Buyers, members of the media and industry insiders had a chance to get an up-close glimpse of warm-weather fashions from emerging design talents at a special event hosted by the Toronto Fashion Incubator toward the conclusion of the week.
They shared their observations on some of the notable trends and standout shows from the semi-annual fashion event.
FEELING FRINGE: A staple of boho style, fringe was a featured player on the runway. Mackage made use of the embellishment, and Holt Renfrew's Lisa Tant enjoyed how womenswear label Pink Tartan incorporated the cascading strips of fabric as adornments on skirts, vests and dresses.
"Fringe is enormous for spring," said Tant, vice-president, fashion editor with the luxury retailer. "We're seeing it a lot now into fall (and) also into spring, so I thought it was really timed in how she put it in her collection."
HOT HUES: Many designers were feeling the blues as a sea of rich hues spanning from a pale sky shade to navy and ultramarine coloured collections from the likes of womenswear designers Caitlin Power, Rachel Sin, Matthew Gallagher and Hayley Elsaesser, as well as menswear brands Christopher Bates and Bustle.
However, Michelle Germain, owner and curator of Shopgirls Gallery Boutique in Toronto, was struck by what she saw as the absence of colour for spring.
"I think more and more, we're working towards that sort of monochromatic or very neutral base. And then where you can have fun is with the accessories, and obviously scarves and jewelry and really bring that pop of colour."
Tant echoed Germain's sentiments of the importance of non-colour in warm-weather styles.
"We're seeing good strong hits of orange, navy, but really just a very clear, clean palette. An awful lot of white and off-white."
The rock 'n' roll range from Rudsak was a prime example of another warm-weather trend observed by Toronto Fashion Incubator executive director Susan Langdon: black and white.
"(It's) either all black or all white or a mix of black and white in prints and in stripes, so I definitely think that's a theme that's emerging, which works perfect for me because I'm always in black and white."
LAYER UP: Bundling up isn't only for the chillier months. The Mackage runway saw models wearing several layers beneath their sleek trench coats and biker jackets, with flowing chiffon tunics teamed with leather and suede fringe skirts and mesh T-shirts.
"I think it's good to dress in layers," said Langdon. "It's practical, it looks chic — particularly if you can mix up the different layers and the lengths and the textures and make it kind of interesting."
Arie Assaraf, owner of TNT — which operates boutiques in Toronto and Montreal — said there will also be a progression toward "soft dressing" featuring smoother, softer fabrics and textures like suede as well as incorporating lightweight knits into ensembles.
THAT '70s SHOW: Kimberley Newport-Mimran paid an homage to the past with a modern twist in her nod to '70s-era styles for Pink Tartan, and her self-described "strong pieces for strong girls" earned kudos from Tant.
"I loved the jumpsuits, the culottes, her prints. I thought it was really fun and fresh and very polished," she said.
"It was still Pink Tartan, which is what I liked. You could see her signatures and it had a modern freshness to it which, to me, is what defines Pink Tartan."
One-piece getups also emerged from Hayley Elsaesser and Rudsak, who each brought their fresh takes on jumpsuits to the runway.
INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCE: Langdon pointed to the Japanese influence in the modular origami-inspired collection from Sid Neigum which kicked off the week and also earned the Alberta-born, Toronto-based designer the top prize in the Mercedes-Benz Start Up contest for emerging talents.
Bustle blended fashionable elements and style influences from rugged athletic apparel and a famed sun-soaked hotspot with its "An American in Mykonos" line which fused American rugby-inspired prints with seaside prints inspired by the Greek island.
SPORTY CHIC: Keep those running shoes at the ready: there's still a long road ahead for the enduring athleticwear trend as designers delivered their interpretation of sporty styles.
Melissa Nepton, Rudsak, Mackage and Bustle all featured their unique takes on sporty chic, and some of the collections during the week made ample use of mesh by fashioning shirts, shorts, jogging pants, cropped tops, tees and capris from the perforated fabric.
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