Dramatic looks from Canadian designer Paul Hardy’s Spring Summer 2017 collection.

Thumbs up to Yorkdale and CAFA (Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards) for coming to the fashion rescue this week after Toronto Fashion Week was abruptly cancelled this past July. Yorkdale put on the first ever FashionCAN to give media, buyers and fashion lovers the opportunity to see the upcoming Spring Summer 2017 collections from many of their favourite Canadian designers, including Calgary’s Paul Hardy and Toronto’s Lucian Matis. And like we’ve scene from many international runway shows recently, the invitation-only event was live streamed so those that didn’t get an invite could see the show live as it was happening. 

Taking a cue from major fashion brands like Tom Ford and Burberry, the event adhered to the increasingly popular see-now, buy-now concept, where clothes were made available for sale right after the runway show. Attendees of the event were able to visit a special pop-up store featuring designer pieces straight off the runway for sale. The shop was so well received, it sold over $25,000 worth in merchandise in the first two days. Now open to the public, the pop-up shop will be open until the end of December.

Presenting his first collection in Toronto since 2011, popular Calgary-based designer Paul Hardy (and my friend) received raves from his many fans (including buyers and media) in the audience. Known for his elaborate sources of inspiration, the latest collection was inspired by the Jewish legend, Lot’s Wife. Sticking to what Hardy does best, there was a strong focus on textures and layering. Impressive furs, shearlings and embroidered fabrics made up a cleaver grouping of pieces that will sell well with his loyal fans. My favourite look was the chiffon/charmeuse safari blouse paired with an incredible feather mermaid skirt that moved effortlessly down the runway – a wow moment. It was a pleasure to see the show in person and how Hardy sticks to his distinct aesthetic while always putting on a memorable show that’s as interesting as it is fashionable.

Paul Hardy Spring Summer 2017

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Shortly after Paul Hardy’s show, Toronto’s Lucian Matis presented a mostly colourful collection for Spring Summer 2017. Full of many feminine and glamourous looks that are sure to be popular with his clients and fans, these are clothes made for woman wanting to be noticed. I thought it was a fairly solid collection but I did think many of looks were too closely influenced to many designs we’ve scene from Dolce & Gabbana in the past , not to mention the accessories and styling. Whether it was the red lace or floral dresses or the black and white striped skirts or the China pattern material, the collection felt too familiar to the iconic Italian fashion house to feel as fresh as we’ve scene from previous Matis collections.

Lucia Matis Spring Summer 2017 Collection

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Even without a formal (no pun intended) fashion week, Toronto fashion is still going strong and clearly has an exciting future. Thanks for having me, FashionCAN.

All Paul Hardy photos courtesy of Phil Crozier. Photos of Lucian Matis are my own. And you can clearly see the difference between a talented professional photographer and me. Thanks for reading!

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