ultimate platinum redux
My fellow fashion bloggers were there to observe and dish to the digital set – Sonja and Rachel from torontostreetfashion.com were taking pictures of all the people in their pretty Canadian designer dresses. Anita from I want – I got and I amused eachother with runway play-by-play. Carolyn was there too but she was working – co-ordinating the volunteers with military precision. The event was well organized – of course.
There were a lot of Canadian media and celebrities, many were modeling gunmetal/platinum coloured creations by Canadian designers. My favourite dress was by Katya Revenko, worn by Fefe Dobson. Seeing Fefe strut down the runway made me a fan of hers though I’m not that familiar with her music. I just like how she’s got a cocky attitude and a room-filling personality. Go Fefe!
The main event was the New Labels Competition, with four competitors showing capsule collections, competing for a $25000 award from Elle Canada.
There really isn’t enough cockiness in Canadian fashion to make for a thrilling runway show. Though a lot of the clothing would look fabulous in a showroom or a boutique, the designs were for the most part too subtle to create drama on the runway.
I was surprised to discover that the judging was done onsite based on the runway show, and I think the format skewed the judging.
Edit: I have been corrected of my assumption. The judges actually participated throughout the design process which makes the rest of this post redundant.
Three of the four collections chose a limited palette of neutrals or neutral with a single punch colour. This is a wise choice for an initial collection to my mind. Limiting the fabrics and colours make logistical things like meeting fabric minimums and replacing fabrics that become unavailable much easier – important for the designer to make delivery and stay in business.
The exception last night was Quelques Filles by Sarah Nicol and Kelly Dowdall. Choosing the theme “a victorian love tragedy” they went over the top with lace, mixed velvets, and jewel-tone colours. Poofy velvet tops over shiny brocade skirts is not my cup of tea but what do I know. It was entertaining.
I was ready to place my bet at the end of the show. Ozen by Pheobe Gao and Enfys Zhou was without a doubt the strongest collection in my opinion. The theme “haunted melody” evoked a well-dressed symphony orchestra. The layering was proportionally exciting, the story was tight, and the garments were well executed. The designs were strong and inventive but also subtle and wearable. Out of all the collections Ozen was the desireable one – justifying a designer pricepoint.
As you can probably guess Ozen didn’t get the award. Quelques Filles won the night. It almost seems like they were chosen because out of the four collections shown, they were the most different and therefore more obviously memorable. Which might tell me something about positioning an entry in a competition. But perhaps it really is just a matter of taste.
Judging isn’t an easy job, and I admire all of the judges who had to make a difficult choice between four promising entries. I’m sure consensus did not come easily.
Especially considering the time pressure and only having the basis of a brief runway show to judge the best designer. I often talk about how runway shows don’t serve new designers well. Ozen being overlooked demonstrates how the fashion show medium can obscure the qualities of good, if quiet, design.
Overall it was a great night and I had an excellent time. Thank you to everyone at the Toronto Fashion Incubator!