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Chatting with Christopher Bates

Toronto Men’s Fashion Week designer talks suits and shorts

Christopher Bates, centre, knows a good suit when he sees one.

Credit: Rolyn Chambers

If you’ve got the legs, designer Christopher Bates has the shorts.

Known for his modern take on the business suit, Bates mixed business with pleasure on the runway for Toronto Men’s Fashion Week at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Business comes from the luxurious fabrics that support slim suit silhouettes. “My goal is to constantly refine the suit and make it as modern and contemporary as I feel is appropriate,” Bates says. “My suits are modern. They are not super slim lapels or wide lapels, which is still preferred by some designers. It’s fitted but doesn’t hug the body. It’s tailored so that it skims the body. I think it’s quite timeless.”

Pleasure comes in the form of thigh-exposing tailored shorts, worn by thick-legged models such as Paul Mason (who is retiring later this year). “I don’t think they are really that short,” Bates says. “It’s a tailored short. They’re cotton, they’re breathable. I practically live in them in the summer. They are a staple piece.”

But like the little black dress (or the mini-skirt), you have to have the legs for them. “Guys that wear them are guys that work out,” says Bates (who also has model-worthy good looks and a fit, toned physique). “They have nice legs and don’t need to be wearing baggy shorts or shorts down to their knees. They deserve to show off their legs.”

And we deserve to see them do exactly that.