The best of [FAT]: We recap Toronto’s Arts & Fashion Week with the 5 top talents
Arts & Fashion Week Toronto, otherwise known as [FAT], is now in its ninth year and continues to has a reputation as the city’s best contemporary fashion and design showcase, as well as being an unofficial cool kid hangout. Known for its innovative fashion shows, live performances—this year had some seriously talented modern dancers—films and wicked art installations, each year the weeklong extravaganza focuses on exploring our modern relationship to fashion and clothing. This year’s theme of Infashion/Unfashion was spread out over five nights, each taking on a different pair of contrasting ideas (masculine/feminine and grit/glamour being just two of them). Designers in turn interpreted the night’s theme within their collections and the results range from totally wearable to beyond provocative. Read on to see some of the top looks from [FAT] 2014 and our favourite designers from the week.
This show wasn’t for the faint of heart. Playing with the idea of a sultry villain in her armour, the show was chock-a-block full of mind-bending dripped silicone creations that lived up to the label’s name. To call Candy Drip creator Genavieve White simply a designer would be a disservice: She effortlessly sculpted and moulded silicone, wispy fabrics and feathers to create some otherworldly get-ups. If the costume designer of the newest Batman flick needs some help with Catwoman’s outfits, we think White can help.
This being her third showing at [FAT], Artifice designer Emily Rishea knew she had to bring her A-game. Enter the addition of Posh Fairytale Couture headdresses. All the way from Germany, the whimsical and absolutely stunning handmade headpieces drew more than a few murmurs from the crowd and perfectly complemented the severe lines of the collection’s body moulding pieces. Outfitting models of all shapes—and of both sexes—in dramatic PVC, leather and fur creations with fine vintage tailoring and construction, this Toronto-based designer would have surely found kindred spirits in Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen alike.
Showing on the first night under the umbrella theme of Earth/Industry, we kind of expected some hippy dippy clothing in earthy greens while patchouli fragrances wafted through the air. Eolith, a joint effort from Katarzyna Agnieszka and Wesley Burness, interpreted the environment in forms and textiles that steered clear of any clichés. Set to the throbbing beat of atmospheric music, the sharply tailored and well-executed pieces were organic in form, letting various textures provide all the shine. Soft layers and folds in the fabrics were nicely peppered with the occasional bold metallic zipper or sharp shoulder. The stand out look was a sheer, ombré dress with gold threading that made us think of a country sky at dusk.
Adam X Atelier
Working for the likes of Alexander McQueen and Temperley London is sure to have an impact on any young designer’s craft. For designer Adam X, the lasting effect was clearly evident in his masterful draping and gathering. Citing inspiration from social butterfly and clotheshorse Daphne Guinness and gender-bending Italian aristocrat Marchesa Luisa Casati, the collection had a definite flair for the theatrical. His talent shone in his last few looks, which included flowing, red carpet-worthy gowns with careful detailing, subtle sparkle and glamorous silhouettes.
The hair and makeup alone for this collection earned some serious brownie points among [FAT] showgoers—the fingers curls were bananas, to paraphrase a certain celebrity stylist. Going with a theme of “Beautiful and Damned” for the Grit/Glamour evening of the week, Asphyxia’s 1920s-inspired collection opened with an up-tempo remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Young & Beautiful.” Designer Alexandra De Francesco’s feminine pieces were anything but timid or safe: The insanely intricate detailing, along with a finale to remember (it may or may not have included a total disrobing of a model) made this show one of the night’s best. A seamless marriage of old school femininity and modern sass culminated in some fierce looks. We know where to look for an outfit for our next Great Gatsby-themed party.