Last night's show was a much more lively event—energy was high and the crowd seemed more diverse than Friday (although I felt bad for the make-up and hair artists who did demos on stage between designer showcases—those were some valiant attempts to keep the audience engaged. And I didn't know that you could "jam hair.")
First up, Katrina Tuttle, who for someone so young is so strong in her vision. Tuttle showed a small selection from her fall collection; the rest will debut (including a couple of gowns) in a couple of weeks.
Tuttle showed several flirty little dresses, skinny, sexy pants and wee bubble skirts (there they are again!), in dusky blues, deep grey and orange (my new favourite combo). She combines tweeds with shimmer, which gives daywear a fun little twist, like a superstar librarian. I love that Tuttle's clothes are an expression of her youthfulness, but aren't alienating to everyone over 18.
Next up was Veronica MacIsaac. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to think from the bio; her parents own a successful custom-kilt company in Cape Breton, and her work is marketed as being a combination of Celtic traditions and contemporary design. I just kept thinking about the Celtic Woman, and my '90s obsession with Ireland (Cranberries, anyone?). I'm still not sure about her pieces with the screenprinted Celtic knots on them—including a brilliant-blue evening gown with a subtle peek of a white knot along the hem—but MacIsaac's tartans are a great interpretation of tradition and pride, and she has a good sense of what is flattering on a woman's body.
Lisa Drader-Murphy, designer for Turbine, is the most experienced of any of the designers. Turbine's been around since 1997, and her cosmetics line (available at the new Bishop's Landing Boutique) just turned 10. Drader-Murphy also designs all her own jewellery and handbags too. Phew. Again, there was a mix of textures, with knee-grazing tulip skirts, and a series of velvet and ribbon wide belts that could dress up the old standby black dress that you can't afford to replace because we're in a recession, or whatever.
Finally, there was Deux FM. Designer/founder Anna Gilkerson should also start designing maternity clothes—I didn't get a chance to ask her if the short-shorts-jumper she was wearing is her own design, but it was such a far cry from the 1970s bow-at-neck muumuu, I could imagine Gwen Stefani wearing it during her next pregnancy.
Anyway, Deux fm didn't disappoint, with her eco chic line (or music choices...DJ Loukas Stilldrunk). I really wanted to touch those alpaca-wool sweaters, created for Deux fm by a Peruvian knitters collective, which looked cozy but cute over a bikini or tights. Again, beautifully draped bubble skirted dresses, silky sheathes and loungewear, with plenty of solid colours, screenprinted details and flattering necklines.
Even though this AFW show was happening smack in the middle of Earth Hour, it was refreshing, over the past two nights, to see how many designers are incorporating environmental concerns into their overall philosophy. Afterwards I was speaking to Laura Chenoweth, and she was telling me about this organization, Fashion Takes Action, which launches on Earth Day, April 22, dedicated to making the industry more sustainable. Chenoweth herself is planning on taking the next year to focus on education: she's passionate about cotton production, after seeing first-hand the toll it takes on the environment and on workers. She's getting involved in a few projects that I'll be reporting on, over the next bit.
That's it, until October. Congratulations to all the designers and AFW organizers. I'm going to tear apart my closet now.