fashion magazine
Vancouver Fashion Week
By Rebecca Selvig

Vancouver Fashion Week celebrated its tenth year by enjoying the largest number of international designers ever. While our local designers made a very strong showing on the runway, it was great to see this event draw talent from the Asia, Britain, France, Holland and the United States. A number of the shows are highlighted below, but there were many others talented artists showcased this week. If you missed this season, don't worry. Vancouver Fashion Week will return next fall.

Wednesday Night
by Ashley Perfonic
photos by Peter Jensen and Wayne Mah

Opening night at Vancouver Fashion week did not fail to impress. Patricia Fieldwalker opened the show with her beautiful collection of Kimonos, long nightgowns and short slip dresses. Super soft silk in unexpected combinations of pastel colours like sherbert orange / pink, pink/ lavender and lavender/ turquoise floated down the runway. Little lace detailing on the trim, sleeve or bodice added a pretty touch. Simple and sexy these bedtime pieces could be worn for day if you dare.

Next up was Rosalita McGee. Inspired by Springstein's song "Rosalita" the collection brought a punch of colour and youth to the night. Cute short dresses styled with matching totes and playful rainboots strutted down the runway. There was lots of fun outerwear with a double decker raincoat and matching bag being a favourite.

Valerio Moda's collection showed us something new with some hybrid pieces for both men and women. With slow structured walks and serious looks the models wore a variety of outdoor looks. From short leather jackets with strong details in zippers and buckles to long winter coats lined with fur. For women, beautiful neutral colours in trenches, long wrap jackets with fur and knit accents.

Finally, Lace Embrace Atelier ended the night with a real show of its own. Fun and seductive models fully showcased the playful elements of this corset collection. All that shimmer and shines describes the glamourous details and colours of these pieces. A Vegas feel with corsets accented with peacock feathers, tassels, and jeweled detailing and a knockout hooded leather piece for the tres risqu‚.

Thursday Highlights
By Natasha Bhatnagar
Photos by Dale Rollings


La Salle College Grad Show

The evening started with emerging designers from La Salle College. Andrea Hilbrecht opens the shows with a stunning pastel maxi. Her line consists of mostly beige grey and blue tones and was brought to life with draping detail and meticulous stitching.

Britanee Ann flipped the script with her edgy designs. A mix of lace, shiny and sheer black fabrics, added texture and attitude to this collection.

The last of the bunch Wilber Tellez offered bright purple fuchsia and yellow holiday style party dresses. Ruffles added that extra flirty flair to the collection.

Melissa Squire was a hit with the audience. Upbeat music and playful models clad in pieces reminiscent of 1920's pinup girls, kept the crowd entertained. It was a hodgepodge of colour fabrics and zippers and it worked! This show was fun adorable and girly.

Queenie Luo's collection offered an array of amazing texturally rich fabrics. The mood was soft and the dresses were flowy. The models appeared to exude a Disney princess aura prancing down the catwalk in tutus and poofy ruffled skirts . The detail in the fabric was overwhelmingly intricate and the pieces are delicate works of art.

Pouney Askarian sprinkled the runway with pops of intensely rich colour. Bold orange, purple red and yellow raw silk fabrics adorned this futuristic collection. It's well made, polished and rich. The line was different and daring but still very wearable. The entire collection demanded presence.

Mackenzie Sam showed the only menswear of the evening. The line was both rugged and ragged. The background piano music added a classic New York feel. Leggings with zippers added a masculine touch to the mostly female piece of clothing. The collection consisted of black and grey colour palates with draping and layering silhouettes.

Upbeat music out of the gateway juxtaposed to the calm demeanour of the models was the tone Tanya Min Jee evoked with her collection. Classic detailed black ensembles added a touch of subtle sophistication.

Elen Danielle's line evoked romantic old Hollywood. Dresses were soft creamy and sheer. The collection demanded interest with detailed embellishments. The line remained a neutral creamy white hue throughout with the occasional light green and light pink fabric.

Shelly Klassen capped the night with two shows. The first, "Story of a Girl" offered a selection of "little black dresses" that added visual interest. One standout piece presented an element of surprise with a hood, giving the dress a more casual element. Fun prints with pocket details and belts adorned this collection.

And finally "Blushing Designs" showed a more formal side of Klassen. A prominent piece was a long blue, purple and brown floral print gown with black velvet detail. The collection screamed attention with the use of texture, print and colour.

Friday
By Marilyn Wilson
Photos by Peter Jensen
Hawks Ave. opened the evening with a line of West Coast inspired casual wear. Offered were a wide variety of wearable separates and short dresses that were form fitting and youthful. Black, reds and greys dominated the palette. To quote the designer they will take you "..Rockin' and rollin' through every day."

Papillon brought us what has become their signature locally, a line full of short and flirty dresses in both prints and solids mixed with a few separates and a selection of jackets and coats. This season the jackets and coats caught my eye. From the knee-length vivid red coat with wide collar to the knitted black and white mid-thigh sweater jacket, there was a well-though out selection to take their customers through the fall season.

