Saturday, March 30, 2013

Project Runway Season 11 - Episode 4

Check out recaps of other episodes by clicking the the Project Runway tab.

Episode 4 of Project Runway Season 11 starts with the designers entering the studio. Red candles have filled the air with a delicious aroma. They are 2-in-1 Candles provided by Glade, a combination of Hawaiian Breeze and Vanilla Passion. They are also clues to the next challenge. Tim Gunn shares this is one of his favourite challenges - the Unconventional Challenge - and their materials will be sourced from a flower shop. Then comes the twist. We knew there would be a twist.  Heidi Klum enters and shares she likes it more complicated. She loves the idea of hard and soft combined - flowers and hardware.

So the Unconventional Challenge this season is also the 2 in 1 challenge (a nod back to the candles if you remember). Each team is to make a cohesive line of 6 looks using flowers and hardware.  Each look does not have to contain both, but the overall look of the line must be cohesive. The budget is $2500 and they get 30 minutes to shop at each store as well as 2 days to complete the challenge. Guest judges this week are fashion blogger Leandra Medine (Man Repeller) and the one and only Bette Midler.

An attempt was also made to balance team numbers. Dream Team was allowed to choose 2 designers from Keeping it Real - they wisely chose Stanley and Layana.  Keeping it Real was then allowed to take one of theirs - they chose Michelle, one of the strongest designers from that team.  She wasn't happy to go. Again, despite her great work she ended up in the bottom team as this week Dream Team with their new infusion of talent easily rose to the top.  I have to say yet again, the team challenge is interesting in many ways, but when you have top designers consistently stuck on the losing team it is problematic.

Dream Team (Top)-

Stanley was one of the best things that happened to this team. He wisely suggested whatever they wanted to design individually should follow a basic theme - 1950's Dior New Look. It worked! The judges loved this collection. It had a great colour palette and was whimsical and beautifully made. Other adjectives offered were modern, timely, fresh and elegant. There was a true artistry in the final garments that charmed everyone. The win overall went to Samantha who captured foliage under an mesh frame. The other dress I felt could have won was Layanna's. Pastel flowers on the beige cage skirt created a soft,feminine look that belies the materials used. I do want to mention Benjamin this week. Although I doubt he will be standing at the end because of the pressure of the show, I really like him as a designer. This week he made his own hand loom and wove part of the fabric he used from string.

Samantha (winner) - Tu - Benjamin

Stanley - Matthew - Layana (another that could have been selected as winner)

Keeping It Real (Bottom)

Richard was hilarious when he suggested a theme of Ru Paul meets Gilligan's Island. Unfortunately with only this to guide them, their collection had no cohesion. Michelle could see this coming from a mile away. She noted, "Every garment looks like it was made by a crazy person and none of them were staying in the same hospital." In the end she was the one to come up with an idea to tie the looks together - dresses from the decades. It redeemed the collection in the judges eyes in terms of cohesion, but the collection was just not in the same league as the Dream Team's. Although the judges did not assign a loser this week because of the quality of the designs, they had to send someone home and Joseph Aaron was chosen. Personally my bottom 2 were Danielle (what woman wants a big decoration at the waist making her look pregnant) and Amanda (just boring compared to the others). I thought Joseph Aaron's had an interesting take on the challenge, but not my call.

Joseph Aaron (sent Home) - Kate - Danielle (don't love the big bulge at the waist on this)

Patirica - Amanda (my other bottom 2) - Michelle/Richard (love the skirt here)

If you would like to see larger versions of these designs from episode 4, you can go to the Rate the Runway.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Necessity Is The Mother of Invention

The timing to re-post this Behind the Scenes article from Fame'd May 2010 is perfect. 2013 is the 20-year anniversary of Dream - an astonishing accomplishment that few other independents can claim. In it's inviting Gastown space you will find a wide range of local designers represented. This boutique is one of only a few that have a focus on supporting local. So grab a nice cuppa tea or glass of wine, put of your feet up and enjoy. It's time to celebrate 20 years of supporting Vancouver fashion!

