When media tent chatter turns to irony in Fashion Week, we’re not talking t-shirts. We’re talking about how the biggest buzz is more about international “it” models (like Amanda Laine, Elmer Olsen’s latest star) than local designers. Or about the funny-strange feeling it gives you to write about buying clothes while reading headlines about bank collapses and home foreclosures. Or about shivering through a show comprised of nothing but hot-as-white-sand swimwear.
That would be Aqua di Lara, where despite all the racy cut-outs—and perfect wax jobs—we couldn’t stop staring at the Dior knockoffs, supplied by Aldo, on all those tan feet. Perhaps not the sign of a great collection, after all.
Then again, the cute PR interns sitting next to us felt the same about the intricately twisted waist-wrappers that were all over the NADA show, ignoring the goddess dresses and harem pants in a clamour to find out where to get “those belts!”
Is that another bit of irony?
It’s a relief, finally, to genuinely applaud the efforts of a bonafide, made-in-Toronto star. (All too often this week, we find ourselves damning with faint claps.) Joeffer Caoc packed not just the house, but also some serious punch with his slick-edged, strikingly monochromatic collection. The biggest hits were loose-but-shapely shifts and tunics with black sheer panels over sequins, perhaps inspired by countryman Jeremy Laing’s similar offerings at New York Fashion Week. (Laing, by the way, has been spotted in the tents this week, quietly hovering in support.) They glittered like asphalt, while the black-on-white ink-spray prints invoked skyscrapers and gridlines, bringing home Caoc’s signature urbanity. Basic tanks and cap-sleeve blouses were elevated with striking asymmetry, simple pants made covetable with sharp pleats and crops.
One probable heiress was overheard being told by her mother to just, you know, “have Joe make you those pants in linen.”
How guilty was Ms. Old Money made to feel, if at all, by day-closer David Dixon’s bizarre, Mandela-inspired journey to Africa? The show opened with the great humanist’s quote about the “long walk to freedom”—something we imagine would be difficult to do in Dixon’s glossy, lethally spiked heels (designed in collaboration with Town Shoes). In lieu of review, allow us to type directly from thoughts scribbled in the dark on our show notes.
On a head-to-toe leather gown: “Oh, hi. It’s fringe! We talked to the people at Zara.”
On white pants we could actually wear: “Awesomely lean. With cuff!”
On floral dresses: “KILL ME, I AM SO TIRED OF FLORALS.”
On statement necklaces (the statement being something about inter-tribal wars, we imagine): “Oooh! Look up jeweller!” (We did. Name’s Rita Tessolin. Now look her up yourself.)
On outfit #35, a dress: “Wow factor.” (Or not, since we can’t remember what said dress actually looked like.)
In other impressions, standouts included a skirt that recalled a cocoon, in both shape and texture, and separates in mosaic-cut leather. The rest was either too jersey or too colourful (sorry, but no one can convince us anyone other than Miami-bound grandmas should wear coral anything).
Finally, gift bag of the week goes (however prematurely) to the Hudson’s Bay Company, Dixon’s perennial sponsor. The canvas tote held a cuddly teddy bear, perfect for the long winter’s nap we already wish we could take. Another, crueller irony, perhaps.
All photos by Pete Lwtwyniuk / Studiolit.