[FAT] is a four-day event of fashion, photography, and music. In its fourth year, [FAT] is filled with exhibits varying from 50s glam to environmental challenges to post-apocalyptic fashion. This year’s event is broken into 4 different themes: home, planet, gutter, and beyond. With something for every person, [FAT] is the perfect showcase of up-and-coming designers.
Review and photos by Helen Fylactou
“Gutter” highlighted the nature of survival and the way clothing negotiates limitations. Gutter represents the social, political, and economic aspects of a place “on the edge.” On the edge of what, you ask? The answer was each designer’s mission to express. The night was a potpourri of styles, starting with modest fashion and getting riskier.
Earlier in the week, the collections seemed wearable and not quite what you’d expect from an “alternative” fashion week. On Day 3, designer Jet Exhibition let loose. Models tiptoed onto stage, taking baby steps in their larger-than-life garments. Jet exhibition’s design were less like clothing, and more like giant, papier-mâché structures. The haute-couture collection was raw, uncomfortable, and extreme. But the designer kept her sense of humour: models posed in unique positions at the end of the runway, toying with photographers. The pieces themselves were canvasses on which the designer experimented with every colour of paint. Jet Exhibition’s talent was embedded in this quirky and bold collection, right down to the exquisite tailoring. The layering, bunching, draping, and shaping with darts was flawless. Keeping a comprehensive theme through the collection, Jet Exhibition was consistently original.
Magpie ended the second fashion showcase of the night. Magpie shifted the idea of feminine beauty from polite to grotesque. The collection was taken right out of A Clockwork Orange, opening with a dominatrix-inspired model who engaged the audience with her cane. Magpie works with an assortment of materials, from leather, to lace, to satin, to mesh. Although the tailoring of the garments was less impressive than some of the other designers of the week, Magpie stole the show with personality. The dresses were asymmetrically closed, and full leather outfits were exaggerated with bursts of chiffon. The pieces were theatrical with billowing sleeves, ruffles, and tuffs. The tops had starched collars, reminiscent of Victorian era, and were paired with contemporary spandex sequined pants. Magpie’s designs are more than just profligate costumes, they are walking pieces of art.
Toronto Alternative Arts and Fashion Week is running April 21-24, 2009 in the Distillery District.