Festivities got underway beneath the towering tents of David Pecaut Square on Monday with designers showcasing their visions of warmer weather style with a series of ultra-feminine creations.
The trio of labels which presented collections were recognized away from the runway earlier in the day, as each netted nominations for the inaugural Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards slated to take place early next year.
David Dixon was recognized in the outstanding achievement category, while Kimberley Newport-Mimran was nominated for designer of the year honours in womenswear for her label, Pink Tartan. Chloe and Parris Gordon of Beaufille were recognized in the emerging talent category.
David Dixon: A yearning for simplicity inspired by a children's tale was the driving force behind the collection of coats, suits and elegant eveningwear unveiled by the womenswear designer.
In his liner notes, Dixon cited a psalm featured in the book "On the Night You Were Born" by Nancy Tillman as a source of inspiration as he mused about recapturing the wonder of childhood. While lines of printed script emblazoned on sweeping dresses within the spring collection offered a direct link to the literary theme, Dixon opted for a more thematic approach to demonstrate the simplicity of the younger years.
Featuring garments exclusively in black and white, Dixon's signature use of intricate embellishments transformed the classic, ladylike garments into luxurious pieces of movable art on the runway. Dixon made ample use of teaming lush materials, like layering a lace skirt atop silk organza, and contrasting sheer panelling on slick, tailored jackets and pants. Fluttering, laser cut petals, feathered trim, hand-beaded lace and leather squares dotted with sequins were among the lavish adornments which added rich texture and visual detail to the sleek tanks, skirts, sheaths and dress bodices within the line.
Pink Tartan: The affinity towards retro-inspired looks remains ever present for Pink Tartan, as the womenswear label channelled influence from the 1960s as well as modern art in its spring-summer collection.
Designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran said she drew inspiration from pop art for her new line, from hints of prints featured in textured jacquard to dotted and graphic patterns, in a collection which played with the use of optic prints.
Largely bathed in black and white with infusions of navy, the crisp collection of separates featured mostly monochromatic looks with flared skirts and sheath dresses, fitted jackets, cardigans, blazers teamed with knee-length shorts and capris. But what distinguished the classic pieces were the punctuations of striking prints, such as checkerboard patterns, stripes, blocks, oversized florals diamond shapes which accented the creations. Pretty, perforated prints on skirts and delicate, peek-a-boo patterned cutouts on sleeves also added a bold, graphic element to the luxe garments.
Highlighter hues added a vibrant infusion of colour with hits of hot pink and neon green graphic floral prints adorning dresses, to eye-popping pairings of sheer blouses with elbow patches and knee-length shorts in blindingly bright yellow hues.
The spring-summer line was rife with the demure, ladylike staples that have become signature staples of the Pink Tartan brand, which encompassed ultra-feminine pleated shirtdresses and tiered dresses. Newport-Mimran lowered hemlines for the warmer months, opting for skirts and dresses skimming below the knee, and a pair of shirtdresses with hems sweeping the floor.
Newport-Mimran said she always designs with a "vision and a perspective of who my girl is" with each new line. She selected the late Edie Sedgwick — muse of famed American artist Andy Warhol — as a source of inspiration, which included mirroring the makeup look personified by the socialite and actress-model, who favoured ultra-dark brows which starkly contrasted her platinum blond crop.
"She was a beautiful girl and she had such a short life, and she was kind of a bright star for a moment," she said of Sedgwick in a recent interview. "I loved the idea of an It Girl from New York, but done modern day."
Beaufille: They may have changed their label name, but Chloe and Parris Gordon stayed true to their style esthetic as their rebranded line, Beaufille, kicked off runway presentations under the tents on Monday.
The sibling design duo behind the womenswear and accessory brand formerly known as Chloe comme Parris fused femininity with an edgy, rock 'n' roll vibe in their newest line of cohesive looks. Steeped in white, navy, teal, grey and muted coral hues, the collection featured a mix of monochromatic pieces contrasted with shimmering metallics and pretty, faded geometric prints.
As a guitarist and drummer played mid-tempo rock instrumentals at the entry to the runway, models sporting wet, slicked back 'dos walked out in a succession of relatively spare separates which encompassed loose camisole-style tanks, long-sleeved tops and wrap-front skirts, many of which were boldy accented with hardware — a signature element of the label. Snaps adorned the hems of jackets and acted as decorative fasteners stitching together slivers of skin-baring cutouts on dresses and pants.
Amid the range of flowing garments, there were a fair share of even more revealing pieces on display, with plunging halter necklines on dresses and body-hugging, one-shoulder mini featured.
Fashion Week continues until Friday.