As the sun began to go down and the rain just started to fall across the Queen West neighborhood, The Wearable Art fashion show began. I attended the first show starting at 6 p.m. and what a start it was. As Florence + the Machine bellowed across the air, a set of amazing constructed pieces donned models walking down the runway.
The show was broken up into three sets with a one-designer finale entitled “Dalmatians Are Not Dead”. All of the designs were set against the raw brick walls and old wood carvings of the beautiful Gladstone Hotel and set off with an array of avant-garde songs such as Lady Gaga and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. With such original beats, it is no surprise that the 30 designers pumped out 80 garments with such a wide array of inspiration.
Tulle, latex, wire, twine, zippers, velvet, and even wigs were used to create the pieces. The diverse materials were brought together with some common themes throughout the show such as color, mood, and silhouette. Thoughts that kept running through my head each time a model walked down the runway were the Rihanna S&M video, Jean-Paul Gaultier’s S/S 2010 Haute Couture runway show, anything and everything Gaga, and Nicki Minaj on the red carpet.
Standout pieces went back to back down the aisle, but some notable garments were:
- Adrianna Hill and Emmy-Kate Van Der Boogard’s dresses created from old pages of what appeared to be novels glossed together into a stiffened dress with curved hips and adorned with faux antler-like twigs (see photo left).
- A beautiful gown with a simple, one-sleeved black velvet top and a massive patchwork skirt of luxurious and bright colors (see photo 3 in slideshow).
- A collection of expertly constructed bustiers made from black leather, sippers, and other metal adornments.
- A series of skin-tight latex dresses by Alexis Venerus and Sienna Sekand modeled after iconic dress such as Marilyn Monroe’s white dress, Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s black dress, and Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondarian dress from 1965.
The end wound down with a showcase of the ZOFF FW 2013 collection, proving that black and white is hot this season and an eternal classic. This performance art type portion of the show reminded me of something I would view at the MoMA in New York City. The result was twelve designs all in black and white demonstrating the ability of the designer to repurpose “new looks from once-loved garments”.
After the show, the producers Alysia Myette and Ketzia Sherman took a few minutes to share some details with me about their involvement. When I asked them about their inspiration for the show, they responded with statements like, “anything goes” and “no limits”. In creating the event, they put out a word for an open call to the school’s design students and received such great submissions that no cuts were even made for the final show. Alysia even got her own moment in the spotlight when her designs were showcased in the second act.
While this was the first time this show has been put together, the second year communication and fashion design students hope to keep it running for an annual event on Ryerson’s calendar. With all the proceeds going to charity and the beautiful displays of craftsmanship that truly were works of art, it is in the hopes of this viewer that she can attend next year.