TOM* RUNWAYS DAY ONE: JUST THE BEGINNING

Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOM*) kicked off their first day of runways on Monday night and if the evening was indicative of things to come, we are in for something special. Four exceptional labels with four very distinct collections each took a turn in the spotlight. Here is a rundown of what went down:

HELMER

Helmer Joseph opened up the evening with a charming, whimsical collection that coaxed the audience to let loose and play with him. Allowing us into his imagination, the designer toyed with extreme proportions to create billowing, voluminous looks that would become the signature for his collection this season. Vivid colours and bold patterns evoked an expressive, theatrical quality that paid homage to Helmer’s experience designing for the stage, grounded by deliberate, steadfast craftsmanship. Oversized sleeves and bouffant pants were paired with understated sandals and converse shoes, while cascading scarves and ubiquitous collars were balanced with structured blazers, keeping our eyes drawn to the long sweeping lines of fabric that glided freely down the runway. Broaches and chain necklaces added a touch of finesse to exaggerated layers, while the hair was kept cleanly parted down the middle with luminous skin. This collection served as a reminder of how great fashion and art can make us feel: spontaneous, fun and free.

Helmer Joseph - TOM* Runway
Helmer Joseph at TOM* (Photo by @cherosalesphoto)

CURTIS OLAND

As last year’s recipient of the 2016 Emerging Menswear Designer award, Curtis Oland had acquired significant buzz for his collection this year, and he did not disappoint. Presenting 18 impressive looks, Oland’s pieces told a story of strength and grace, drawing on the historical and cultural narrative of his First Nations heritage. Curating thoughtful pieces, the designer mixed a soft palette of elegant nude and neutral tones with raw, toughened details, evoking a dichotomous man who is both nurturer and warrior. Loose pants clinched with rope, cloaked coats shaped with belts, unfinished leather edges and fringed seams all played effectively into a delicate pull of opposites that brought Oland’s pieces to life. Asymmetrical vests buckled over layers and leather shoes bound with straps added to the portrayal of a resourceful adventurer. Touches of reddish makeup and hair slicked to give a wet finish were used cleverly to underscore a man living in nature. Beautifully crafted and exceptionally thought out, this collection proves this talent is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

TOM* RUNWAY DAY 1
Curtis Oland at TOM* (Photo by @swaggermag)

HIP AND BONE

You know how a great song lifts you into a high where you feel like you are at the top of the world, and no one can bring you down? Hip and Bone did that with their entire collection tonight, creating a swagger that settled deep down in the bones and left everyone wanting to relive the moment. This gifted trio of designers (Carlos Fogelman, Frank Mesh and Jeff Rosen) have a creative chemistry that seems poised to claim the throne on the urban streetwear market, producing ready-to-wear looks that are modern and accessible, yet decisively pack a punch. The label has zeroed in on their man, and they know him well. Drawing on a traditionally masculine colour scheme, camo prints and leather were mixed in with black, olive and beige tones, styled with dark aviators, baseball caps and printed handkerchiefs tied as scarves, adding major street cred that kicked the look into next level cool. Manicured, military style hair with severe side parts offered an interesting contrast to the urban vibe of the collection, making it feel fresh. Monochromatic looks with striking dark panels lent elegance to the line, while harem pants got a sleek slim-fitted upgrade, fitting the silhouette in a polished, flattering way. Looks were amped up with slits and zippered details to toughen up the look, intuitively adding just the right amount of edge, finished with Chelsea-style boots. The models looked like celebrities, and walked with the palpable confidence created by the vibe of the collection. Need to get some mojo in your life? Hit up your nearest Hip and Bone retailer and watch the magic unfold.

Hip and Bone at TOM* Runway Day 1
Hip and Bone at TOM* (Photo by @swaggermag)

KOLLAR

Closing out the night to a sold out crowd was David Kollar, who found an easy, chic stride with his ready-to-wear collection. Offering fresh, modern looks, with influences spanning from urban to rock-n-roll to preppy, Kollar gave us nuanced range in his pieces. Thick plaid shirts and coats were worn with one lapel sliding off the shoulder, lending a casual, lived in look to otherwise streamlined silhouettes. Distressed cable knits were paired with long soft-looking tees, worn over skinny jeans with exposed knees. Sleek nylon bomber-style coats were paired with excellently high-collared hoodies, donned with zippered slip on boots and sheer rounded sunglasses, and the hits kept on coming. Kollar invigorated otherwise clean pieces with cool touches, such as ribbing on sleeves, subtle double-layered tops and jean jackets with exposed seam bottoms hanging out in a carefree manner. Hair was kept classically groomed, with a touch of shine, allowing the garments to stay front and center. Working with a refined hand and a lightness, Kollar’s 30-look collection impressed with a mellow flow and quiet sophistication, proving that simplicity is always in style.

Kollar Clothing - TOM* Runway Day 1
Kollar Clothing at TOM* (Photo by @swaggermag)

Written by: Suzanna Ornoch

Photography by: @cherosalesphoto and @swaggermag