presents his latest VAWK collection, a mix of feminine silhouettes and stunning craftsmanship.

Friday March 22
5:00 (Runway) Thomas Bálint
6:00 (Studio) Caitlin Power
8:00 (Runway) Pavoni
Michael Thomas has worked his way back to the runway after splitting from former Thomas collaborator Drew Thomas (nope, not related). His take on gothic structure is both creepy and beautiful so I have high hopes for his return. Caitlin Power like Star Trek and T Magazine Fashion Editor Kate Lamphear, so I like her. 'Nuff said. The team behind Povani seemingly live their lives according to "all that glitters must be gold" so expect to be blinded by the week's finale.

See the full schedule on the official web site.

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