fashion magazine
Vancouver Fashion Week - November 2010
photography by PETER JENSEN

November 2010 saw Vancouver Fashion Week celebrate it's 10th anniversary at the Empire Landmark in Hotel. The large number of shows including many international designers drew in large crowds of fashion savvy viewers to enjoy the wide range of styles. Here is only a sampling of the many fabulous designers who show cased during this event. For those who missed attending, look for the next VFW in April 2011 that promises to have an even larger number of shows.

Wednesday Highlights
by Marilyn R. Wilson

Jacqueline Conoir - 2010 celebrates the 25th year designer RozeMerie Cuevas has been creating the Jacqueline Conoir line. She is known for her beautiful tailoring in particular and tonight was no exception. What she brings to the mix is that they all have a edgy, femininity that sets them apart. Versatile knits bring an easy to wear element to the collection and soft pastels take the line firmly into the Spring/Summer season. Separates make up a larger part of the pieces giving the line greater versatility. It is "tailored sophistication with an edge." Rounding out the show was a selection of beautiful, liquid gowns, another trademark of the Jaqueline Conoir line.

Valerio Moda - While Valerio Moda is known for creating high-end made-to-measure leather apparel, outerwear and suits for both men and women, designer Ali Mokhtarian chose to focus on men's wear at Vancouver Fashion Week. Men's jackets in various styles dominated the runway and the fit for most was athletic - close to the body with a shorter length. There were also several jackets and coats in longer lengths that could easily fit in any business man's wardrobe. Soft and supple leather, high-quality workmanship and interesting textured details could be scene. The palette leaned heavily on tans, browns and black, but pops of colour could be found such as a bright orange and an deep blue. Hopefully next season Valerio Moda will return and showcase some of their stunning women's leather garments.

Michel Tudour - This is the first season the Madam Couture label has been shown at Vancouver Fashion Week and it was a hit. Flirty, sexy and above all feminine, the custom designs are all one-of-a-kind pieces. Although raised in New York, the line definitely showcased the influence of Tudour's birthplace - Trinidad. Playful stripes in various colour combinations, bright silver, lime green and even a camouflage print created a palette full of energy and a hint of pin-up could be seen throughout the collection. Included in the were short dresses, lingerie, bathing suits and shrugs. Lycra was the fabric of choice garments. Those in the audience all felt a bit of that tropical heat wash through. Hopefully Madame Couture will be back in the spring at the next fashion week.

Patricia Fieldwalker - Patricia Fieldwalker's lingerie has been a staple at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC for over 25 years, and she is based right here in Vancouver. Her Adagio Collection is soft, romantic and oh so appealing. Buttery, soft silks are bias cut to hang beautifully on everyone's frame. This designer has a intuit sense when it comes to colour - her palette is always sumptious. The colours in this collection were light and airy, but with a kick. The pastels have a brightness to them that is refreshing and while solid colours dominated the collection, there were several great prints thrown in to add interest. Stunning french lace, silk ruffles and contrast colours detailed the various garments. Showcased were short and long gowns, chemises, pajamas and kimono and every woman in the audience had a favourite. This collection was the perfect end to the opening day of runway shows at Vancouver Fashion Week.

Thursday Highlights
by Steely Springham

Blake Hyland - Emerging from the sea of wanna be designers comes a young talent to rival many. To describe Blake Hyland as an up and coming designer would clearly understate the talent and vision that this young man has. His designs marching down the runway exuded an energy that was raw, sexy, edgy, and although all male models were used, it is intended to be unisex. It was Mad Max meets apocalyptic aristocratic grunge. He utilizes leather, distressed fabrics, recycled army bag buckles, rust tie-dyed designs, bamboo, fur (not from hunted animals), netting, recycled clothing pieces, incorporating them into new fashion forward stand out pieces. All the accessories were hand made by Hyland as well, which included a vintage baseball glove belt, antler finger gloves, bone necklaces, and unique bone cubed rosary. There really isn't anything that he cannot turn into some piece of must have fashion. This lad from down under is quickly rising above the rest.

