News & Runway

TORONTO FASHION WEEK: DAY ONE

There’s confusion in the abattoir.  The moments before the decisive second that starts the show, everyone’s eyes are flittering about, searching for someone they know in the room.  So many conversations whispered into ears, so many text messages pressed by fingers that then point furtively to someone recognizable – a TV personality, a model, an editor you should know… 

Everyone in the audience is well dressed in a style that is either elegant, dandy, or deliberate ‘rock star squalor refinement’.  An anonymous voice tells us to make our way to the stage; the show is about to begin.

Lundström 

Lundström is the eponymous label of Linda Lundström, a woman from small-town Red Lake, Ontario who has been involved in the industry for decades.  Her current  Fall / Winter collection, despite the music’s urban punch of, say, a Parisian discothéque, presents a rural sentiment. 

Or more specifically, the country club on a late fall evening for an auspicious occasion.  Hepburn gloves and copious fur accessorize long coats over pants and a few dresses.  The palette consists of autumnal colours suggesting falling leaves and fireplaces, but also near-violet blues and approximate purples – colours that seem misplaced, even when the materiality of crushed velvet is amenable.  Monotone shades of charcoal, black and grey work best with the fabric and form presented.  There are also attempts at prints with damask and other baroque qualities, which would be better left out. 

To me, this collection lacks youth and its vitality; it does not reveal flesh or accentuate figure.  Matriarchal in appeal, perhaps.  There are awkward moments such as slacks hybridized with leggings, clutching at the ankles and silhouettes, it would seem, that cast no shadow. 

Bustle 

The Bustle label was created by Shawn Hewson (also a judge on Canada’s Project Runway) and Ruth Promislow, two former Bay St. lawyers.  It is easy, then, to read the yearning for release – from the office, from the quotidian and mundane – in their collections, which consistently offer a very masculine dream of escape and wish fulfillment.  Each collection is based upon a “sportif”; in the past there have been themes revolving around casinos and aviation.   

This years Fall / Winter collection would seem to be inspired by an alternative 70’s reality in which personal episodes involving muscle cars and post-graduation malaise inform the sensibility.   There are rich textures of pastel and denim, alongside sleek leather jackets.  Rainy day colours – moss green, indigo, fuchsia – highlight the slender, yet relaxed, almost ruffled, cuts of blazers and trousers.  The long-haired models (including, as always, females) in flannel evoke northern Californian excursions while the occasional paisley print is worn on a lazy Sunday hanging out in the liberal arts college quad.

Images courtesy of Justin Ridgeway and the Fashion Spot forums.