David Dixon: Barbie

Toronto’s LG Fashion Week rolled out the pink carpet outside its tented venue at Nathan Phillips Square as David Dixon presented a limited-edition collection inspired by Barbie.

Dixon did double duty as he kicked off the event Monday night, first presenting a signature fall 2009 collection, followed a selection of designs which brought the iconic doll to life on the runway.

Dixon channelled contemporary and classic looks with a mix of both refined and bold prints as black, ivory and Barbie’s signature hot pink prevailed as the dominant colour story in the collection.

The designer presented a variety of jacket styles for fall/winter 2009-10, opening the collection with an eye-popping empire coat in pink, while later incorporating the vibrant hue into a houndstooth peacoat.

While houndstooth was in abundance in the designs, it also gave way for other bold, graphic patterns from crosshatch – resembling multiple intersecting lines – on wool coats and empire dresses, to mosaic patterns that added unique texture, dimension and detailing to jacquard jackets.

He even incorporated a vintage print in a tie blouse and dress inspired by the signature black-and-white swimsuit donned by the original Barbie launched in 1959.

Dixon’s dresses ranged from the traditional shift style to bias ribbon dresses and gowns which closed out the collection featuring bountiful folds cascading down the length of the dresses.

Dixon said he was approached by Mattel Canada several months ago to do a ready-to-wear collection in honour of the doll’s 50th anniversary.

“She was an aspirational figure for me and the women I design for are people who inspire me, so really, Barbie became that,” Dixon said backstage following the show.

The designer said while he looked to the archives to help draw inspiration for his plastic muse, he had a clear vision of wanting to create a collection for the everyday modern-day women of all backgrounds.

Dixon’s collection comes on the heels of New York Fashion Week last month where designers including Michael Kors, Badgley Mischka and Vera Wang were among those tapped to dress 50 models who wore Barbie-inspired ensembles.

Beyond the fashions on the runway, pink was used to ample effect from the warm light that bathed the entryway to runway where a chandelier was affixed overhead, to the blast of confetti that showered the catwalk at the conclusion of the runway show.

Prior to the presentation of the Barbie collection, men wearing cheeky T-shirts emblazoned with “Ken Who?…” walked out onto the runway carrying trays stacked with canned cocktails with straws tucked inside to distribute to stylewatchers in attendance.

It was a slightly more subdued atmosphere on the runway with Dixon’s signature collection called Brave, which preceded the Barbie-inspired designs.

The fall 2009 designs showcased more muted colours and monochromatic colour pairings, sticking largely to black, white and grey with the occasional infusions of colour.

Unlike his spring collection which featured a number of free-flowing dresses, the silhouette was overall slightly scaled down to a more form-fitting look, notably in the elegant silk wool shift and slinky one-shoulder glazed jersey dress.

But he didn’t shy away from draped detailing such as the elongated widened sleeves on the foiled wool kimono and dress. He also made bold mixes of fabrics and patterns, such as one dress that featured a patent leather bodice with a skirt comprised of multi-coloured silk charmeuse.

Embroidered black feathers and dazzling black beading were put to use on organza separates including a lush dress and flowing trapeze top.

Pants transitioned from full length to flirting just above the ankle, featured fabrics and designs from glazed wool and wool angora to grey plaid.

Fashion Week continues until Saturday.

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