Before the big names light up David Pecaut Square at Toronto's World MasterCard Fashion Week later this week, it's time for the new names to shine. Day 2 was filled with strong showings from the country's most promising young up-starts, where labels from Toronto's sister act Chloe Comme Parris and Montreal duo Martin Lim, among others, commanded the runway with their fall 2012 collections
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Shrouded in a mostly black palette, Toronto’s Sid Neigum focused predomintely on men’s wear this season. Hard-edged leather, a Neigum favourite, stood against draped tops, skirts and dresses over slim trousers for a decidedly unisexy feel.
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Last season the designer played with print and showcased a lot more for the ladies, but this time it was the boys in draped knits that were the focus. The extensive women’s wear he showed last season was missed but hey, you can always swipe your guy’s sweater dress.
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While most of the collection’s black and leather seemed to tap into fellow Fashion Week presenter Rad Hourani’s androgynous feel, the soft sweaters stood out as viable layering pieces on their own. Simple and soft, they’d work across the board on men (and women) once taken out of the collection’s dark context.
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Later that afternoon, Toronto darlings Chloe and Parris Gordon proved that they’ve outgrown their ingenue label as they presented their line, Chloe Comme Parris, to an ever-growing crowd. Their signature feminine cuts and draping were flanked by furs, studs and sea-shell-meets-paisley prints.
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Mixing hard lines and soft movement, the collection featured embellished leather pieces and draped skirts for a decidedly wearable effect. Chloe, who designs the clothes, took a few notes from her sister Parris’ jewelry pieces by incorporating chains and hardware into the mix.
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Full trousers and jackets with great, interesting cuts made an appearance among the girly patterns. For such young designers (both girls are in their early 20s), they’ve really carved out a signature formula: Inventive tailoring plus a masterful play with textiles and prints equals a completely covetable collection.
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Martin Lim, the Montreal duo comprised of Danielle Martin and Pao Lim, were the first winners of the Mercedes-Benz start-up program last season. The theme of athletics meets pop art was cemented with a video before the show, and the idea, for the most part, worked within the collection.
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Unexpected shades of coral and lilac were a breath of fresh air among fall collections that had featured murky shades throughout the day, but the colour blocking that drove home the Mondrian inspiration felt overthought at times and took the focus off the stronger pieces.
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Long strips of silk and satin were used throughout, often to great effect on tunics and shifts that gave shape and sensual movement. But on the boxy tees and scarves, the effect was less than flattering.
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But when it was good, boy was it good. Beautiful and interesting drapes and tucks on dresses felt immediately fresh and served to truly showcase the duo’s skills. When the dresses, most notably in shocking pink or softer lilac backed in black, turned around, the effect was just breathtaking.