When it comes to Canadian designers, Lucian Matis is in a class of his own. Season after season, he brings his unique aesthetic and sense of fantasy to the Toronto Fashion Week runway and to his haute couture clients. His past shows have been some of my most memorable, so I made sure not to miss his Fall 2011 presentation, held off-site at The Design Exchange. The short trek off the LG Fashion Week grounds turned out to be well worth the effort, because from the time the first model rounded the corner right up until the moment the last model glided out of sight, I was mesmerized.
Inspired to create a collection that embodied a kind of harmonious chaos, Matis’ latest collection brought together a mix of textures and fabrics in an unexpected and beautiful way. “It’s all so mismatching,” Matis told me post-show, “but then they’re flawless together. I wanted to show that…every woman should have a bit of chaos in her wardrobe, have fun and play with it.” Known for his heavy-handed but, for the most part, tasteful use of embellishments, Matis managed quite successfully to meld together sequins, fringe, bubble knits and an inordinate amount of beading into stunning garments designed with the likes of Daphne Guinness in mind. His line, Matis said, is for a woman who is “a bit more courageous. (She) wants to make a statement, wants to be noticed and is fashion forward.”
We’re not all as fashion forward as Matis’ big shoulders, heavy beading and mixed materials may call for, but he also showed that he’s capable of scaling back on the embellishments and still bringing drama to the runway in more simple designs. One of the standout pieces from the show, and (perhaps not so coincidentally) also one of the tamest, was a gold teacup dress with an embellished belt and knitted cap sleeves. It was love at first sight for me. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to think so, because that dress went straight from Matis’ runway to one of Toronto’s swankiest charity galas mere days later, though sadly not on me…but that’s a story for another day.
Backstage after the show, surrounded by glamazons in crystal-encrusted dresses and head-to-toe fringe, I asked Matis, “Is there ever a moment when you say to yourself, ‘Lucian, maybe there’s a little bit too much embellishment’?”. He responded, without hesitation, “Never”. And that’s what I wanted to hear.
The lighting (or rather, a lack thereof) during the actual runway show was a challenge that my amateur photography skills just couldn’t overcome, sadly. See Lucian Matis’ full Fall 2011 collection here via Toronto Star.