Carmina De Young - Carmina De Young's designs were exciting to watch. The palette was classic neutrals, accentuated by blue and red in a blend of light summer wool, silk charmeuse and printed silk.

The collection was traditional with a contemporary touch and Spanish influence. It was classic with a modern flair featuring silhouettes that went from formal to loose and casual, with all being very business minded. The one sleeve satin blouse was feminine and pretty. The detailing of the hats was outstanding and the piping detailing was among my favorites.

Sid Neigum - The workmanship of this rising fashion star is incredible. Originally from Edmonton, he now residing in New York and attends FIT. His designs exemplify style and class with edge. For VFW he showed a basic palette of black and white, however there was nothing basic about the men's and women's lines or his designs. They were classic yet edgy accentuated by unique leather / faux fur pieces. He featured a mix of sheer & cotton leggings that were fantastic. Great jackets and tube dresses. The men's designs were fresh and edgy. His use of lines and angles in design were exciting. The bolero hoody and the metal sheet patterned dress were by far my favorite, among every other piece I saw. Sid Neigum is one to watch.

Friday Highlights
by Marilyn R. Wilson

Laura Siegel - Siegel only debuted her first collection in May 2010, but she ranked as one of my favourites. Everything is made by hand including the metal accessories and her organic creations take eco wear into a new era. Dyes were created from natural sources through experimentation and hand looms constructed out of dining room charis. Her garments were organic and earthy, yet infused with a suble sense of luxury. " Cording cascaded off the models as well as being sewn into interesting design details on individual pieces. Styling of the collection was bang on. My personal favourites were the chunky, open weave hand knits. Definitely a designer to watch.

Friday Highlights
By Natasha Bhatnagar

Day three of consisted of fashions that ranged from ruffles to hidden pockets to feathered detail. Its common denominator however was each designers use of sustainable materials. Day three was Vancouver's pride and joy: eco-fashion.

From its choice of music to its ruffled cuffs Bellissima's Fall 2010 collection is a definite throwback to the 90's. The line is full of versatility. Fitted suits with an equestrian flare can be worn together or paired with another piece. Half leggings, half jeans add a touch of casualness to a somewhat dressed up pair of pants and romantic and girly work attire double as the perfect outfit for a night on the town.

Fala Chien's Spring/Summer 2011 collection consists of soft and feminine materials. Mostly neutral hues with the occasional punch of colour Chien put most of her attention towards detailed tailoring. Beautiful draping, unique zippers and an eye for the female silhouette sums up this line. The best part of her collection? Pockets on practically every piece. This gives that night time cocktail dress an effortless casual chic.
Eva Chen's couture collection boasted feathers and femininity. A wink to the roaring 20's her pieces range from short to long to even a few wedding dresses, all with an extreme attention to detail. Flawlessly put together each piece is individual in design however the feel of the collection remains consistent. The most notable piece is a wedding gown with sheer corset ruffles on the chest and a feathered hat to match.

Saturday Highlights
by Lisa Wong

Drew William titled his spring/summer 2011 collection "Fracture," and true to its name, the clothes in the collection were a playful riff on geometry, deconstruction and unisex wear. The standout piece of the show was the unisex jumpsuit adorned with silver snaps from head to toe at key seams. The snaps can snapped together for a more fitted silhouette or a ruched effect, exemplifying the "one size fits all" philosophy behind William's unisex wear. Stripes, slashing and knife-sharp pleats also played a prominent part in a neutral-coloured collection that kept all the focus on small visual details.

Renowned Korean fashion designer Ha Sang Beg made his Vancouver Fashion Week debut with a collection full of bright neon colours and eclectic references. Studs, crystals, contrasting panel insets and zippers decorated the futuristic pieces. Metallic and mesh fabrics contrasted with rope-like, artfully undone knitwear. Puppy face motifs on a couple of pieces reflected a playful exuberance. Ha originally came to Vancouver in 2006 before leaving to pursue opportunities elsewhere. "It's really nice to come back," he said of his return to our fair city.

