Toronto Fashion Week

adrian wyld/canadian press


Dresses from Arthur Mendonca’s fall 2007 collection at L’Oréal Fashion Week.

Arthur Mendonca dresses sophisticated women, not girls. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m a man, but I like women’s clothes to be strong,” the Canadian designer said Wednesday afternoon just after the presentation of his fall 2007 collection at Toronto’s L’Oréal Fashion Week. “I don’t design for girlie girls.”

Instead of a runway, he chose an informal installation of his collection where all the models stood together and those invited to the show could get up close to see the tailoring details.

As always with his fall collections, his lines were strong, but this season was more about the fabric. Cashmere blends and wools were on models beside man-made fabric blends. Of all his fall offerings, he said he is especially fond of a leopard-print dress with a skinny gold belt. “I thought it was a really modern take on something traditional,” he said. “The whole collection was twists on traditional things.”

A buyer from England came to Toronto to look at potential collections to take across the pond. Last year he liked Mendonca but thought his price points were too high.

Mendonca defended his higher prices: he said he only uses quality fabrics and the construction is all done in Toronto. While it is more expensive than outsourcing the clothing to cheaper Asian factories, he prefers to make it here where he can monitor the production.

Even though his designs may be higher end, he wants to see them being worn everywhere.

He said he’d like to see women wear cashmere-blend suits to the office, sexy cocktail dresses that have sparkle and shine in them to dinner parties, and for a night out dancing, he wants women to put their gams on display and wear anything short.

At Mackage — the Montreal label designed by Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy — outerwear had all the style details fans have come to expect: a sleek jet-setter silhouette that makes dressing warmly look downright hot. “We make a girl want to go out in winter and look and feel sexy,” Elfassy said after the Tuesday night show, adding that sometimes people think that to dress warmly you just cover up without a hope of looking fetching.

The Mackage look shifted a little as military details were slightly softened with more feminine touches such as puffed sleeves.