Nadya Toto - fall/winter 2004

There are several clues that lead me to believe that Nadya Toto had her thumb on the European fashion pulse when designing her latest collection. Or it could be pure accident that the normally static gait of this niche designer just happens to fall into the sizzle category on so many-although understated-levels. What’s even more absorbing is that Toto hasn’t really created anything out of the ordinary for fall 2004 yet it still puts a bit of spine into the nation’s seasonal output.

It came as no shock to the fashion-starved audience (poor little devils like myself didn’t have many shows to choose from) to see Toto’s first models draped in grey knit crepes brightened with floral appliqué. The mellifluous shapes are helped by touches of balance-Toto consistently proves herself the reigning Montreal purveyor of the well-placed frill, whether it’s a band of boiled wool or a seductive mohair twist.

The dive into knitwear is complete, apart from a string of tweed ditties-the luxurious cream tunics and matching dinner jackets have enough contemporary lines to choke the retro out of any collection. That is, until batwing sleeves turn up in a black boiled wool vanity number, something to break up the romantic edge. We’ve seen Toto do leggings before, and this time they’re actually apropos. Let’s not forget the dyed mohair shag-a devastating piece that’s sure to give Adrian Clarkson’s stylist a heart attack as soon as it hits Ottawa newsstands.

It helps that Toto can give plaid the erotic charge it never had, something that European designers have tried so hard to do this season-and failed. A parade of nearly flawless silhouettes is always going to stamp a collection with the royal seal, as long as movement is kept a main priority. A note to the tight hemlines of the world-if you don’t let the lady walk, where’s she supposed to go?

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Agnieszka S. Yockell, Photographer