Attending World Mastercard Fashion Week for the Fall/Winter 2014 collections was made extra special this season because I got to partner with my friend Christian Thompson and the amazing people at Cadillac Canada to hit up the top 5 shows during the week – and thanks to the luxury automobile company, we arrived in style to the tents in the sleek new Cadillac CTS sedan. With the temperatures still below zero, we thoroughly enjoyed the heated steering wheel feature, the car was spacious enough to fit our fellow blogger friends when we headed out to after parties, and we couldn’t get enough of the amazing BOSE noise-cancelling sound system. The heart and soul of the vehicle called “CUE” (Cadillac User Experience) was the perfect tool that navigated our routes to shows, allowed us to connect multiple iPhones to the entertainment system so we had plenty of music to choose from and even when we were low on gas, it directed us to the top 10 closest gas stations within the area. The CTS was the perfect accessory for Toronto Fashion Week. The CTS has both beauty and brains, no luxury detail was spared and the advanced technology features are super impressive; a driver awareness package that has lane departure warnings and rear cross traffic alerts and the best feature is the Automatic Parking Assist. The vehicle scans a parking lot for an available space and automatically steers itself into a parallel space only requiring the driver to use the accelerator and brake when needed.
The week was all about fall fashion so it was only appropriate that we started it off with Line Knitwear, who is known in Canada for their high quality knits that combine both style and practicality. I was pleasantly surprised to see so much depth in the collection, co-designed by friends, John Muscat and Jennifer Wells, who said their inspiration for the line came from the hidden wonders of the forest and bold colours of nature. Sitting across from us during the show was none other than Supermodel Coco Rocha, who looked absolutely stunning . The 25 year old Toronto native wore a blood orange top from Greta Constantine paired with a Zac Posen high waisted skirt.
What I Saw: Tons of angora in the form of crop tops and mini skirts that came in the prettiest macaron hues, form fitting pencil skirts, and gorgeous outerwear. Texture was a huge theme throughout each vignette and the silhouettes in the collection seemed like a nod to the “Mad Men” era (aka the 50s). What I Loved: The stunning winter white ensemble (sweater and lacey mini) literally made me temporarily lose my breathe, bodycon textured sweater dresses and a croc embossed leather moto and pencil skirt. The latter so good that I wanted to rip the look off the model on the runway. Also catching my attention on the runway…the cool, edgy ear cuffs and the flowy side swept locks on the models.
It’s been almost 6 years since Amsterdam cult fave brand showed a collection at Toronto Fashion Week. Why you may ask? “Simply because it’s long overdue…” says GSUS Sindustries Canadian Marketing Manager Everton McDougall. I couldn’t agree more. I have been a long time fan of the brand after discovering it out west in Vancouver in 2006 and still collect key pieces each season. GSUS has slowly made a resurgence as of late in the Canadian market with a successful press preview of their Spring/Summer Collection at the end of 2013 and has plans to expand into the American market. What I Saw: The edgy Dutch company latest line aptly titled, “Tour Des Alpes”, was inspired by both the brand’s cultural heritage and the outdoors – which McDougall calls “The Boyscout meets Alps Folklore” resulting in a ton of folklore prints found in the knits. Taking a different (and refreshing) approach to the runway experience, GSUS had local singer/songwriters Cylenz, Peter-John and Q-Benjamin perform as models walked in ultra cozy cardis, printed long johns and graphic printed dresses.
What I Loved: Models wearing bold burgundy lips while classic 8 hole Doc Martens were paired with dresses and skirts…a total nod to the 90s which was so cool! The top on my list was the ultimate plaid boyfriend blazer that could easily be a staple in any female’s closet this fall and of course the classic denim the brand is quintessentially known for. Overall, the joint effort of Everton McDougall, Ian Lee and Stylist Sharad Mohan in putting together the looks and entertainment for the runway presentation was a hit!
It was all about fur, plaid and leather during Pink Tartan’s runway show on Day 3. Expecting to see another collection of preppy looks, I was pleased to see that Newport-Mimran combined a perfect juxtaposition between Uptown Chic and the Cool Downtown Girl that we can expect to see come fall.
