On the Runway

The Top Ten Trends From Toronto Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011

We spotlight the most noteworthy trends from Toronto's runways

George Pimental

Phil Birnbaum

George Pimentel

George Pimentel

George Pimentel

George Pimentel

George Pimentel

Phil Birnbaum

Phil Birnbaum

Phil Birnbaum

George Pimentel

With many new names showing alongside a handful of Canada’s finest, fashion week in Toronto was a mixed bag. Thankfully, some strong trends emerged, stemming from the colourful mood that we saw in Milan and the 70’s spirit that was dominant in every fashion capital. For Spring/Summer 2011, select designers showed compelling looks that will make shopping Canadian a chic pleasure.


Spring’s head-to-toe whiteout eschewed the angelic look we are used to seeing in favour of stark drama. The style made the best statement in fuller, long silhouettes in innovative fabrications like fringe, leather and nylon. Where? Denis Gagnon, Joe Fresh, Thomas and ChloeCommeParis.


Last spring’s dollhouse colours felt a little too-twee. This season, designers updated the look in more sophisticated versions of sweet hues. Hard candy yellow, cotton candy blue and bubblegum pinks floated down runways in diaphanous silks or were given the sharp-tailored treatment. Where? Duy, Philip Sparks and LINE.


All black in the dead heat of summer? In a mix of airy fabrics – everything from lace, gossamer, mesh and perforated leather – moody noir evoked the boudoir. Never minimalist, these high-detailed pieces addressed dark souls who don’t switch into fruity hues with the change of seasons. Where? Denis, Greta Constantine, Laura Bagliore and Mikhael Kale.


Floor-length silhouettes swept the runways. Either long, lean and clean or glamorously diaphanous, one-shouldered and slit to there, it was impossible to not be wrapped up in the new longer looks for both day and night. Where? Nada, Pink Tartan, Or by Angela Chen and Jeremy Laing.


A distilling of last season’s military and minimalism trends welcomed streamlined uniform-inspired separates, free from “bell and whistle” embellishments. From navy poplin button-ups and pressed chinos to camp counselor anoraks and sporty box skirts, you have our scouts honor that this trend will win space in your wardrobe. Where? Joe Fresh, ChloeCommeParis and Philip Sparks.


After seasons of nautical versions of the clean-lined print, designers dipped into new waters. Stripes went crisp and coolly modernist when cut into blazers or free-flowing in voluminous dresses draped on the bias. The results outlined a fresh approach to the classic print. Where? Denis Gagnon, Laura Bagliore, Attitude by Sears, Pink Tartan and Rachel Mara.


Preppy schoolgirl pleats invigorated otherwise tired miniskirts, while gowns, mid-calf skirts and full trousers had a 70’s-era spirit that was hard to resist. Even tricky jumpsuits contained their flutter with this fold-and-press detail. Where? Joe Fresh, Pink Tartan, Rita Liefhebber, Duy and OR by Angela Che.


Instead of coy cutouts or plunging necklines, the new way to seduce is with a little fringed frock. Denis Gagnon’s twisted flapper fringe creations and swishy bags were the holy grail of this trend. Jumping off sexy versions at Pucci, Mark Fast and Versace, other Canadian-based designers also beguiled us with this swingy touch. Where? Denis Gagnon, Vawk, Amanda Lew Kee and LINE.


Almost every show displayed a colour confidence with uncommonly concentrated hues. Lizard green, Hermes orange, magenta and new wave blues were best in YSL-heydey signature styles like blousons and menswear trousers. Worn in novel combos (tangerine and magenta, fuschia and palm leaf) and with pop-art-sizzle accessories, there was no short of vibrant verve on the runway. Where? Pink Tartan, Nada, Juma and Ashley Rowe.


Treating the supplest of materials as an everyday staple is the epitome of fashion’s new luxury. Leather skirts, draped frocks, blazers and sheaths had of-the-moment appeal, but punk takes on the trend felt impossibly overdone. Where? Thomas, ChloeCommeParis, Denis Gagnon and Vawk.