Lucian Matis‘ fashion shows are always a Toronto Fashion Week highlight for me. I’ve come to expect spectacular presentations and perfectly over-the-top designs from Matis, and his recent Spring 2012 runway show offered exactly that. The circus lighting from the Fall 2011 show was gone, but the sense of drama was still there, gliding across the room in the form of breathtaking cocktail dresses and evening gowns.
Inspired by Henri Matisse’ Green Stripe, Matis showed a side of himself we haven’t seen in his past collections. ”I’m evolving as an artist and as a fashion designer,” he explained post-show. ”I wanted to take the colour, the texture and the unexpectedness of (the painting) and create art.” And that he did. His designs – each adorned with delicate flower petals, metallic embellishments or ruffles, in all the right places – were stunning, and exhibited a restraint that Matis hasn’t cared to indulge in the past.
There were some bedazzled bodysuits in the mix, sure, but they were quickly forgiven and forgotten, thanks to the beautiful and colourful array of evening wear designs that made up most of the line-up. ”I kept looking at the painting as a reference. I loved the colours and the vibrancy, and I wanted to make them into a statement”, Matis said. ”I really wanted to keep the audience excited.”
He succeeded, too, as my attention never waned, from the very first look to the aforementioned bodysuits (for better or for worse), and through to the moment the final model rounded the corner in what Matis described as “flowers and air”. Simple enough of a recipe, but the results were nothing short of magical in this designer’s hands.