Wednesday, August 27, 2014


By Lynda Castonguay

TOM*FW - Day 1 (Part 2)

Photo by Shayne Gray / courtesy of TOM*FW

Benji WZW

In an interview with Graham Slaughter for The Star, designer Benji had this to say about his collection: “It was all about self-destruction, pain that becomes pleasure at a certain point. Smiling so much that no one ever knows what’s wrong [...] It was really about looking at imagery of violence and how does that turn into an emotional reaction for the audience and people who wear it”.

From that, already you have a sense of what kind of collection it was. It was dark and sad. Filled with pain; pain masked behind the intrinsically, both literally and symbolically, beautiful rose. 

First out, a full black look with the word Roses screamed across the t-shirt. What followed were further signs of the collection’s hidden misery. Bright red and yellow printed short sleeved shirts with emotionally heavy words of “Roses are Drowning” and “Baby, do you want to see me cry” running across. The irony was the happy faces splattered on the shirts - both in digital and plastic token form.

On long sleeveless work jacket vests, they topstitched contrast thread all the way into roses - one jacket actually let the thread hang undone to reach the floor and be dragged.

As if there wasn’t enough anguish already, some models were muzzled with a gold mouth piece - was this a story about someone in pain not having a voice?

All in all, the collection was double sided, at once dark, at once optimistic. Their play with roses may have been the designer’s defining element - the forever hopeful in most of us that there is beauty even when there is pain. 

Photos by Tricia Sam (Click to enlarge)

Photos by Tricia Sam

Christopher Bates

Four shows of futuristic, digitally printed, pyjama clad samurai fencers later, Christopher Bates took the stage and had something completely different to say about spring summer 2015. 

Gone are the draped pants, oversized shirts and sleep-easy clothing. Mr. Bates put his modern gentleman in casual fitted pants, classic knits, tip top work shirts and tennis shorts in a palette of desert hues and appealing blues.

Paul Mason, the model of all models, took the stage first in a dusty blue notch collared jacket, with pocket square of course, fitted white pants, and blue suede shoes - the ultimate cool dude. 

A dusty brown casual shirt and beige shorts really nailed the effortless summer look, so too did adriatic blue shorts and white and blue long sleeve knit sweaters. Both complimented the male form.

The collection was a welcomed dose of reality after the other designers. It was clean cut, polished and approachable; very put together but effortless. The separates were transferable from day to night and the colour palette was made up of universally agreeable colours. 

Rest assured that the Christopher Bates man is self-assured. This is the guy that looks good and feels good in any situation. Whether at work, on a boat, in a plane, on foot, out for dinner, on a date, at an event, at a wedding, on his bike, you name it; this man is comfortable in style. As my brother once said “Look good. Feel good. Do good.

Photos by Tricia Sam

Photos by Tricia Sam

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