Arthur Mendonça - fall/winter 2005

If this was supposed to be a magic carpet ride, as the Aladdin rugs on the catwalk would suggest, then my conceptions of flights must be askew. For Fall 2005, Arthur Mendonça does little more than elaborate on the hot successes of his previous collection, though this may not be such a bad thing, if you remember the fervor with which we fawned over his racy, retro-laden vision for women’s wear

Perhaps one of Mendonça’s greatest strengths as a designer is his ability to rescue some of the unsexiest colours in the natural world from their own drab funerals. He gives erotic dimension to umber, ash, a spate of dull browns and that shade of burnt coffee that is entirely absent of cream. He achieves this by pairing them in mystically bang-on combinations and choosing prints that will enhance them, such as safari or geo-floral.

The floral-print chiffon dresses in playful, aqua colors are neat and deceptively innocent-a shift away from the tartness that has had the Toronto glitterati clamouring for his outfits. Untrimmed fur collars vests and jackets add a sort of unrefined, rough luxury to the collection. His evening wear is certainly a highlight, with melting bouclé knit shrugs and flowing, ruched black evening gowns with Edwardian stripes.

Despite the public hunger that Mendonça has cultivated for his delectable capri pants and biker jackets, there’s only so much mileage that he can get out of them, and no amount of chintzy styling, ribbon passementerie and gaudy color experiments can prolong it’s rack life beyond what the consumers or the media can support. And yet, we remain enchanted.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer