It’s that time of year again – where style aficionados and creative directors in Canada’s largest city begin gearing up for next month’s fashion week.
Toronto’s fashion scene is something you certainly do not want to sleep on since it has proven itself to be a recognizable force by being the home to a few designers that have made their mark across the globe.
Among global super talents such as Erdem, Dan and Dean Caten (Dsquared²) and Joe Mimran (Joe Fresh & Club Monaco), is a rising designer and Mississauga native with a quintessential eye for modern elegance; Michael Zoffranieri and his label ZOFF.
Zoffranieri’s creative vision is a channel for his sentiments of life, while his designs are a distinct echo of courtiers that have impacted his inspirational process. The luxury evening-wear’s label is crafted through the lens of European-styles by using the finest silks and lace with a finish that is equally timeless and enchanting.
We caught up with Zoffranieri in Toronto to discuss the influences behind his collections and what to expect on the runway next September.
Sometimes, heros wear cape skirts. And sometimes they don’t! ??♂️ Who is your hero? My hero is that person who keeps going no matter what they are dealing with; the Mother’s of the world; the people who love fearlessly; the people who follow their dreams. My mom. #artismovement #ZOFFgala18 Photo: @juliakzphoto Jewelry: @ritatesolin Model: @mashliz
How does your mantra Art is Movement fit into your designs this season?
I find that with anything I do, whether it is runway or presentations it truly all goes back to my style. Everyday pieces – or those special pieces that you can wear when you are really feeling good about yourself –encapsulates what is happening in the spring 2019 collection.
I really do want to create not only a physical movement but also a conversational or social movement with the clients that I have. For this season Art is Movement is pushing towards having a discussion.
Is there a particular thing or person that inspires your clothing?
The things that inspire me are just being out in the streets or travelling. I recently got the opportunity to go to Paris for a little business/inspiration trip this past December to see the Dior exhibit and that was creatively informative. Also, just being in the city that inspires some of the greatest fashions and being around women who travel to these places I think is great to have that conversation.
I would say sharing stories of my life as well as the women who wear my pieces is a dialogue that inspires me to keep creating.
Who are some designers, past and present, known or unknown, whose work you admire?
A past designer that inspires me is Elsa Schiaparelli. I think her work is very 1920s to 1940s cool. Her work is just fantastic. She has worked with a lot of artists and now seeing that brand come back and the designers who are actually working that house is very cool. As for contemporary designers, they are Simone Rocha and Giambattista Valli.
We stick together: fashion is a collaborative process. From design, to material sourcing, to sharing it with you, it is not a one person job. Sometimes… It can be difficult to trust people with their vision. Different perspectives can challenge each other. The people I get to work with make this all possible, and I thank them for their trust in me. #ferociouslyZOFF #artismovement #aseatatthetableforeveryone
How do you feel about showcasing your designs at Toronto Fashion Week?
I think it is really interesting having the privilege to showcase clothing at a fashion week anywhere in the world, but particularly in Toronto since it is my hometown and the home base of my collection. It is interesting because with Toronto Fashion Week and the partnership we have with them, and the businesses in [Yorkville Village], it’ll be cool to see that it’s not just about the runway. It is about taking it to the street – whether it is beyond the streets of the runway or going to a restaurant and seeing clothing inspired by fashion designers – I think this upcoming fashion week will be something very memorable.
How does it feel to share a platform with designers just as skillful as you, and how mindful are you with your unveiling?
It is inspiring to be among such talented contemporary designers in Toronto, while also having the privilege to be honoured amongst them through this experience. I take my own creativity and ask, ‘what needs to be shared?’ after seeing a platform I say, ‘what message do I want to say this season, and how can I do it now?’. I find that Toronto Fashion Week will be able to get the word out the most effectively and I cannot wait to share with Toronto, and the rest of the world, what I have to say this season.
What do you love most about unveiling your collection at Toronto Fashion Week?
I love the interaction that I can have with the clients and even the models who wear the clothes, that is the coolest thing being back stage. We are also doing a private presentation the day before – so getting a feel for what is going to happen with the collection and how that will live beyond the runway.
What can we expect to see next month on the runway?
Expect to see space inspired pieces – out of this world but also something that is understandable as well as relatable. [The collection] comes from a really close place in my heart. My grandmother passed away within the last few weeks, and looking through photos and remembering family moments that I have never seen before really solidified where I was going with this collection. Also expect to see late 1960s inspired beauty and hair. Beauty will be by Simone Otis with Shoppers Drug Mart and hair is going to be created by Jorge Joao with Redken.
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