Orange by Angela Chen
For a young designer, Angela Chen’s show opener—a flimsy white blouse and knee-skimming full skirt felt decidedly mature. Its proportions were not exactly modern, its silhouette sedate, polite even. Look after look played with this classic dressing idea. Think feminine white blouses and black bottoms. Asymmetrical draped details on pants and skirts lifted the looks from appearing matronly, while revealing sheer shirting was far from conservative. Chen states not once, by twice in her show notes that she graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York, where she still maintains a base when not in Vancouver. This training was evident in her execution. Designs are not weighed down with unnecessary embellishment, instead materials are toyed into standout shapes. Her fabrics look well considered and of quality–smartly eschewing blaring prints. Yet just when we’re starting to understand her demure girl, Chen’s sends out a set of see-thru, sparkly crocheted looks with mesh panels cut to there.
Khan made her name selling embellished scarves and shawls–gilded references to her Pakistani and Afghani heritage. Rich tapestries and hand painted details are abundant, but those signature shawls, the ones good enough for both Holt Renfrew and Harrods? They are nowhere to be found on the runway. In their place, Khan offers tunics and pants in floaty georgette and crepe. It’s a style that looks respectful and elegant on a select clientele. Craft-shop notions like novelty buttons, rickrack and tassels add embellishment to velvet separates. Proportions are hard to understand, as one tunic features a butt-cheek revealing slit, while everything else is traditionally covered up. At last, a beautiful black boiled wool shawl enters the runway. It’s painted gold motif and smattering of ornate beading the best look bar none.
Zoran Dobric’s multiple influences are wordly and entirely his own. With Serbian descent, this Toronto by-way-of Milan designer infuses his clothes with innovative patterns. This season he worked with Alekanser Skoric on textile prints. He opens with a chocolate coat, it’s collar buttoned back onto the shoulder over a printed silk frock. A scarf and chevron-print dress follow, welcoming a series of pattered frocks that look lovely while one saunters, though a gust of wind could prove dangerous. A darling mustard seed-coloured dress has pin-tucked shoulder detailing and sweetly ties at the waist. Other standouts include a black outsize collared jacket with a beautiful metallic graphic print. A silk LBD with ribbon-looped side panels is also a stunner. But our favourite moment of the show is watching Flare star-intern Adam model. In slouchy trousers and a waistcoat, he looks right at home on the runway.
LOVAS by Wesley Badanjak
The LOVAS show opened with ivory coats, skillfully nipped and tucked, and a fur chubby with banded leather detailing. Badanjak has worked in the atelier of David Dixon, whose influence could be seen in the ladylike proportions of his shift dresses. Dixon didn’t seem to mind—he sat front row admiring Badanjak’s offering. An abstract floral minidress with ruffled hem and sleeve detail didn’t feel very autumnal, beguiling as it was. Stylists tip: it’s easy enough to winterize sheer dresses with tights and a thick-soled shoe. A black pea felt more in season, though the sparkle leggings needed to take a hike. Badanjak is at his best when he resists the flash and hones in on wearable tailored dresses and refined coats.
McDonagh marches to her own beat. Long Russian military-style coats in red, black and gunmetal were undeniably elegant. Paired with regal fur caps and officer-style hats, the look was Orient Express. Mongolian fur vests, boot covering and bags continued to play up the USSR references. Shadowy pinstripes were whipped into short suiting, showing McDonagh’s precision tailoring. An oatmeal knitted sweater coat ushered in a variety of soft-dressing options, most tricked out with exotic furs. Aviator jackets and a flight suit nodded to Amelia Earhart and fashion’s current love of heritage utility style. Ivory wool A-line dresses and coats spelled winter wedding. Touched with a wool floral appliqué detail, they were examples of McDonagh’s signature creativity. A black wet-look minidress with a plumed skirt and backless gown resembling Jane Fonda’s from Klute were both glamorously noir. The final look, a white silk sheath with faux doves perched on the shoulders ended the show on a quirky note.