TORONTO - From catwalk creations crafted from carpets to glittering floor-length gowns, an eclectic array of Canadian style coloured the runway to mark the launch of Toronto Fashion Week.
The semi-annual fashion showcase kicked off festivities under the tents at David Pecaut Square on Monday night with a new title sponsor and revamped name on the marquee, now known as World MasterCard Fashion Week.
"We are innovators," Fashion Design Council of Canada president Robin Kay said in her opening remarks to the assembled audience of stylewatchers.
Kay added that the week would show that homegrown designers are "fearless and confident" as they take to the Canadian catwalk. Stylewatchers didn't have to wait long to see her pronouncement become reality, kicking off with the eccentric and whimsical offerings from Korhani Home which unfurled on the runway.
The Canadian home decor brand brought a couturier's touch to their presentation of designs fashioned entirely of rugs, channelling such disparate influences as the Far East, Victorian era-luxe and punk rock chic.
From flowing capes to flared dresses, studded trenches, hooded capes and collared minis, boldly-patterned shag, silk, nylon and tapestry rugs featuring everything from florals to houndstooth dotted the elaborate creations. Adding to the offbeat nature of the runway presentation was the striking juxtaposition of models sporting colourful streaked coifs cradling piglets as they strutted on the runway.
A taste of the theatrical also coloured the opening of Holt Renfrew, as a solo male tap dancer shuffled and strutted the length of the runway.
The luxury retailer delivered its usual mix of homegrown talents highlighting the diversity of the Canadian design community, including Denis Merotto and Line Knitwear.
Toronto-based label Smythe featured its range of tailored outerwear with slim-fit blazers and sleek overcoats awash in basic black along with rich red hues. The Toronto-based design label is showcasing its philanthropic side with a striped creation featured in the presentation. Dubbed "The Warbler Tribute Blazer" — a nod to a singing group on the hit show "Glee" — a portion of the proceeds from the jacket will go to anti-bullying organizations in North America.
Lida Baday delivered her classic mix of staples with dual-tone dresses, peplum jackets and sleek pencil skirts. Both Judith and Charles and Mackage adorned slick outerwear with fur embellishments from tufts of fabric dotting coat fronts to shearling collared bombers and voluminous parkas.
A capsule of Twenty Cluny's creations featured body-hugging dresses, including shimmering and matte sequinned numbers and a more demure pinstripe creation with lace sleeves. Boldly patterned jackets and textured capes were among the offerings from Jeremy Laing.
Pavoni, co-founded by Montrealers Gianni Falcone and Mike Derderian, brought a taste of the label's red carpet-worthy creations to the runway in their Fashion Week debut. Designs from the luxury fashion house have been worn by stars like Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert.
Their ornate creations of satin and chiffon were awash in extravagant embellishments, with gleaming crystals and shimmering beading interwoven within virtually every design, from subtle splashes on sleeves to cascading down bodices. Fanciful rosettes adorned hemlines and encircled the sweeping skirts that rippled down the runway.
Lucian Matis showcased his signature collection at an off-site presentation, but will be under the Fashion Week tents on Tuesday to unveil designs from his Matis line.
Fashion Week runs until Friday.