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Holt Renfrew's star-studded show kicks off Toronto Fashion Week

Despite the wall-to-wall crowds, the start of Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week is generally a slow burn, with things not getting properly fired up until at least day 2. However, the parade of the fall/winter 2012 collections - again held in the city's David Pecaut Square - started out with a bang, or rather, a tap. A jovial tap dancer kicked off Holt Renfrew's biannual showcase of some of its favourite homegrown labels, coaxing smiles out of even the front row's poker faces.

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Well known for its streamlined-yet-sexy jackets, Smythe showed a series of fall-perfect toppers paired with the most buzzed-about accessory of the night: cute cloches by Toronto’s Lilliput Hats that brought to mind cat ears.

Chris Young/CP

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As their models stomped out to the sounds of Feist’s ‘My Moon, My Man,’ Montreal’s Judith Richardson and Charles Le Pierrès offered up Euro chic in the form of cropped pants, fitted coats and sexy little dresses styled with pointy toed pumps.

Chris Young/CP

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Make friends with your tailor: Toronto’s Lida Baday also showed tailored jackets, hers paired with red lips, matching crimson nails and carefully cultivated bedhead curls.

Chris Young/CP

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Fur details cropped up throughout the show, as on this well-cut parka by Mackage, which marched down the runway over leggings - another key piece for fall - and standout feather-trimmed pumps.

Chris Young/CP

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Formerly a senior designer at Lida Baday, Toronto-based Dennis Merotto launched his eponymous label last spring. Artful draping on easy-to-wear pieces, like this teal sleeveless sweater dress, turned heads during the show.

Chris Young/CP

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More leggings trotted out paired with luxuriously oversized knits by Line, this time in shades of slate and charcoal.

Chris Young/CP

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While many of the featured designers focused on outwear, Twenty Cluny zeroed in on what should be under it. In a word? Sequins. The shiny, happy discs were out in full force atop second-skin dresses worthy of Hollywood’s brightest starlets.

Chris Young/CP

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Last but decidedly not least, Toronto wunderkind Jeremy Laing showed off his chops by way of ethereal layering pieces in coffee hues, which floated out to the strains of MSTRKRFT's ‘Heartbreaker.’ Indeed.

Chris Young/CP

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But Holt Renfrew’s wasn’t the only must-see show in town on fashion week's first official day. Late Monday afternoon, Lucian Matis drew a rain-soaked crowd to the tony Fairmont Royal York hotel, where the Romanian-born designer revealed his fall/winter 2012 collection to a ballroom full of invited guests.

Handout | Jenna Marie Wakani

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Black from start to finish – minus some rather notable jewel-toned statement nails – the Project Runway Canada alum's show offered a series of bold looks, many featuring strategic panels of peek-a-boo lace-meets-crochet detailing. Pieces for a woman who wants to be seen.

Handout | Jenna Marie Wakani

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The only other flashes of colour came in the form of feathers, which were scattered across the skirts of several dresses and attached to the show’s most head-scratching accessory: cheeky headbands with ears that seemed a puzzling fit with the more sombre clothes.

Handout | Jenna Marie Wakani

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Though some of the more revealing looks were tamed with skin-coloured lining (and some others enhanced with memorable silver pasties), one standout gown showed off a lovely greyish blue under layer as its oversized chiffon skirt grazed across the shoes of show goers.

Handout | Jenna Marie Wakani

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