Pink Tartan kept in line with the brand’s core aesthetic but played with fabrics, texture and colour. What I Saw: Copious amounts of elegant outerwear…probably the best outerwear I’ve seen from PT to date, plaid pants, skirts (both midi length and above the knee) and cropped jackets in addition to fur mitts, stoles, and vests. What I loved: Pretty much everything as per usual but I had to choose in no particular order; the chocolate midi skirt, which was brilliantly paired with a fur stole and sweatshirt; a brocade skirt with major layer elements on top and a quilted full skirt with chunky knitted sweater and wool moto jacket. I really admire how Newport-Mimran has taken a chance with this collection and tried something a bit different. If we end up seeing a lot of these looks hitting retail racks, the brand may be able to gain fans in an entirely different demographic by appealing to a younger crowd. It has been ages since Pink Tartan showed on the same evening as Newport-Mimran’s husband’s brand Joe Fresh. Both designers used this opportunity to join forces for an after party which was held at Lee on King St West; where media, socialites and buyers sipped on prosecco and noshed on super tasty bites prepped by the staff at Lee.
Each season there are a few things that stand out during fashion week; 1) the outstanding leather pieces that are created by the design duo behind Mackage, 2) the unique design of the runway for the models to walk on – in October it was a high gloss, lacquered gold and this season they got everyone into the spirit of fall with a leaf covered runway and 3) my backstage conversations with Elisa and Eran. I always ask the the pair what their favourite looks are from the collection and enjoy hearing them go back and forth arguing about who is right. But surprisingly last week they agreed that their faves was the head-to-toe plaid. Not only is the Mackage team known for putting together a great show, but they always have pretty awesome celebs sitting front row and the coolest after-parties that nobody wants to miss. Last week they hosted an exclusive event inside Citizen where hottie DJ Brendan Fallis spun tunes all night. What I Saw: Oversized fur-trim hooded jackets, chic crossbody bags, and looks accessorized with hats (fedoras, baseball caps, beanies, etc). What I Loved: There really was just too much goodness in the show for me to handle. The midnight blue leather skirt and oversized army jacket with fur trimmed hood needs to somehow miraculously get into my closet. Extremely happy to see that quilted leather will be a main stay this season. Every woman seated in David Pecault Square that evening lost it over the quilted crop top and pencil skirt.
I couldn’t think of a better way to close out the week than the Mikael D show. Presented off site in Distillery District’s Fermenting Cellar, it was the perfect space to show off the gorgeous collection from the Canadian designer. For those who are unfamiliar with Mikael D, its creations are as close as one can get to couture here in this country. They are literally pieces of art and really can only be appreciated fully close up in an intimate setting. I was lucky enough to head backstage before the show started to get up close and personal with the garments thanks to team at Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+ and also chat with Lead Stylist from Solo Bace, Paul Pereria, to find out what the inspiration was behind the hair looks and the products used to create them.
According to the Beirut-born, Montreal based designer, “I wanted to partner with Paul (and Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+) because I felt that he shared my vision, because they could take the hair design to the next level. With dresses like these, the hair is so important, it is a key part of the ensemble, not just accessory.” Upon chatting with Paul, it was clear that he did in fact get Mikael’s vision and ideas. He mentioned that he first saw the garments when he went to meet the designer at Toronto’s Templar Hotel and immediately picked up on the “Deconstructed Chic” vibe, which inspired him immediately to create an updated look based loosely on the 60s beehive. To obtain the looks he used some of my fave products from the Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+ line of products; the Blow & Go Thick (leave-in spray), Schwarzkopf Professional Session Extreme Hold Spray, and my new hair crush product the Sea Salt Spray…while also incorporating Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+ Dust It to create major volume and hold.
What I Saw: Mikael’s collection stayed true to it’s roots of ultra glam with the floor length gowns with intricate detailing and delicate beading that probably took countless hours to create. Cocktail length dresses and mini metallic looks with gold appliques and whimsical lace makes any of these perfect for any red carpet situation. What I Loved: The raw brick walled space as the venue which was set up as in a rather relaxed environment. The official wine sponsor of the night was Apothic Red and being able to sip vino while watching a fashion show was a great touch. The black floor length sheer gown with lace legging underlay, the gold off the shoulder mini and full skirted ball gown wedding dress stole the show, literally leaving us wanting more.
Special thank you to all those that made this all-access fashion week experience possible – Cadillac Canada, General Motors Canada, the team at both ASC Public Relations and MacIntyre Communications, Line Knitwear, Mackage, GSUS Sindustries, Pink Tartan, Mikael D, Schwarzkopf OSIS+, and last but not least BAZZUL Toronto for the dressing me.