Nadya Toto - fall/winter 2001

We live in a world whose expectations of cultural history include both ancient tradition and retro-nostalgia. How technology has uniquely enabled the fashion industry to meet these demands can be best seen in the spectrum of options open to designers and manufacturers when conceiving of and utilizing fabrics. In addition, whatever history has crowned luxurious can now be manipulated for the utilitarian needs of urban lifestyles. Multi-textured fabrics that embrace the futuristic spirit while yearning for a simpler time are what make Fall/Winter 2001 a season of perspective. Enter Nadya Toto, our guide for the trip.

I caught up with Nadya and asked for her take on the resurgence of forgotten fabrics. She did not mince words.

“Technology makes it all possible, pure and simple. We have machines that can blend wool and organza without making it significantly more expensive. All these fabrics can be re-invented; in bringing them back, the possibilities are endless. The angular, strong look reflected in our choice of models is also about the futuristic attitude.”

L’Usine C in Montreal, renowned as a dance performance venue, was the site for Nadya Toto’s Fall/Winter 2001 unveiling. The designs followed through in incorporating this promised innovation. Grey leather pants and skirts with rough, charcoal matrix upcropping were worn with dolman-sleeved sweaters. Light organza knits are endowed with light sheens of gold and silver paint. Iridescent fabrics featured big in the collection, as did welcome attention on neck couture. Nehru collars are simple; when married to red, sophisticated. In keeping with the theme “Theatrical fashions in a polar universe”, fur and faux-fur was a definite highlight of the show, tailored in winter shades of tundra camouflage. Nadya’s love affair with fur is well-documented. Her red fox designs are coveted items in Paris and New York boutiques.

Asymmetrical tailoring feature prominently, as seen in the leather cross-chest strapping, creating isosceles silhouettes. Yet these, and the other triangular designs let the 80’s flagrantly saunter its way to center stage without much deviation from the familiarity of those geometric icons. It’s still a satisfying fix, but the stronger pieces would appear later in the show. And how they did. Tartan-patterned skirts interwoven with gold thread paired to sheer, black tops are unmistakable Nadya Toto signature pieces. This season, Toto ventured into a totally new direction by launching a collection for active toddlers, based on the women’s collection and inspired by her niece, Justina. Nadya demonstrates her ability to fill a niche by adopting a comprehensive outlook on her field. An immaculate production can be attributed to the technical wizardry of Hans Koechling - L’image est…The biggest news of the evening came with the announcement that MusiquePlus (CHUM Group) has secured the rights to launch a 24-hour fashion television network in Canada. If the end result is that more fashion aficionados have access to shows like Nadya Toto’s, I’ll be the first subscriber.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer