Since taking the top prize at last year’s TFI New Labels competition, Golnaz Ashtiani has broken out as one of the best designers showing at Toronto Fashion Week this season. Her clothes actually belong on a runway and are fine enough to warrant investing in for your wardrobe. (Editor’s note: this might have something to do with the fact that she sources luxe materials and has samples made in her native London). Her fall collection deftly took inspiration from surrealist Russian photographer Oleg Dou. This translated to a chilly Eastern bloc palette of winter white, gray, spearmint and navy cut into strict, architectural shapes. The opening look, a textured wool cropped jacket with a striking attachable mini cape collar in icy blue mohair signaled a step away from her weighty draped looks of season’s past. Idealist structure smartly took its place. Clever curved patent belts gave multiple looks a peplum-like finishing touch minus the bulk and frou frou associated with this flourish. “This was a more serious collection for me,” confirmed Ashtiani backstage after the show. Indeed, but it wasn’t without lighter moments, such as a covetable patched blouses in triple-thick ’60s-style crepe and precise wool sheath dresses that would have been staid if not for cool collar details and offbeat paneling. The closing look, a reserved navy dress with an asymmetrical swath of Siberian blue pleating nailed this modernist message.