= = =

Photo by Fred Fraser - 

What do local designers Dace, Mandula, Allison Wonderland and Paperbird have in common? One of the first stores to sell their creations was Dream in Gastown. Today there are many boutiques that feature local designs, but when owner Wendy de Kruyff opened 17 years ago there were very few. Instead of having to provide a full collection, designers were allowed to put in just a few pieces at a time. She provided a chance to earn those first sales, answered their questions and gave valuable customer feedback. The tradition continues to this day.

De Kruyff was born in Amsterdam, but has lived in many parts of the United States and Canada. She landed in Kelowna at the age of 13. Punk Rock, Alternative, New Wave, fashion and everything 80's were passions. She often visited friends in Vancouver and by 15 was selling her creations in local boutiques. "I met people at the cute stores in the neighbourhood and they would offer to sell them. I made earrings and jewellery as well as a lot of little sailor hats - kind of like berets with a tie down the back. I also used to make mini-skirts and other things I would want myself but couldn't find." A week after her 18th birthday she packed her bags and moved to Vancouver. Her first job was at a vintage clothing store called Deluxe Junk.

Owning a boutique had always been de Kruyff's long-term goal. Fortunately her grandfather had set

aside some funds for each of the grandchildren. This provided just enough seed money to open 
Dream in 1993. Only 26 at the time, she remembers, "For me, necessity is the mother of invention. Essentially I needed a job. I was creating things and I had the opportunity to open a store. It basically started out being my designs. Next a few of my creative friends began selling their stuff in my store. Then it grew from people I knew selling in the store to complete strangers. It just happened organically." The focus on local also evolved because the store is run on a consignment basis which limits stock to artists in the area.

While De Kruyff loves fashion, she is not caught up in trends. It is about self-expression ("I try never to be a fashion fascist") and the very eclectic mix of garments in her store is a testament to that outlook. Clients include every aspect of the scene from fashion victims looking for something unique to those who do not like to shop in the malls. Her take on the industry has been honed even further since the birth of her son seven years ago. "I've always had an issue with fashion. Is it important? Yes and No. I find it hard to take the frivolity of the industry very seriously when looking at the real things in the world. That being said, even in places where there is terrible strife people still find some comfort in clothes. There are creative people in the poorest countries that want to create something interesting in fashion."

Looking back over her time in the industry, there have been several things de Kruyff was surprised by. First were the economic factors. When Dream opened she didn't even realize a recession was happening - we are now in our third. The question is posed as to how many are actual recessions and how many are fuelled by sensational news reports. There is no easy answer. Second has been the reality of how much time the business end of things takes. Add in family time and there is little left for personal creativity. Rising designers often mention they would like to open a store and her response is always the same, "No you don't. Become an established designer and then you can think about opening a store." The biggest change in recent years has been the explosion of small boutiques that feature local designers. The economic effect is hard to predict. Will this increase the number of customers shopping for local goods, or will the slice of the pie be reduced for each store?

Over the last 17 years, the Gastown area has gone through several incarnations and Dream continues to weather the changes. For de Kruyff, Monday afternoons are still set aside as a time to meet new designers and see what they have to offer. Most find her the old school way - by word of mouth - and organic continues to be the philosophy that guides her days.

For more information, please visit the website at

Tanya Huang's Special Birthday Video

This video came to me in an email from Tanya and it touched my heart deeply.

Tanya Huang is the beautiful, energetic and talented designer/owner of Knot Theory which offers a new and very modern look at the tie and the bow tie. In this video she celebrates her birthday by sharing with the world a tremendously personal story as well the reason behind her edgy new look.

As I was asked to share this wonderful personal testament with others, I decided this would be the best venue to reach the widest audience. I hope you will join me in honouring her birthday request to share this video far and wide.


