A model shows off Aimee Tobolka’s work.
What was presented as the battle between commercial fashion and rebellious design on FAT’s third day was nothing short of a collision of utopian eye candy. If there was anything that could have brought faith back to the week—after the previous day’s cataclysm—it was this lineup of presentations that exhibited some of the most inventive designs seen this year. Yes, even compared to that other fashion week that shall not be named… Okay, fine, the LG one.
Toronto-based designer Rachel Sin, who opened the first set of shows with a series of well-structured garments, was one of the first locals we’ve seen do it right. With just enough refinement and fastidious tailoring, it’s no shock Sin was once an architect. Her black wool felt minis with angular overlapping detailing on the hips and a glistening gold jacket with just-strong-enough shoulders were faves, but a sandy camel-coloured felt dress with rounded cap sleeves and fold-over flap along the waist was also wearable.
Aimee Tobolka presented another run-through of trendy looks that were shown this week ad nauseam and seemed too roughly pieced together. A jumper with indigo-coloured knee-length shorts cut too wide around the waist, with a transparent white tank would have made even the skinniest at FAT look, well, fat. And then there was another cropped tank, yes another, badly sewn this time, the fabric not stiff or airy enough to work, paired with the millionth version of transparent floor-length skirt we’ve seen this week.
Breeyn McCarney, who closed the first runway group, just about shut the place down, leaving the sweltering overly packed room in dumbfounded marvel. The designer, who sent her models out ever-so-gently in the most beautiful laser-cut, off-white dresses, had created such impressive garments it took far too long to realize that the care in the models’ walks was to keep the delicate paper dresses from tearing. Yes, the entire collection was made out of the fibrous material. If McCarney can evoke such masterpieces from fine parchment we can only imagine what this prodigy can do with her choice of textiles. We’d suggest someone give her some dineros, but she might just make a dress out of the bills.
Our breathing became a little more restricted for the second half of the show with
standing-room crowds now running five rows deep on either side of the runway. As
the lights dimmed and the heavy bass dropped to reveal Heidi Ackerman‘s fashion vid directed by thirty9steps, we stopped breathing all together. Models with super-slicked-back hair walked out in one breathtakingly quixotic design after another, both the garments and polished wood appurtenances of contemporary design: wholly visionary.
Ackerman’s clever layering of grey and black mesh overlapped a sleek signature pattern of long white blocking on grey jersey. On one dress, the grey over-layer was long and loose around the arms, the bottoms of the sleeves falling just below the model’s ankles, while the front remained tailored tight around the knee-length tank dress underneath. The one piece in the show that almost evoked a fashion tantrum was an all-black transparent full-body suit, perfectly tailored to the models body, another layer of the material sewn over top with the same long-draped sleeves and hem. A matte, panelled-wood neck brace, coming to a point in the middle of the model’s chest and up high in the back, almost past her ears, was like nothing we’d ever seen and somehow still wearable.
Finally, when we thought Day 3 had reached its climax, on came Montreal’s Anastasia Lomonova. In a similar Stygian tone as Ackerman, but pushed a little further, Lomonova’s models were like a metamorphosis of the previous show. Models were all wrapped in nude and red mesh, the same material Ackerman used over her work, but Lomonova used it underneath. Like a modern desiccation system, every model was wrapped from head to wedges in blood-red and nude mesh, bound tightly and in layers. The garments worn on top were dresses in loose panels of charcoal, black, and nude shades, with interesting wrapping of the fabric in knots along the hems of skirts and waists of dresses. Basics like trousers, knee-length skirts, and tanks were sent out in the same minimal shades, with one stand-out piece: a grey dress, hugged tight in stretch panels and sleeveless, worn under a fleece chest plate in a darker shade, with a sharp collar that reached beyond the models ears.
There is one thing we learned from FAT yesterday, the one thing boldly apparent after
every striking show: FAT has finally proved itself as a real alternative fashion
week. It’s the place that unearths some of the most unworldly designers and it has become recognized as a procurer of the designers who will probably skip LG and go straight to the big leagues.
Photos by Remi Carreiro/Torontoist.