TORONTO - Rebels and romantics rocked the runway on Day 2 of Toronto's LG Fashion Week as a wide-ranging spectrum of designs featured Tuesday served up samplings of gritty urban gear, ethereal evening wear and boldly coloured cocktail creations.
Inspirations for the spring/summer 2010 collections were as disparate as the designs, spanning from the French Revolution, classic Hollywood films, iconic leading ladies and - a little closer to home - the great outdoors.
As select models sprawled out on lounge chairs and thumbed through magazines, others strutted down the catwalk to showcase the Canadian Shield collection, inspired by Ontario cottage country. The designs were awash in bright hues and patterns, primarily pinstripes and plaids, with such rich pairings of crimson and violet hues as well as a melding of rich greens, yellows and blues.
Designs offered casual wear with classic suiting, doling out heaping helpings of more laid-back fare including zip front hoodies, light knitwear cardigans and pullovers, shorts and swim trunks with the label's signature jacket and pant pairings.
Jackets and slim-cut pants were in warmer hues than more brightly colourful separates, with creamy taupes, pinstripe khaki and faded blues featured alongside more traditional dark suiting.
And true to form, Bustle embraced its latest inspiration in literal form with a signature print, using a woodland-inspired graphic complete with cardinals perched on trees emblazoned on knitwear and trunks.
Rick Mercer brought some added star power to the runway, walking the catwalk with mic in tow, donning an all-white shirt and pant combo topped off with a blue-and-white blazer with white lapel trim.
The comedian made a return trip down the runway with model Stacy McKenzie, who had stylewatchers in stitches as she playfully pushed a trolley cart and served Caesars to the audience.
Mercer had been at Fashion Week for most of Tuesday hobnobbing with camera crew in tow, likely filming an upcoming segment for CBC's "Rick Mercer Report."
Andy The-Anh: Stylewatchers used to soaking in a full-scaled runway show from the Montreal designer were treated to a smaller showcase than usual. But the abbreviated presentation offered a rich -albeit brief - glimpse of his signature crisp suiting and elegant eveningwear.
A select group of models stood and sat posed in lush, satin cocktail numbers and gowns in silver and taupe hues, before a brief mini-runway showing of looks dominated by a shock of blue, from the more demure turquoise to more fiery, electric hues.
Exposed zippers on crisp, collared jackets and shift dresses and plunging V-necklines of body-hugging dresses added hints of edge that contrasted well with the softness of other pieces employing draping and ruffle detailing.
Asymmetrical looks took on a bit of a twist - literally - notably an ethereal one-shoulder creation with two interlocking straps.
The-Anh chose to scale back his presentation by opting to showcase his creations in the showroom rather than on the main runway.
The decision was driven by dollars and how they've decided to allocate them in an effort to expand his business.
The-Anh, who presented in similar fashion last week at Montreal Fashion Week, said they've recently hired a full-time staffer in the U.S. and opened a showroom in New York, and are looking to export to Europe and the Middle East all in an effort to grow the brand.
"It's a difficult time for everybody. I have to be honest," he said in a recent interview. "We decided to put our money to expand a little bit more our market."
David Dixon: The womenswear designer's signature collection was a study in Dixon's deft capability to strike the right balance of dreamy delicacy with accent details that lend edginess to the pieces.
"I just really wanted to explore more of an organic feel to the collection, but still mixing it in with my tailoring because I still like the sharp edges and things like that but sharpening it up a little bit," he said in an earlier interview.
Dixon played with shapes and pattern, featuring bubble silhouettes on lush trenches and dresses to dramatic cowl neck halter creations and more subtle accents from ruching on bodices to floral folds along hemlines and hand appliqued flowers of sheer fabrics.
Breezy, printed chiffon spaghetti strap tops and dresses and laser cut chiffon discs adorning a chartreuse shift dress and cobalt blue skirt were prime examples of pieces that evoked ethereal elegance, softness and sophistication.
Dixon didn't shy away from playing with more unconventional materials, including the use of aluminum strips rippling and cascading on a shimmering skirt and strapless dress.
The designer added subtle texture with hand beaded satin on dramatic, draped one-shoulder rippling along the hemlines and necklines of cascading creations.
He shifted gears for his Barbie collection which drew on another style icon and one of Dixon's self-proclaimed muses: Audrey Hepburn.
Dixon paid homage to her star turn in "Funny Face" with a collection borrowing elements of classic style with a modern twist.
The designer offered his own take on the body-hugging turtleneck donned by Hepburn during her iconic dance sequence in the 50s musical in his collection. But designs in the new line remained Barbie to the core, complete with a frothy blend of slick trenches, flirty flared dressed and shapely suit separates from blazers to Bermuda shorts largely staying within the hot pink, black and white colour realm.
Dixon made ample use of subtle pattern accents, such as peek-a-book polka prints under skirt linings, monochrome on suits, and cotton houndstooth.
Jason Meyers: A 1950s film served as modern-day muse for the "Project Runway Canada" finalist's latest collection inspired by the Katharine Hepburn film "Summertime."
Meyers brought his interpretation of the classics to his contemporary ready-to-wear collection, evoking innocence with fanciful ruffles and bow blouses, and delicate detailing with beaded straps and gathered hemlines adding a hint of whimsy.
He didn't shy away from amping the volume with exaggerated ruffled folds on vests and mini dresses, and oversized pocketing on elegant evening creations.
Vibrant coloured muccia taffeta creations in bold violet and green hues rippled down the catwalk. Meyers said he took a lot of pride in making a collection that would be marketable and appealing to a wide audience. "I wanted to make this very accessible, very wearable, very versatile and very affordable," he said in an interview, adding that prices for the collection range from $175 to around $700 for a gown.
"I wanted to make it basic enough so it had really cool design details, but really high fashion at the same time," he added.
Travis Taddeo: The Montreal-based designer brought his vision of rebellion to the runway with new designs fusing heavy sportswear influences with the French Revolution.
"Vive La Revolution" drew heavily on a French influence with the blue, white and red hues featured in the country flag.
But the Calgary native put his own signature on the collection with a range of provocative looks featuring blousy tops, barely there briefs and sky-high hemlines using soft jerseys and leather as models toted black baseball bats on the catwalk.
Loose-fitting tops and snug-fitting, body-contouring minidresses featured draped detailing, varying from T-straps to racerbacks.
Hints of what resembled mesh or small punched cutouts popped up frequently as accents on draped-sleeved tops or the stand-alone treatment on low-riding drawstring briefs. Denim got the roughed-up treatment with shredded holes in knees and colourful leather patch-squares on back pockets of cut-offs.
Body-hugging bustiers with defined cups and a bold red mini oozed with sex appeal. The asymmetrical cutout thong bodysuit featured in white and black that opened and closed the show was a certified jaw-dropper.
"It's basically inspired by thoughts of reform and pushing boundaries of Canadian fashion kind of change things up a bit," Taddeo said of the collection in a recent interview.
Day 2 also features collections from Vata Brasil and Lizares.
Fashion Week continues until Saturday.