Dear friends,

It's my birthday today! It's a HUUUGE day for me because I'm going to share a very personal story with you. The best birthday present you can give me is to share this video with your friends!
Much love,

I used to have a full head of healthy shiny hair. Then suddenly, when I was 10 years old, all of my hair fell out in days. Turned out I have Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune condition where my own immune system attacks my hair. It's a genetic disease that can affect anyone at any age. Men and women have equal chance of developing it. If other autoimmune conditions run in your family (e.g. type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or vitiligo the skin discolouration disease Michael Jackson had) you are more likely to develop alopecia reata.

There are varying degrees of alopecia. Alopecia Areata (bald spots) affects 2% of the population, and Alopecia Totalis & Universalis (head an body hair) affect 1 in a 1,000 people. In some ways I have Universalis because I never grew armpit hair...and I'll let you guess the rest of my body hair, haha ;) 

Having Alopecia made a huge impact on my life and my personality. Hair has always been valued as such an important thing, especially for women. Not having hair really devastated me, for a long time. Even when I thought I was over this hairloss thing because I had top of the line wigs that Tyra Banks and Beyonce wear, I was not quite ok. It is only recently, that I feel confident enough and love myself enough, to tell you about my alopecia and show you my alopecia!

Now my goal is to raise alopecia awareness, and help more alopecians get support instead of feeling all alone in the world. It would mean so much to me if you could share this video with friends :)

For more information on support for alopecia:

Alopecia World - a worldwide network for alopecians, with over 13,000 members. 
You can find my Vancouver support group here!

NAAF - National Alopecia Areata Foundation, with several thousand members and yearly conference in the US.

CANAAF - Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation

Children's Alopecia Project - for kids with alopecia!
Copyright © 2013 Knot Theory Fashion House, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because we think you are interested in reading about ongoing exciting happenings at Knot Theory!

Our mailing address is:
Knot Theory Fashion House
1501-1807 Haro Street
Vancouver, BC V6G1G4

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maggie Fu - Wearable One-Of-A-Kind Art

Photographs by Leonard Imagery unless otherwise noted.

One of the local new-on-the-scene designers that I was introducing around at Vancouver Fashion Week was Magdalena Lima Ortega - a self taught fabric manipulator. Her collection is lovingly called Maggie Fu. I had the chance to meet Lima last fall in her beautiful live/work studio space. We were a little interview challenged as she had lost her voice due to a cold, but where there is a will there is a way.  I came away inspired by the incredible amount of hand-work embodied in each piece and have been trying to get pen to paper since.  Today is the day.

Magdalena was born in Mexico City, but moved to Guadalajara when only 10. With extended family left behind, trips back were frequent. As a child she was always immersed in making things by hand and surrounded by a family who loved music and dance. At the age of 20 she began to practice the art of Capoeira and starting dancing Samba a few months later. Opportunities to create success were difficult to find in Mexico so her eyes turned Canada. The immigration process took 3 long years, but the dream became a reality in 2005. She was 25. Soon after arrival, a chance meeting with a former Capoeira teacher introduced her to a group of samba dancers she ended up working with for several years.

After becoming a top instructor certified in dance-based exercise styles Zumba and Goove Movement, Magdalena felt the pull of her artistic roots calling and began cutting and manipulating t-shirts. It was a learn as you go process that was right in line with her philosophy - "Self expression doesn't have any rules. Fashion is abstract art and should be embraced as that." From twisted swirls of braided fabric to large spider web-like openings, each look is unique because it is created one at a time at the designer's whim. Exploring new techniques for manipulation and adding new silhouettes is also a part of her journey as an artist. The creative process is labour intensive.  Every time the fabric speaks to her in a different way so the final look is always a surprise, but it is always wearable one-of-a-kind art.

Images by Bee Kapitan
Over time the brand has grown to include 3 collections:  Leisurewear, Activewear and Clubwear. Featured are booty shorts, camisoles, short and long-sleeve t-shirts, yoga pants and more. While there are long-sleeve shirts for men, the majority of the collection is designed for women and that's the way the designer likes it. "My main inspiration is womanhood and celebrate beauty and uniqueness." Magdalena loves to see female clients showing off their "booties" in her original garments and I think her garments in turn probably inspire her clients to work hard on their personal goals.

I tried to save the best for last, and here it is - WHY IS THE COLLECTION NAMED MAGGIE FU?  I have to admit, when I met her I was confused why a Mexican-born designer would chose the name Fu to brand under. The answer is simple. Magdalena was trying to teach her Canadian husband some @KaaChaaa moves one day and her rough-housing was so aggressive and physical for a woman of such small stature he awarded her the nickname FU.  It stuck! I think there is a possible logo in there somewhere, perhaps "Maggie Fu Kicks Butt" ?????????

Images by Bee Kapitan
Look for an exciting Maggie Fu fashion show this Fall 2013 - details to be announced. In the meantime you can check out her line at Want to try one of her fitness classes? You'll find a schedule online at

Below is a pic of Magdalena on the runway at VFW in March followed by a few random shots I took on my small camera last fall at the studio of garments on hangers.  Inspiring to say the least.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 13 - Day 5

All runway images courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

The last day of Vancouver Fashion Week has come and gone.  I think everyone who sat through all five days is probably reeling from overload. This season had a tremendously diverse selection of designers - ready-to-wear to conceptual, local to international, western to ethnic. I enjoyed looking at who other media chose to cover and listening to the feedback from those around me in the audience.

When I began to write about designers and their collections, I thought there was a single TRUTH. That it was a bad thing if I didn't feel the same way as other knowledgeable industry people. In reality, there are a wide range of tastes to be found when it come to fashion with just a 

Photographer Peter Jensen & 
Frances MacDonald
few designers loved by all. Diversity rules and that's good news. I encourage each of you to love what you love with no apologies. In the end, your style should be an expression of who you are and if it makes you feel wonderful - you'll rock it!

Sunday was another day I was not able to be there in person, so I emailed and phoned several others for feedback when deciding who to cover. In the end, today's article showcases the unusual diversity of styles featured. Just take a quick glance at the images below one after the other before you start reading and you'll see what I mean. As this is only a small representation, I encourage you to go to the VFW's list of designers with website links and check out the other brands that were featured each day. Also have a look at the postings of writers covering this event on the VFW Facebook page.


Photographer Peter Jensen mentioned this show by Japanese designer Aldies as he enjoyed the presentation as a whole. The styles are so outside what I would normally wear, it's hard to comment on the looks. BUT what this show offered was Asian street style garments paired with ever changing graphic backdrops. The blend of imagery and looks created a show unique to VFW that has to be acknowledged.  I would love to give you more information on this designer, but can't find any. I did try an Google English translation of the designer's site, but it came through pretty mixed up.  Here is a section with corrections by me that I hope is somewhat close to accurate.  "My method is to layer complex fabrics and colours of many kinds into a patchwork. It is unparalleled in the world. I make things come and go freely without hesitation." 
If someone has any detailed information on Aldies, let me know and I'll update this post.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the show images that are a breath of fresh air in terms of originality.

Shivaji Dutta

Kolkata(Calcutta)-based designer Shivaji Dutta is a gradutate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi. His label - BLANK SPOT - is based on the idea that, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."  Working with used and unused material, Dutta strives to take negatives and turn them into advantages. "Sustainability has always been a fascinating and challenging term to work with in terms of creating high end garments. Re-use is always looked upon as a second hand issue, but eliminating it and creating a greater impact on the consumer's what the concept is all about." His offerings for Fall/Winter 2013 included several I would love to wear. Looks were sleek, had interesting detailing. I loved the palette - in particular, the black and gray with turquoise accents. While I didn't see this collection on the runway, in looking at the images I found myself coveting the turquoise, gray and black top and leggings 2nd from right below.

