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Runway showdown for young designers

- April 18th, 2011

Competition hit the catwalk Thursday night at the Design Exchange when three young Canadians displayed their fall winter collections to a full house at Toronto Fashion Incubator‘s New Labels 2011 Fashion Show.

After five months of intense sessions with a panel of judges from both the media and fashion industry – including acclaimed designer David Dixon – the event came down to 12 items that models revealed in three successive shows.

Up for grabs was a feature in FLARE magazine, the chance to design an outfit for Sears, and a $10,000 cash prize from TFI, a non-profit organization dedication to supporting designers and fostering Canadian fashion.

Ashtiani designer Golnaz Ashtiani poses with models in her other-worldy creations (Photo by George Pimentel)

Designer Golnaz Ashtiani poses with models in her other-worldy creations (Photo by George Pimentel)

The winning collection, by Toronto-based designer Golnaz Ashtiani, consisted largely of fitted and structured dresses with innovative folds and draping that gave the looks an almost other-worldly aura.

Let’s put it this way: if Captain Kirk dated a beautiful foreign diplomat, she’d be swathed in Ashtiani.

Ruffles, panels and leather detailing – trends that surfaced during Toronto Fashion Week – were also present, but in an uncommonly blanched colour scheme for fall – dresses, skirts and blouses were in pale camel, sienna, rose, ivory and barely-there nudes, with a few dark brown pieces dotted about the line. Read more…

Fashion Week: sultry beginnings

- March 29th, 2011

Toronto Fashion Week had a sumptuous start last night, with Holt Renfrew‘s collection of beloved Canadian designers and IZMA‘s grand parade of furs.

Canada Goose jacket at the Holt Renfrew show. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI AGENCY)

Canada Goose jacket at the Holt Renfrew show. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI AGENCY)

The Holts show featured up and coming brand Greta Constantine, a few old favourites like Lida Baday and Pink Tartan, and some pure Canuck style thanks to some Canada Goose jackets (the very ones that flooded TTC this winter).

Some trends that were big in New York – like a ’70s aesthetic, jewel tones, long skirts and all shades of red – have clearly made their way north and I have a sneaking suspicion that by the end of Wednesday night, I’ll be clamouring for another way to say “floor length,” “scarlet,” and “disco-era”. Read more…

Danier’s darling

- January 14th, 2011

One budding Canadian designer was made very happy last night. Andrea Dineen came into $5,000 and a fair amount of exposure – her leather jacket designed for Danier will be sold at select locations across the country this fall.

Andrea Dineen receives the obligatory massive cheque from Jeffrey Wortsman, President and CEO of DANIER, for her winning design, right. (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

Andrea Dineen receives the obligatory massive cheque from Jeffrey Wortsman, President and CEO of DANIER, for her winning design, right. (Kate Kennedy/QMI Agency)

Dineen, and 74 other third-year students at Toronto’s Ryerson University, competed in the Danier Design Challenge, which gave enthusiastic young designers a chance to put their novel ideas and sewing skills into action. Ten finalists presented their handmade creations at the on-campus event – some having never worked with leather before.

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Fashion Week’s dramatic peak

- October 22nd, 2010

Anyone daring enough to attend all eight runway shows and viewings at Toronto Fashion Week on Thursday would have walked away feeling emotionally exhausted.

The theme of the day was drama: with theatrical clothing ranging from spiked leather collars, to dresses made of trash (really), to modern masterpieces void of all humanity.

It was one of those rollercoaster evenings that one arrives home from not knowing whether to laugh or cry, but feeling quite certain they need a good night’s sleep to recover.

A standout pale peach silk dress by Sarah Stevenson. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

A standout pale peach silk dress by Sarah Stevenson. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

The day started off with a viewing of Sarah Stevenson’s luxurious, handcrafted line, which was French in aesthetic (Edith Piaf songs played throughout) and captured a wry primness, with loosely fitting silk shirt dresses that boasted a hint of sexiness in a floral lace print.

The designer hoped to take onlookers to a tea party (some models even held tea cups), and the clothes would have certainly fit in at a cosmopolitan café. They were so delicately made, though, that they would likely work best on the body of a laissez-faire socialite – who prefers to be admired by gentleman callers, rather than venturing out into the uncouth world.

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