Nipples, corsets, cartwheels, masks and bikinis at the second night of FAT 

by Elli Stuhler and Becca Lemire

Ahhh, Alternative Fashion Week. The place where fashion has fun. Where models dance on the runway. Where ladies in corsets who look like Cher sing Carmen on the runway. What more could you want under one roof in Liberty Village? Here are some highlights…

Starker’s Corsetry 

Opera remixes don’t usually work out, but when their accompanying pleather corsets I suppose an exception can be made. Starker’s Corsetry was a neo-victorian feast for the eyes of waist-enhancing bustiers, structured mini skirts, and even an Elizabethan collar. The richness of the feathers, the models scarlet sparkling eyebrows and sculpted gothic feel of the corsets made the collection feel like a time-traveling nightmare – in the best way possible.  – ES


And now for something completely different, the designer duo Diepo brought everything back to reality with their black and white collection. High waist-lines were a constant, matched with the cutest crop tops in sheer fabrics. They even spiced it up a little bit with a paisley (yes, paisley) skirt and belt. To finish it off, Toronto fashion writer Sarah Nicole Prickett came out in the comfiest looking ankle-length, dark salmon dress.  -ES

One of Us Swimwear 

Thunderheist blared as these psychobilly sailor swimsuits were strutted down the runway. One of Us committed the ultimate faux pas by combining spots with stripes –and pulled it off swimmingly. Other patterns consisted of the imagery that would adorn our hair boggles when we were wee tweens – nautical stripes, pink skulls and red cherries. The suits were generally two-piece bikinis connected with a panel of fabric down the centre. Cute, yes, but what about those awkward tan lines? -ES

The Anvil by Pink Lady Fashion 

This was the part of the evening that can be fondly referred to be the part with the breasts. Bare chests were (apparently) necessary to show off the tassels, the metal, and the big shoulders. It was a glam, fringed affair and the ladies of Pink Lady Fashion must have had a field day at Canadian Tire to collect all the chains used in their collection. It was like urban renewal meets the 80’s and it certainly wasn’t practical. Then again, practicality has no place at Alternative Fashion Week.  -ES

Refined by Evan Biddell  

Evan chose friends over models to display his Refined collection on the runway, and it made his signature over-the-top outfits appear more wearable. Pastel Supernova (Fritz Helder and the Phantoms) rocked gold lame and rock and roll studs. Kealan Sullivan(69 Vintage) wore Pretty Woman-esque thigh-high leather boots with a twist: they were flats, and looked pretty rugged from the ankle down. Paired with a black bikini, large black and white striped cover up top, colourful patterned headscarf and oversized sunglasses, this collection showed how over the top elements can be worn every day by confident, sassy, ladies and gents. The head to toe body suit/cape number with studded hood and graphic novel pattern is worth mentioning as well, however I only know a few people who would wear that, and possibly only to a theme party. Lucky audience, we got to stare at the outfits for the next few shows, as the models took front row seats when they were done walkin.  – BL

Cherry Dewar by Dewar Couture  

The Cherry Dewar Collection made me think 20’s glam meets 80’s rock and roll meets the future…maybe sometime after 2080? A well rounded collection including several unconventional bathing suits (exposed nipples, hoods, cut-outs), sexy dresses with studded shoulders and lots of leather, an interesting tube-top bustier culottes onesie with a harem crotch, and pants with a structured woven 3D ball at the calf. Dug the Mercura Sunglasses as accessories (or really good knock-offs) and the use of a Cruella Deville cigarette holder. – BL

ANew by Dayna Phillips  

Probably one of the more “conventional” shows of the night, I could see the ANew collection on say, stylish 30-something working moms or even a fashion forward grandma (Grandmas are the new Moms for 2011). A clean and simple colour palette of corals, pastel tie-dye, white, creams and greys showed off several mid-thigh A line skirts and dresses, straight leg pants, and cute summery tops. One outfit was either a conservative bathing suit or super sexy lounge wear: slinky salmon scoop-necked sleeveless top paired with high waisted boy cut shorts would make Carrie Bradshaw squirm with delight.  – BL

The Gossip by Jessica Clayton 

Life, death, black and white starred in The Gossip by Jessica Clayton. Ladylike, with tiers and lace, lots and lots of lace, and all long dresses or shorter skirts and tops. Sophisticated power suit meets delicate church picnic meets funeral, with lots of beautiful movement in the lower half of the garments. The only thing one should not bring to a picnic are exposed nips, which were present in a few of the outfits, but a bra would always solve that problem.  – BL


What an anti-fashion fashion show! This show really put the ‘alternative’ in alternative fashion week for me. Instead of the typical walk, models dramatically danced, posed and interacted with each other on the runway for the entire show. Fairly macabre, definitely theatrical and full-speed-ahead fashion forward. Burnt, earthy tones, lots of bunched material, long trains and exposed backs and arms. Beautiful masks and flamenco music added to the drama, and transformed this fashion show into a short off-Broadway play about sex, betrayal and lust. Very powerful.  – BL