Eva Chen

Vancouver/LosAngeles designer Eva Chen has been a staple on the closing day of Vancouver Fashion Week for the last several seasons. She has also showcased her collection in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Toronto. As her glamorous Hollywood-style gowns often receive the most attention, for this season I decided to feature images of other looks. I have always loved bright accent colours set against white, gray and black palettes. If you have pale skin in particular, it allows you to sport the energy of a bright colour without it being overwhelming. Two are examples are featured below. Then there were the see through styles created in a black palette - always sexy - featured here in both lace and sheer fabrics. The palette for this collection included white, beige, grey, deep pink, red and black. Looking at the images of the more luxurious offereings, a strapless short dress with peplum in a textured black/brown print (not shown below) stood out from the crowd.  


There was no doubt after listening to comments on Day 5's shows that Shiamak's dance performance was one of the highlights. It was a great choice by Well-Groomed to include this segment as the dancer's high-energy performance had everyone sitting up in their seats and excited. Well costumed and captivating, the dancers caught the audience's attention and raised their anticipation for the upcoming runway show. When the model's hit the runway - all eyes were front and centre.

Well-Groomed - located in Surrey - has been offering bold, Indian garments for men and women of all ages since 2009.  Specializing in silk embroidered KurtasAchkans / SherwanisSareesLehengaSalwar suits & Indo-westerns, Well-Groomed focuses on designs and fabrics that create elegant, classic pieces blending the influence of traditional Indian wear with contemporary elements. In David Singh's own words, "Our avant-garde collection represents the finest in ethnic haute couture for all tastes and occasions."

And so ends another season! For those that missed the shows, there are videos from the live stream still available to watch. I am sure each designer would be happy to provide you the exact link for their show.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 13 - Adriana Santacruz

All images courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

For the most part I cover the designers at Vancouver Fashion Week by showing a few from each day together in a re-cap. I am making an exception here because I was so impressed by the story behind one collection. Moments like this are one of the reasons I attend all fashion weeks I am able. The world is full of these positive stories to enjoy even if the daily news is not.

As I was not able to make the Saturday evening shows, I decided to head down to the venue in the early afternoon to talk with the designers getting ready and look at their collections on the racks. There were many amazing, wonderful artists I had the privilege of talking with, but one stood out for her joyous, passionate personality and for the message of social consciousness that is an intricate part of her brand - award winning Colombian designer Adriana Santacruz!

Talking through an interpreter was an experience not to be missed.  Santacruz spoke with her entire being. Her eyes flashed, joyful excitement animated her face, her hands moved through the air as if communicating through sign language and the more she shared her passion, the faster she spoke. Several times I had to ask her to slow down as I couldn't keep up even though I wrote at a furious speed. Thank goodness the PR agency for this show - The Promotion People - had a great media package to fill in the blanks. 

The designer's passion for this collection is bound tightly to the responsibility she feels to bring happiness and prosperity to those who create her garments - the ancestral indigenous culture of "Los Pathos" - descendants from her local town tribes. They bring age-old artisanal skills such as "..the art of the four rustic sticks - 'The Loom' - which reunites cultural elements and sewing techniques."  The garments are wonderful artistic compositions created by hand - from the weaving of the fabric, to the hand dying, to the final sewing.  

Santacruz is committed to rescuing 3,000 year old traditions and using them to create classic, modern pieces that will be as wearable in 20 years as they are today. The garments reflect a blend of contemporary concepts with tribal unity and cultural roots. For Fall/Winter 2013 a subtle Oriental influence could be seen.  Handmade fabrics in horizontal and vertical loom with brocade; dying with ikat, tie dye and mooring techniques; and a beautiful, warm palette all blended to create a show-stopping collection that had the audience on the edge of their seats.

There was a surprising soft fluidity I didn't expect in the structured woven fabrics. Many garments had a lovely unexpected swing. The coats were hands down my favourite as I have always loved the silhouette of a fuller, draped coat worn over more fitted garments. I covet a whopping FOUR of them. My top choice over all is one the designer's favourites as well - the red and black coat on the left below - but it was a close call as I would just has happily wear most of them.

These garments I wanted to show front and back as they were 2 of the designer's personal favourites.
There is so much more to this story, but I will leave that for a future article so be sure and check back. In closing I want to offer my personal congratulations to the designer for not only her wonderful runway show at VFW, but her nomination as the official representative of Colombia to the Inaugural Ceremony at World Fashion Week Paris 2013.  And I can't wait to see what she will be offering next season.

