The Exhibition grounds in Toronto don’t exactly scream “fashion,” and with that most of the workmen on the grounds were confused as to what I was wearing and why I was wandering around looking for something called the “Toronto Fashion Incubator.” One man offered this piece of advice: “Lady, I think you’re looking for Paris and you ain’t gonna find it here.”

Finally, I reached the Toronto Fashion Incubator offices, greeted with women flawlessly dressed and smiling. With Toronto Fashion Week less than two weeks away, Tuesday October 4th marked a special presentation for buyers and the press, showcasing upcoming Toronto fashion talent. Here are some of my favourites:

Andy Hall
Upon entering the presentation area, my eyes are immediately caught by black harem pants with a rope detail at the ankle. Natalie Good, the designer behind her label Andy Hall is sporting them, describing the design as a result of playing around with rope.

Andy Hall is a hybrid of Andy Warhol and Woody Allen’s Annie Hall to represent simple glamour. You want the simplicity of Annie Hall but the glamour of partying in Studio 54 and the rest of the factory with Andy Warhol? Good’s clothes embody this fusion by offering simple cuts that fit in everyday functionality but can be dressed for a night out in the city. The S/S11 is only Good’s second collection, but with this preview teaser there will be many more to come.

Betina Lou
Betina Lou is an imaginary muse for Montreal designer Marie-Eve Emond. Simone Micheline Bodin Graziani, nicknamed “Bettina” was also a model and real-life muse for Balmain and Dior in the 1950s. Considering this, Betina/Bettina is an endless source of inspiration and Emond’s design aesthetic focuses on British preppy chic.

Naming all the pieces in her ready-to-wear S/S11 after a female, the pairing of two items is like putting two best friends together. For example, Dorothy, the high waisted dark beige shorts paired with Simone, the patterned camisole. The materials are gorgeous in texture and Emond says she mostly uses materials from Japan and Europe. Wearing her clothes will make you feel like a European It-girl– via Montreal.

House of Groves
“Understated luxury and feminine elegance” is how Jennifer Waters, the designer behind her label, House of Groves described her designs. The former Microsoft employee turned “accidental designer” previewed her second collection at the Toronto Fashion Incubator in preparation for her show at LG Fashion Week on October 20th.

Setting on neutrals and dark shades combined with using only natural and eco-friendly material, Waters designs for a sophisticated female in mind, but one that clearly has some edge. Any piece is a classic piece that will find and everlasting spot in your closet. I’ve got my eye on the tail jacket with the lined detail.

Paris Li
Looks like I did find a little bit of Paris in Toronto, but in the form of Toronto designer, Paris Li. Colourful silk prints will make you feel like you are wearing next to nothing while covered in luxury. The bold prints on the dresses are an instant attention grabber.

But Li goes further by designing her own accessories to go with the dresses. Combining thick costume jewellery over a cut-out bandana with a silk back is an unlikely pairing that works ironically,

For more information about Toronto Fashion Incubator:

by Ivana Markotic