So, it’s been a little while since my last blog post, but for good reason. Last week, in addition to what’s normally on my plate, I was juggling going to work full-time and attending Toronto Fashion Week (TFW)! Thankfully, I was able to keep up with my posts on Instagram, if you’ve been following along. But I wanted to ensure to devote an entire blog post to my TFW adventures when I had the opportunity! This one is going to be a long one, so get cozy before you start reading this 🙂

Although it was only my second time attending fashion week, this time around, it was a completely different experience. I went for the first time last October, when it was still called World MasterCard Fashion Week or WMCFW for short (try saying that 5 times!). I wasn’t blogging at that time, and I attended a couple of the shows only as a spectator. Nevertheless, my first experience was a great primer, as I initially had no clue what to expect; and I was exposed to not only what the shows are like, but also what goes on inside the tents! Going last year also helped me to get over the MASSIVE feeling of intimidation that I think every first-timer (or really anybody who isn’t used to it) experiences. Imagine being surrounded by all of the best-dressed people in Toronto, fashion bloggers that you idolize, celebrities, designers, models, media and other industry people – it can be a tad overwhelming! And a lot of preparation sure goes into those walks through David Pecaut Square as you head into the big white tent, when it can feel like all eyes and lenses are on you!

Pic of me snapped by the amazing Chris Smart (@csmartfx) on day 5. Stay tuned for a future blog post on this full look!

I think it’s completely normal for everyone to have stressful moments when trying to figure out what to wear for fashion week (and/or when experiencing a wardrobe malfunction, like I did on day 4, when my fiancé and I almost had to cut a dress off me that turned out to be too small – true story!). After all, fashion week comes but twice a year; and this truly is the time for people to dress to the nines and show off their personal style! Surprisingly, however, this year I wasn’t as nervous or intimidated as I thought I would be. My days at fashion week felt more relaxed, comfortable, and fun! I guess it helps to have friends, who have been blogging for longer than you, to attend the shows with. In my case, I had the privilege of attending most of the shows with Tiffany Chin (@littleblackpearls on Instagram), a seasoned fashion week vet!

Tiffany’s look for day 3 – Pants: Club Monaco; Top & Coat: French Connection; Bag: Danier; Shoes: Capezio

TFW lasted for 5 days, from March 14 to 18. I was there for days 3, 4, and 5. Here’s my TFW roundup!

Day 3 – Wednesday, March 16, 2016

On day 3, after grabbing a quick bite to eat with Tiffany and our other foodie friend, Sasa Ton (@sasaeats), at Mercat del Carmen, we made our way over to the tents. As it was still early (around 3:15 p.m.), the crowds had not yet begun to descend on David Pecaut Square (this also helped lessen the intimidation factor!). We had a chance to snap a few quick pics in front of the iconic Canadian Made sign before heading in.

My look on day 3 – Jacket: Massimo Dutti; Top: American Apparel; Blazer: Topshop; Skirt: Chicwish; Shoes: Missguided; Clutch: Balmain x H&M

Mondor

First up on day 3 for us was Mondor, who impressed us with a variety of fashionable legwear and different looks to style them with. Luckily for us, one of the professional photographers graciously offered us seats in the media pit, right in front of the runway. He also helped me with my camera settings, which ensured I got great pictures of the show!

Mackage Runway Preview: Winter Warriors

The second show Tiffany and I attended was Mackage‘s runway preview, which was one of the most highly anticipated shows of all of fashion week. It was by invite only (NBD) and was held off-site, at CBC Studios. The set was decked out with a giant igloo, hanging icicles, blue neon lighting and a metallic-looking, reflective runway. The blocks of seats were also set up in zig-zag formations, which added more interest to the layout and show.

As expected, Mackage really did deliver! Coming down the runway on models with dark lips and frosted eyebrows were: beautiful long coats; tall, fur-covered boots; plaid hoodies and overalls; and lots and lots of fur and leather details.

My favourite piece from the collection had to be the leather overalls, which came in various colours, and which seemed to be a trend this year (also appearing at the Rudsak show). I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair!

Grey Goose After-Party

We concluded our Wednesday night at the newly renovated Lobby Bar at the Thompson Hotel, where we met my fiancé and friends, Mo and Rachelle, who invited us. By this time, we were obviously exhausted and our feet were aching from running around all day in heels. So, although the venue, crowd, music and cocktails were good, we didn’t stick around for all that long (plus, we all had work in the morning).

Day 4 – Thursday, March 17, 2016

Rudsak: Savage Spirit

Day 4 was the day I was probably most excited for, since I would be seeing one of my favourite Canadian designers, Rudsak! If you’ve read one of my previous blog posts on Canadian Winter Wear and follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen that I wear a lot of Rudsak!

I scored an invite to the show and brought my friend, Didier (@didier_yhc), along as my guest. Unfortunately for us, when we got inside, this time we weren’t allowed to stand in or near the media pit. Instead, we were relegated to the top left, which was a total disappointment for me because I couldn’t get any close-up shots of the amazing collection 🙁

Although the pictures in this blog post don’t do it any justice at all, hands down, Rudsak was the best show I attended! The “Savage Spirit” theme was prevalent, with the stage being set up like we were in the woods (including a wooden runway lined with pillars). The show began with a video of people running in the woods to set the stage, and the music and overall feel was like a cross between The Revenant and Game of Thrones!

Not only was the production for this show top-notch, but the entire collection was on fire! It was filled with dark hues (black, brown, oxblood) and some white, Rudsak’s signature leather and fur details, and loads and loads of bags! The show lasted longer than any other show I went to, and there seemed to be many more pieces in this collection than in any other that I saw (I would have had many more pictures, but I eventually gave up and stopped snapping). Literally, for almost everything that came down the runway, I said “I want that”!

And to top everything off, 416beats (a Toronto-based drumline) drummed to a remix of Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, which actually gave me chills (and still does when I re-watch my video).

Click here to see the clip that I uploaded to YouTube.

Day 5 – Friday, March 18, 2016

CARAS, Stephan Caras

The last TFW show that Tiffany and I attended was Stephan Caras on day 5, and boy, did things go out with a bang! This year, Stephan teamed up with his son, Kyriako Caras to present: CARAS, Stephan Caras.

Stephan Caras is known for his lovely, feminine pieces, and this collection was no exception. The CARAS, Stephan Caras FW16 collection featured dresses with long and asymmetrical lines, flowy silhouettes, cocktail dresses, and dramatic gowns with a mix of textures (fitted, sequin and mesh bodices with large, voluminous tulle bottoms), all in dark blue and black, with touches of bright pink and patent leather details.

The collection truly looked like walking art – elegant, beautiful, and graceful. My two faves from the show have to have been the first and last gowns, which certainly were the most dramatic. They really made the dancing lady emoji come to life!

Overall, I must say, I was extremely impressed (and many times, blown away) by the shows and TFW, in general, this year. The amount of talent we have in Canada is truly noteworthy and the designers (and everyone else who works tirelessly to make fashion week spectacular) really do deserve the recognition that fashion week affords them. It makes me extra proud to be Canadian and show support for our local designers.

It’s sad now that TFW is over; but on the bright side, it’s already spring and we have next fashion week in the fall to look forward to.

If you managed to finish reading this entire blog post, leave me a comment to let me know what you think and who your favourite Canadian designer is!