After Day 1 and Day 2 of Vancouver Fashion Week, Wednesday night focus on Canadian designers, from throughout BC, Alberta and Ontario.
Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA) — a branch of Atira Women’s Society — shined in Wednesday’s introduction. EWMA showcased their collection of Mermaid-like looks of cropped shirts, long sparkly skirts, and whale tail accessories. Ocean hues of greens and blues swept up the stage as the models walked in glittery blue cheekbones and lips. The bohemian-inspired collection also consisted of embroidery and earthy tones – featuring hints of burnt orange and relaxed fabrics, the looks flowed from one look into the next.
AVNAYE presented their breakout collection Culturally Confused which blends together both Punjabi and Western culture, injecting tradition into streetwear through two-piece sets and vibrant fabrics. Contrasting muted autumn tones of mustard yellow and forest green with neon colours that demanded attention, AVNAYE showcased an unpredictable yet elegant colour palette. Heads turned at a neon orange button up paired with TV static-print pants, immediately followed by a delicately beaded black gown with a dupatta-style swath of neon orange fabric and matching trim. Playing with an overlap of cultures, AVNAYE seamlessly incorporates the best of both worlds into a both a modern and classic collection.
Audience members were immersed in Michele Taras Art Apparel’s collection as the model debuted the first look, a billowy dress and kimono-style cover with artistic faces, and danced her way through the stage. She set the tone for the rest of the looks to bestow the stage—models of different shapes and sizes, abilities, and ages, donned bold primary colours and animal prints. The western-style hats and bandanas complemented the wolf and feather prints, having their own take on Canadian style. As well as a dress covered in ‘hello’ in different languages, all of the outfits featured a maple leaf or international flags. The collection tied together as the designers stepped forward in the end with a “Coast to Coast United” sign.
Slow house music queued in the European-style S/S20 collection from Apparel 9597. The Calgary-based designers Stewart Schamp and Bret Curtis S. Stewart showcased sleek greys, blacks, and whites in their modern masculine looks, with leather accessories to complete it. Most notably, the male model wearing mid-calf leather motorcycle booties. A female model in a tapered white V-neck shirt and plaid skirt gave us a taste into 9597’s feminine side of their designs. The collection’s slow burning model walks gave us more insight into the detailed sophistication. Tucked in shirts and sweaters into plaid and grey wool pants compete with loafers were one of the ready-to-wear looks.
Gundula Couture showcased Wedding Wear, a multi-faceted collection that combines countless outfits into one through the addition and subtraction of various layers. From wedding gown to reception dress, Gundala Couture showcased wedding wear that can transition throughout the night, giving multiple lives to a single outfit. Creating a unique spin on traditional looks, the collection challenged the idea of what a wedding is expected to be. Layering sexy corsets under chic blazers provoked the tension of opposites, while sequinned corsets, shimmering pink veils and an unexpected wedding pantsuit all held their own space on the runway. Gundula Couture is designed to be converted and customized, meticulously crafting a collection that can be molded into anything a situation demands, as quickly and easily as untying a knot.
AnotherDavid is the brand of Italian designer Marco Rossi. Born in Umbria, the heart of Italy, Rossi had the perfect canvas of verdant hills and valleys, ancient fortresses, and the picturesque Lake Trasimeno. Scenes of fishing on the shores of the lake played on screen as models wore bucket hats and oversized poppin shirts. Orange, white, and dark indigo fused to form a glow reminiscent of the summer skies in Italy. The standout look was an orange monastic robe – a “protagonist, a romantic warrior who carries within him the essence of artistic nature”, according to Rossi. The collection was contemporary and functional yet encapsulated with an air of nonchalance.
Tyson Gibson is a 2018 Blanche Macdonald graduate. Drawn from his athletic background, Point After features a cross of street- and sportswear for men and women. As an avid collector of jerseys, Gibson deconstructed and reconstructed football jerseys and gear into a mosaic of colours and patterns. Large numbers and team logos defined the garments. Mesh, nylon, and cotton were sewn together in this line of experimental designs. Staying true to sports, Gibson did not compromise on comfort and breathability while maintaining an edgy and loud take on streetwear.
As each model walked down the runway exuding confidence and grace adorned in Akoya Swim, local designer Olivia Bickerstaff’s mandate was clear: swimwear to empower women. The origins of the Akoya mean salt water and it goes back to Bickerstaff’s childhood spent in the BC Gulf Islands and her appreciation for the ocean. Each model was dressed in silky kimonos and flattering materials that are composed of recyclable materials to protect our oceans.The runway was filled with refreshing bursts of vibrant colours including neon yellow and youthful silhouettes like high waisted bottoms to allow each model to shine.
From jumpsuits, asymmetrical dresses, to dressy pants, Isrella KOBLA’S collection was as elegant as it was mesmerizing. The statement pieces made bold walks on the stage, with white and blue as the main colour palettes. Most pieces varied with use of vertical lines, which gave an edge to the minimal designs. Along with puffed sleeves and fastened straps, the collection also featured triangular shapes that were showcased throughout the looks, utilizing pyramid-shaped handbags and triangle-shaped open backs.
Uniquely juxtaposing sheer fabrics with opaque textiles, ALÇA thrives on asymmetry in all aspects of their designs. With patterns of intersecting lines on flowing silk and bountiful chiffon ruffles, movement is undoubtedly at the forefront of the collection. Clean, minimalist designs and a bold colour palette are the backdrop for more subtle details, found in the form of strategic cutouts, matte buttons, and sequins that only make an appearance in the most specific of lighting. A simple collared coat was turned into a fearless statement with a disjointed hem suspended by a series of rope loops, providing a suitable finale to ALÇA’S runway display.
As the light and upbeat music begins to play, beachy summer overtake the room. RABENAKINI’S SWIM SS20 collection is filled with beautiful beachwear inspired by designer and creator Natalie Rabena’s scenic childhood home of Hornby Island. The colours of the pieces and designs featuring flora and fauna conjure images of the Pacific Ocean. Walking barefoot and decked out in seashell jewelry, the models looked more than ready to strut their stuff at the beach and on resort alike. Keeping functionality in mind, all of Rabenakini’s swimsuits are reversible, offering printed and solid colour options in one garment, and making them even more ideal for traveling light. After launching a formal wear line, the BC designer has been focusing exclusively on her swim collection. The summer 2020 collection from Rabenakini will feature a full range of resort wear including options for men and women. With swimsuits ranging from bikinis to full piece suits, along with light and elegant cover ups, Rebenakini achieves an exquisite combination of versatility and fashion.
Gukirat Narang’s collection welcomed the gothic ages. His ideas of fashion are of “liberty and pleasure” – images of forbidden love and dark emotion ran through the black and blood red gowns. Yet, satin and polyester fabrics added sensuality. From puffy sleeves to long hemlines, the shapes were as feminine as they were strong. Originally from India, Narang started drawing at 3 and challenged cultural norms in his pursuit of fashion. KNcollection is the product of a designer who appreciates the privilege to express and create. His East meets West label stays true to clean silhouettes for women of all ages.
Mutiat Olaniyan is on a mission to build a community of women and men who celebrate modesty irregardless of cultural or religious background. Her label, May9, turns attention to inner expressions of personality and sexuality. Although fully covered, her choice of slim fitting cuts and silk fabrics reveal the tender bodies underneath the garments. A shiny velvet outfit in the middle of the collection turned heads as a reminder that expressivity and modesty can go hand in hand. Olaniyan proves that a woman’s confidence, if embodied, can shine through any clothes she wears.
As the orchestra swelled and floral flowing prints were seen cascading on the runway, Devotion Designs took center stage. Designer Wendy Shindler’s line is the true essence of couture fashion. Each piece is an example of elegance and timeless beauty. Revolution A/W/19 is completely handcrafted and designed to be evening wear for curvy women. Inspired by the elements of the Romantic era, the collection transported audiences to a world of pure romance and classic beauty.
Meaning “half” in Punjabi, Toronto-based Aadhe Clothing explores the dichotomy that is eastern and western, and how to navigate having a foot in both courts from a fashion perspective. Both minimalistic and attention-grabbing, the runway witnessed the Neon Nights collection, a unique grouping inspired by Punjabi wedding parties, the EDM scene, and a western influence. The models walked the runway barefoot and with bell-adorned anklets, adding an audible aspect to the already captivating procession. Aadhe Clothing took advantage of every possible opportunity to accessorize, adding intricate hairpieces and cross body bags to already intense pieces such as iridescent mesh outfits and multi-coloured body suits draped in lush neon tulles.
Uniqueness is Tiana Hsu. Her S/S20 collection showcased creative works only using two elements—dark denim jeans and the classic white button down collared shirt. The 17-year-old’s collection is imaginative and innovative, including skirts made from white collared shirts, a multi-layered denim top, and halter-top jeans, just to name a few. The avant-garde fashion brings forward a new standard for double denim.
Spending her life in China, then Peru, then the UK, designer Jessica Cao folds a level of multiculturalism and appreciation into her work, drawing largely on the idea of how the concept of the “perfect woman” differs between cultures. The SS20 collection opens with a video clip that begs the question, “Where are you from?”, a question with no easy answer, yet is the reality of many people hailing from mixed cultural background. Drawing from a colour palette of exclusively black, white, and pinks, Cao uses fabrics and textures to convey her message, relying on simple strands of pearls as her lone accessory of choice. Thin, glossy latex added the illusion of moisture to a handful of pieces, while others boasted tastefully torn tulles, bunched and folded to Cao’s creative will.