On the Runway

Toronto: Haute Canadiana from Holt Renfrew and IZMA

Toronto Fashion Week kicks off with an ode to homegrown style

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Izma Fall/Winter 2011

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Izma Fall/Winter 2011

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Holt Renfrew Present Fall/Winter 2011

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Holt Renfrew Present Fall/Winter 2011

We can’t live without Canadian fashion. Apparently, neither can retailer Holt Renfrew, who kicked off LG Fashion Week last night with a rip-roaring ode to national design delights. It began with a lively lip-sync video by Justin Wu featuring Holts characters hamming it up to “Taking Care of Business.” The Bachman-Turner Overdrive song was a knowing wink to the Fashion Design Council of Canada’s The Business of Fashion theme this season – oddly, that name is already taken, but that’s another story.  Pride was at a high as we turned to the runway, which featured some of our best and brightest. Todd Lynn’s fantastic fur bomber opened the show–its oversize collar and silver fox hide undeniably plush. Greta Constantine’s heavy cape coats, louche velvet bed jackets and Chinois boots had the globetrotter flair of Jean Paul Gaultier. Denis Gagnon’s tulle and leather mash-ups and Pink Tartan’s ladylike metallic camo-prints were both charming, yet subversive. Smythe’s alpine jackets and furry hotpants were a cheeky take on après ski – though one navy blue structured pea coat was sharply stunning and gimmick-free. Lida Biday’s take on 24/7 elegant dressing (this time in teal and mossy green) were sedately luxe, as per usual, while TwentyCluny’s clingy bandage and sequin dresses mini-looks were just the opposite. Canada Goose jackets, while practical, do not belong on a runway and should not be styled with hiked-up long johns. The parka megabrand would have been wise to whip up daring catwalk-only versions that differ from the ubiquitous styles seen city-wide.  Eclipsing all others, the show closed with Jeremy Laing’s lunar wonders. As Canada’s most innovative design talent, his moon print and midnight velvet dresses were simply spellbinding.   

For their second season, Izzy Camilleri and Adrian Mainella’s IZMA collection of sustainable fur dipped in to the ’70s, which continues to be the era-of-the moment. Using flashy chainmail-like detailing, they offered a lapin look for everyone: from swing coat to shawl to gilet cuts. At times, the ode of glitzy nightlife looks was over the top. After all, gorgeous real fur (and one of this quality and modernity) is such a timeless statement–why complicate the look with jarring gold embellishment? The cleaner, more minimal styles were much more effective, such as the modern colour-block coat in black lapin and garnet fox. Ending on an impressive note, a fur tuxedo blazer and noir gown were innovative takes on mankind’s oldest fabric.

Flip through the full photo galleries of Holt Renfrew Presents and Izma