Nothing could keep YVR’s most fashionable from attending the FW15 presentations at Vancouver Fashion Week, not even the pounding rain. The tent was abuzz at the opening gala, hosted at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza downtown. Creatively and colourfully dressed guests from all over the world were in attendance including bloggers, media, and fashionistas. Though everyone rushed to find the best seat in the house, I spent my time catching up with chic, fashion-forward friends and media colleagues at every turn. While it was standing-room-only, I was fortunate enough to be ushered to the front row by some scantily clad men in sky-high open toed pumps. I can honestly say it was a nice change to see the city excited to celebrate fashion in a room with so many well-dressed individuals. If you know Vancouver well, you know this a rare occurrence.
After a few production malfunctions, more than 50 models strutted their stuff on the runway at the opening gala, showcasing a taste from each designer of what was to come over the course of the week-long event.
There were a few clear trends that emerged under the tent during the week and some designers that were complete standouts overall. Trends we saw were functional, wearable collections displaying classic glamour-infused looks to make them new and fresh again. An array of personalities were represented including:
Flirty and Feminine
Designers such as Kate Miles, Nadia + Zehra, Quynntessential Couture, Pouneh Askarian, and Noe Bernacelli featured youthful, wearable feminine pieces that can take you from day to night.
I was also highly impressed with 15-year-old designer Kate Miles from Oregon, who blew me away with her breathtaking couture bridal gowns. One in particular evoked an ethereal feel with its tiered layers of tulle in forest green and ivory. FYI, she sold her most prized possession, her horse, to take part in Vancouver Fashion Week. And they say young people can’t commit to anything.
Among the top-returning designers, Noe Bernacelli stood out for me with his Peruvian-influenced international style and beauty which was greatly received in Vancouver. In my opinion, every piece was killer — especially since it fit my personal style completely. He was joined by Shravan Kumar whose motto, “Fashion is religion, than mere profession,” inspired his unconventional designs and use of textiles.
Magaly Guillen, Alex S. Yu and Ilovechoc mixed cute cartoon designs with luxury fabrics, pushing the eccentric edge. Highly structured menswear and womenswear with lots of accessories such as hats, hoods, and scarves ruled the runway.
Eliza Faulkner, Michelle Lesniak, and Sara Armstrong featured clean, monochromatic pieces. Lots of solid colours (particularly black with textured accents) featured heavily on items such as leather pieces with touches of shine and sparkle.
Korean designer Hong Kiyoung knocked it out of the park with his widely-recognized luxury streetwear, which experiments with silhouettes and clean black lines.
Emerging designer Alcoolique’s sheer polka dot blouse and flouncy black leather skirt were immediately a fan favourite. However, while a little sheer to wear off the runway, the right undergarments could make these pieces a total sell.
Among the student designers from LaSalle College, Adam-Lin Bungag’s collection turned heads with laser-cut sharp lines and clean minimalism with nods to 1970s YSL, modern street chic, and 1920s silhouettes. Su (Ariel) Yang’s collection was inspired by the movie The Great Gatsby that evokes 1920s luxury.
Vancouver Fashion Week continues to support it’s homegrown talent with the return of Connally McDougall, Grandi’s Atelier, and Sara Armstrong. In particular, Grandi’s Atelier this season is a tribute to Scotland. The silhouettes are simple and timeless, incorporating tartans and beautiful continental fabrics such as crepe and silk taffeta. Throughout the collection there was a definite French flare with attention to hand embroidered details.
There were so many fun moments at Vancouver Fashion Weel but a clear highlight was when celebrity chef Vikram Vij made an appearance on the catwalk, strutting his stuff during high-end South Asian bridal boutique Sunny Bridal’s collection.
With the catwalk coming to a close on Sunday evening, Grandi reflects on her involvement: “Being a part of Vancouver Fashion Week is always a really unique and incredible experience. The team is so very professional, responsive and devoted to promoting fashion and designers in Vancouver.” My hopes for Vancouver Fashion Week are to see it act as a creative catalyst to push the fashion envelope in the city.
Repost from my original story in View the Vibe
Images by Ed Ng Photography