You can visit the designer's website at

For media in Vancouver contact - 
Lesley Diana

In the U.S. contact - 
Monica Macía,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 13 - Day 4

All images courtesy of Peter Jensen.

As I couldn't be at Vancouver Fashion Week on day 4, I went to the venue earlier in the day to look at some of the collections backstage and talk with the designers personally.  It was actually great to hear them enthuse about their collections and to see the incredible detailing up close.  I did not manage to find all the people showing on Saturday unfortunately, so am limited to choosing from those I did talk with. Here are 3 from the day 4 slate. There will be a separate article on designer Adriana Santa Cruz as the back story on her collection is truly special. Hopefully I can get that up later today or by Monday morning at the latest, so be sure and check back.

NOTE - Again I want to make it clear that I am only writing up a few designers each day that caught my eye for one reason or another. It's always hard to select who to cover as every designer puts their all into creating a show for the audience. Every person looks at fashion differently, so I encourage you to go to the VFW's list of designers with website links and check out the other brands that showcased each day. There's some amazing work not covered here to surprise you. Other writers are also covering other designers - so check out the listings on the VFW Facebook page.


LUVON designer Liu Lu was born in Bejing and has studied fashion both in Paris and at Parsons in New York where she earned the Golden Thimble Award. After working a while with celebrity stylist GK Reid, she decided to leave a promising career in the United States and returned to China to launch her label. LUVON is designed with the concept of promoting the new age women.  They are sophisticated, yet giving. The designer shared, "It's not about outer beauty anymore, it's about inner beauty and spirit - how loving you are."  Her label is known for classic elegance and playful sexiness.  F/W '13 is titled "Reserved." The tailoring in particular is exceptional and the draping beautiful. I enjoyed being able to ask Lu her favourite garment this season and it's the ivory coat second from right.  Those folds below the belt are actually pockets. Kudos to the designer for the deceptive way they flow into the lines of this coat. I agree - this is a stand out piece.

Hatice Ipek Tohumcu

Istanbul designer Hatice Ipek Tohumcu caught my eye at the opening gala with her gorgeous gown embellished with laser cut leather.  In addition to a fashion degree from F.I.T, she has an MBA in Marketing, a BA in Business administration and is an highly skilled colorist who teaches at the university level to a wide range of disciplines including students in Architecture and Interior Design. Silhouettes are body conscious and often sculptural with a palette that showcases her expertise in this field. There were 2 collections presented on the runway this evening. The first was luxury leather sportswear. Intricate details such as embossing and laser cut appliques created finishing touches that took this line to a whole new level.  I particularly liked the deep red/black coat and dress on the far right below. It incorporates all the elements mentioned above in one single, beautiful package.

The second focus was high end red carpet looks. The looks had great proportions and the designs sported just the right amount of intricate detailing - not too little, not too much. The black dress  2nd from left below has a lot of detailing which gives it that extra pizzazz, but in the same colour as the dress so it doesn't overpower. I also love the lacey gold leather inset in the back of shorter dress 2nd from right below. Finally, who wouldn't love to be seen on the red carpet in the black/gold dress with net train on the far right below. Artistry and great technical skill walk hand in hand here. I hope Tohumcu will be returning to Vancouver Fashion Week for future shows as I truly love her collection.

Roksolana Bogutska

Although we had to work through an interpreter, I was very privileged to have the chance to talk with Roksolana Bogutska backstage and view her designs close up. There were so many intricate details incorporated into her garments that would have been hard to fully appreciate on the runway. I came away with a new level of appreciation for her work. Based in the Ukraine, Bogutska is a blend of opposites that she combines with great skill - elegant luxury and bold modernity, traditional Ukrainian motifs and modern fashion trends, new fabrics and 100 year old antique panels. After graduating from Lviv College of Fine Arts, she launched her first collection in 1998. Now one the Ukraine's top designers, her garments have been worn at inaugurations, on stage and by celebrities. 

