On the Runway

Toronto: Arthur Mendonça Returns

After shuttering his label, the designer returns with a le smoking hot collection

Photo by Felix Wong

Photo by Felix Wong

Photo by Felix Wong

Photo by Felix Wong

Photo by Felix Wong

Ask any veteran Toronto fashion scribe and they will tell you things haven’t been the same since Arthur Mendonça shuttered his namesake label in 2008. Luckily, on Friday, a tightly edited crowed convened in the Trump International Hotel ballroom to witness his impressive runway return. With former creative director (and stylist) George Antonopolous in position, Mendonça delivered a le smoking hot take on ’70s looks that could have walked right out of a Helmut Newton photograph. A glossy vinyl-coated black wool trench opened the show, followed by wickedly good pantsuits. The appealing kick of flare trousers (super-fitted, then crisply falling out over teetering platforms) made even statuesque models appear much taller – imagine the wonders they would do for the less vertically inclined. Tailored dresses, most hitting at that sweet Carine Roitfeld spot just below the knee, managed to evoke the boudoir with bustier details and gauzy lace underlay, whilst still acting as the type of piece one could wear underneath a great jacket for the office. Smart. Also intelligent were those long sleeve gowns, particularly one in ultraviolet, all swaths of silk jersey, but for a serious plunge. While eveningwear skewed on the femme fatale side, Mendonça’s playful tuxedos provided fodder for pretty young things fatigued with ditzy frocks.  Paired with turbans, industrial-look silver bar cuffs and earrings by Dean Davidson, quirky shades, patent red lips and slicked chignon, these final exits purred to be worn by cover models and Canadian starlets. Yes, there was a whiff of Tom Ford about Mendonça’s twists on YSL classics and the last days of disco, but the comparison felt apt in more ways than one: both men have mastered the art of the comeback.