LG Fashion Week

Last week I was soaking up the sights of fabulous furs, fairytale capes, and plenty of knitwear at LG Fashion Week in Toronto. Being a fashion enthusiast and getting to see all 29 collections of Canada’s top designers was truly an amazing experience and hopefully the beginning of many more fashion weeks to come. There is no better way to launch my blog than in style. I hope you all enjoy my first entry detailing highlights of my favourite collections, backstage happenings and the wonderful people I met during my fashion adventure!

It All Began With IZMA
The collaborative collection done by Adrian Mainella and Izzy Camilleri was the one-and-only show to kick off the opening night of LG Fashion Week. The collection surprisingly featured real fur including black and natural coyote, bleached raccoon, natural muskrat, red and gray fox and espresso long-haired beaver. It was impressive, mature and brought back a certain old school Hollywood charm even though the designers strayed from the classic fur coat. Instead the styles included shrugs, hooded vests and beautiful sash bags. When I look back at pictures of Hollywood starlets and even pictures of my mother dressing up in the 70s and 80s, it’s those gorgeous furs that come to mind. In a world ga ga for going green, these designers claim fur is the way to go. Each of their creations is designed with longevity and legacy in mind as they maximize the use of each North American Fur Association pelt. When Mainella handed me his business card the other night, I distinctly remember the slogan on the back saying “Fur is for a lifetime. Be green, consider fur”. Who knows, maybe this dynamic duo will bring back some of our historic Canadian roots and more people may start sporting real fur again.

Backstage Buzz
I was able to meet so many lovely people backstage and see how last minute preparations all come together. It was all about models getting their hair and makeup done, production managers running around and press wanting all the juicy details straight from the mouth of the designers themselves. Here are just a couple of shots from backstage.

Left - Me, Dax Giunta (Montreal-based menswear designer) & Alessandro Cremona (Italian Vogue).
Right - A model getting beautified.

Preloved Pretty Treasures
Preloved founder Julia Grieve and creative director Peter Friesen are all about going green. The two create one-of-a-kind clothing from reclaimed vintage fabrics and focused their collection on one of the top trends: knitwear. There were lots of oversized sweater dresses, knitted thigh-high stockings and flirty skirts in layered prints. The label is very proud to have reused over 80,000 wool sweaters, 50,000 wool trousers, 10,000 dress shirts, and 7,000 trench coats in the manufacturing of their clothing, which would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. I’m a huge vintage clothing fan and I love the idea of being able to make a new dress from an old sweater. Preloved Mary Jane-style slippers made of reclaimed sweater and recycled leather soles were gifts for the first two rows before the show. I absolutely love mine and will constantly be reminded to go green.

Lucian Masterpiece Matis
The collection by Lucian Matis wowed the audience and almost blew this gypsy right off of her chair. His inspiration of Romanian folklore and literature came to reality through an extravagant and exquisite collection with extreme attention to detail. His pieces used rich prints, lots of layers, fur trimmings, puff-sleeves, beading and tassels. Everything from the evening gloves to the hand-made accessories and even the detailed shoes were given so much time and thought. The colour sequence focused on rich hues of blue, gray, gold and of course black. I felt as though I was experiencing something so much more than just a fashion show. It was grand and theatrical and his wonderful outfits came together to create a masterpiece. It’s hard to believe this man has any time to sleep at night.

Celebs Strut For A Good Cause
Various Canadian celebs strutted their sassy selves down the runway for the Heart Truth Fashion Show. Each rocking out to their own song and putting a little personal flare into their runway walk allowed everyone to really get into the show, enjoy the gorgeous red dresses and have fun with fashion. Comedian Caroline Rhea, singer Keisha Chanté and Canadian Olympic medalists Joannie Rochette (left) and Silken Laumann were among the few to walk the runway for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Applause For Andy
When Andy The-Anh was asked to describe his brand in three words he used elegance, sophistication and polish. He achieved just that when he showcased his collection based on a modern take on tango. With magazines and fashion gurus advising women to steal from their boyfriends closet and create trends such as oversized blazers and rolled up baggy jeans, The-Anh decided to be different. Instead, he showcased tailored clothes in beautiful prints and structured ruffles done in gowns, skirts and black pants for elegant evening wear. The crowd was very appreciative giving the designer a grand applause as the show unfortunately came to an end. I’m sure this collection will sell out in no time.

