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Joe Fresh and more: 10 looks and designers to know from Toronto Fashion Week

Toronto Fashion Week has wrapped up for another season. Here are the stand-outs from the runways that Globe Style loved

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BEAUFILLE: Beaufille, the young label by designer-sisters Chloë and Parris Gordon that, until last April, was known as Chloë Comme Parris, opened the Spring/Summer 2014 edition of World MasterCard Fashion Week on Monday night with a warm-weather collection inspired by renaissance Italy. The flowing, washable fabrics were printed with floor tile patterns with muted terracotta and aqua colours borrowed from the interiors of 15th-century churches. A stylized cross recurred as a motif in hardware sewn into the garments and the brushed metal jewellery that they also create. –Deirdre Kelly

GEORGE PIMENTEL

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SID NEIGUM: Many Toronto designers draw on goth and grunge sensibilities for their collections and, to the untrained eye, all that dark clothing can start looking the same. Sid Neigum falls into the black-is-perpetually-back group, but always manages to differentiate himself with a more cleanly finished lineup that pushes the design envelope. For spring, he did that by applying an intricate and geometric laser-cutting technique that increased in difficulty and density until the finale maxi dress. –Andrew Sardone

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DAVID DIXON: Inspired by the children's bedtime story On The Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman, David Dixon harnessed an overarching black-and-white palette for his latest collection that was equal parts midnight sky and the stars within it. The ultra-feminine collection included inky, sequin-studded cocktail dresses, lacy – as well as racy – knee-length skirts, see-through blouses and show-stopping strapless gowns, some trimmed with floating tails of black leather. Dixon appeared to be embracing a newfound spirit of seduction as several of the lace floral pieces were made without linings, revealing the body beneath. – D.K.

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MACKAGE: Spring must be a trickier season for a label that’s known for its toasty winter outerwear, but Montreal-based Mackage always makes a good case for incorporating leather jackets in shades like poppy or khaki and cotton-twill trenches into your transitional closet. Since creative directors Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy launched a handbag collection earlier this year, their show audiences can also shop pebble-embossed leather totes, hand bags and cross-body styles in clean neutrals, eye popping solids and, this season, stand-out silver. –A.S.

GEORGE PIMENTEL

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PINK TARTAN: Eco-friendly is not a term usually associated with Warhol Factory It Girl Edie Sedgwick, but Pink Tartan designer Kimberly Newport-Mimran connected those dots in her new collection. Floral prints and white-on-white circles were inspired by the pop-art world inhabited by Sedgwick. The colour palette was black, white and, frequently, a blend of the two as alternating stripes, racing-flag checks and a herringbone pattern used on below-the-knee skirts, lightweight sweaters, sleeveless tops and dresses. She also experimented with vegan leather, a washable, animal-friendly synthetic currently also making appearances in the collections of Tom Ford and Stella McCartney. –D.K.

GEORGE PIMENTEL

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MATTHEW GALLAGHER: The overall sentiment among the audience after the Matthew Gallagher show was how refreshing it was to see grownup clothes on the Toronto runway. The city’s fashion week provides lots of opportunities to scope out what’s new from fast-fashion brands and indie talents, but in a style era where alternative is the norm, a designer creating beautiful, polished dresses stands out. Gallagher’s palette was mostly neutral with hints of pink and the boldest azure blue, and his silhouettes ranged from body-conscious jersey gowns to fuller, more sophisticated tunics and crop tops. –A.S.

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LAURA SIEGEL: Prints rule at Laura Siegel, a result of the designer employing hand-dying techniques for her eponymous label. Siegel showed a collection featuring leathers, silks and jerseys with swirled and Chiclet-like patterns created by using blocks of wood during the dying process. The artisanal techniques gave visual impact to raw-silk shirtdresses, short sets and a halter-top sundress held together at the back with rope. Backstage after the show, Siegel said she plans to manufacture 1,127 hand-dyed scarves – samples of which were seen presented in the collection – to honour the number of victims of the Bangladesh clothing factory collapse last spring. –D.K.

GEORGE PIMENTEL

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JNBY: While many people in the fashion week audience assumed JNBY was a cool, new independent label, the brand actually has over 700 stores across China and other retail spaces in North and South America, Asia and Europe. Its androgynous pieces – an opening grouping of translucent, all-white and wrinkled separates plus patchwork botanical-print maxi dresses and a pair of looks in shocking teal ­– did suggest a more fashion-forward approach than we’re used to from such prolific brands. -A.S.

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CHRISTOPHER BATES: A technical glitch saw Toronto menswear designer Christopher Bates bumped from the smaller 250-seat studio to the 700-seat main runway tent for his presentation, and he had no trouble filling the space. His audience included CBC sportscaster Ron MacLean looking dapper in his custom Christopher Bates suit. Bates was recently picked up by The Academy Showroom and will be carried at Holt Renfrew starting in January. His Riviera-themed collection included tailored shirts with French cuffs, pink thigh-grazing shorts held up with suspenders and a standout periwinkle wool blazer paired with blue camouflage-print pants. –D.K.

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JOE FRESH: With close to 60 looks, the Joe Fresh show drew on everything from raw-edged, natural fibres to Chinoiserie for spring. The former influenced denim pieces, including jeans trimmed with lace or embellished with short, diagonal zippers at the ankle and thigh. The latter inspired floral-print silk pajamas in rose, purple and ivory. Six months after the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh that was making Joe Fresh merchandise and which killed more than 1,100 workers inside, how consumers are responding to the line is still an open question. The label has donated $1-million to Save the Children Bangladesh, and announced additional compensation for victim’s families the day after the presentation. “We decided to be part of the solution, and so we have stayed in Bangladesh,” said Joe Mimran following the show. “You never put it behind you; you work to go forward.” –D.K.

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