The runway lights have may have faded but images of the Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOM*) and Toronto Women’s Fashion Week (TW FW) Spring/Summer 2018 (SS18) still swirl in my head like glittering confetti.
TOM* and TW FW are the brain child of Founder and CEO of Canada Fashion Group (CFG), Jeff Rustia (pictured below). CFG is committed to nurturing and promoting the Canadian Fashion industry by providing a national and international platform for Canadian fashion designers and brands to showcase their talent and innovation through impactful initiatives and events.
This season, I had the opportunity to experience the event from many vantage points...as a backstage volunteer, a member of the media, as a guest of designers and VIP. It really opened my eyes about what it takes to put on a world class fashion extravaganza.
As a backstage Dresser Team volunteer, I worked with a tireless team of volunteers who helped get the models ready to walk down the runway along with members of the Designer Relations team and the Production team. This meant early morning fittings with models (hanging out with some of the models from TOM* below) and designers as outfits were tried on models and ‘looks’ were photographed so that they could be hung with the outfits that each model would wear for the show.
Before show time, still other teams would help the models get runway ready. In particular, the makeup team sponsored by Vasanti cosmetics and the hairstylist team sponsored by Redken, created looks completed the designers’ vision of how their collection would be presented. I had the good fortune to have my hair styled by Brandi and Amanda of the Redken styling team (pictured below) before an interview.
At the helm of the ship was show Producer Hans Koechling (pictured below). With over two decades of experience producing shows for luxury fashion houses, designers and lifestyle brands, Mr. Koechling oversaw every aspect of the show with an eye for detail and an acute understanding of the technical and logistical details that bring a show to life. You can read more about Mr. Koechling at
Backstage, Warren Soleil Leacock (pictured below), more commonly known simply as Soleil, guided the activities of models, designers and volunteers in a manner of an orchestra conductor. Soleil is a world renowned florist and artisan with a background in fashion and makeup artistry and has worked with Mr. Koechling on fashion shows for many years.
During the week, I also had the privilege of meeting and interviewing some of the talented designers involved in TW FW including Marie-Andree Wallot of Wallo and Michael Zoffranieri of Zoff. I was also thrilled to be invited to have a front row view of the Stephan Caras runway show as a guest of the designer. Highlights of each of these shows can be found at www.citysophisticate.com/blog
An event of this magnitude can only be made possible through the generous sponsorships of companies such as Consultony Design (www.consultony.com), official print and creative sponsor of TOM*/TW FW.
I had a chance to connect with Tony Spagnolo (pictured below) head of Consultony Design to talk about his company’s sponsorship. As print and creative sponsor, the company provided all print production including backdrops, directional signage, retractable banners, designer look books and accreditation badges for the event.
When asked what it required to take on an event of this magnitude, Mr. Spagnolo said “In any event of this type, the ability to react to last minute changes, new requests and tight overnight deadlines is extremely essential. With nearly 20 years of experience in design and production, I was able to ensure that all items were delivered on time and with high quality.”
As to some of the benefits of being a sponsor, Mr. Spagnolo shared “As part of my sponsorship, I was able to treat a number of my friends and guests to experience full VIP access for all shows. Many of them had never experienced a live fashion event. Part of the experience is meeting and connecting with some new and exciting people. I look forward to seeing everyone in March. Once again Jeff Rustia and his team put on an amazing event!”
TOM* and TW FW attendees were also able to watch local fashion media celebrity Jeanne Beker(pictured below) interview designers after each runway presentation for her show Style Matters.
Aside from front row access to the shows, the VIP experience added a festive touch as guests were able to relax between shows while nibbling on treats and sipping complimentary cocktails and beverages in the VIP lounge.
I would like to thank Tony Spagnolo for including me as a VIP guest and Zahid Mahmood (pictured above) for his wonderful photography skills in capturing the beautiful images that you see on www.citysophisticate.com
See you at TOM* and TW FW in March!