Morales - spring/summer 2005

Ferocious restraint. The couplet goes far in describing Renata Morales’ Spring 2005 collection, yet it’s the simmering, seething details that give her latest work of industrial art its chutzpah.

The degree of international flair in whatever sartorial tale Morales weaves is at once present-but because she lays creative land mines here and there, playfully erasing boundaries until personal style takes centre stage, it’s hard to put your finger on exactly what the influence is. It’s even more difficult to distinguish where one thought ends and another begins, which makes the point that maturity and subtlety is only refining the work of one of Canada’s most esoteric designers.

Morales trots out some of the most wearable outfits she’s ever produced, starting with satin and lace outfits where gold dynasty embroidering on regal purple dukes it out for pop supremacy with the cream period lace of it’s quieter counterpart. The French or Nehru collars stay stiff and de rigeur even when the skirt below takes the organic workings and mad colours of the traditional Indian Sari. In this trope we see solid pairing and layering courtesy of a talented bias cut and well-placed frills.

Thankfully, Morales reprises some of the line’s most beloved signature pieces. The basket-weave coat as well as the gold lamé basket-weave pants demonstrate the designer’s flagrant disrespect for daintiness and her onus on rock and roll comfort. I was beginning to wonder if she were designing for a spring season in Greenland until I saw the gauzy chiffon tank tops in suggestive tones of nutria, and a lace camisole that had more of an Adidas look than it did boudoir sensibilities.

If that’s not enough to knock your socks off and make you scream for a catalogue, the evening-wear will do it. The basket-weave is brought back, but this time it is silky smooth for a change, swooping as a single or double layer in periwinkle cotton lightness. Many of these dreamy dresses deftly cross at the back, and (thanks to some oddly placed green fabric that looks like seaweed) evokes the vaguely aquatic. The knits achieve the same effect, and they often cooperate with chiffon to give the wearer (and the starer) a textured fashion experience. Embroidery is brought back to round out a thoroughly satisfying collection.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer