Ula Zukowska - spring/summer 2006

If I had an inkling that Canadian designers were going to be avoiding pastels like the plague for spring-summer 2006, then Ula Zukowska confirmed it at Toronto Fashion Week with the unveiling of a collection as subtle and sensuous as ever.

Lift a glass of champagne to your lips, because that’s the colour that Toronto’s quirkiest fashion maven has chosen to usher in the new season.

High-waisted satin pants are paired with funky black batwing tops with hallmark Ula crinkling. The effect is dramatized by triple layering, a bolero-style vest being the added touch. Accents of orange julep and gold brighten up the otherwise earthy palette.

The real kick, however, is provided by the microfibre organza. Whose faces are peering through those silk-screened creations that defy gravity and the stuffy laws of fashion design? Flowing tops and bottoms are matched to give maximum movement, though it would be a shame to get this designer stuff snagged in a taxi seat-belt buckle. Dresses in gossamer silk, reigned in at the shin, also feature these secret identity headshots.

An Ula collection without traditional period referencing would be a little too futuristic for most of us. That’s why it’s a delight to see the subversion of the Chanel suit, refitted with a cabbage collar and pouf elbows. It’s no easy feat to do this while maintaining all the sinuous lines of the couture look.

Lo and behold, the collection has a commercial bounce in its step, with some of the separates standing out as wardrobe must-haves. Here it is the less elaborate pieces, namely the simple silk-screened tops, that scream volumes above the rest. After getting a taste of this new simplified vision, how can we ever go back?

Daniel Cox, Fashion Editor
Marek Wlazlo, Photographer