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TORONTO With a 43,000-square-foot ballroom as the canvas, the Fashion Design Council of Canada and venue design coordinator Rob Dittmer of Three Events had a lot of room to play with when it came to setting the scene for LG Fashion Week, which got under way at the Allstream Centre on Sunday. (The presentation of the fall collections continues until Thursday.) “Usually the Fashion Environment is about 10,000 square feet,“ Dittmer said of the area where guests can mingle between shows. “It’s doubled in size to more than 20,000 square feet this season.”
The F.D.C.C., which had originally planned to present this season's collections at a venue on King Street West before making plans to relocate to a warehouse on the edge of Liberty Village, announced the move to the Allstream Centre (the former Automotive Building at Exhibition Place) a mere two weeks before the event started.
“We spent two weeks in the warehouse, but it just wasn’t feasible,” said Megan Loach, communications director for the F.D.C.C. The move to Allstream, which she described as “gorgeous” and “huge,” enabled organizers to expand the event—the runway room holds 1,200—and include an on-site boutique featuring fashions from 17 Canadian designers for the first time. “There’s more room for everything,” Loach said.
However, the larger venue wasn't without its challenges, Dittmer said. “The first challenge was, how are we going to create a big foyer, which we call the gallery,” Dittmer said. “We wanted to make the entrance really sexy.” Dittmer built a dividing wall and hung a series of black and white images by Hanoch Drori alongside mannequins dressed in white paper dresses to create a grand entrance to the Fashion Environment, filled with black and gold decor.
“I guess the inspiration for [the Fashion Environment] came when Robin talked to me about the opening and closing parties and she talked about voguing,“ Dittmer said of the vision presented by F.D.C.C. president Robin Kay. “That’s what sparked the disco balls and gold chandeliers. With the theme being the Power of Style, we needed some bling.”
Dittmer used glossy gold chairs and sofas from Furnishings by Corey to create four intimate lounge areas at each corner of the dance floor. Floor-to-ceiling purple velvet draping distinguishes the two entrances into the runway room and the entrance into the V.I.P. and V.V.I.P. lounge spaces—accessed by guests of presenting sponsors LG Electronics Canada, L’Oréal Paris, and the F.D.C.C.—is flanked by black lion statues with the event tag line “The Power of Style” displayed in gold lettering atop a black wall.
The runway room is also larger than in past seasons and features a 115-foot white runway. “Because it’s such a huge room, we blacked out the chairs with slip covers,” Dittmer said, noting that the laminated passes for media, sponsors, and industry guests are colour coded to match seating sections within the runway space.
“I think people are genuinely more happy because we are inside a big building,“ Dittmer said. “You can tell. The sound is amazing and the lighting is amazing.”
Event sponsors include LG Electronics Canada, L'Oréal Paris, Joe Fresh Style, Barbie, Sears, DHL, Rowenta, Schick Quattro for Women, Peroni Italy, Holt Renfrew, Tetra Pak, Woolite Zero, and Yorkdale.