On the Runway

Rita Liefhebber Spring/Summer '11

Rita Liefhebber Spring/Summer ’11; Photo by George Pimentel

Rita Liefhebber Spring/Summer ’11; Photo by George Pimentel

Rita Liefhebber Spring/Summer ’11; Photo by George Pimentel

Rita Liefhebber Spring/Summer ’11; Photo by George Pimentel

In just a few season’s, former FLARE editor Rita Liefhebber’s style (both personal and design) have become synonymous with a West-end Toronto down-to-earth sensibility. Liefhebber’s ethereal presence and uncanny ability to mix polished with patined – say, a thrift store trench with patent Manolos – make her a style heroine in our fair city.  Yet, when we first heard that she would be showing under the bright lights and zebra rug banner that is LG Fashion Week, we were unsure if it was the best fit. After all, Liefhebber had generated much in-the-know buzz with her offbeat truck and tailgate-style presentations. In a wise move, the designer stayed true to her grassroots by mounting an instillation instead of a traditional catwalk show. A Sophia Coppola-tinged film by local cool-girl Eva Michon provided background as models took pose on raised boxes while the audience moved through the atmospheric space. This season, Liefhebber was inspired by the idea of overcast, slightly gloomy summer weather, which could be seen in the palette of murky beiges, grays, dusty roses and blues. A cloudy ombre-effect print echoed this theme on tunics and easy dresses. Signature lightweight unlined blazers, cut oversized, just the way Liefhebber’s kind wears them, touched on the prepster-trend when paired with knife-pleat schoolgirl skirts. Cagey fisherman’s knit vests and homespun sweaters appeared almost secondhand, but paired with paneled riding leggings, they looked like a perfect outfit for a rainy weekend spent indoors. The only thing missing? Actual misty-weather wear. An anorak or waxed jacket would have made sense, but perhaps Liefhebber was thinking of keeping cool versus keeping dry.

Watch our exclusive interview with Rita Liefhebber: