Adrian Wu ushered in the final day of Fashion Week. The 21-year-old designer —who has produced, oh, seven collections in two years — staged his collection in the smaller studio space. As a string quartet began playing, a spindly-legged male model — with his feet encased in shoes of absurd heights — emerged in a beige lace dress.
The rest of the challenging collection consisted entirely of dresses, many with gigantic protuberances emerging from them, given names such as “blue balls” and “the first period,” the latter of which reminded us of the final scene of Black Swan.
We’re not sure if Wu takes himself incredibly seriously or if he’s yanking our communal leg; no one seemed to know quite what to make of it. However, what it refused to do was bore, which is always a good thing.
Next came Anu Raina, a fun and lighthearted collection, filled to the brim with prints. We enjoyed most of the colourful prints — ranging from ones resembling bold swirls of paint to far more muted ones — but felt that many of the garment styles themselves needed improvement. Imperfections were noted in small details (such as button spacing), and we thought that some of the cuts looked a bit juvenile; we did, however, love a crop-sleeved blazer with a painterly poppy print. It’ll be the perfect piece in which to welcome spring.
The jewellery line Micalla, designed by Camilla Jørgensen, was inspired by the decadence of cats. This show opened with a short film starring the indulgent (and apparently jewel-loving) creatures. As the necklaces were paraded out, they somehow managed to become increasingly opulent, with endless sparkling options calling out towards the girl (or guy) who refuses to be a wallflower. Each creation was highly fanciful, with standout pieces including a unique mesh panel necklace that was suspended across the chest, and a bib necklace whipped up out of ruby and fuchsia crystals.
Baby Steinberg followed with a collection titled “Remnants,” referring to the salvaged materials she used to create the garments. While we think her work is honourable, we wonder about the remnants of handout material left on the seats, much of which likely went immediately into the trash. Regarding the show itself, there were a few pieces that had potential (a cropped sweater with shaggy shoulders; a chunky knit sweater dress), but overall we feel that the designer is producing work that, well, needs some work. If Steinberg removed the unnecessary trimmings (feathers stuck into the shoulders of said sweater dress) and got rid of the highly questionable pieces (one look reminded us of Eve, as in the Garden of Eden) something truly unique could be attained.
The goths — and a girl wearing an outrageous ball gown from a past collection — stepped out for Cydelic by Choryin. With the collection dubbed “Aliens,” it opened with a short film starring model Renee Thompson, who writhed around in various dresses. Consisting mainly of pieces in white paired with an alien-ish leopard print, what really nabbed everyone’s attention were the bags; each had horn handles and was of similar shape, with one drawing comparison to a forest floor (complete with moss), and another resembling a shark (complete with teeth). Our favourite look was a white mini dress with jutting hips, though the flowing leopard-print gowns would be far easier to pull off.
Lauren Bagliore — who has worked with big names like Vivienne Westwood, Zac Posen and Paul Hardy — was inspired by the streets of Florence, Paris and Bangkok, and the beauty she discovered in each city. Bagliore’s collection featured a black and white palette with many of the pieces reappearing in different renditions throughout the show. We loved a tie-dyed draped dress cut on the bias, a charcoal wrap vest, and a draped dress in black and white that was quite the shape shifter, and would be perfect for travel.
The first big draw of the night was David Dixon, who brought out society names like his good friend Suzanne Rogers as well as Jenna Bitove. Opening with Naro Lokuruka in a canary yellow floor length gown, the show continued with a parade of lady-like looks in a mostly black and white palette, with the occasional pop of yellow. We felt that the supposed rock ’n’ roll jewelry — which incorporated chains — failed to make much of a statement, and were perplexed by Dixon’s bow, in which he was accompanied by a model whose dress was completely undone at the back.
Denis Gagnon closed the week, much to our delight. Bringing out Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine, Suzanne Boyd, Tony Pham, Wesley Badanjak of Lovas, and Jeanne Beker in striped Gagnon, the atmosphere was celebratory, with people cheering as the lights dimmed. Starting off with a rather long “short film,” we saw the following: a girl floating in water, multiple close-ups of Gagnon’s bespectacled eyes, bubbling champagne (clearly a sponsor) and girls looking intense in the woods. At one point we heard someone fall off their seat; we presume they nodded off.
Finally, the show began, with models dancing lightheartedly down the runway, carefree grins spread across their faces. While it could have come across as absurd, the take was actually quite refreshing, and it was lovely seeing some personality coming from the models.
The clothes themselves were all fantastic; a mix of black and white, masculine and feminine, with floral pants and blazers being instantly covetable, and small details (such as a delicate beading, or studs on the cuffs of blazers) making each piece special. We loved that the model’s cheery grins and fresh makeup changed the interpretation of the black leather garments, giving them an air of insouciance rather than a harder edge which could have easily been read into, say, a cone bralette. A smooch between a “bride” and “groom” ended the show, with Gagnon skipping down the runway after them, putting a beautiful end to a long week.