Toronto Fashion Week

Toronto Fashion Week Spring 2014 preview

Toronto Fashion Week - or World MasterCard Fashion Week, as they'd like us to call it - is just around the corner with Spring 2014's runway shows and presentations. From Monday (October 21) until Friday (October 25), expect no shortage of waif-like models off-duty, frantic volunteers, eager street style photographers - and the excessively dressed showgoers that fuel them - scurrying frantically around the tents at David Pecaut Square (King St W between John St and Simcoe St).

But, Fashion Week is not just an excuse to wear that fancy evening coat you bought on a whim at a vintage store, nor is it just a hotbed for diva behaviour; it's a celebration of all the phenomenal design talent in the country. Who'd have thunk it?

With that being said, I've put together a list of the shows I'm most excited to watch. If you manage to snag a ticket - or your roster of events is so overwhelming you can't fit them all in - don't fret! IMG, in conjunction with BMO, introduced Fashion Saturday this season, a public event happening at the tents on October 26. A $75 ticket gets you access to the runway room highlighting the week's best looks, a designer pop-up market, live DJs, hair and makeup installations, and (best of all) food.

So without further ado, here's my curated list of the shows worth watching and why:

Monday, October 21
6:30 (Runway): Beaufille
7:30 (Runway): Pink Tartan
Though this'll be their first show under a new identity, Beaufille (nĂŠe Chloe Comme Parris) is just as likely to wow the audience with yet another handsome womenswear collection, as the two-part French name suggests. I know on my end it's bound to be the most relatable collection, since Chloe and Parris Gordon's wearable designs are everything I'd personally want and need in my half feminine/half gothic closet. Pink Tartan, on the other hand, is a pinch more serious. Though Kimberley Newport-Mimran's pieces are just as interesting and practical, they're closer to office lady chic than biker dude's girlfriend.

Tuesday, October 22
4:00 (Studio): Laura Siegel
5:00 (Runway): Travis Taddeo
6:00 (Runway): JNBY
7:00 (Runway): Mercedes-Benz Start-Up National Final
8:00 (Runway): Sid Neigum
If you have just one pair of comfortable shoes (like me), it's best you save them for Tuesday; sticking around the tents for over four hours straight to see five promising collections won't do your feet any good. Judging by their past shows, Laura Siegel's a texture-layering virtuoso and Travis Taddeo is more minimalist chic - though both are sure to deliver in their respective domains. The rest of the evening is teeming with newcomers like JNBY - a Chinese label best known for their androgynous draping - and a whole whack of Mercedes-Benz Start Up competition designers competing for free money and the chance to show a full collection next season.

If you want to see what the future looks like for Canadian fashion, these shows will give you a good idea. The night will then finish off with Sid Neigum, the crowned (by me) king of all things experimental, un-wearable, and artsy. Last season, he was the only designer to step far outside of the box, so I can't wait to see how he'll wow/perplex the audience this time around.

Wednesday, October 23
5:00 (Studio): Klaxon Howl
8:00 (Runway): Mackage
9:00 (Runway): Joe Fresh
The third day of Fashion Week is slated to spotlight the well-established names in the industry. Klaxon Howl, Mackage, and Joe Fresh are Toronto Fashion Week veterans - Spring 2014 is just another notch in their belts. Klaxon Howl's vintage-inspired menswear - handcrafted using only the finest Japanese fabrics and age-old construction techniques - is always a marvel to gander at (save their sometimes questionable styling). As for Mackage, I'll be on the edge of my seat wondering how Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan will upgrade (or downplay?) leather for the spring. Finally, with decades of experience under his belt, Joe Fresh's Joseph Mimran is bound to muster up the biggest crowd with his preppy-cool (and highly accessible) garments.

Thursday, October 24
7:00 (Runway): Soia & Kyo
8:00 (Runway): Caitlin Power
Soia & Kyo and Caitlin Power are sort of the underdogs of the local fashion scene, likely because they both have a distinctive aesthetic beyond the run-of-the-mill, trend-abiding fashion line. Soia & Kyo's stylish outerwear always hits the nail on the head with an impeccable attention to detail. Caitlin Power's eponymous womenswear label is sure to shake up the industry with her signature sleek tailoring and architectural design elements.

Friday, October 25
5:00 (Runway): Thomas Balint
8:00 (Runway): Bustle
9:00 (Runway): Mikael D
Although Fashion Saturday is technically the last day of World MasterCard Fashion Week, Friday's the final day to see designer collections in all their glory. Thomas Balint has mastered the art of marrying fine tailoring and avant-garde - his (presumably) mostly monochromatic looks will probably creep everyone out in the most elegant way possible. Bustle's a bit of a trickier one because every menswear piece is marvellously quirky on its own, but a pinch overwhelming when worn together. Regardless, there's a promisingly high entertainment value in Bustle's runway shows. Last but not least is Mikael D - a semi-new women's fashion house offering eveningwear that can only be described as magical. Expect both cocktail and floor-length numbers to finish the week off with a bang (or at the very least, an admirable amount of meticulous beading and pleating).

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