TORONTO – Canadian designers are forecasting a bright future, as fall and winter collections unveiled at Toronto Fashion Week on Monday considerably cranked up the colour in their creations that’s typically reserved for warmer weather wear.
Day 1 of the semi-annual style showcase offered a vibrant and versatile mix of edgy, avant-garde designs, red carpet-worthy gowns and non-traditional takes on bridal wear.
Here are Day 1 highlights:
FASHION ROCKS: MIKHAEL KALE TEAMS WITH DRAKE’S PRODUCER NEENYO
Mikhael Kale turned to a collaborator of hometown rapper Drake in helping set the musical mood for his latest runway showcase.
The Toronto-based designer sought out producer Neenyo from Drake’s OVO label to create original music for his fall-winter show.
“I like to switch things up, and this really about doing something with a different perspective; and so I had the fortune of working with Neenyo,” Kale said in an interview backstage.
“It really influenced what I saw what I was doing and mixed media. Production is about mixing all these different sounds.”
Neenyo said he was able to go into Kale’s studio in the earliest stages of creating the collection where fabrics were still be selected.
“I was able to get a feel of where it was going to go and their inspirations,” said Neenyo, who produced the Drake and Future track “Plastic Bag.”
“It was really just us playing off of each other’s creativity.”
The models walked to the rhythm of Neenyo’s slinky beats while stepping onto the runway. They also took time to head into the rafters, weaving between rows of spectators while wearing Kale’s latest designs.
The collection was a colourful, eclectic mashup of prints, fabrics and embellishments, as Kale pieced together a contrasting mix of materials including leather and vinyl within newly constructed garments.
A draped velvet dress featured patches of denim and gold studding, while colourful illustrations of eyes dotted denim bodysuits and jeans. Another model sported a slick biker-style jacket and matching pant dotted with silver hardware.
Adding to the multi-layered looks were the plastic, thigh-high boots worn overtop the heeled booties the models wore on the runway.
EAST MEETS WEST AT NARCES
Narces drew inspiration from the traditional Mandarin-collared gown which the womenswear label translated to a sumptuous collection of eveningwear.
Toronto-based designer Nikki Wirthensohn incorporated the high-neck and closed collar silhouette and floral fabric design in her several creations, with the colourful range boasting ample infusions of red and purple.
The opulent collection also featured lavish embellishments, including lace-accented gowns and intricately beaded sleeved dresses.
The label closed out with its fall-winter bridal line offering an alternative to traditional gowns with flirty cocktail-length gowns alongside fitted, floor-skimming, fishtail-hemmed creations.
CHRISTOPHER PAUNIL GOES FOR MODERN GLAM
With models sporting loose waves, winged eyeliner and bold red lips, Christopher Paunil outfitted the women in glamorous, modern designs befitting a ’40s screen siren.
The Toronto-based contemporary womenswear brand delivered an expansive mix of ultra-feminine separates. The range included everything from a form-fitting peplum sleeved top teamed with a body-hugging pencil skirt, to a slinky, sleeved silver dress boasting a plunging neckline.
The collection mixed contrasting materials to dramatic effect, like teaming sheer lace and floral pattern materials in a peplum dress with a high slit.
A series of showstopping bridal gowns closed out the presentation, including a pastel-pink dress with a bustier bodice, and dramatic pleated sleeved on a fishtail-hemmed design.
SID NEIGUM OFFERS REFRESHED APPROACH TO RUNWAY
After showing his fall-winter collection during London Fashion Week, Sid Neigum wanted to refresh the presentation of his latest line for the Toronto audience.
The Alberta-born, Toronto-based designer eschewed the conventional runway format of models walking in succession.
“I wanted to do a presentation format so that I could talk and interact with people and talk about the clothes … more of a gallery museum display,” Neigum said in a recent interview.
With a DJ spinning tunes, 10 models stood on podiums positioned along the runway. They wore designs Neigum described as distinctly different from his previous works, shifting away from single-colour use to showcase more contrast.
“I often do a lot of monochrome, but that this season was broken up with … a lot of black pieces with white bindings, white pieces with black binding. I’m sort of highlighting the outline of the pieces and the proportion of the pieces.”
The designs showcased lush draping, as well as shoulder-baring cutouts and a voluminous high-collared creation.
Neigum was among four winners of the DHL Exported program, which awarded him the chance to present two collections in London.
The Drayton Valley, Alta., native said one of the reasons he opted to present in the fashion capital is because of its rich history of Canadians based in London.
“There’s been Erdem and Mark Fast and Thomas Tait and I felt like it was the right city,” said Neigum. “I also felt it was a bit avant-garde versus New York being more street and Milan being more designer. So, it kind of felt like a good fit esthetically and business-wise.
“It was an amazing experience.”
Fashion Week continues until Friday.
WATCH: Here’s what it’s like behind the scenes at Toronto Fashion Week