David Dixon - spring/summer 2006

It’s no secret that When David Dixon puts a collection together, one of its biggest drawing point is the thematic unity, and the spring-summer 2006 collection revealed at Toronto Fashion Week was no different.

The subtle and the overstated both have a place in Dixon’s ode to bumpkin austerity and war-era elegance. The simple straight-cut grey cotton dresses with apron-like nappy are shockingly simple, which goes to show that you can have exquisite design delivered in a plain package, of course with Dixon touches here and there.

The dimpled and textured fabrics, sometimes used in collage, are what give the collection teeth. The yellow jacquard-print jacket worn over an organza and silk bridesmaid dress is an ensemble whose awkwardness is redeemed by the ghostly beauty of the look itself.

It’s good to see that pretty maidens won’t have to sweat through the summer, because there are capri pants and wispy feathered tops, silk camisoles, as well as other gauzy skimpies. Many of these appear to be direct lifts from the designer’s greatest hits of previous collections, but why not press the rewind button? Everybody’s doing it, whether that’s for better or for worse.

Europe has its eye on ultra-feminine lines done up in white for the coming balmy months, but Dixon has always been a master of manipulating the degrees of interplay between white and its alter ego, black. This season it’s stripy blouses that are rigourous in silhouette as well as in shading.

Square cuts play a central role this season, roughing up the daintiness of the skirts and dresses. The charcoal grey housedress with its murky bricolage of leafy patterns toys with the uniform look, then betrays that notion by showing a little slip at the bottom. The squareness doesn’t always skirt the boundaries with such flattering results. The boxy caftan hybrid jackets look more like army gear than fashion, one qualm in such a tastefully appointed and well-planned collection.

A great tradition would have been lost to the fashion reels of yore had Dixon not finished things up with black evening-wear, ruffling feathers on the runway as well as off. The skirts, with their billowing volume, are made for dancing. This goes to show that no matter how muted or serious a collection David Dixon devises, there’s always room to let go.

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer