I had heard many different things about the Toronto Alternative Arts & Fashion Week, but hearing things and knowing what to expect are two very different things. Upon first walking into the venue, it was quite impressive. Funky decorations, well-dressed guests, and art filled the area. The media pass registration made me quite reminiscent of Ottawa Fashion Week, only I was on the other side of the table. The girl looking for my name confusedly brushed through different charts and papers searching for my name. I was listed twice under 'Sincerely, Sabrina'.
Day 1's art was quite intriguing. Admittedly, I'm not the greatest art admirer. In fact, a lot of the art was difficult for me to understand. Some were controversial, misunderstood, and definitely open to interpretation. It makes me really appreciate the interviews I do because it gives me a clear window into the meaning behind the art. The theme of the first night was 'Fashion Narratives' where each collection was meant to tell a story.
The first set of |FAT| was kicked off by Montreal designers MARTIN LIM who gave the audience an effortless ready-to-wear collection. Their simplistic and minimalist approach was conveyed with soft corals and A-line hems. Paria Lambina continued this gentle trend with pretty tones of metallic glosses on vintage looking dresses. This feminine vintage look included peter pan collared dresses and functional skirts with pockets. Next up was Epoque who used a mainly neutral palette. Military-inspired outerwear was complemented with chunky boots and hunter-esque fur hats with antlers. DeMoyo livened up the conservative themes with fast beats and unique styles. One distinct feature of this collection was the use of headpieces that draped over the eyes.
Emily Woudenberg led the second set with her vintage-inspired collection. Reminiscent of her collection at Ottawa Fashion Week, the collection featured coral florals and royal and navy blues for an edgy feminine feel. Jessica Clayton also offered a feminine collection with flowing long skirts and cute A-line dresses. Most dresses used grey/silver with periwinkle undertones and accessories. All models donned straight hair, which gave a serious and polished impression. Lubica was the next designer. This eclectic collection used many current trends such as wide legged pants and bold stripes. This exotic collection used bright colours and geometric shapes for a lively feel. Pops of colour could even be found in the subtlest of details such as in an open-back dress that revealed a hot pink bra. Belinda Visag ended this set with a retro collection of extravagant headbands, beads, buttons, and feathers. The pieces used silky pink and yellow, then moved to bolder red, black, and white. A defining feature of this collection was the emphasis on shoulders. Shoulders came padded, puffed, and embellished. During this runway set, I also spotted a figure watching the show from a platform above. Little did I know that this was Drake (musician). I definitely would have tried to snap a shot since he was in direct view...if I wasn't so darn bad at recognizing faces!
The third set began with Zanete Auzina who used extravagant layers of frills, fur, wool, and velvet. There was a lovely complexity in the difficulty of distinguishing what piece started where within the outfit. Most of the pieces used a skin tone palette with neutral cremes and milky browns. Next up was Kateryna Agnuiszra who had a ballerina twirl down the runway. The rest of the models also showed impeccable posture with straight curtsies and fixed gazes. The somber cello and violin music set the tone for this collection that gave off the feeling of a modest funeral of the wealthy. With romantic gowns and gothic sheers and lace, black was beautiful. Joy Couture featured a fun gown collection with beautiful empire waists and flowing dresses. Another lovely feature was the jewel accents along the bodice for a truly elegant feel. These gowns were pretty without being too princess-like. Finally, there was Asphyxia. This gothic punk collection featured black sheers and leather with chunky platform boots. The models held rosary beads for an almost Satanic essence. Sheer materials and revealing corsets showed funky tattoos and piercings- quite uncharacteristic of most models. The real show stopper was the last model who not only strutted down the runway, but gave the audience quite a spectacle with her aerial fabric performance. She dangled and twirled in the air using a single curtained material. Undoubtedly, this was a great way to end off the first night.
After a night of film, art, music, and fashion, I still don't quite know what to expect in the coming days. That's the beauty of |FAT| though- it's an eclectic mix of creativity, innovation, and mesmerizing displays. Stay tuned for more coverage on the rest of the week, plus in-depth looks at the collections from designers featured in my '7 Days of Designers' and a few more!
Photos via |FAT|'s Flickr