simple silhouettes and layered lapels.

There’s a certain glamorous aspect to being at a fashion show –- any sort of fashion show. As long as there’s pulsating music and the flash of the photographer’s cameras, I’m sure you could parade a line of models down the runway wearing nothing but cardboard boxes and it’ll still have the feel and excitement of Parisian haute couture. So I was excited when I found out I was going to the Ryerson School of Fashion show at Toronto’s LG Fashion Week (and no, I am pleased to report that none of the designers used cardboard). I attended the show with Worn Crush, Norwegian Wood’s Angie Johnson (who was recently recognized for her fringe necklaces in this weekend’s National Post), and my old friend, Erica, who, in her own words, “likes fashion, but doesn’t really follow it.” It was interesting to attend an event with two women of very different fashion industry perspectives (although I can safely say we were all equally fawning over the Barbie exhibit taking place just outside the show – Holly Golightly Barbie, anyone?)
from other projects in order to create a new piece.

The show consisted of six former students who graduated from Ryerson’s School of Fashion 2008 program: Kat Marks, David Chou, Dayna Phillips, Sara Duke, Heidi Ackerman and Sidney Holloway. I had no idea on what to expect for the runway. Considering how my own DIY capabilities extend about as far as stringing painted macaroni together and calling it a necklace, it’s always inspiring seeing people my age turning out much more complex visions.

The first designer, Kat Marks, was by far the most experimental. She seemed to draw her inspirations from other avant-garde designers: her thermoplastic back braces extended into exaggerated hips (very Balenciaga-esque), and the over-the-top ornaments on the shoulders (ranging from gilded wings to black padding so heavy that the models had to prop them up as they walked) was reminiscent of the Comme des Garçons Fall 2008 show. In contrast, David Chou took a much more minimalistic approach to his collection (which was Erica’s favourite because “it was the most wearable”). While his silhouettes were simple, his charm lay in the subtle detailing: sleek blazers with layered lapels, pencil skirts with ruched pockets and darting on the back of the hem, and slim trousers with a bit of frill going down the back edges.

Heidi Ackerman had designed a set chunky knit sweaters in warm colours like orange, deep purple and cream. Angie observed that “it’s nice to see a Canadian designer recognising our cold weather and doing something creative with knitting.” Although I agreed, the practicality of one particular sweater dress lacking arm holes — modeled by a girl who seemed terrified of the possibility that she might trip — was definitely up for debate.

The show ended on a fun note, with a collection that can only be described as “snazzy.” Pillbox hats covered in sequins with huge bows and veils, a fur vest that seemed to be dipped in glitter, lots of little black dresses with bedazzled sashes and a white gown with fur stole and a train on the end; it was a bit ironic then, when the designer Sidney Holloway (who participated in the Fur Council of Canada’s fur mentorship program) came out in an Iron Maiden t-shirt and a Harley Davidson cap.

Overall I was left impressed with the show. Each designer already seemed to have a distinct style and technique that it was easy to forget they only just graduated fashion school. There was enough variety between the designers that Erica, Angie and I, three women with different tastes, all walked away liking elements of the show, something that doesn’t happen often (except for of course that Audrey Hepburn doll). It was refreshing to see an eclectic mix of clothes showing in our own city.

text by Anna Fitzpatrick, photography by Sidney Halloway, outfit by Lexi McKenna

5 thoughts on “simple silhouettes and layered lapels.

  1. Oooh, your description of Kat Marks made me go looking.
    I found these pictures of different images from the show:
    http://www.sweetspot.ca/national/lfw_fall_2009/7762/runway_snapshot_ryerson_university_school_of_fashion_graduates/
    And these of the Kat Marks designs – only a couple, but I LOVED the molded body-armour corset thing. Mmmm.
    http://www.torontostreetfashion.com/2008/03/mass-exodus-countdown-designer-profile.html
    There’s an interview below. I love that she’s inspired by Vonnegut.
    But then, how could you not be?
    x.g.

  2. Great review Anna! I thought it was really great to see the kind of stuff Ryerson grads produced and found it to be very inspiring. My favourite collection was Sidney Holloway, his stuff was really great, I would love to get my hands on that white pillbox hat with the short little veil on the front!

  3. This is a lovely review, Anna ^o^. Captivating yet witty just like you! I would’ve liked to see more photos though, you made me curious to the exact look of these collections! I love school fashion shows (or shows of those recently graduated), the students are still bursting of creativity and haven’t been brought down by our commercialism. It’s awesome.

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