J’aime le noir, j’aime la musique noir
This past week, Toronto Fashion Week wrapped up its March 28th to April 1st run at its out of the way (i.e. remote) Allstream Centre venue.
But as is the case, some of the most interesting stuff happening in terms of shaping (and showcasing) style and fashion in the city wasn’t necessarily taking place there.
Feature contributor to This Is Worldtown, Danah Abdulla of The Yuppie Activist, explores.
Photos by Renata Kaveh - www.renatakaveh.com
On Thursday and Friday, I attended two shows of what is nicknamed “Toronto Rogue Fashion Week”, but I much prefer calling it Fashion Week Redux. The name refers to the various off site fashion shows held during the month fashion week is taking place. Attending off site shows is endearing in a way because it feels more like getting together with a community of people that, even though don’t necessarily know each other, will someway interact during the show. In the case of THOMAS and Cult de Laissez Faire, it’s getting together with the awkward string of hipsters that roam Queen Street, although one show had less than the other. How can I sum up these two shows in four words? Youth, speed, trouble, cigarettes. Look for my cues.
On Thursday, I attended the THOMAS show at the Clint Roenisch Gallery. THOMAS is a line by Mikey and Drew Thomas (Thomas2 as I call them), who aren’t related. Don’t worry…I asked. The show was dripping with black, androgyny, and skinny boys with slicked back hair…and I’m not only referring to the models. The non climate oriented collection titled Season , featured destroyed and transparent knitwear, structured cottons, and combat boots, all making their way down the runway to Fever Ray’s shrill musical sounds that set the atmosphere for the collection. THOMAS displayed many impressive pieces like turtleneck dresses where the shoulders were left exposed (gasp), drop crotch pants, tunics, and capes and cloaks that reminded me of the Death Eaters in Harry Potter. THOMAS’ attempt at being deep? Probably, but then again who isn’t trying to get noticed? At least the inspiration is evident, and they’ve already gotten picked up by UPC boutique in Toronto, so it’s working.
On Friday, I dashed to the ART condos to check out “What Lies Beyond”, the debut collection of Cult de Laissez Faire, a label by Dan Augustino and Corey Gibbs, a duo with no formal fashion training, just experience running (and another hanging out) at one of Toronto’s coolest boutiques. Sometimes I feel like someone forgot to tell me I’ve been cast in the sequel to “Kids” because that describes exactly what I felt walking in here. After about two hours of dancing to “This Charming Man” and “Tenderness” and munching on some delicious hors d’oeuvres, the crowd, where most would make perfect brand ambassadors for the shop, gathered to watch “Maneater” the video for Pink Cobra’s Autumn/Winter collection. Although the reaction was “where are the clothes?”, the crowd seemed to enjoy watching a model wearing a transparent black dress (did you question this?) eat a steak seductively. Like any Pink Cobra lady, she finishes off her meal with a cigarette and a look that makes you feel embarrassed to ask if anyone actually eats meat like that.
Skipping traditional, Cult de Laissez Faire also featured their collection on video. For some reason, the concept and effects reminded me of Animorphs, but don’t panic, the collection didn’t, although some pieces did look very similar to another collection you can get at Carte Blanche. What Lies Beyond featured vests and zippered peacoats, leather drop crotch pants with the signature side pocket, hooded tunics, and oversized graphic t-shirts. What’s next for this label? “We’re working on the next collection, called “Mirage” for Spring/Summer,” says Dan. So they’re looking ahead, and their marketing strategy isn’t bad either: they actually have one.
It’s now more prevalent amongst designers to use video to feature their collections (or 3D in NADA’s case) because it’s more interactive. But despite this attempt at making it more available online, I would’ve rather enjoyed physically seeing the clothes.
Watch the Pink Cobra video