If I had to name a few of my favourite Toronto labels, Tania Martins and Mona Koochek’s Markoo Studios would definitely be one of them. I first fell for the brand when a colleague tipped me off on their leather-centric AW13 collection, in particular, a black calfskin sweatshirt. Back then I was just starting to grow tired of wearing bright colours, and the collection’s colour palette of black, grey, olive, and oxblood really spoke to me. I loved the classic silhouettes and almost gender-neutral cuts of the clothes, as well as the unexpected detailing on some of the pieces. A dress shirt with a pleated panel. A heather grey sweatshirt with intricate braiding on the sleeves. Leather trousers that fit like jogging pants (before everyone else started doing it).
Indeed, what made Markoo so memorable to me was the subtlety with which it interpreted trends, and how current the trends were. It’s true. Canucks, for the most part, can be a bit slow when it comes to thinking ahead and dressing for the part. Forget starting trends—Canadians have a hard enough time catching on to what the rest of the world is wearing. For example, sneakers, like the Adidas Stan Smiths and the Nike Free Runs, have been a major trend for a few seasons now. But at Toronto fashion week, I was pretty shocked by how few sneakers and how many platform pumps I saw.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with marching to the beat of our own drum (however uncomfortable that march may be). But based on my own fashion proclivities, I’m thankful there are designers in this city who are as inspired by Céline and Margiela and Acne as I am, and who love black, white and denim, mesh detailing, slouchy leather, and dressing like a boy as much as I do.
Just last week, Markoo presented its Spring Summer 2015 collection, and I was delighted to receive the accompanying lookbook in my inbox. Much like my first encounter with the brand one year ago, the collection features plenty of neutrals and monochrome, leather and denim, and relaxed sportswear that looks cozy and elegant. I like that the Markoo woman is feminine but very low-key about it. She’s the type of woman to be dressed in a heavy, floor-length denim smock and still be the most alluring woman in the room, thanks to a pair of conveniently placed shoulder cut-outs. This collection is sexy but, much like past seasons, never overtly so. Instead we get whispers and suggestions of it, in the flashes of skin peeking through strips of mesh, and in the glimpses of tanned shoulders made bare by well-cut tanks and off-the-shoulder dresses. It just so happens that I have a “thing” for women’s shoulders. Don’t ask me why, but I think it’s the most beautiful part of a woman’s body. So thanks Tania and Mona for appealing to this no-longer-secret fetish of mine. I’ll start saving my money now so I can cop a few pieces in six months’ time.
Click for the complete lookbook and where to buy after the jump!