All-white (a refreshing change from the usual, well, opposite) at Travis Taddeo. Photo by Stefania Yarhi.
If you’ve been looking for Canada’s own Alexander Wang, you can rest your eyes now. Travis Taddeo has arrived. Let’s do a little point-by-point, shall we?
Wang hangs around the Lower East Side of Manhattan; Taddeo inhabits the Plateau, the Montrealer’s East Village equivalent. Wang’s BFFs are models, the likes of super-hyphenate Erin Wasson; Taddeo‘s are just as uniformly skinny, though (we have to guess) for a different reason. Both Wang and Taddeo are well under 30 and just as well on their ways to contemporary design stardom. Both are more than a little in love with blue denim, black leather, and the ’90s, though Wang tends more to grunge, Taddeo to nu-rave. (Thankfully, for fall 2009, the latter kept his neon dimmed to an electric indigo the colour of a blue raspberry freezie.) And while Wang officially “made it” with the 2008 CFDA Fashion Fund, Taddeo counts Brooklyn Brownstone of the FDCC (different letters, similar thing) among his very important pals.
Last and most importantly, we point to Jonathan + Olivia, the Ossington outpost of a Vancouver-born streetwear boutique and one of the best spots in the city for dream-closet building. Wouldn’t those Travis Taddeo mesh-and-leather leggings rack up nicely over there, next to Alexander Wang’s coolly cropped tees? Case, rested.
Models getting L’Oreal made-up backstage. Photo by Stefania Yarhi.
Feet, not so. Stylistas en masse chose Day Two of LGFW to break out back-breaking shoes, from pneumatic platforms to strapped and studded sandals. Posing for a street-style shot just outside the tent, a jaguar-esque model attempt to show off her six-inch oxfords in motion—but tripped with just one faux step. Let that be a lesson to lesser creatures.
At Zoran Dobric, the Town Shoes were surprisingly sober—black, low-shine, classic leather pumps. Perhaps the designer wanted to avoid distraction from his signature silk-screened prints, which this year took on monochromatic hues and art-meets-tech forms. “Electro Klimt,” if Dobric does say so himself, and he does, in his show notes.
While the Serb’s painterly dedication to his prints is always impressive, so is his uncanny ability to make any shape (from micro-tunic to A-line shift) look, well, shapeless. Even with this season’s avowed dedication to minimalism, he’s still not making anything remotely body-flattering.
Besides, what he’s doing for men is more interesting: shorts over leggings, a sheer white tee under a black blazer, the lapels adorned with cumberband-style buckles, and a stone-grey cardigan with black zipper exposed. With innovations like that, who needs Bustle? The menswear extravaganza is equal parts pimp and primp (think three-piece pinstripes and too much purple) and always leaves us particularly thankful for our X chromosomes. This year, we take a pass.
Two good looks from Joeffer Caoc. Photos by Stefania Yarhi.
But of course, we stay for Joeffer. (It’s our fourth Fashion Week, so we’re long past using the last names of local designers, even the ones we’ve never actually met.)
In the past, we’ve wished the master minimalist would take a few more risks—one-shouldered dresses and sharp pantsuits are great, but can’t he do more? The answer we get is yes, but not well. Experiments in gold and silver lamé are (for the most part) best described sans accent égu, if you catch our drift. And Edwardian-shouldered jackets and dresses are well and great, but is a time machine free with purchase? Because you’d have to go back three seasons for this trend to be a trend. We do appreciate the vamped-up styling efforts, though, with models’ shins and forearms slicked in black PVC—the “leather” of this recessionary season.
This week’s comeback kid is Linda Lundström, who seems to have lost her first name along with her company when it went into bankruptcy last year. The leaner new label is just Lundström, and it targets a younger customer, perhaps one with fewer kids and more disposable income. Starting with coats, the removable trim available in real or faux fur, the modern woman’s wardrobe is delayered and reduced to easy jersey pieces in comforting neutrals. There are a few party tricks too, cocktail dresses all flouncy and flapper-like, but the kind of girl who’d wear those would probably just hit up Le Chateau for cheap frills.
So, a success? We’re not sold, but here’s Jen McNeely of She Does The City—27, blonde, and urbane, a tireless gad-about-town; in other words, the ideal customer—tweeting approval: “I used to think Lundstrom was my mom circa 1987. Now I think it’s more me 2009.”
If She’s a fan, will The City follow? Lundström can only hope and sew.
After the show, we find one of those rarest birds: the sort who take international flights to come to Toronto’s Fashion Week. Littler birds at the FDCC have been telling us about these foreign visitors for seasons now, but we’d yet to see and believe. Now, after talking to Alessandro from Conde Nast, we do. The lavishly after-shaved gentleman tells us he’s been scouting out our scene for the international Vogues (Germany, Italia, and so on) and while he can’t pick a favourite show, he says he loves our city. About three times. Either he really loves it, or he just doesn’t know any other phrases from the guidebook.
Mustard yellow and metallic PVC at Lundstrom. Photo by Studiolit.
At Heart Truth, Canadian leading ladies—of society and the small screen, mostly—wear red dresses by their favourite designers. And as the show goes on, two sets of thumbs race: NOW mag’s Andrew Sardone and the Toronto Star‘s Derick Chetty compete for best live-to-Twitter updates. Sardone: “Love Damzels. Tara Spencer Nairn is a little bit country is puff sleeves and crinoline.” Chetty: “Tara from Corner Gas mooned everyone. Great bloomers.”
Winner? In the clear, it’s Sardone, who gets a cool gazillion points for zinging Mrs. Harper not once (“Sitting across from the PM’s wife. Whoop-di-do”) but twice (“Didn’t notice until now that the PM wife’s suit is covered in sparkles. Classy!”).