Toronto Women’s Fashion Week (TW) ran from March 6–14 this year, showcasing fall and winter looks for 2018. With shows taking place at One Yonge Street, right by Lake Ontario, TW showcased some of the most iconic women’s fashion designers in Canada as well as up-and-coming talent.

TW’s shows were preceded by Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOM), which took place March 3–17. TW was launched in 2017 by the creators of TOM, partly to fill the void left by the passing of Toronto Fashion Week, an event previously organized by IMG Canada that was shut down due to a scarcity of funding.

Despite only being in its second year, TW did not disappoint. This year’s star-studded lineup brought much-needed excitement and glamour to a city just beginning to wake up from the winter. The Varsity sent a reporter to cover three TW shows this year, zoom lens and heels in tow.

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WomensFashion4Hope — March 13                               

As TW’s signature charity show, the catwalk at WomensFashion4Hope featured celebrity models dedicated to raising money for the Kol Hope Foundation, an organization for children with disabilities. Sporting dresses, jewellery, and headpieces from Queen West boutique Pearls & Pockets, the show was a welcome breath of spring air. Standout pieces included a beaded floor-length gown worn by R&B singer-songwriter Jayd Ink, a silk tuxedo jacket and veiled hat worn by Miss Universe Canada Lauren Howe, and a magnificent purple train lined with roses worn by model Dani Doucette.

The cheerful vibe at WomensFashion4Hope also stood in contrast to the steely composure one might expect from a fashion show. Each model let their personality shine through their walk down the runway, laughing and blowing kisses to friends in the crowd.

MIKAEL D — March 14

Mikael Derderian found his early fashion inspiration as a child in his parents’ workshop in Beirut. When his family fled to Canada to escape war in Lebanon years later, he made a name for himself as an internationally renowned designer. In 2012, he established his private label, MIKAEL D, and this year at TW he brought a stunning collection of evening gowns to the runway.

The MIKAEL D show opened with soothing white and cream tones, delicate beaded bodices, and structured full skirts. The calm of the first half of the show, however, was sharply interrupted by a sudden change in mood. Thunderous music and projections of storm clouds and dark smoke paralleled the black, grey, and emerald fabrics appearing on the catwalk as the show unfolded. Glimmering cheekbones and pops of magenta eyeshadow made the models clothed in Derderian’s creations look all the more ethereal.

Rudsak — March 14

TW 2018 closed with a three-part unisex show from Rudsak, an iconic outerwear and accessories label born in Montréal. The show opened with a black-and-white video game montage projected behind the catwalk as models showed off Rudsak’s latest collection, their hair slicked back into super long ponytails or braids and their faces partially masked by coloured visors.

With models outfitted head to toe in fur, leather, and quilted nylon, Rudsak delivered the clean-cut neutrals and structured silhouettes that are to be expected of the label. Splashes of silver and camo, oversized totes, and glossy black gloves also evoked the brand’s familiar and coveted edge.