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The Globe and Mail

Toronto Fashion Week: Ashtiani and Biddell shine on Day 2

The Globe's Deirdre Kelly delivers highlights from Day 2 of Toronto Fashion Week

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A past winner of the New Labels show for emerging designers, Toronto-based Golnaz Ashtiani is making a name for herself as a one-to-watch. Her luxe sportswear collection for spring 2013 draws inspiration from the early 1960s. “But I didn’t want the clothes to look old, rooted in the past,” explained the 28-year old designer following her standing-room only Studio show. “I added pastel colours and textured cotton, creating a peek-a-boo sense of style that to me sums of the simplistic chic of the 60s.” This pleated blouse with patent leather is paired with front-slit trousers in light pink.

Jenna Marie Wakani

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Embracing the geometric shapes of the early 1960s designers, Ashtiani here works with triangles in configuring a sleeveless shirt with oversized organza flaps.

Jenna Marie Wakani

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This silk organza coat has patent leather detailing in pink.

Jenna Marie Wakani

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This loose peplum-style top has a striped cotton detail while the front-seam trousers are made of a microfiber

Jenna Marie Wakani

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This grey and white organza sleeveless shirt is closed with a zipper in keeping with the collection’s overall 60’s modern retro aesthetic.

Jenna Marie Wakani

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For his much anticipated return to the Toronto runway after nearly a two year absence, 2008 Project Runway winner Evan Biddell did not disappoint. His spring2013 collection of sumptuous silk dresses and edgy leather jackets was jaw-droppingly gorgeous. This burnt-out moss green dress was originally designed as a gown. Biddell pinned it up in layers to make it less Wayne Clark and more his own. Paired with a lambskin leather jacket and a pair of Rita Tesolin earrings, the look is edgily feminine.

Jenna Marie Wakani

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This tiger printed jersey caftan with purple peacock feather detail was the knock-out opening number, which Biddell obviously loved himself, as it kept parading through the show, start to finish.

Jenna Marie Wakani

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This pop-art print closing number showed Biddell going back to his roots as a computer-generated print fashion artist. The cling-on silhouette highlighted the elongated elegance of the female form while paying tribute to some of Biddell’s favourite 20 th artists, among them Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

Jenna Marie Wakani

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As far as fashion shows go, this one was a nail-biter. Who would win the second Mercedes-Benz StartUp program offering the winner increased access to business experts (read: people with money) and retail opportunities? There’s no cash prize. But the benefits of the program co-produced by IMG Worldwide Inc., and the Fashion Design Council of Canada do pay dividends. Calgary's Lauren Bagliore combined flowing opaque silks with transparency in a black and white palette, underscoring the designer's inherent romantic sensibility.

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Vancouver's Pure Magnolia designer Patty Nayel showed bridal gowns and 1950s-inspired cocktail dresses that were pure bliss: Tulle, lace and rhinestone embellishments. Who can resist?

Jenna Marie Wakani

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Inspired by the glittering beaches of their native Prince Edward Island, Dreamboat Lucy designers Louanna and Hilary Murphy presented retro swimwear in sparkle material.

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Working with a muted palette of ivory and celestial grey, Edmonton's Nicole Campre presented a collection of elegant, feminine, proudly Made in Canada separates and dresses.

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Menswear designer Christopher Bates channelled Daniel Craig for this standout collection of tailored separates and re-imagined evening pieces. A designer to watch.

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Malorie Urbanovitch of Edmonton presented a strong collection of well-proportioned separates such as this cornflower blue crochet ensemble here.

Jenna Marie Wakani

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And the winner of the second edition of the Mercedes-Benz StartUp showcasing Canadian fashion design talent. Montreal-based DUY wowed the judges with his knitted jeans, made from strips of faded denim painstakingly knit together. "I can only make one such piece a week," said DUY of the $900 jeans. "It's like couture for denim."

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