Korean designer Doli Lee graduated from London's prestigious Central St. Martins school. Her resume includes stints at Dior and Kenzo and she's currently based in Paris. With such an impressive-sounding pedigree, expectations were high for Lee's collection and she certainly did not disappoint. The opening looks featured white lace dresses that were one part sugary confection, one part couture. Colourful frocks with avian-inspired patterned fabrics followed; the fabrics were sometimes left matte, sometimes finished with a layer of clear sparkly sequins. The embellished wedges that accompanied each look earned many an admiring glance from the audience. Overall, Lee's collection was characterized a quirky and talented but relentlessly feminine aesthetic at work.

Saturday Highlights
By Annie Ju

Mongolian designer Shilmel Zagvar wowed the audience with her intricate details on narrow stitching and piping embellishments. Her dresses - many gold, black, and grey - were simple in shape, yet layers of ruffles, zebra patters and golden shimmer added excitement to the pieces. Zagvar's collection covered a variety of sartorial features such as drop-crotch pants, form-fitting blouses and full, empire-waist skirts.

Maggie Coulombe's collection reflected the true Hawaiian ideals: fun, colorful, and laid-back. Many of her pieces were loose-fitting pieces that featured a pop of colors like orange, fuschia, and gold. The drapey cardigans and halter-neck dresses were made perfect for a relaxed fall and winter season.

Sunday Highlights
By Anya Georgijevic

KERSH - If there was one quintessential West Coast label, it would be Kersh. With their flow-y bohemian chic, Kersh is what every young woman longs for on hot summer days. Soft florals, loud stripes and Aztec-inspired prints are mixed with solids, ranging from neutrals to bright pinks and reds, and provide a fun variety of fabrics to mix and match. Some true standouts were floral print short blazers and cardigans, romantic soft babydoll dresses, ombre tanks and the chambray paperboy shorts. Think Coachella Music Festival.

PRESS - Press, Kersh's big sister label, opted for a more grown-up look, but still maintaining the West Coast sensibilities. Earthy tie-dyes strutted down with military tones, from cargo pants and shorts to dresses and tanks to soft summer knits. Although all equally covetable, the most striking pieces in the collection were the knits. Loose and breezy, Press' knits are perfect for layering in springtime and light enough to wear on their own in summertime. Together, Kersh and Press offer a great range of West Coast chic. In these current freezing Vancouver days, it makes us hunger for summer.

CHIYUKI - A hip Japanese crowd gathered to watch Chiyuki Sugimoto's Vancouver debut. A veteran of Japan Fashion Week, Chiyuki knows how to put on a show. It's safe to say that when it comes to taking risks, Japanese designers can be fearless. In this case, fearlessness took form in clashing loud floral prints that magically go together...at least if you imagined them strutting the streets of Tokyo. These loud florals were certainly stunning, from pink and purple peonies to bright red and blue pansies. They came as skirts, dresses, long coats, crop and motorcycle jackets and accessories like little neck-ties. Fun, pretty and flirty: Chiyuki made quite a debut.

CAROLYN MASSEY - My favourite show was by British legend-in-the-making Carolyn Massey. Menswear aficionados need no introduction to Massey. She has won the British Fashion Council's NEWGEN MEN award not once, but three times and from what she presented at Vancouver Fashion Week, for good reason. She is a master of tailoring and a captain of fun. About a dozen amazing looks came down the runway, all mod and preppy and quintessentially British. In a collection dominated by navy and khaki, there were well-tailored menswear essentials like the slim pant and shorts, windbreakers, rain ponchos, impeccably tailored dress shirts and knits. Models were accessorized with toolbox-type briefcases and straw fedoras, as if there were going to stop for a picnic and a roll in the hay somewhere. Both a male and female fantasy.