ANNIE THOMPSON’S DREAMLAND – Fall Winter 2013/2014

September 26, 2013, 8:59pm   A string of tall beauties commence their final walk down the makeshift runway of the show’s concrete venue: an old narrow storage garage, complete with dust-covered windows, random scraps of wood and rusting metal, and a huge contraption midway down the corridor, the use of which still escapes me. (It looks pretty awesome though.) Warm yellow light pours out into the night air. The applause of those in attendance echos through the narrow corridor as the two-piece orchestra continues to jam along with the ambient melodies flowing through the speaker systems.

Amid the music and good cheer our heroine, cloaked in chartreuse and black, takes center stage. Graciously, she takes the hands of her closest team members and hoists them triumphantly into the air. More applause; more music; more laughter; more wine! Followed by a kick-ass sale of the previewed pieces right out of her studio.

Not a bad way to launch your latest collection.


Admittedly, a runway show in an old garage is not what most would consider a typical fashion setting.  But then Annie Thompson is no typical ladies’ wear designer. Dividing her time between soaking up inspiration in Toronto, her studio, and her safe haven in Wasaga Beach, (not to mention her annual trip to India), Annie’s tireless efforts to create unique pieces and equally unique experiences in which to showcase them is an on-going labour of love.

Studio Photography: Michael Amansec

Key elements of the Annie Thompson Fall 2013/Winter 2014  include:

  • Some classic Annie Thompson silhouettes, but with different colour palettes (predominantly splashes of orange, lime green, chartreuse and teal alongside bold black and white, tied together with varying shades of grey), fabrications and textures.
  • Her newest bags from her “Personal Baggage” collection, hand-dyed scarves, and hand-crafted jewelry from her accessory line, “The Hebbi”, all of which are one-of-a-kind.
  • Several pieces featuring prints of Annie’s own hand-drawn designs, inspired by the culture and geography of India.
  • An array of “transformative” or “multi-wear” pieces, the versatility of which were personally demonstrated by her on the models during the runway show.

I’ve affectionately dubbed Annie’s creations as “fashion crack” – she keeps you wanting more! Of course, my visit would not be complete without a romp through the racks. Needless to say, I left with a lighter change purse and a fuller closet. (I’m sure assistant Anjali’s “special concoction” influenced much of my shopping decisions. Good thing I only had two small cups!)


I caught up with Annie at her atelier two weeks later to reflect on the success of her latest show.


Veronica Hufana: You’re Fall 2013/Winter 2014 showcase is called “I Operate Well in Dreamland”. Explain to us the significance behind the name.


Annie Thompson: A lot of designers operate with a theme in mind; I generally don’t. I work from one piece to the next, whenever I get an inspiration or an idea I can’t wait to get to the pattern making and the sample making and I get so ecstatic and excited! It’s a testament to the fact that I AM in dreamland in order to design! It’s where I need to be. That’s why I can’t answer all my e-mails or every text. I cut myself off from all the distractions here in Toronto, such as yourself! (Just joking.)


VH: What motivated the decision to use the garage behind your studio as the final venue?


AT:  It’s something completely unexpected. You’re making people think and everyone’s a little bit on edge and wondering what’s going on and what’s going to happen. They don’t know all the answers, and that’s part of the discovery and excitement of the evening. That’s why it’s “experiential.”   Note: Annie’s previous “Experiential/Guerilla/Pop-Up” type runway shows include an outdoor showcase at Cherry Beach in Toronto, followed by her re-runway show of the same collection at the trendy furniture store, “Design Solutions Inc.”


VH: I was surprised to learn that you offered this show as a launching pad for some fresh new faces, popping the “runway cherry” of these models, so to speak.  Why take the risk on using brand new models?

AT: Interesting, yes. Money! But also in my “old age wisdom” I can’t wait to impart some of the things that I’ve learned to these young girls. Example, last year we had a model who was the only size small (among the XS and XXS). I got right in her face and I told her “Don’t you dare feel bad that you’re a size small! ‘Cause I love size small and you’re a beautiful girl with a beautiful body and you need to shut up!” I find that my pieces look best on girls with a li’l more meat on them anyway.


VH: Finally, what unique Annie Thompson experiences can we look forward to?


AT: Well now that we have these two “experiential” type shows under our belt, I think I’ll continue to do my fall shows outside somewhere. Yes it will be a pop-up, yes there will be drinks, and it won’t be your typical runway show. Plus, I want to invite young people! There was a little girl there who was around 9 and she was just so in awe at everything that was happening around her. I have an idea for my next show, but I won’t reveal it as yet. So you’ll just have to stay tuned and check it out!


Indeed, this talented woman succeeds like no other at turning her dreams and visions into reality. Like her custom pieces, bags, and accessories, Annie Thompson is definitely one of a kind.

Where to find Annie next:

Her atelier will be open Thursday Oct. 24th – Saturday Oct. 26th, from 12 – 6 pm.


Check out more of Annie Thompson’s fantastic creations and events at: