Toronto Fall/Winter Fashion Week 2016

Twice a year, the city of Toronto comes together to celebrate and to gawk, to be enchanted and transported into a world of glitz and glamour. This is known as Toronto Fashion Week. TFW Fall/Winter 2016 ran from March 14th to March 18th at David Pecaut Square on King Street West and featured an array of talented designers who mesmerized audiences with their collections.

My Toronto Fashion Week journey began on Tuesday March 15th when I sat down to see Ellie Mae’s collection walk the runway. Ellie Mae, a Toronto based jacket designer, has combined the vintage with the new age in order to create jackets that are simply classic. As the lights dimmed, and the runway lit up, models began to walk clothed in plain black shirts and pants – the only colour existing in the jackets they wore. The jackets featured an array of colours, warm materials, unique patterns, and varying lengths. The jackets ranged from crisp and sharp to comfy and casual.

My absolute favourite jacket by Ellie Mae was the last piece of her collection to be shown; an incredibly chic black and white fur jacket that fell down to the model’s upper thigh. I fell completely in love with this design which screamed old Hollywood glamour.

 

A few hours later I walked through the doors to the runway, to observe the work of Mercedes-Benz start-up Unttld. I quickly realized nothing was the same. What had once been a classic white runway, was now lime green; overhead a haunting voice spoke in French and captivated the ear. As someone who loves the dramatic, I was immediately mesmerized by the dark change. Smoke rose from the runway and with hair slicked back, a stoical look on their faces, and clad in Unttld clothing the models began to walk.

Edgy and sensual is the only way I can accurately describe Unttld’s designs, which featured strictly dark colours, and materials such as: velvet, silk, leather, fur, fishnet, and chains. Everything about this duo was truly unique and nothing like I had ever seen before. I feel as though it is extremely hard to capture feminine darkness the way that Unttld did, and I commend them for doing so. My favourite thing about Unttld’s collection was without a question their use of gold chains to make a hand woven armour top, chandelier skirt, and armour dress. I found their use of gold chains to be very intriguing, from: the way the chains shone under the lights, to the way they fell against the models body, to the patterns they were designed in – it was extremely intricate, unique, and sexy.

On Wednesday March 15th it was time for Jennifer Torosian! The Jennifer Torosian collection displayed a certain lightness and vintage quality; I definitely felt like some of the pieces had a bohemian feel about them, from the blue fur vest to the yellow dress which featured blue animated bows. While some of the pieces were darker colours, much of the collection was light, feminine, and colourful. This collection definitely brought colour back into winter dreariness!

I think my absolute favourite piece in Jennifer Torosian’s collection was a fire engine red dress, which featured a fitted tank top style, and a long flowing skirt. It just looked like so much fun to wear!

My last stop at Toronto Fashion Week came on Friday March 18th when I walked into the big white tent in David Peacut Square for the last time, to see the Stephan Caras fall/winter collection. As soon as the models started walking the runway it became extremely clear that Stephan Caras and Kyriako Caras worked incredibly hard, and gave a piece of themselves to the collection. Stephan Caras is known in the world of fashion as “the man who loves women,” and it shows. The collection that these two men created is a reflection of femininity, sex appeal, and elegance.The collection was brilliant, and cathartic. I found myself entranced by each piece that was shown because of how truly unique they were and the essence of femininity that Stephan and Kyriako captured so perfectly – it was truly mesmerizing.

My favourite piece, however, was without a doubt the final design to be showed. It was the most amazing dress I had ever seen; with a see-through top, and long sleeves which incorporated metallic blue flowers, and a huge ball gown like skirt that was made of layers of tulle. It was breathtakingly perfect!

After all of Stephan Caras’ designs had been shown, and the two men had made a smiling appearance on the runway, I was given the incredible opportunity of going backstage and interviewing Stephan and Kyriako.

The feeling of going backstage was completely exhilarating, and was a total dream come true for me. Backstage there was delicious madness as photographers rushed to get pictures of models wearing Stephan Caras and shots of Kyriako and Stephan standing alongside them; all the while hair stylists and make-up artists rushed to get models ready for the next show.

Like many other writers gathering around Stephan and Kyriako, I waited for my turn to interview the two talented, artists. Before long, I was up, and my stomach was nothing but butterflies.

However, I was quickly soothed by how kind both men were, while we discussed their careers as designers they were nothing but attentive and thoughtful. Together we shared a few laughs and I gained insight into the world of an international designer.

When asked what the biggest struggles the two men had to overcome as designers were, Stephan Caras explained that when starting out as a designer the biggest struggle is always money! Like any industry the world of fashion is an expensive one and requires a large sum of money for the tools needed to create and advertise a collection.

I asked the men, “If you could give one piece of advice to future designers, what would it be?” Both men agreed, laughing, that as a designer you have to be prepared not to sleep! It takes a lot of time and energy to create a collection and sleep definitely comes second.

Lastly, I asked the two men about their inspiration. “You’ve said in various interview that you are constantly inspired by femininity, how do you find new inspiration within femininity for every collection?” The men explained that to get new inspiration, from the same subject you just have to look at it in a different way. For these two it just so happens to be women; every design is feminine, unique, and beyond words incredible. I definitely plan on buying a Stephan Caras dress in the future, now it’s on my bucket list!

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Martese Bellizzi

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