Opinion
2 min

Deep Dish Toronto

Northbound Leather's fashion show & Toronto Fashion Week

Northbound Leather - Sprocket Credit: Tony Fong

Modelling can be challenging. Especially when viewed by leather lovers like blogger-flogger JJ Deogracias, Xtra photographer Tony Fong and Northbound Leather owner George Giaouris at the 17th annual Northbound Leather fashion show and party at Sound Academy. Not only do you have to look good in leather and rubber (created by in-house designer Cheryl Kocot) and sometimes half-naked, you also have to know how to act horny. For some it’s not a stretch. For some being horny is an all-day affliction. Which would make being in this show a breeze. But the breeze is not all that fresh this year. Though the name iKink and its online jacked-in theme is on-point and timely (bumping, sexting, Grinding, oh my), the fashions themselves seem to lack a certain out-of-the-pig-pen creativity that one expects from Northbound. Are the days of former head designer Marty Rotman and his creative genius over? Time will tell. The show itself, however, is excellent in its execution, travelling smartly from a video projection of an online female moderator, who leads us on a leather journey linking various online activities to the fashions we see on the runway. The models themselves (less models and more fetish enthusiasts, including various kinky title holders) play their roles well. And as I overhear one attendee remark to his companion, “I’ve been coming to this event for years and I’ve never seen a penis onstage until tonight,” we see that penis twice. Not to mention a shaved vagina and a pseudo-sex-scene climax at the end involving the aforementioned penis and shaved vagina. Click. Click. Clap. Clap. Smack. Smack.

Modelling can be challenging. Especially when viewed by World MasterCard Toronto Fashion Week front-row dwellers like the radiant Suzanne Rogers, the always-smiling Glenn Dixon, the barely clothed Stacey McKenzie, old hat Jeanne Beker, and fresh blood Jay Strut. Not only do you have to look good in various designs (wicked, popping prints from Bustle Clothing, 1950s-infused cool of Klaxon Howl, skinny silhouettes of Thomas Bálint), hurriedly altered garments (designer Axel Köhler’s shorts were so tight I think they all had to shave their bush to slip them on) and usually unusually tight and very high footwear (Sid Neigum’s leather-wrapped platforms put his walkers to test), but you also have to stop yourself from getting drunk at various open-bar after-parties every night. This is the scene at Storys, the Burroughes Building, The Beaconsfield, Libertine, Holt Renfrew and countless other locations all over our fashion-conscious city. Models on the runway are one thing; they look good, walk well and give great angles. Models (and fashion-industry professionals) in real life, sans runway, can be something of a different animal. Especially when in the washrooms and the powder being applied has nothing to do with foundation. Then it’s less about the clothes and more about the nose. "I can't drink. I have a show tomorrow," says one sniffy model. "I’ll get all bloated and my skin will get blotchy." Good excuse. Now let's get loose. “He was taking a look book of his penis,” whispers another as he hurriedly exits the stall with a photographer and his fully extended lens one step behind. Sure he was. Now let's get buzzed. Click. Click. Clap. Clap. Sniff. Sniff.

Check out the slideshow above for all the fabulous photos!