TORONTO – More than three decades after his rookie season in the NHL, Wayne Gretzky made another major debut – this time on the runway.
The Great One brought his line to the catwalk Thursday night as the No. 99 Wayne Gretzky Collection staged its inaugural show at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week.
Gretzky developed the menswear line through an exclusive partnership with Sears Canada.
The Hockey Hall of Famer said that being at ease is essential when it comes to his style choices, and admitted he isn’t one to push the fashion envelope.
“I think I’m not as flashy as some other professional athletes might be,” Gretzky said in an interview Thursday at Sears Canada’s Toronto offices prior to the show.
“I’m more of a basic person as far as blacks and blues and browns sort of go. I think the most important thing we all want to come across when you’re dressed is to be comfortable yet stylish. Most importantly, for the regular person coast to coast, you want it to be affordable.”
Gretzky described his wardrobe staples as “pretty much like everybody else,” pointing to his own black V-neck sweater and leather jacket, and citing khakis and jeans as style essentials.
“You still look sharp but yet you’re comfortable and that’s what people want to have day-to-day.”
There was a striking contrast in the staging of the presentation, as white-hot spotlights followed the models as they walked along a slickened, jet black runway.
The designs stayed true to Gretzky’s self-described style esthetic, showcasing an expansive assortment of denim, check-patterned shirts and shorts, striped polos, soft blazers, crisp khakis and button-down shirts.
The spring-summer 2016 collection was awash in a palette of greys and blues with occasional infusions of brighter shades like turquoise and pink.
Gretzky attended the show but didn’t walk the runway at the conclusion of the presentation, which was met with warm applause.
Long before the show, the father of five had already received the stylish seal of approval from eldest sons Trevor and Ty.
“I will tell you this: my two older boys who are 23 and 24 years old love the clothes,” said Gretzky.
“They’re wearing the clothes which is a cool sign because my kids are very fashion-conscious, especially being in L.A. and around the L.A. scene and growing up there.
“If they’re not comfortable with it and they didn’t like it they wouldn’t wear it, because they see Wayne Gretzky every day – that doesn’t entice them. So, they actually really enjoy the clothing which is a good sign that we’re off to a really good start.”