Chris and Jim:

Chris Tyrell and Jim Searle started Hoax Couture in 1985 without formal fashion training

Chris was trained as a lawyer and Jim as an architect.

“ Next Saturday - This is a fantastic performance - from an amazing dance company w Choreography by James Kudelka -...

HoaxCouture : Nov 05 09:17

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About Hoax Couture

Hoax Couture

Hoax Couture was founded in 1985 by lawyer Chris Tyrell and architect Jim Searle . Without formal fashion training, the Hoax duo began by selling T-shirts on the streets of Toronto. Within a year their first fashion collection was available exclusively through Holt Renfrew.  Two years later, an internationally acclaimed menswear collection followed and really put Hoax on the fashion map. From there they soared to wholesaling men’s and womenswear to boutiques in Toronto, across Canada and around the world.

Since closing their Yorkville boutique in 2005,  the designers have been creating couture fashions for clients from their Toronto showroom, as well as designing costumes for many different dance works, including several collaborations with Coleman Lemieux and Compagnie.

  • In February 2011, they collaborated with James Kudelka and Coleman Lemieux on AllOneWord at the Enwave theatre
  • In December 2010, the phenomenal jazz dance collaboration “Hymn to the Universe” premiered at Place Des Arts in Montréal featuring Coleman Lemieux and the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra with costumes by Hoax Couture.
  • In October 2010,  “LIVING DANCES, An Evening of Contemporary Kudelka (Coleman Lemieux/Hoax Couture) was performed at the Fleck Dance Theatre.
  • In June 2010, they collaborated on Coleman Lemieux’s massive (200 performers) site specific project for LuminaTO.
  • In 2009, they designed “The Man In Black,  based on the music of Johnny Cash for the BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio with Mr. Kudelka.
  • In June 2009, they collaborated in the creation of “Breaking Ground”, another site specific work for Coleman Lemieux and Compagnie.
  • In 2008, They designed “The Ruins proclaim That the Building was Beautiful” for the San Francisco Ballet’s 75th anniversary, choreographed again by James Kudelka.

The Ruins Proclaim that the Building was Beautiful
Image from the San Francisco Ballet

Their fashions are popular with clients as diverse as Gord Downey (for the Tragically Hip 2009 tour),  Jazz Diva Molly Johnson and Basketball Divo Dennis Rodman, and their clothing has been seen at every major awards show such as the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, The Toronto, Cannes and Sundance film festivals, and on the backs of such people as Diana Krall, Alanis Morissette, Keanu Reeves, Jada Pinkett and Will Smith.  The Designers recently created the short film ”Smokin’ Lounge” to celebrate their 21st anniversary, featuring music by and starring Molly Johnson. This video launched at the Reel World film festival in 2006 and has been featured on Bravo and Fashion Television.

Other accolades:, Hoax Couture was awarded the BMW Auto Couture award in 2001 and custom designed a one of a kind BMW 540i. They have been named Now Magazine Reader’s Poll Favorite fashion Designer Award three times , City of Toronto Designer of the Year twice and have received the Matinee Fashion Foundation Award for several years running along with the Yorkdale Designer of the year award and a Woolmark Foundation Grant, which helped them develop and establish an international market. The two designers have been listed as two of the top ten best dressed Canadians in the Toronto Star’s annual list .

In addition to their fashion business, in 2009 the designers founded Dare to Wear Love – an annual blockbuster fashion event in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.  Both designers have served on the board of the Fashion Design Council of Canada, and Jim Searle served as chairman for three years from 1999 to 2002. In 2005, they were nominated as one of only four designers to create the fashions for the 19th annual Fashion Cares They have been featured on television shows such as Rich Bride, Poor Bride, If Only You Were Me (principal role), Bella, Fashion Television, Christine Cushing Live, City Line, Canada AM, and many others.