FORGET PARKAS AND BOOTS, IT’S ALL ABOUT MINIS AND HEELS

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L’Oreal Fashion Week showcased Canada’s top designed as they unveiled their spring/ summer 2007 collections. Fashion scribe Truc Nguyen gives a round-up of the show’s best (and worst) looks from the spring catwalks.

Although L’Oréal Fashion Week still doesn’t have the star power or glitterati of Milan or Paris, most of the presentations were packed with national media, buyers, as well as assorted fashion students and aficionados.

The seating process was much more oganized than years past, and shows more or less ran on schedule without technical difficulty or theatrics.

The alumni collections from Arthur Mendonca, David Dixon and Joeffer Caoc were beautiful. Mendonca’s collection featured smart cotton shirt-dresses alongside slinky jersey gowns, and the colours ranged from crisp whites to understated neutrals. But there was nothing understated about the chic clothes, well-merchandised to wardrobe for work and play with just a hint of casual sexiness thrown in.

David Dixon dedicated his “Reunion” collection to his recently deceased mother Patricia, and his inspiration for Spring was the sepia-toned photographs of his parents. Designed for a more sophisticated clientele, the black, white and cream coloured collection featured luxurious eyelet and embroidered fabrics and his trademark razor-sharp tailoring.

Joeffer Caoc’s 1980s-inspired collection was more romantic, with layers of tulle, silk lamé and velvet coming together to form breezy dresses and tunics that will work for both day and eveningwear. Joeffer also showed easy jersey tops and tailored shorts for evening.

However, all collections and presentations were uniformly safe. No envelopes were pushed. Innovations were aesthetic and topical, rather than fundamental.

These gentlemen, all stars of the Canadian fashion scene, absorbed the School of Fashion’s emphasis on the importance of target markets, merchandise assortments, and functionality almost too well. The results made for boring showmanship but excellent, wearable collections.

Of course, it must be noted that unlike their American and European counterparts, most Canadian designers don’t have the financial backing, perfume businesses, clothing franchises or accessory collections to support risk-taking.

In Canada, there is less room for theatrics and buyers are out for beautiful and practical clothes, not a spectacular event featuring clothing that can’t sell.

The typical Canadian consumer of designer frocks is likely to be both fun and conservative.

I noted the benefits and drawbacks of our design program and the Canadian fashion system in general.

I realized that in Canada fashion shows are a part of the business of fashion, rather than the spectacle of it. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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