On Wednesday night we partied at a fiesta, caught a few exhibits at a gallery, relaxed with a fine-dining meal, and ducked into an exclusive speakeasy… after which things got wild as we hit the pedal to the metal at a rock concert – all in the span of five hours.  Thanks TOM*.  We owe you one.

We started off the evening in celebration at a fiesta, where the party mood got us feeling shiny and bright.  

Kenneth Barlis dazzled the crowd with a vibrant, optimistic line that was flamboyant in all the right ways. Showering us with a rainbow of velvet suits in an assortment of electric brights, this lush collection worked its magic rallying bold with bold, creating a flow of striking, extravagant looks.  Barlis tickled our festive side as he rolled out solids in buoyant shades of turquoise, fuchsia, emerald, cobalt and peach, embellished fantastically with contrasting patchwork and exquisite flowered embroidery around the shoulders.  Cheerful, floral-heavy prints were sprinkled into the rotation, alternating between leading and supporting roles.  But the party didn’t stop there.  Going all out, the designer offered up a feast of ornaments and accessories to steer the garments: glitter, sequins and crowns brought the drama (heightening), while pocket sleeves, brooches and sunglasses exuded a sleek vibe (grounding).  Charmingly cropped trousers and blazers were cleanly cut and fitted to the body, which kept the collection modern and allowed louder elements to shine.  Contour was added to chisel the features, while hair was worked with pomade to sculpt a classic look – evoking a man who delights in putting his best face forward.   The joie de vivre conjured up by Barlis’ spirited collection was entirely contagious, suggesting that sometimes more really is more.

Kenneth Barlis at TOM* (Photo by @cherosalesphoto)

Our second stop centered around exploration, where a sense of intrigue guided us through geometric abstraction and constructivism exhibitions.   

With a propensity for shapes and angles, Tristan Licud gave us a futuristic glimpse into rugged-couture sportswear.  Putting a fresh spin on conventional styles, the architecturally-trained designer breathed originality and innovation into his collection, constructing edgy, yet wearable pieces.  Licud escalated casual aspects of athleisure with his use of gritty details and embellishments.  Metal grommets, zippers, mesh and leather panels debuted on sleeves, pants and pockets, giving a rogue, industrial look with an underground feel.  Trousers were amped up with eclectic prints and textures, including a Tetris-twist on camouflage, a vertical strip of reptile-print on cargos, and ribbed wings jutting out the sides of trousers in a fun ode to avant-garde.  Moto-cross elements were introduced in two-piece sets, pairing colour-blocked shirts trimmed with zippers, leather gloves and pants that were reinforced at the knee with synchronized panels.  Finishing touches to the looks included thick gold chains and Timberland-style boots, which seamlessly complimented the tone.  Hinting at a prowess for outerwear, Licud offered a small handful of heavier (and decidedly more upscale) coats in his collection, saving the best for last: a power blue military style coat with a luxurious fur trim overlay, embellished by seriously cool chains.  Elements of the collection were refreshingly unconventional, inspiring the crowd to think outside the box.  Licud’s man is a renegade of sorts, an abstract thinker who bends rules, sculpts ideas and enjoys carving his own path.  Stay tuned to see what’s next.

Tristan Licud at TOM* (Photo by @shaynegrayphotography)

Subsequently, we found ourselves at a five-star restaurant, enjoying world-class cuisine by the fire while live instrumentals played softly in the background.  

With the most succinct collection of the evening, Shelli Oh proved a one-two punch can still knockout.  Presenting sophisticated, articulate pieces made for the refined man, this designer finessed her 15-piece collection with a delicate hand to create functional yet fetching pieces.  Silhouettes were kept clean and classic, letting nuanced patterns and textures do the talking.  Exceptionally structured blazers fit crisply over smart oxford shirts, which were boosted with excellent contrasting paneling across front plackets and collars.  Tops were tucked into slim-fitting black trousers which were cropped, proposing a trendy, retro vibe that still felt very modern.  Hair was slicked for a groomed feel, combining with elegant touches such as pocket sleeves and buckled oxfords to capture the unmistakable aura of a cultured gentleman.  Oh nailed it with exquisitely crafted two-tiered peacoats in light grey and plum (contrasted superbly with a vivacious canary-yellow scarf), and even gave us a little edge with a chic metallic overcoat that doubled as an extra long blazer.  Each garment of this collection was accessible, delightfully smart and ready to wear.  Oh works with a precision and clarity that draws in crowds by the masses, who understand that classic lives forever.

