Joe Freezy (also known as Joe Fresh, also known as Joe Mimran) creates exciting menswear for spring/summer 2012
We, just like everyone we know, have balked at Joe Fresh for being a grocery store brand at a fashion week—why are people getting excited about $10 crew-neck T-shirts for men and cheap pencil skirts for women? Not to mention that not everything made goes into production, which is problematic when most of the time Joe Mimran is creating plenty of items that his audience wants (cheaply). Last night, Joe Mimran packed his runway with Canadian model powerhouses, including Heather Marks, Liisa Winkler, Kirsten Owen, Alana Zimmer and Yasmine Warsame; even rising-star model Frances Coombe walked in the show (but she’s been working all week and deserves it), proving once again that Joe has the best models (or at the very least the most exciting models). He showed a series of looks that made up a rather cohesive collection, including leathers, neoprene and daisy crochet knits for women, but what we were truly shocked by was the menswear—we’d buy almost all of it, and we’re left wondering: will it ever make it into stores? Our review of the scene, the show and a full gallery of the collection after the jump.
The house was fully stocked with boldface names, with society fixtures like philanthropist Catherine Nugent, art collector W. Bruce C. Bailey, media mogul Moses Znaimer, Zoomer’s Suzanne Boyd, House and Home’s Lynda Reeves, singer Keshia Chante, Pink Tartan designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran, Loblaw magnate Galen Weston Jr., Dr. Trevor Born, Alexandra Weston, Teen Vogue’s Gloria Baume, Marie Claire’s Abigail Kalicka, Glamour’s Rachael Wang, Victoria Webster, Steven Sebring, Holt Renfrew president Mark Derbyshire and too many more to name—it was so full that people littered the steps of the bleachers to catch a glimpse of the show. Joe was wowing everyone, including style scribe Sarah Nicole Prickett, who was overheard saying, “I’d buy this shit,” and a gentleman behind us, who was commenting on most of the menswear (and the men’s bodies—again, Joe gets good models). We saw Joe orange in many forms, like contrasting collars, men’s slacks and on the soles of shoes (is orange the new brick sole?), but what we loved the most was the use of patterns and textures on shirts, pants, blazers and dresses—it felt like a sense of humour was being injected into Toronto menswear, which for years has been all too consistent. An amorphous, igloo-like neoprene coat reminded one editor of last week’s Thomas Tait show, commenting, “Thomas Tait by Joe Fresh,” but in a way that seemed congratulatory of Mimran’s effort to be edgy.
Patterned pants and blazers for men were a hit, using bright colours and paisley-like prints to sell the message that Joe Fresh is in the business of menswear, too, and a striped sweater vest made us actually want to wear a sweater vest, which before last night was not an option. We loved the two-toned pleated skirt in blue and green and the use of colour blocking on the sleeves of button-up shirts for women. But not everything soared—wide-legged two-toned denim on women looked kind of flat and unflattering compared to what else was on offer, and we didn’t care for the green leather skirt, either, which we know can’t be produced to its fullest potential, since Joe Fresh aims to be accessible (that, and the lace-up front closure will not look good on anyone). Another pant miss was a white slack on a leggy male model, who swam in the wide-leg. But if Joe Fresh is in the business of making the frugal shopper want to buy $30 dresses, pants, shirts and shoes (we can’t promise everything will be $30, but it will be inexpensive), then we think it was a successful run this season—he may own a once-exclusive-to-grocery-stores brand, and to some that may seem terribly gauche, but he knows what women want (cheap), and now he’s doing it for men, too.