it's fashion week in toronto right now and even though the collections are for next spring, the weather outside is being a total antagonist. outside is what you would imagine to be a really dreadful fall day. it's wet, freezing, windy. one of those days that you can easily spend the whole day tucked underneath your blanket and thanking god for ninjavideo.net so that you can catch up on all the episodes of glee that you've missed.
don't get me wrong, it could be bright and sunny outside and i would still be under the covers instead of being at the tents and watching the collections. because to be quite honest, toronto fashion week sucks.
while i do feel rather guilty for hating on an event that gives canadian designers a platform to present their ideas my reasons are quite sound and rational.
designers who should be given the chance to show what this city has to offer because of their unique point of view are never given the opportunity to. talents that if properly fostered and supported by the governing bodies of the fashion council can give this city a reputation that can cultivate independent thinking designers whose ideas can stand on its own right beside more established, world recognized ones.
look what its done for london and antwerp, even copenhagen. these three cities have produced some of the most exciting young designers in the industry and they owe a lot of that success from their respective cities who supports local talent from a grass root level. those cities nurtures the creativity and point of view of its talents and at the same time helps them develop their labels as a business where they can eventually support themselves.
sure toronto has the fashion incubator, but what do they do after they leave that nest? toronto fashion week shouldn't be an event people mark on their social calendar. for a lot of designers in this city, they do what they do because they love it, and they will continue to do it without the support of the FDCC. there's a lot of blood, sweat and tears that aren't given the opportunity to shine and canada is missing out on it.
but to end on a good note. there were two designers who presented their collection during fashion week. of course its no surprise that they weren't part of the offical fashion week calendar and also no surprise that it ended up being the two best collections, i would even say the only two good collections throughout the entire week. well the shows don't end till tomorrow but i'm pretty sure its safe to say that we won't be seeing anything better or on par with these two.
presented in the historic burroughs building on queen west for the second season in a row, philip sparks presented a collection that is brimming with canadian identity with an international appeal. inspired by the canadian pacific railway ads from the fifties and cottage life (can't get more canadian that that), sparks' ability to narrate a story and pull all the elements together into a cohesive collection is remarkable. it displays such a high level of taste that he can make a postcard inspired print and the humble anorak effortlessly luxurious. and as always the story that he reads aloud through his clothes transports you to that familiar place that only us canadians know. he's like the canadian version of ralph lauren. only so much cooler.
rita liefhebber, a former model, former fashion editor, former stylist, turned fashion designer was the most charming surprise of the week. presented at the quaint and lovely and extremely delicious charcuterie the black hoof on dundas west, the guest who were forced to wait outside the restaurant for over half an hour after schedule quickly forgot their dissatisfaction when they were greeted with drinks and food courtesy of the house. as fantastic as the food and vodka was, the real treat was having to walk down the restaurants insanely narrow walkway to the brightly lit back patio covered entirely in white where a row of models stood on the bench that surrounded the space with another row of girls standing on ground level in front of them. to walk through such narrow, and dark passageway and end up in this brightly lit up room with all these pretty young things, wearing some of the most beautiful clothes my eyes have ever seen in person was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. minus the dying part of course. after working in so may different aspects of the industry, liefhebber has such a developed aesthetic that she can put them all together into a collection where every piece flows so seamlessly to the next. she has such an understanding and sensitivity to what appeals to a woman with a true sense of fashion. kinda like phoebe philo. high praises of course but extremely well deserved. the clothes were effortless without sacrificing any of its beauty and charm. it was pure heaven.
photos: philip sparks - fashionmagazine.com, rita liefhebber - textstyles.ca