As a tried and true member of The Pack, I love nothing more than showing love to emerging designers. Even better if they’re home-grown. And so it was with great joy to embark on day 1 of World Mastercard Fashion Week, seeing everything that this city had to offer in terms of fresh talent and innovative design.
Appropriately enough, my first show of the week was the Mercedes Benz Start-up show. Half runway show, half design competition (kind of like our very own Project Runway!), the program provides a national platform to discover and support emerging Canadian fashion designers. Winners gain access to to fashion business experts that help build their business through mentorship, a fully produced runway show during Toronto Fashion Week next March, an editorial spread in Fashion magazine, well as a $30,000 bursary to give them that extra financial push. This year’s entries include Alberta-born Sid Neigum, whose designs can be seen in the above photos, Eliza Faulkner, BLAK.I, Vaiken, Laura Siegel, and Toronto Fashion Week mainstay Beaufille
Sid Neigum’s intricate origami textures and avant garde silhouettes earned him the top prize at this year’s competition. Having watched him grow for the past few seasons, I was happy with the panel’s decision. Although I was a much bigger fan of his previous collection, there’s no denying the beauty of the painstakingly woven pieces seen above. What makes Neigum especially deserving of the award is his refreshingly anti-trend and sculptural take on ready-to-wear. Beaufille was another label that impressed me with its SS15 runway looks, and you can see more of them, as well as a few other collections after the jump.
Beaufille‘s collection featured lots of white, oxblood leather, lattice weaving, mesh lines, peak-a-boo details, and black and white lava prints. I loved the minimalist gold earrings the models wore, shaped like a fan. All in all, I felt this was an improvement from last season.
Eliza Faulkner‘s collection had a lot of light denim (and some patchwork!), which is always fresh for the warmer seasons. I liked the casual sportiness of the Converse shoes, messy ponytail, and canvas backpacks. I hated the bronze earrings. They seemed like a mismatch for the rest of the collection.The Laura Siegel woman is really into boho and probably lives in Southern California. This isn’t what I gravitate towards usually but I was surprised to find myself pretty sweet on the garments. I especially adored an all-black off-the-shoulder dress worn with a black leather jacket tied around the waist. The entire collection showed a lot of smart layering, which is a hard thing to pull off for summer and still look so damn breezy. I obsessed over the silver accessories, in particular the wide choker and a delicate double arm cuff.Aside from the origami garments, I wasn’t a big fan of the all white looks at Sid Neigum. I know, shocker. The key to a successful all white look, without looking like an extra in a Ma$e and Puff Daddy music video, is all about the silhouettes and proportions. Especially coming from Sid Neigum, whose strong point is the shapes of his looks, I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by the white body-con dress and a long drapey topper. The construction was impeccable, of course, but design-wise it felt a little safe. Playing it safe at this point in his career, however, might be the best business decision. God knows most women aren’t drawn to dramatic shapes, and find high fashion unapproachable, at times straight up baffling. Pretty = $$$. And it’s good to know that even when he’s making garments that are a bit more conventional, Sid constructs them perfectly.
Congratulations to Sid Neigum!