Thien Le - fall/winter 2005

The tasteful grandeur of the Royal Ontario Museum framed a collection that marked not only Thien Le’s fifth year as one of Canada’s most dangerous people with a needle and thread, but it also consolidated many themes that he’s been developing since we began to fall in love with his clothes.

The more subdued outfits in the Fall 2005 collection borrow zest from the pleasurable clash of styles. Empire-waisted tweed pea coats are given the Thien Le magic touch with the addition of scarlet silk-covered dressmaker buttons, sometimes worn with a flaming corset and paired with a skirt in the same sanguine, attention-seeking red. Disparate textural worlds are merged dynamically and successfully-with a teasing hint of conflict that thankfully never comes-in the pairing of grainy knits with his signature silk in heavenly cuts.

There is a demure breed of woman who the designer caters to, maybe a chimera of his sartorial imagination, but quite plausible nonetheless-that femme fatale-cum-businesswoman who will switch effortlessly from a velvet ball skirt to a single breasted black cotton suit, whatever duty calls for. We see another obvious cultural nod in dresses befitting 60’s screen stars like Bridgette Bardot, though without annoying retro styling.

A predominant silhouette is the tight, neatly cut top and the flowing, voluminous bottom hem, on both dresses and skirts. The collection is necessarily vibrant as far as colour goes, though Le’s use of vivid rust shows how variegation techniques can soften an otherwise overpowering hue. I would be afraid to attend a wedding where the bride wore one of Thien Le’s delicate nuptual daydreams-jealous bridesmaids would be ripping it off.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer