Godfrey Mensah and Meagan Jett returned to the TOM* runway for the second time, bringing with them their conspicuous upcycled style serving. Duo-tone t-shirts sat beside patchwork demin and mesh layers. Keniya -X have quickly built their apporach of customising street wear and creating a ´new lease of life´ for second-hand clothes. The philosophies of anti-fast fashion and sustainability are concurrent selling points for the brand. Mismatched fabrics, exaggerated trousers and a lot of denim put me in a 90´s grunge utopia for several moments,
FINEZZA- AU NOM DE L´HOMME
A personal favourite of mine was this label. Montreal based Ivan Lehec made his debut at TOM* with an international quality serving of his vision for spring/summer 2016. With made to measure suits and finely tailored pieces, Ivan indended to fully represent the essence and identity of the Finezza man (who clearly has a lot to live up to as his tailoring was utterly exquisite). Flashes of colour, a hint of Dandy, a smudge of Victoriana and some natuical but nice patterns. For me, this was a very English offering ( perphaps a Transatlantic nod the ´Auld Alliance of the United Kingdom and France?) This was a collection born to be worn by a bon viveur.
The final runway walk was led by Paul Mason, leading an army of masked moustached models (Think V for Vendetta) towards his grateful public. I was later told that the mask was intended to be a play on the brand identity of Finezza. Keeping the values robust and traditional, Ivan then took centre stage with his wife and children in appreciation for our attention, which was not at all a challenge for me.
After several successful seasons with TOM*, Alan Ta reutrned to the runway with a bag of dark, light and pastel tones. Androgynous models with flowing, flower crowned hair floated down the runway in an attempt to show us the ´sofer side´ of the male. A gothic influence ran beside this as a juxtaposition to any safety net this this aesthetic may have presented us with. A renaissance winged backdrop and blood red eye make up gave it a slightly dark -romantic theme ( as did the bowls of rose petals carried as offerings by the models.) I particuarly liked the all-in-one short suit and the symmetrical black tops.
Canadian designer Christopher is currently enjoying something of an international success in Milan. His second Italian made collection offered visions of muted transient colours of the mediterranean evenings (purples and olives met greys and whites) in an offering of summer knitwear, causal wear, formal attire and a rather nice sleek sporty jacket. As a collection it was all there. In fact, many elements here could be translated into a modern man´s capsule wardrobe. This was a collection for a European inspired man who does not take too many risks in fashion.
TOM* came to an organic close with its second annual Emerging Menswear Designer Award (EMDA). Launched in 2014 in association with the Toronto Fashion Incubator, it aims to give an opportunity to Canadian based menswear designers (operating under two years) to be considered for the title (which includes a $10,000 cash prize, professional lookbook, feature spread in TOM* magazine and professional mentoring services over the year.)
This years finalists, Thomas Henry Made, Nowhere, Common Grounds, Ante Meridiem and 3 Paradis battled it out for the coveted award on the runway. All elements of the male aesthetic were thoughfully considered within these emerging brands. From bespoke suits to utilitarian chic (and a lot more androgyny) many talents and notions were succinctly presented to the judging board.
After deliberation and discussion, 3.Paradis emerged as the winning designer to the delight of the panel and public. After such an award there is no doubt that we are going to be seeing a lot more of this brand in the future, as they and Toronto Mens Fashion Week continue to go from strength to strength.