Hayley Elsaesser Brings 'Midnight Cowboy' to her Second Runway Show at Toronto Fashion Week

After a few failed attempts at meeting one another due to our hectic schedules, Hayley Elsaesser and I had finally connected during last week's Toronto World MasterCard Fashion Week.  I was beyond stoked - almost like a giddy school girl! It was such a genuine pleasure to personally connect with her as opposed to electronically. She's beyond dope!

Hayley Elsaesser is an eclectic Aussie gem and Canadian-based contemporary fashion designer for the luxury streetwear market. She debuted her second World MasterCard Fashion Week show in Toronto, where she revealed her Midnight Cowboy-inspired collection on the runway. Elsaesser’s vibrant fall/winter 2015 collection showcased neon camouflage and animal prints, vibrant orange and lime-green furs and her signature snake graphics.

“It’s Western meets disco meets a little bit of Japanese Samari,” she said. “I had a bunch of ideas and I chose two or three and just mixed them together!”

Not only was her collection loads of fun, so was her runway music selection. It had the crowd moving in their seats!

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Elsaesser is known for her bold and luxurious fabrics and prints. Her animated eight ball graphic wearing a blue cowboy hat, contrasted well with the red, purple and green cheetah print bomber jacket. It was definitely a crowd favourite and personally, a must have!

My mind is crazy enough as it is so believe it or not, my ideas come completely sober!” she said jokingly.

For this collection, Elsaesser experimented with intarsia knit for the first time, which resulted in an ultra-cool, multi-coloured camo print set. In addition, this was also her first collection incorporating menswear.

In my world, this is the darkest I've ever gone,” she said. Normally, I like to have pink and have my collection a little bit more girly but this time, I went more masculine… Playing with oranges and greens is a departure from what I do.”

Being a left-wing realist (so to speak) as the creative director of her brand, Elsaesser put on a beautiful and fun show, showcasing models in various shapes, sizes, and ages. Being that her aesthetic speaks to the luxurious streetwear market, she casted talent from local street kids to modern hipsters, and from friends to legitimate models. 

“For all the designing and casting, I do that myself,” she said, but for added street cred, she called upon Toronto-based stylist to help pull her runway looks together by mismatching pieces from her entire collection.

“I have a stylist who helped style the runway and the look book and that's Romany Williams. She helped me pull it all together!” she  said.

George Pimentel / Getty Images

George Pimentel / Getty Images

Elsaesser's attention to detail certainly doesn’t go unnoticed — the neon hair extensions and pop nail art contrasted well with the entire collection.

“The hair came to me when I was flying back from London… I really had to start thinking about what I was going to do with the hair on the runway… All of a sudden it came to when the plane landed. They’re hair extensions that look like coloured feathers!”

When asked about the future of her brand, her response was much needed rest.

“I haven’t thought of my next collection as yet. My next plan is to just have a nap for a week and then I’ll regroup!”

Hayley Elsaesser’s collections will be available online and in a select few Toronto shops and boutiques. 

“My spring/summer line will be available for another month online,” she said, “But it will be in TNT in Toronto soon. Typically, online is always my biggest thing.”