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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