'70s Bond girl sophistication inspires latest collection from Izzy Camilleri

TORONTO - A sparkling new salon in the city's tony Yorkville neighbourhood served as the unconventional venue for the unveiling of Izzy Camilleri's spring collection whose sultry offerings drew inspiration from '70s style.

Star stylist Marc Anthony collaborated with the Toronto-based designer who showcased her latest works at his eponymous salon. It is slated to have its grand opening next week.

Form-fitting dresses teamed with 3/4-sleeved jackets gave way to more free-form silhouettes seen in shift and pleated dresses. A draped, off-the-shoulder black mini-dress with sweeping grey and white swirl pattern offered sexiness with ease.

High-neck halter tops and flowing dresses were boldly accented by large brown stones, adding regal, eye-catching detailing around the neckline.

The collection showcased strong patterns like leopard jacquard saturated in chocolate brown, while also featuring pieces in solid colours including grey, copper and cream.

Dresses and suits popped with bright additions of hot pink seen in skinny belts and heels, reminiscent of the recent L'Oreal Fashion Week where accessories burst with fluorescent and electric hues.

"We started with a James Bond girl, kind of more of the '70s James Bond girl - really sophisticated, sexy, knows who she is," Camilleri said in an interview following the show. "My clothes kind of lend itself to that kind of look."

Camilleri said she and Anthony first started talking in September about staging the runway show in his salon.

"We came to the location and it was still under renovation, but they had already figured out how the models would be walking and right off the bat it felt really good."

Before style watchers inside the venue got a peek at the collection, models showcasing Camilleri's designs first had to brave sub-zero temperatures Wednesday evening to walk the red carpet path outside the salon before heading indoors.

"The greatest thing about fashion is that anything really goes. You kind of break the rules," said Anthony, who has styled the famous manes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kate Bosworth and Paris Hilton. "So in the middle of December, having an outdoor/indoor fashion show seemed like an interesting thing to do."

"I love the fact of having the red carpet outside, and our photos that launched this location on the outside of the building are all about old Hollywood glam with a contemporary feel, so it just felt like the right thing to do, and I really wanted to test the stamina of the models."

Prior to this week's runway show, Anthony said he and Camilleri, along with his creative team, had collaborated for several years on her previous collections and look books.

"I just love working with Izzy because she's just so inspirational in her work and creative energy just feeds off each other," she said. "I love her designs, and she's such a craftsman when it comes to meticulous designs."

When it came to the hair, Anthony said the duo had two distinct but definitive looks they aimed to create for spring in the show.

"What we were going after was a real throwback to rock-and-roll, almost like bad girl meets good girl, very unstructured styles in the haircuts and as you saw with the clothing," he said.

"You had some that were a little bit more elegant, more polished, but then some that were just really let loose and sort of sex-kitten style. It was just beautiful."