World MasterCard Fashion Week FW’14 Menswear Recap

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It was great to be back at World MasterCard Fashion Week here in Toronto last week to celebrate the FW ’14 collections. This season was extremely special for us as our EIC Sharad Mohan, styled his first fashion week show for G-SUS Canada (catch all the details of the show below). With over 12 brands doing menswear this season, our hands were full, as we tried to catch up with each designers to learn a little extra about their collections. So, without further adieu here is our review of our favourite menswear collections for Toronto’s FW ’14 Fashion Week.

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Let’s start by saying that it ain’t Fashion Week without Shawn Hewson and Ruth Promislow aka Bustle. A World MasterCard Fashion Week staple, and 2013 CAFA Menswear Designer of the Year nominee, Bustle is truly a runway favourite. With presentations featuring anything from Chuckwagons to horse-racing gates and sailboats, and runway cameos from personalities ranging from Rick Mercer to Jeanne Beker, Bustle shows are known to be among the most creative and exciting of Fashion Week. This season was no different as the duo took inspiration from the slick, rugged Scandinavian longshoremen, and turned the runway into a seafaring fishing village. The collection ran in hues of greys and blacks with personality popping hunter greens, khaki and aubergine.

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Trained in Milan at legendary Istituto Marangoni, Toronto-based menswear designer Christopher Bates is an intrepid designer achieving a meteoric rise in the fashion industry. His fall/winter 2014 collection is titled Noctem. He was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s infamous character Dorian Gray and his clandestine, hedonistic escapades into the night. Bates considered what Gray would want to wear in this day and age.

Bates’ F/W 2014 collection ran the gamut of a well-dressed man’s wardrobe. With relaxed shirting, bifurcated knitwear and light grey suiting for day to leather pants, elongated topcoats and crisp tuxedo dressing for night there was a piece here for every man. Bates’ certainly played up the “everything” factor by using models of various ages and races – a welcome change on the runway. While there was a look here for everyone -Bates’ training and skill truly shone in the latter black and white evening looks. Crisp shirting and distinguished tuxedo dressing where form was the focus. Devoid of colour the eye was drawn to perfect tailoring head to toe and subdued details like the contrasting lapels and waistbands.

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G-SUS industries’ fall/winter 2014 collection, dubbed ‘Tour Des Alpes’, represents a coming together of two worlds. Taking influences from nature and cultural heritage–including Alpine folklore and the Swiss cross–Tour Des Alpes combines the classic and modern with original graphics and bold, statement colours.

G-SUS f/w 2014 collection presented strong outerwear and tailored offerings, alpine inflected knitwear and a wide variety of denim options. The eclecticism of this collection was grounded by pairing traditional textiles with perfect navy or grey neutrals and pops of red with soft plaids. With the collection’s breadth of traditional inspiration, strong colour palette and utilitarian edge – styling played a role in creating a cohesive look that will translate well to retail. the G-SUS F/W show combined familiar elements in unexpected ways, your favourite oversize cardigan paired with faded blue jeans or fairisle knits with loden green for a fresh take on nordic styling. Doc martens and a live performance by Cylenz and Miss Q Benjamin lent this runway presentation some serious street cred.

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The fall/winter 2014 collection builds upon the betterment of vintage military silhouettes that Krane has consistently explored in its outerwear and bags. The digital age is the emphasis this season as prints get infused into down linings and oil-treated leathers become the focal point in the bags.

For F/W 2014 designer Ken Chow stuck to his guns with a masterful take on military inspiration. New additions to the Krane line included rabbit fur mittens and trapper hats along with the usual luxe leather bags, tailored trenches and waxed denim. The designer’s singular vision and investment pieces were executed in a moody palette of black, camel and dark blue. In addition, (and perhaps in response to our harsher than normal winter) Krane introduced down-filled linings in some coats without the added bulk or “poofiness”.

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This season’s collection is inspired by the revolutionary Constructivist art movement. “Geometrical…non-mimetic…objects built rather than cast or carved” are some of the terms applied to the work of the Constructivists. Although it started as anti-art form it would become an important and recognized one. Like the constructivist doctrines which were a list of rejections, so too are Klaxon Howl’s of anti-fast fashion, consumerism and off shore manufacturing.  

