TORONTO — Organizers of Toronto’s LG Fashion Week have traded in their bricks-and-mortar home by the lake for makeshift tents in the heart of the city.
After setting up shop for several seasons at Heritage Court on the grounds of the historic Canadian National Exhibition, the semi-annual event is returning to its geographical roots in the downtown core.
LG Fashion Week will kick off Monday at David Pecaut Square, steps from the theatre district, Roy Thomson Hall and the TIFF Bell Lightbox where movies were screened during last month’s film fest.
“As fabulous as the event has become, being behind the Princes’ Gates at the CNE was not enough for the city to know our designers were working hard showing their collections,” said Robin Kay, president of the Fashion Design Council of Canada, which organizes LG Fashion Week.
“It’s very, very important for there to be a much larger collective consciousness around our fashion industry.”
Marking its 25th season, organizers are hoping the event’s theme — “Canada Cool” — won’t just be reflected under the runway lights but among those sitting in the shadows.
“Kay said there’s an outreach program to buyers in every province. Those who do attend are afforded a unique opportunity to buy small collections of Canadian-style clothing they won’t see in other stores, she noted.
Luxury retailer Holt Renfrew will open the week with a showcase of Canadian fashion talent including the likes of Lida Baday, Jeremy Laing and design duo Smythe.
Toronto-based designer Arthur Mendonca will be returning to the Fashion Week catwalk on opening night for the first time since relaunching his business, which had closed up shop in 2008.
“It’s always great energy: the makeup and hair and the models and seeing everything come together, the whole look of the collection,” he said in a recent interview. “For me, because I have my board up on the wall with all my sketches, it’s kind of like they come to life.”
In addition to a sizable contingent from Toronto, the homegrown presence will be significant throughout the week, and include designers and labels based in Calgary (Lauren Bagliore), Edmonton (Sid Neigum) and Montreal (Micalla, Melissa Nepton, Caroline Neron and Marie Saint Pierre).
There will also be representation from beyond Canada’s borders, with New York-based Cynthia Rowley and Germany’s Lala Berlin slated to hit the runway, and journalists and media expected from Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo and Germany.
With spring-summer collections on display, an extensive mix of designs will colour the runway ranging from swimwear styles by Tosca Delfino to luxe looks from Joeffer Caoc and affordable apparel offerings from Attitude Jay Manuel and Joe Fresh. Fashion Week mainstays Bustle, David Dixon, Denis Gagnon, LOVAS and Pink Tartan are also slated to show their creations for the warmer months.
But amid a sea of familiar faces, efforts are afoot to help bolster emerging homegrown talents.
Mercedes-Benz Start Up will crown its inaugural winner on Tuesday.
The program is focused on providing a national platform to design up-and-comers who have been in business for less than five years.
Martin Lim and UNTTLD were selected from the Montreal semi-finals, while Cassie Dee and denim company Triarchy were chosen in the Vancouver semis. Montreal-based designer Travis Taddeo earned the fifth “wild card” spot.
LG Fashion Week runs from Oct. 17-21.
Online: LG Fashion Week: www.lgfashionweek.ca