A first glance through Markoo’s fall look book immediately elicited excited curiosity over what appears to be a distressed, quilted patent-leather fabric fashioned into sturdy outerwear and separates. It begged questions over fabric manipulation like how sleeves were ruched and how something traditionally tough could be cut so casually. Turns out, the plastic-y Italian fabric was more of a lightweight synthetic bubble wrap, and served as the jump-off for the understatedly cool lineup that fused textural play, quirky femininity, streetwise charm and doses of functionality.

Designers Mona Koochek and Tania Martins launched the Toronto-based brand four years ago with a laid-back, chic aesthetic framed for the edgy-yet-refined downtown girl. Their past collections have been grounded with neutral palettes and soft tailoring for a sense of the everyday feminine. They’ve been pushing more design elements each season, and fall marked their most interesting and diverse range to date. “It’s about having fun with clothes and having them be versatile,” Martins said at a private walk-through.

The lineup could be divided into two major categories: playful utilitarian and an exercise in contrasts. For the former, kitschy removable pockets-turned-clutches were featured on patent-leather jackets, workwear jackets and soft silk button-down shirts. They had zippers or foldover closures and came in varying sizes, like a mammoth fanny-pack version used as a belt on a matching red dress. For the latter, the duo used topstitching to give the impression of quilting, and played on the reverse side of denim for their jeans, which they cut with patent-leather underwear seams that were actually quite flattering, giving the illusion of elevated chaps for modern day. “Having something matte is kind of casual, but bringing in the shine is so glam. So just bringing a little party to your outfit without going over the top,” Martins added. Quilting, patent leather, bubble-wrap fabric, utility pockets may seem like the ingredients for a convoluted recipe, but it made for a taste of wearable subversion.

load comments