The Constructivist movement with it’s strong lines and autonomous art was an inspiration match made in heaven for Klaxon Howl who produces their vintage inspired line locally, in small batches and with great attention to fabric, fit and form. The brand’s focus has always been creating clothes that are “anti-fashion” and built to last.  Just as the presentation referenced sculpture and mechanics, the collection too referenced strong lines and polished work-wear with the distinct touches of designer Matt Robinson. Upon closer inspection the wool bomber jackets, tweed vests and trousers on display all had authentic details (elongated waistbands, genuine camo prints and military patches) which elevated this collection to a veritable vintage offering for the modern man. 

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Inspired by Mother Nature, Mackage looked to the forces of the earth to serve as direction for their fall/winter 2014 outerwear collection.  The collection reflects a focus on blending rich fall shades with innovative textiles and textures. From printed leathers to plush down fabrics, the collection showcased silhouettes that cocoon and compliment the body while shielding it against natural wonders of the environment.

Mackage does outwerwear like no other combining fashion-forward elements with warmth for the ultimate in luxury. This season we saw fuschia felted wool bombers with leather sleeves, camo printed pants and quilted snowpants that almost make us …dare we say it  excited to brave the polar vortex once again! Sleek leather jackets, green tartan plaids and wide-brim hats toed the line between grunge rock and downtown cool .

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Canadian-made menswear sensation Outclass made it’s runway debut in the studio venue at David Pecaut Square. The fall/winter 2014 collection titled ‘Out Of the Woods’ took inspiration from the textures and hues of Ontario’s northlands  

Outclass updated classics with bold colours and rich textures for a collection of smart, wearable basics. Tailored wool or leather bombers with contrasting sleeves (and “416” on the back!), contrast panelled flannel shirting, and cuffed jeans rounded out this collection of elevated streetwear.

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Thomas Bálint is at the forefront of the burgeoning European underground fashion movement. His fall/winter 2014 collection evokes a wistful desire to return to the past. For inspiration the designer turns to his grandparents who worked as tailors in Budapest, appropriating their designs and bringing them into this millennium. 

This collection consisted of draped tees, deconstructed jackets and relaxed shirting with either oversized or mandarin collars. The monochromatic collection relied heavy on black with sparse prints and warm greys as it’s only accent pieces. The looks presented here evoked a sense of serious cool dressing that was always polished and never fussy.

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The iconic Canadian label celebrated its 20th Anniversary at the tents with the debut of its fall/winter 2014/2015 collection. Since being founded in 2004 by visionary and creative leader Evik Asatoorian, the Montreal-based label has grown into one of Canada’s leading fashion brands, synonymous with quality, craftsmanship and international instinct.

The emphasis here was fur (rabbit, raccoon, goat) seen on everything from outerwear trims to Cossack hats and oversized gloves. The rock n’ roll vibe so intrinsic to the brand was on full display –  perfecto jackets, leather shirt and tie combos and slick leather pants were presented in black, oxblood and cognac and later with a hint of metallic sheen. Another notable update on the brand’s aesthetic was the new combinations, think matte jackets with shiny luxe leather sleeves or leather patches on puffer jackets.

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HD Homme specializes in custom and ready to wear men’s clothing, specifically evening wear.  It was created as a line that would distinguish itself as the epitome of sophistication – a line that embodies everything a man should be; strong and classy, a man who appreciates standing out from the crowd but who does so with refinement and etiquette.

Designer Hussein Dhalla presented his first full-length show at this years WMCFW, much to the joy of the man looking to step up his sartorial game. The collection featured standout pieces for evening or gala dressing in the form of tuxedo shirting,satin peaked jackets, and jewel tone shawl-collared jackets that are sure to set you apart from the rest of the style set. While the collection did feature top coats, black tuxedo pants and white shirting the real standouts here were the bold options; patterned jacquard jackets, velvet blazers and a bifurcated white dress shirt  with an almost peplum-like black panel. HD Homme is sure to remain on our radar as we usher in a new guard of designers who can elevate mens eveningwear to be on par with their female counterparts.