toronto fashion week: duy

(images via front row mag)

it could be argued that the fall 2011 duy collection, with its inspiration found in daphne guinness, was trying too hard.  indeed, some reviews of the show argued that very point and though i’m not sold on the argument one has to “know her” because she’s allegedly so obscure (yeah, i’m not sure who, with any real understanding of fashion would think that, either), but there is something a little gimmicky in selecting the fashionies’ reigning queen of artistry as muse for your range.  sometimes something called subtlety is better employed in garnering attention.

for the thing is, of the pieces themselves—often gray and black with occasional navy or leopard print and trimmed with fur and lace, alongside classic british fabrics such as wool and tweed—well, they were the kind of things those with avant garde tastes flock to.  (and indeed, one wonders how the designer might have fared showing in a ‘higher-credibility’ market such as new york or london.)

but for a moment, a bit of background on the brand.  according to the tfw site, the montreal-based label was founded back in 2001 by duy nguyen, a vietnam-born, canadian-raised designer.  “My clothes are edgy and innovative yet very wearable. They have a refined sensibility with unexpected details to catch the eye,” he says and strives to use the finest materials, tailoring, and patterns in his creations.

while more positive reviews enthused that ms. guinness herself would have admired the show, and i will admit some of the pieces indeed resembled what we have come to expect from her, it is still this adoption of muse which gives me pause. certainly i admire her aesthetic and creative outlook myself, but all the same find his choice inexplicably gauche.  perhaps it is that she is so synonymous with the art-fashion movement it seems almost like a self-review, a labeling before the collection has even been released of ‘the loveliest-made eccentric fashions’ (as we know the lady in question wears) and also seemingly implying approval of hers without any actual known opinion of that sort.

yes, i think it’s the allusion to self-branding as an exceptional maker of quirky pieces.  are they that?  perhaps (yes, even), but shouldn’t that be for the critics and customers to decide?  and maybe he does need to know her, after all—there is something that feels a little icky in riding the tidal wave of her fashion fame to acclaim and web hits rather than collecting it of your own accord.  but…welcome to the internet age.

(see a video on the show’s beauty looks here)

updated: with new images

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