The theme of last spring's LG Fashion Week in Toronto was The Power of Style. This week's Spring 2011 shows, which kick off Monday and continue through Friday, have been christened The Style of Power. What exactly does that mean? For Robin Kay, president of the Fashion Design Council of Canada and grande dame of the event, it refers to "dressing and acting your age," she writes via e-mail. "Acting your age is the most confident, daring and, above all, powerful thing you can do."
Shawn Hewson, the creative director of Bustle Clothing, has a different take. "After years of being in this business, you come to realize that fashion is a popular commodity and there's some power to that - that's worth something to people," he says. Bustle, known for its cheeky show theatrics, will be the first runway presentation at the official venue, Heritage Court at Exhibition Place.
As usual, some big-name Canadian designers have opted to show outside of Fashion Week. Men's-wear darling Philip Sparks debuted his first collection of pieces for women on Wednesday. The next day, Nada, Joeffer Caoc and men's-wear label DimitriChris staged their respective video/runway presentations. Last night, Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine presented their show, bolstering their signature slinky pieces with bold shoulders. And Sunny Fong, whose Vawk collection channels Spain and Africa, will have its moment at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Monday afternoon.
Three seasons in, Fong is a veteran compared to Rachel Mara, Sarah Stevenson and Chloécommeparris, who will be getting their official fashion-week feet wet. And if the names Denis Gagnon and Rita Liefhebber don't sound familiar, learn them now. The Montrealer and former fashion editor, both industry favourites, are showing back to back on Thursday night.
New faces aside, Joe Mimran's mass-market Joe Fresh line and Pink Tartan, wife Kimberley Newport Mimran's label, are still hot tickets.
This season, Canadian designers "finally got their groove on," promises Kay. "We are in the season of Canadian cool."