Our trip to Toronto, on Porter Airways, for TOM, Toronto Men’s Fashion Week, was an eye opening experience. TOM is the most important and influential platform for menswear designers and brands in Canada. We were very anxious to see the new collection of designer Xian Wong for Fall Winter 2018.
Originally from Harbin, the city of intertwined Chinese and Russian culture located in China’s Northernmost province, Xian came to Canada to study fashion design at Lasalle College. Since an early age, his refined interest in the arts pushed him to experiment with painting, sketching, and working with other mediums that he would later translate into wearable art. His inspiration is invoked by his love for architecture, structure, and design along with his intuitive ability to work with textiles. The designer finds innovation raises the bar with men’s fashion design. Xian Wang appearance at TOM*, and his last FW17 ‘AXANTHIC’ Collection led to editorial features in British GQ and Italian Vogue.
A series of mishaps the day before the designer was to debut his Vein Fall Winter 2018 Collection did not deter the designer. With clothing for the collection and shoes from TOM sponsor Town Shoes stolen from their vehicle the day before the show Xian found renewed energy to recreate some of the hand-painted leather jackets and pants that were stolen, including the open and closing looks for the show.
After a frantic drive back to Montreal during a snowstorm to retrieve backup samples the designer began an early morning workroom session. By 8:00 am Xian had recreated two pairs of pants, a new shirt and airbrushed two leather jackets. With the snow storm continuing the designer and PR manager Sophon Chou drove back to Toronto with only hours to spare before the show.
The XIAN FW18 VEIN Collection show opened with the freshly painted lamb leather jacket, airbrushed by Xian only a few hours earlier, and ended with a closing look that took the audience’s breath away. Model Clint E exuded confidence, style, and attitude in an all-white luxury fur coat and white fox fur trapper’s hat, with materials from Montreal brand The Malahai. Toronto’s Navio Designs clean and industrial jeweler, adding a masculine strength to the fur, grounded the look.
The entire collection oozed rock and roll sex appeal, with a slight nod to XIAN’s love for punk, gothic, mixing textures, and of course his color of choice, black. This standout collection was topped off with custom millinery from Toronto’s Jaycow Milner, and Montreal brand CAPTVE’s handcrafted jeweler, which was recently at the Guillermo del Toro AGO ‘Monster’s exhibit. The looks were polished off with sunglasses from Holly Eyewear, which added to the 1980’s glam rock feel. Despite all of the setbacks leading up to this show, it was clear from the applause at the end of the show; the VEIN collection is a hit!
Photography: Che Rosales.