Shelli Oh at TOM* (Photo by @shaynegrayphotography)

We were thirsty, so we had our car drop us off next to a neon Laundromat sign.  After a few taps in the right staccato, an unmarked door swung open, just enough for us to slide in.

James Bond, Humphrey Bogart and Don Draper meet in a bar in 2017 – who gets the girl?  It looks like Zane Barlas knows the answer to that question, just as well as he knows how to cultivate a throwback collection that is sharp, stylish and befitting of a true connoisseur.  Drawing inspiration from the cordial elegance of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, Barlas impressed with an array of formal suits and eveningwear capable of catapulting the everyday pedestrian into a legendary protagonist.  The designer reeled us in with crisp structures and streamlined silhouettes, creating tailored pieces that delivered a freshness and authenticity to a distinctly traditional collection.  Ultra-flattering, slim-fitting blazers and overcoats in solid and plaid finishes were paired with crisp button-downs, saluted by pocket squares, brooches and flower pins for a decidedly elegant feel.  Silk neckties were used effectively to pepper in pops of colour, while classic trousers finished with oxfords and Chelsea-style boots quietly balanced their counterparts.  Pairing premium fabrics against a refined colour palette including neutrals and sophisticated shades of navy, purple and green, Barlas bestowed a sense of composure to his garments.  Sunglasses, fedoras slung low over the eyes, gloves and popped collars all exuded an air of mystery, suggesting a man who likes to decide when and how much of himself to reveal.  Hair was well-groomed and side-parted, completing the image of grace.  Barlas hit consecutive homeruns with striking 3-piece suits and beautifully crafted double-breasted wool overcoats, wooing the audience who sat in awe, spellbound.  This dressed-to-the-nines collection transported us to an era of mannered charm and glamour, and we were hooked.  Barlas presented a well-kept man, the leader of the pack who pursues that which he desires with assured conviction.  We’ll drink to that.

Zane Barlas at TOM* (Photo by @cherosalesphoto)

It was the last stop of the night, and we wanted to end with a bang.  We scored tickets to an epic rock concert, where we did all sorts of fun things we can’t tell you about.

As TOM*s official closer, Hendrixroe (designed by the fabulous Jordan Erin McKay) brought the house down, transforming her show into an explosive rock & roll concert and the audience into willing groupies.  As an amplified electric guitar riff pierced the room, a cloud of smoke infiltrated through the neon lights, cranking the Richter way up. Leading the pack was the current face of the brand, Alexander Ryan, who opened the show swinging in an acid green metallic bomber, slung over oversized plaid and velvet, his knotted dreads peeking out from under a fedora.  He eyed up the crowd with a mischievous smirk.  Game on.  Hendrixroe’s collection slayed with 26 dynamic looks that played homage to the look and feel of iconic glam rock, merging influences spanning the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and extracting the funkiest elements worthy of superstardom.  Drawing on a variety of flashy colours, fabrics, textures and prints, the designer produced hit after hit, branching into rock, metal, grunge, bohemian and punk looks – all of which the bad boys of the runway donned with a charmingly cavalier sort of confidence.  Standouts included a knee-length leopard print coat with a wicked black wrap, a metallic red jacket with ribbed sleeves that screamed rock star, and a sublime light grey three-piece suit with brown velvet detailing.  Doc Martins and disheveled hair roughed up the looks, while glowing skin suggested an entertainer fresh off a performance.  Dope fedoras in a mix of distressed and painted finishes were worn tilted, stamping each look with swagger.  Models were given free reign to improvise on the runway, creating characters through their walks, and turning the show into spontaneous performance art.  Not only was it exciting to watch, but more importantly, it served the show by underscoring the unpredictable, provocative nature of the character embodied by the collection.  Judging by the numerous cheers and whistles erupting throughout the show, the sold-out audience got what they came for.

Hendrixroe at TOM* (Photo by @shaynegrayphotography)

By: Suzanna Ornoch