Hayley Elsaesser's Model-Free Show

Diversity is nothing new for this TFW standout, but she took it one step further this season

Tara MacInnis

Hayley Elsaesser is the queen of quirky prints and bright hues and that’s exactly what she served up at Toronto Fashion Week. But while we got the unique aesthetic we’ve come to expect from the Aussie designer, Elsaesser’s fall 2016 show stood out in another big way.

Every model who walked the runway for her didn’t come from an agency; they ranged in age from 18 to 70 and came in sizes 2 to 12.

“I have friends who are models and they go on these crazy diets and end up getting emotionally injured because of it,” said Elsasser backstage after her show. “I wanted to totally do a 360 and show that you don’t need to be a perfect size 2 and 5’10” to be able to look amazing in a variety of clothing.”

(George Pimentel/Getty Images)
(George Pimentel/Getty Images)

Elseasser only signed up to show her Gutter Ball collection (inspired by The Big Lebowski and her own childhood bowling memories) two weeks ago, and, after putting out a model call via Instagram on a Friday, by Sunday her flagship store on Queen St. West was packed with hopefuls. “We had two hours of back-to-back people, who we scrunched in to the front of the store,” said Elsaesser. “We had them do a fun little walk and try on different outfits, and it was really easy and really awesome. I’m for sure going to do it again next season.”

(George Pimentel/Getty Images)
(George Pimentel/Getty Images)

Elseasser has always been a champion of diversity at Toronto Fashion Week, and with a following that includes the likes of Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, we’re excited to watch her effortlessly disrupt the industry and continue to design wonderfully wacky pieces.

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