Spark of Canadiana: Philip Sparks Fall/Winter 2011 Collection
March 23, 2011 2 Comments
A full capacity crowd made up of Toronto’s biggest fashion insiders squeezed their way to the sixth floor of Toronto’s historic Borroughes Building on Monday night. Fighting their way towards the back room, they jostled for position with iPhones and Blackberries in one hand, champagne glasses and oversized leather bags in the other. All eager to catch a glimpse of what has become the unofficial preemptive start to Toronto’s Rogue Fashion Week – the highly anticipated, Philip Sparks Tailored Goods Inc. Fashion Show.
Early mid-20th century skates, toboggans, snowshoes, skis, and wildlife tapestries. The back room of the sixth floor had been transformed into a wintry scene out of what could arguably have been a rather fitting 1930s depression/post-depression era Canada. The models, bundled up and rosy-cheeked, passed bails of hay and simulated snowbanks as they walked the hardwood runway to a captivated crowd. The intense cavalcade of incandescent lights however, showered down enough heat to make it feel more like the Florida Everglades than the Canadian Shield.
Masculine elegance, both in men’s and womenswear, has been a major trend in several of the Milan, Paris, and New York City FW11 collections. It looks as though it’s found its way to Toronto. “My inspiration? Canadian winter leisure activity,” explained Sparks after the show. The label is staying true to its nostalgic vintage detailing and classic tailoring, while pulling inspiration from the great Canadian outdoors and outdoor activities that have helped define Canada as a nation and a people. The check, plaid, tweed, and herringbone patterns, the broad collared square-shouldered outerwear, wool suiting – they gave off a 1930s vibe with that contemporary Philip Sparks twist. The signature outerwear featuring mountain sheep shearling collars, scarves, mittens and hand muffs were a huge hit. As was one distinctive maple leaf photo print cotton sateen cocktail dress.
Jeans lined in plaid flannel, what a brilliant idea! No more long underwear next winter and roll the pant cuff for a great effect. The high gorge three-button wool suits? Not for me, I’m a conventional two-button kind of a guy. Other men’s favourites included the geometric Ontario blanket scarf, all the mountain sheep collared outerwear, the flecked wool herringbone trench coat, the cream hand knit fisherman sweater, the plaid flannel shirts, and the footwear. Equally impressive were the women’s outerwear, plaid cotton pin-tucked shirtdress, maple leaf blouse, and pleated skirts.
All of Philip Sparks’ clothing and accessories are proudly made in Canada by specialized manufacturers, leather workers, and knitters. Sparks has succeeded in proposing a FW11 collection that does not sacrifice style for function or vice versa. Dressed in Philip Sparks, we will stay warm during the coldest of Canadian winter days, but will not look bulky or frumpy. Ultimately, the Canadian knows winter best and has dressed us accordingly.