If the business of getting hitched is less than brisk this spring, wedding planners can blame Alfred Sung. The resounding sentiment among exiting attendees was that L’Oreal Fashion Week’s opening show made them never, ever want to walk down that aisle. Ouch. Must have been all the diamante. (Pretty bouquets tossed by models in the finale were a saving grace, but barely.)
It was a slow start to a Fashion Week that promises to be bigger and better than ever (but really, when does Fashion Week not make that claim?). True, the tents this year are gorgeous, and the see-through screen on one side (for the non-passholding masses) is a brilliant addition. “I’ve never seen it look so… legitimate!” exclaimed one fashionable shooter. True say. Still, we could do with less wedding and more to celebrate—like all the local talent in The Studio, the new, smaller space dedicated to young indie designers.
“This place better get full,” muttered 69 Vintage’s Kealan Sullivan, eyeing the untouched gift bottles of Naked Juice on seats at The Studio’s opening show. “Katya’s stuff is too freaking good.”
That’s Katya as in Katya Revenko, the TFI New Labels star and Elle Canada New Designer of 2006. Designing under the label Desperately Different—a name that does her pretty wears a disservice, to say the least—Revenko showed a spring collection inspired by water. So, there were water colours (shimmering aqua, luminescent sand); watery-flowing jerseys and polyblends; and watered-down versions of experimental shapes (drop-crotch pants, space-age capelets).
At Holt Renfrew’s annual clusterfuck (more printably known as the “Media Cocktail”), magazine editors shopped for Marni riding boots and Mikhail Kale knits, while journos and photogs gathered in the it-bag section. Gossip went around faster than the teensy hor-d’oeuvres.
And did you hear? How could you not? The theme of this week, plastered everywhere from the tents to Town Shoes, is “F is for Fabulous.” (Take slight solace, we suppose, in the fact that at least it’s not “Fierce.”) When the mad-hatted Robin Kay took the podium to make her requisite ramblings, she took every opportunity to use a word that began with “F”—and every time, informed us that she had used a word that began with “F.” After a few minutes (four? five?) it starts to feel like an effing episode of Sesame Street. Also, we wonder if, in researching this season’s theme, she stumbled across a little Britcom called Absolutely Fabulous. The resemblances are eerie. We’re not complaining.
Also, Ms. Kay can’t pronounce Monocle—the name of Tyler Brule’s smart new glossy—and that’s all we’re going to say about that.
If the socialite-heavy front row didn’t tell you everything you needed to know about Pink Tartan, the show’s opening song did. Over and over, the lyrics shouted “glamour girl!” and “uptown!” Yes, we get it. Pink Tartan fans have expensive highlights and taste, pearl necklaces and teeth to match, and unlimited trust funds (or, at least, expense accounts). And Kim Mimran (whose recently, ahem, slimmed-down name was announced twice, for those of you didn’t get it the first time) knows how to keep them happy in her clothes. She sent out a cast of Hitchcock heroines in striped maillots, skinny-minnie pants with tucked-in blouses, and floral-print pleats and sheaths, all with lipstick as bold and immaculate as her tailoring.
Escaping the tents after that well-deserved standing ovation, we wished for one of the show’s Grace Kelly-esque head scarves. Luckily, a red-coated army of Fashion Week volunteers stood guard over exiting guests’ heads, holding umbrellas and smiles in place.
An hour or so later, in a cab to the Drake for the Samsung Cleo and Cake Beauty party (where attendees could make up in mini-desserts what they skipped in dinner) we reconvened with a comrade on the other side of the velvet rope. She filled us in on what we missed at MANGO—which was to say, not much. There was more old Hollywood style (fifties trenches, sixties mini-frocks), some of it “designed” by new Hollywood duo Penelope and Monica Cruz and all of it conveniently available this gift-buying season. Ugh. We came for spring collections, not holiday catalogues.
Or maybe we came to see and (as one clipboard-wielding, trouser-clad powerwoman put it) “be the scene.” Maybe we really do care about Canadian fashion slowly but surely becoming something less of an oxymoron. Maybe we just care what everyone else is wearing.
In any case, we’re back. All week. Enjoy.
All photos by Peter Lytwyniuk / Studiolit.