Off-site Shelli
As the only designer on the LG Fashion Week schedule to show off-site, Shelli Oh made her comeback into the fashion world in a tiny church downtown. I loved the feel of this site. The models walked the alter, while guests were seated in pews and a live band played on the podium. It was definitely a creative and unique way to enjoy an afternoon fashion show. I hadn't missed a show all week and there was nothing stopping me from catching this show outside of the main venue. I was fortunate enough to visit Oh at her studio apartment a couple days before her show. I came in just as she was sewing up one of her dresses. She has a wonderful personality and her talent is very visible in her collection. There were feminine dresses made of gorgeous crinkle silk, ruffled neck blouses and detailed wool coats. The highlight of the show for me was watching a model wear that specific crinkle silk 'ingenue' drape dress that I had watched being made by Oh just days before. I feel so privileged to have met Oh and to have experienced a sneak peak of her collection.

Rick Walks For Rudsak
I ran into Rick Campanelli, one of Canada’s most well-liked entertainment reporters by both fans and celebrities alike. I've been a long-time follower of Ricks career as a MuchMusic VJ and now as the co-host of Entertainment Tonight Canada. I became an even bigger fan once I saw a segment on ET Canada during his visit to an orphanage in Cambodia as I had volunteered at that exact orphanage when backpacking in Phenom Phen. He was supporting a friend walking the runway for The Heart Truth Fashion Show when we met, however the next day I got to see him walking the runway for Rudsak front-row centre. I loved this aviation inspired collection as it gave off tremendous energy and speed. Designer Evik Astoorian's vision played out perfectly as confident models hurried down the runway in style just as they would to board a private jet to a quick getaway. The show featured structured officer coats and puffy leather down jackets both equipped with fur trimmings and my personal favourites, knitted and fur cowls. The predominantly black collection was sophisticated and comfortable and surprisingly had splashes of red, tan, gray and white nearing the end of the show.

When in Rome
Nothing but wonderful things were said about the new Fashion Week venue at the Allstream Centre in Toronto. The only thing that I would have liked was maybe some restaurants near by. With only a little less than an hour between shows, I didn't want to risk missing one and therefore opted out on eating during the day. Maybe it was meant to be and added to the whole fashion week experience. The lounge area was decked out in black and gold furniture and L'Oreal provided free hair and makeup as well. I took full advantage and rocked out some funky hairdos that last two days. Special thanks to my hairstylist Loriebelle Urrutia who works for Salon Escape in Toronto.

Top left - Alex (model for IZMA campaign) and I.
Top right - Loriebelle and I posing after she gave me an incredible hairdo.
Middle - Jennifer Hedger (TSN sports anchor) and I.
Bottom - My hairdo.

Dax’s Take on DimitriChris
Rather than blab about menswear myself, I left it to a professional. Dax Giunta, Montreal-based men’s bespoke tailoring designer and stylist, feels the top menswear trends were sharp, body-conscious tailoring, subtle yet original details, and piece-layering with less formality. After breaking through with several ‘take-note’ shows in Montreal, DimitriChris gave us an inspired and cohesive collection for his first Toronto showing. Giunta enjoyed the show recalling British foxhunts through fields damp after a rainfall, moody lighting and music which set the stage for sharp, angular cuts and tailoring on the suits, jackets, and trousers. He took note of the neutral colour palette made up of black, gray, and beige as well as clean details like fly-front (covered) buttons on jackets. Aside from capes and corsets which he thinks will be a tough sell, he praised the collection's overall wearability.

Barbie & David
The much-anticipated Barbie collection by David Dixon showed the last day of LG Fashion Week. The line known as “Carnaby Street" showcased a 1960s theme, which I thought was a bit low key. Models with blond wigs walked the runway to oldies tunes in great tailored pieces in shades of pink, orange, gray and black. After the show, waiters came out onto the runway serving trays of Peroni beer and Champagne to the entire audience. It was the perfect touch between Dixon’s back-to-back shows (thanks David!).

Dixon's personal collection called "Tribe" was dramatic and exciting on the other hand. Stunning pieces with Mayan symbols, leather, organza, Japanese fan motifs and basket woven strips of material symbolic of African basket weaving were part of the collection inspired by the relief response for the people of Haiti. Meeting Dixon backstage was phenomenal and I definitely couldn’t resist posing in the Barbie box in the waiting lounge.

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