TORONTO - Alli Shapiro didn't live to see the line created in her honour, but the legacy of the fashion dream she shared with her mother continues as the plus-sized label Allistyle showcased its spring-summer collection at World MasterCard Fashion Week debut on Friday.
The label's creative head and founder, Pam Shainhouse, developed the line last year as a tribute to her daughter, who died of cancer in 2006 at age 26.
The duo had wanted to create a fashion line together. Shapiro, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, had seen her weight fluctuate due to chemotherapy treatments, and the fashion-conscious woman found there were few Canadian-made and quality options available for the plus-sized market.
Whitney Thompson of "America's Next Top Model" fame opened the runway show wearing a sleeveless black-and-white V-neck swing dress. The Cycle 10 winner of the TV modelling competition series is an executive vice-president and creative adviser for Allistyle.
With female-empowerment anthems blaring from the speakers, curvy models of various ages stepped on the runway in a range of tunics, tanks, cowl and wrap front tops as well as wardrobe staples like leggings, capris and A-line and pencil skirts.
The range of vibrant dresses including flared V-neck numbers, colour-blocked creations and sleeved pleated designs. In addition to black and white, rich royal blue, coral and mustard green hues infused the Canadian-made collection, which features sustainable fabrics such as viscose from bamboo and organic cotton.
A visibly emotional Shainhouse joined Thompson at the end of the show. As the pair left the stage the words "Dedicated to Alli" and a black-and-white photo of Alli Shapiro were projected on-screen at the entry to the runway.
A percentage of net proceeds from the line support Alli's Journey, a charity supporting young adults with cancer.