Eva Chen is known for her high-end dresses and gowns, so her Fall/Winter collection proved to be a surprise. Skirts, jackets and tops in leather dominated the collection, a first for Chen. Highly detailed seaming was present on all. Accents included intricate studding or single leather ruffle place just above the waistline. She did offer the occasional more traditional offering such as the pink/black colour blocked dress above right, but very few.

Fever London chose to showcase their S/S 2011 collection. Inspired by 70's sleek, bright vibrant prints and pool side glam we saw lots of summery dresses in particular. Chiffons, printed cotton and rayon designs were fashioned into summer simplicity. I'm sure there were beach breezes blowing through the venue.

True's Fashion Couture and Sova Design Millinery This show proved to be the biggest surprise of the night. True's Fashion Couture, a boutique in Richmond's Aberdeen Centre, and Sova Design Millinery out of Saskatoon teamed up to present a line of flirty vintage inspired garments perfectly complimented by the "Nostalgic Flair" of Sova's unique hats. The music, the models and the great pairing of these two and created a ambiance that closed this day on a definite upbeat note.

Saturday
By Stefanie Jesney, Marilyn Wilson
Photos by Dale Rollings and Peter Jensen
Kwak Hyun Joo from Seoul, Korea, was the first international designer to show her collection on Saturday at Vancouver Fashion Week. Having shown in Paris and New York, her show did not disappoint. Kwak Hyun Joo's pieces were fun and edgy while still being feminine and wearable. The collection, entitled Circus, featured tailored jackets, geometric seams, and a fun use of colour.

Before Ha Sang Beg's show, the audience was abuzz with conversation about his previous collection at last year's Vancouver Fashion Week. The Korean designer was clearly a much anticipated part of Saturday's event. His collection, which he describes as `sexy and eccentric bondage' was very edgy and cool. It featured lots of chunky knitwear in neon colours and the models' bodies were wrapped in knit ropes as if bound.

Autobiographie, designed by a duo living in Paris, was quite a contrast from the edgy collections before it. It featured beautiful, feminine dresses, classic trench coats, flowing silk and tailored suiting. Metallic fabrics and unexpected zipper detail made the elegant dresses and suiting stand out. The collection was inspired by Japanese origami and delicate Persian art.

Los Angeles designer Dawn Sharp current collection was inspired by Shakers culture. I had my doubts as to whether these clothes be too simple on the runway, but they proved appealing because of Sharp's obviously strong design skills. Normally one to use colour, the palette was instead a muted selection of almond, black and olive green. Fabrics included velvet, burnout, silk and wool. If you took off the small head scarves used to style the models, most garments were both classic and very wear-able.

When asked about his VFW show, designer Drew William shared, "This season wasn't about creating a wearable collection, it was about creating something closer to couture." The Access Gallery, his off-site location, had walls adorned with his own original artwork and two models on pedestals presenting garments - one men's and one women's look - that were so labour intensive, they took as much time to create as a full collection. Unique bracelets in two styles were also offered as well as a pair of wooden heels that slot together. Instead of the number of looks created, William firmly led us to focus on design, quality and attention to detail.

Sunday
By Lisa Wong
Photos by Peter Jensen
Shanghai-based Helen Lee's sophomore show at Vancouver Fashion Week was radically different from her 2009 VFW debut show, but no less interesting or well-executed. Inspired by Descartes ("I think, therefore I am") and philosophical dualism, her fall/winter collection featured a contrasting palette of black and white with a touch of red thrown in, and sheer and shiny textures juxtaposed against matte materials and heavy yarns. The yarn was quite fun: resembling a hooked rug in texture, Lee used it like faux fur in cocoon capelets, trimmed coat collars and shrugs.

Lee's designs also seemed to be channeling 1940s femme fatales with a slick rocker edge. Two-toned oxford heels and seamed stockings complemented the sleek tailored lines of this collection.

However, she always found a way to experiment with classic silhouettes and playfully subvert them. Shaggy yarn and sheer panels co-existed in a single dress. Whereas exposed zippers on the backs of dresses have become so overused in recent seasons they're almost a clich‚, oversized hook-and-eye enclosures provided an unexpected touch on Lee's pieces and decorated coats in neat rows. The menswear featured slim-cut trousers and strong-shouldered coats.

Hailing from Amsterdam, Pauline van Dongen presented an avant garde collection titled Stereopsis that wowed the audience. The minimalist colour palette featured neutrals such as cream, beige, pewter, navy, charcoal and black with a few metallic touches here and there. Architectural curves and swoops in a stiff translucent material created volume on mini dresses and skirts in unexpected ways. Laser-cut woven panels added texture to black leather pieces.

Dongen likes experimenting with cutting-edge techniques and materials in her designs, and her skills in these new mediums were on full display in the form of her shoes. Intricately looped black and white sandals were made entirely of one piece of 3D printed polyamide. Laser-cut clear curved Perspex pieces lined up under a wood and leather upper to form architectural wedges that make it seem as though the wearer were walking on air.