Designers donate to Fashion Week charity show



Two of the dresses from the Heart Truth Fashion Show — the Baia, above, and Tavan & Mitto, right — will be available at The Bay as of March 19 for $395. Ten per cent will be donated to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.


It’s mere days before Toronto’s L’Oréal Fashion Week Fall 2008 kicks off and Lucian Matis is making a little red dress that can save lives.


The Toronto-based designer and Project Runway Canada finalist is still deciding between raw silk and silk charmeuse for his dress. But he knows two things for sure: It’s going to be red and it’s got to be elaborate. “Everybody wants drama. Especially in this show, they want to buy something they’ll probably only buy once in their lifetime,” he says.

Matis is creating the dress for the Heart Truth Fashion Show, an initiative by the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Heart Truth Campaign. The show is set to feature a collection of 20 original dresses donated by notable Canadian and international fashion designers. Celebrities from Canadian media, arts, entertainment and sports will model the creations in a special Fashion Week runway show on March 18 in aid of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

This isn’t the first time Matis has used his vogue vigor for a good cause. One Project Runway Canada challenge required him to design a garment for supermodel host Iman-supported charity Keep A Child Alive. “That was the most exceptional challenge; the closest to our hearts,” he says.

Matis has remained close to fashion fundraising and this campaign in particular, having lost a cousin last year to heart disease. “Most fashion is about feeding peoples’ egos and making them feel great about themselves. When you can actually be part of something noble, it melts your heart.”

An embroidered heart sits at the lower back of the red dress being designed by Irish-born Pat McDonagh. She’s crafting the outfit for ET Canada hostess Cheryl Hickey.

Hickey says she felt honoured when asked by the campaign to be one of the celebrity models donning red in Tuesday’s show. “It's a responsibility. If you can help out a cause in any way, whether you’re a celebrity or not, I think it’s important to step up and do that.”

Hickey will join other high profile women like fashion reporter Jeanne Beker, Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila and Emmy Award-winning actress, Catherine O’Hara as they take on the catwalk for charity. But, with no modeling history, Hickey just hopes she doesn’t trip. “I'm pretty sure I won’t look like the supermodels on Canada’s Next Top Model but I’m just going to walk out there and have a really great time with some really great women.”

L’Oreal Fashion Week — March 17 to 22

  • L’Oreal Fashion Week launches on Monday with presentations of fall 2008 collections.

  • Location: Nathan Phillips Square, City Hall, 100 Queen St. West.

  • Excluding runway shows that are by invitation only, fashion lovers can buy single show tickets on site for $20 or general day passes for $50 through online registration (