Arthur Mendonça - spring/summer 2006

When tried-and-true slickness is tampered with at a fashion show, fans can either run screaming to the exit or they can try to appreciate the experiments for being gutsy and cutting-edge. Canadian design star Arthur Mendonça gave Toronto Fashion Week more reasons to do the latter.

The double-breasted vest and pouf skirt aren’t the closest of cousins, but other combinations nail the look-European sharpness that pretends to be casual and low-maintenance. Stripes do the trick in the clingy dresses and tie-wrap skirts, and in skimpy pants that cheat their way into being capris. Some of the 80’s retro that the designer broke onto the scene with-batwing sleeves one of the minor culprits-is slowly being siphoned out, thankfully. The limp, droopy sweaters with tiger faces are self-conflicted but we’ll take them, if for nothing then for variety.

Greens and golds deliver many of the collection’s goodies, and Arthur, season after season, can’t seem to resist the tropical call of banana yellow. A sultry shade of midnight blue is what he uses to prove that he’s not only about body-squeezing streamlining, using it to fashion a knee-length dress with cut-off sleeves. It’s rare to see Mendonça bucking the trends, as is the case with the lime green bias-cut prom dress for glam queens. The dandelion yellow and turquoise chiffon dresses put some stylistic distance between this and past collections. Bring on the frills! A black and green layered gown is simply dripping with them, and it crops up around hems and necklines, adding a sort of instant luxury.

The zenith of the collection appears to be a first-place tie-a melt-off-the-body leopard print sweet nothing in one corner, and in the other a floor-length white gown, swaths of voile gracefully suspended from a braided

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer