|| Print ||
|Written by (Cult)ure Staff|
|Friday, 25 March 2011 00:00|
Page 1 of 3
Spiked Heels and Black Dresses -- Ottawa Fashion Week, Day 1
By Kelsa Staffa
Day 1 of Ottawa Fashion Week and the throngs of impeccably-dressed guests view the runway shows with obvious interest. Featuring rhinestones, black lace, sheath dresses, and full skirts, there's something for everyone.
In the middle of the surreal glass-walled National Gallery of Canada is a polished white runway with black scaffolding surrounding it. The glass walls give way to a spectacular view of the buildings of Parliament, while, one floor above, a granite balcony rings the Great Hall we're seated in. Guests sip from glasses of wine and text constantly on their smartphones during the interminable waits between runway shows. But once the shows begin, the attention is all on the designs.
Friday featured Emilia Torabi and Jana Hanzel, Yola Couture, Veronica MacIsaac Apprel, Khala Morgan, Birds of North America, and Micalla. Below is my review of each of the shows, scribbled furiously while reveling in the fun that Fashion Week is.
Emilia Torabi and Jana Hanzel
The website of Jana Hanzel Fashion Design, one of the two designers behind the collection "Panache," states that, "We want to offer '9 to 5 clothing' choices with a possibility to continue with a fancy diner after work." Teaming up with fellow designer Emilia Torabi, the "Panache" collection manages to do just that. Featuring perfectly tailored skirt suits in colours ranging from fuschia to azure blue to gold, "Panache" evokes a sense of luxe class while utilizing classic silhouettes to create timeless pieces. The collection revels in mixing rich textures such as brocade, wool, and velvet, and focuses on details to render each piece unique, from interesting button details to faux fur hems or cuffs.
The Yola Couture collection was very fashion-forward, with black lace, prominently-featured jewelry from the new jewelry line, and design features that I would be terrified to wear in public (tulle skirt with no lining, anyone?). Designer Yolande Deschenes ensured that elements of each look were structurally interesting, mixing super-tight skirts with blousy tops, for example; but when the audience gasped and murmured it wasn't for a design. Tottering in sky-high heels (and many were), one model in the Yola Couture show was so emaciated and skeletal that debates ensued around me about whether she make it down the runway. When the audience is furiously discussing a model in the show instead of the designs, it takes away from the pieces.
Veronica MacIsaac Apparel
As a lover of plaid, I was definitely interested to see how Veronica MacIsaac could create "modern style clothing made in a traditional fabric." The collection didn't disappoint-the shift dresses, skirts, and tops made from tartans were a beautiful way to showcase the patterns in an everyday setting, and pieces not made from tartan featured prominent Celtic bands or designs. The colours were vibrant and pleasing to the eye, the clothes were well-tailored, and the 60s-inspired dresses were especially flattering.
In keeping with the current trend of all things retro, Khala Foster's collection of fitted pencil skirts, girly blouses, and 50s-inspired full-skirted dresses were sweet and pretty. Retro makeup and loose wavy hair on the models complemented the collection's nod to the past. Foster's designs were accessorized with pieces from Mafia Jewelry, which for the most part enhanced the look (although I think the chunky brass two-finger ring would have been much better-suited to Yola Couture's collection). Perhaps the combination of pastel colours and matte textures influenced me, but the models in this show looked decidedly lackluster. That being the case, in general the collection was well-designed and well-executed.
Birds of North America
This collection blew me away. I felt that every single piece was different from every piece before and after it, from silhouettes to sleeve shapes to necklines to button details to stitching. It, too, had a strong retro feel, but seemed to be drawing from many different decades for inspiration and never lost its modern edge. The neutral tones of each piece, coupled with the black netted pillbox hats, lent the models a sexy, authoritative air, which fit perfectly with the collection's overall feel.
As a magpie, I was thrilled to see that my expectations of Micalla's jewelry were right on the money. Bold, sparkling necklaces, earrings, and bracelets glittered under the runway lights, showcased against black dresses. Crystal earrings over a foot in length, pearl necklaces worn draped around the shoulders, and an unclasped necklace falling loosely around the neck were interspersed with slightly more conventional statement jewelry, demonstrating the versatility of the collection. Red glitter lips on the models and a remixed Sinatra song embodied the drama and timeless sex appeal that Camilla Jørgensen incorporated into her Micalla line.