THE IT: Inside the 2010 White Cashmere Collection

Detail from Katrina Tuttle‘s design for the 2010 White Cashmere Collection, held at the AGO last week. The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation event, in which top Canadian designers create clothes made entirely out of bathroom tissue, coincides with the brand’s reintroduction of its limited-edition pink product, of which 25 cents from each package sold goes to the Foundation.

Story and photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Last week’s White Cashmere show—featuring designs from Renata Morales, Pat McDonagh, Réva Mivasagar and other top Canadian couturiers—made crafting ensembles out of bathroom tissue almost look easy, obscuring a design process swathed in challenges.

“The biggest thing is that it tears,” recalled Katrina Tuttle of creating her belted sheath dress. “That was the hardest thing to get around—figuring out what was the best way to strengthen it so the garment would hold itself up. The first day, the first 12 hours, was about trial and error.”

Sleek cocktail dresses, voluminous frocks and even a swimsuit—all formed from pink and standard-issue white Cashmere bathroom tissue—appeared across a runway navigated with careful confidence by a model contingent featuring Canada’s Next Top Model, Meaghan Waller, in a sweeping Ines Di Santo gown. Shay Lowe’s Tudor-esque ruff necklace boldly established territory for accessorizing under the TP aesthetic. Remarkably there were no casualties on the catwalk, save for a bit of downed flower detailing.

Style legend Pat McDonagh, whose striking commission evoked a candy-flossed southern belle, remembers “three weeks of utter labour” culminating in near-disaster.

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STYLE MAP: Réva Mivasagar

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Réva Mivasagar (753 Queen St. W., revadesigns.com)

Ever since Sarah Jessica Parker made it fashionably acceptable to accessorize with a bird headpiece on your wedding day, I’ve come to consider bridal fashion as more than just a white dress. Fashion designer Réva Mivasagar, however, has infused his couture wedding dresses with runway-worthy glamour for years. After studying at Central Saint Martins in London (where he roomed with Alexander McQueen), Mivasagar moved to New York and started his bridal line, which has been featured in every top bridal magazine, including Martha Stewart Weddings.

About a year ago, Mivasagar set up shop in Toronto, where he creates beautiful wedding dresses as well as a separate fashion line that soon-to-be brides often end up walking out with. “That’s our bride, more of a runway bride,” says the designer.

How did you get involved in the fashion world?

“I’ve been involved in fashion for over 25 years now. When I was in high school, I became really interested in costume and I ended up enrolling in a pretty esteemed costume school in Australia. After my first year, however, I made the cross-over into fashion.”

At what point did you start designing bridal pieces? Was the transition something you fell into or did you plan it?

“It was definitely something I fell into. About 10 years ago, I was doing eveningwear in New York and my agent asked me to create a collection of white evening gowns. It just took off as bridal. Obviously there was a market out there for women who didn’t want to look so ‘bridey’. I put some of the dresses in the window at our shop in SoHo and it became my bread and butter.”

What are the three most desirable qualities a dress should possess?

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