Canadian Fashion Group recently presented Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOM*) and Toronto Women’s Fashion Week showcasing collections for Fall and Winter 2018. TOM* is one of Canada’s leading fashion week initiatives committed to promoting, nurturing and supporting the country’s most influential designers and the next generation of emerging talent. They are the brainchild of CEO Jeff Rustia, who brings to his role a wide breadth of knowledge and experience that spans over 25 years in fashion, production, marketing, creative direction, and television.
With over 30 shows over six days, the following are selected highlights from the shows…
The week started with TOM*. Designers presented collections that showcased men’s fashion, in a category that has historically been rather traditional, in ways that were creative, polished and encouraged men to enjoy style.
The range of options spanned the gamut from street cool and unapologetic to debonair and refined… something for every man’s wardrobe.
Rhowan James thrilled the audience with a collection that paid tribute to the world and lifestyle of James Bond, featured stunning tuxedos, smoking jackets, bomber jackets, military style coats and ensembles that 007 would feel right at home in. Reminiscent of the adventures and lifestyle of the mythical MI6 agent, the collection could easily be featured in the next Bond flick.
Gold and black featured prominently in the collection as seen in the elegant and refined smoking jacket and tuxedos that were paired with classic white shirts, bowties and formal trousers. Beautifully structured bomber jackets paired with button down shirts and ties could easily find their way into the mainstream workplace as a refined alternative to the traditional blazer. The pièce de résistance was a dramatic cape worn over a classic black tuxedo with black satin trim.
Self taught, Toronto born designer Rhowan James grew up watching his father getting ready for church. Intrigued by his father’s sense of style, it taught him how to take pride in his own personal appearance when presenting himself to the world. This same sense of style is resonant throughout his collection. His collection can be viewed at www.rhowanjames.com
In signature Stephan Caras style, the FW18 collection epitomized femininity, glamour and sensuality. Featuring luxurious silk taffeta, delicate lace scattered with floral appliqués and flowing organza ruffles, the use of luxurious textures, sophisticated lines and exquisite detailing were indeed a visual delight.
Black lace dresses and bodysuits scattered with beading, delicate embroidery and blooms in dark floral undertones. Light as air dresses in shades of pink, green and black glided down the runway as if floating on air. Opulent dresses in brocades and silk taffeta combined with lace in rich reds, blues and black.
Stephan and Kyriako Caras, the father and son design duo, behind the high fashion brand once again delighted and inspired the audience with a collection that combined masterful craftsmanship with luxury, elegance and a touch of drama. Their collection can be viewed at www.stephancaras.com
On the opposite end of the Spectrum, designer Shelli Oh’s restrained yet refined Baker Street collection took us back to the time of Sherlock Holmes and the fictional address on Baker Street in London. Clean cut, well groomed models carrying books walked down the runway as if on the way to a library or lecture. The collection featured minimalist styled overcoats, cropped moto-jackets, varsity style jackets and blazers in beautiful wools and tweeds with perfect attention to detail. Each piece was well thought out and had a twist on the classic styling including: double breasted styling, collars with contrast colour detailing, vent flaps and a variety of pocket designs.
As an alumnus of the Ryerson University Bachelor of Fashion Design / Manufacturing, Shelli Oh started her career in women’s wear in 1997 with a prominent position with New York fashion designer Betsey Johnson. Oh later returned to Toronto to launch her own label Harebell. The brand was later renamed simply to Shelli Oh and has since then branched out it into men’s wear. Her collection can be viewed at www.shellioh.com
David Dixon’s collection, designed exclusively for Women’s College Hospital (WCH), is an interpretation of an original watercolour painting by renowned WCH surgeon, Dr. John Semple. In addition to being one of the country’s foremost surgeons specializing in breast reconstruction following mastectomy, Dr. Semple is also an acclaimed artist and an alumni of the Ontario College of Art and Design. The collection was inspired by Dixon’s own person experience of watching a loved one face cancer.
The collection embodied the “mood and spirit” of the painting with pieces that reflected the lightness, movement and colour reflected within it. Graceful gowns and ensembles made of various silks and beaded and embroidered lace reflected the watercolour’s light colour palette and mood. Shades of green, turquoise, white and coral tied the collection seamlessly to the painting’s aesthetic.
(MensFashion4Hope and WomensFashion4Hope photos)
Both TOM* and TW featured a celebrity runway show to raise awareness and funds for charity through the Kol Hope Foundation (KHF). Launched in honour of Mr. Rustia’s son Kol, who was born with a fatal genetic syndrome, MensFashion4Hope and WomensFashion4 Hope raise money for charities including Sick Kids Hospital and Easter Seals. This season’s celebrities included (from left to right) Canada’s first supermodel Yanka van der Kolk, singer and performer Jully Black, Miss Venezuela Keysi Sayago, Toronto FC player/2017 MLS Champion Jozy Altidore, UFC Middleweight Fighter/Producer/Actor, Elias Theodorou.
Written by: Zabin Dhanji, Personal Stylist and Style Writer, City Sophisticate www.citysophisticate.com
Photo Credit: Zahid Mahmood and John Ortner (for all photos except Rhowan James taken by Dennis Duong, Motion D Photography and for MensFashion4Hope and WomensFashion4Hope which were taken by TOM* and TW photographer Che Rosales)