Since his first debut, Philip Sparks has transformed the runway into a stage for thematic performances. Like a season at the opera, Sparks has been unfolding each drama with mounting crescendo.
Think back to the backdrop of Sparks’ 2008 Spring collection, which featured the sleek man of the flying 40’s strolling by Dutch waterways on pale summer afternoons.
Personifying the vintage mug shots of the celebrated photographer Mark Michaelson, Sparks’ 2008 Fall collection hailed the untold stories of ordinary people throughout generations of yore.
Inspired by Joseph Sterling’s book, the Age of Adolescence, Sparks’ 2009 Spring collection dramatized the hormonally charged youth of the fabulous 50’s.
The cast of his 2009 Fall collection is performing a duet of traditional Canadian styles and literary images from Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf—a story about a Soviet young pioneer who lassoes a wolf that devours his duck and leads the captured wolf to the zoo in a procession of hunters.
At a mere 26 years of age, Sparks orchestrates the entire production!
Desirous of a narrow vintage look, Sparks first tried his hand at making his own clothes on his mother’s old sewing machine when he was 16. Soon, he found himself sewing for teachers and classmates alike, even launching a small line that sold in stores.
After high school, Sparks went on to study fashion design at Seneca College, graduating as valedictorian of his class. Before launching his own label, Sparks worked in the costume departments of the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. His costume research played a significant role in mastering traditional techniques, as well as providing captivating themes for his collections.
Vintage photographs are his favorite inspiration, followed by old artifacts and heirlooms.
Turn off my play list below and, as the curtain rises, sit back and enjoy the Sparks of Toronto’s Peter and the Wolf.
Photo 2009 f/w collection Copyright by Philip Sparks.