Leather, fur, wool, silk and cotton provide the raw materials for this line. All fabrics are custom made in Italy including original prints with traditional motifs. Traditional embroidery was incorporated into designs in a way that blended well into the modern look of the garment.  An example - one luxurious gown had a small, colourful embroidery panel tucked in beautifully at the waist that hinted at a traditional apron. I particularly want to mention the white wedding gown shown in the image at the beginning of this article. There just was no way a photo could capture how much work went into creating this gown. The centre front was inset with a 100 year old antique panel of traditional embroidered white cotton. There was a slight colour variation in the laces used adding a subtle depth to the white palette. From afar it looked classic and simple, but up close you could see how much intense work went into this gown. Kudos to the designer.

So ends another day at Vancouver Fashion Week.  Only Sunday night is left and then we have to wait for a whole new season.  I so grateful to the international designers who make the trek to Vancouver to give us a glimpse of what is happening in the rest of the world.  I hope they will all return next season!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 13 - Day 3

All images courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

Day 3 of Vancouver Fashion Week began early for me as I had lunch with photographer Garry Kettleson at Finch's Tea and Coffee House on Pender.  It was great to share memories of old times. We first met over 9 years ago, long before I began writing and just after my daughter walked in her first show at VFW. Garry was the photographer I purchased runway images from. Now years later my daughter has long ago walked away from modeling and Garry and I are still here. I can't think of a better way I could have started the day. By the end I had forgotten my cold and was fully energized and ready to watch the day's shows.  THANKS GARRY!

As we both ended up at the venue a bit early, it gave me time to change into proper heels and deliver some thank-you treats to the volunteers that really don't get a lot of recognition - those working the door, seating guests, selling drinks, hair stylists, make-up artists, runway coordinators and more.  We see the final efforts from this huge team as the show progresses with beautiful models on the runway looking sleek and fashionable, but those working in the hive of activity behind the scenes do so without any recognition.  So I try each season to take some treats for them to say THANK-YOU.

NOTE - Again I want to make it clear that I am only writing up a few designers each day that caught my eye for one reason or another. It's always hard to select who to cover as every designer puts their all into creating a show for the audience. Every person looks at fashion differently, so I encourage you to go to the VFW's list of designers with website links and check out the other brands that showcased each day. There's some amazing work not covered here to surprise you.


I haven't covered a lot of the ready-to-wear market at Vancouver Fashion Week which is a shame. As much as we all love to see drama and avant garde designs, ready-to-wear basics drive the fashion industry and in Vancouver there is nothing we all need more than a great coat and jacket.  Zareen is designed by Cindy Xin - an award winning graduate of LaSalle College.  She has worked with labels in North America and Asia and now is the creative force for Zareen, launched by her own Vancouver-based company, BC24 Fashion.  While there were a few very chic dresses offered, I think the coats made this line stand out. All were created from beautiful fabrics in a lovely palette with impeccable tailoring and good proportions.

Veejay Floresca

Philipine designer Veejay Floresca brings not only extensive experience to the runway, but a Masters in Fashion from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, international recognition through numerous awards received from around the globe and a place in the finals on Project Runway Philippines. Tailoring is obviously one of his strong suits as the garments shown on the runway were impeccable.  I loved his fabric selections, silhouettes and palette and found the collection as a whole impressive. There were many items I would love to add to my own closet such at the look 2nd from LEFT below.  The only hitch during this show for me personally was I did occasionally feel the styling could have been simpler to let the individual pieces shine. A few looks had a lot going on which I found distracting. But fashion truly is personal, so I am sure many would disagree with me. I hope to see this designer again next season - he was a great addition to the day!

Carole Mclellan

Carole Mclellan offered a great selection of men's and women's garments created from new and re-styled fur and leather. Although Seattle is her home base, this designer works and travels worldwide. Her favourite destination?  PARIS, of course! No surprise that her garments are sold in stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus and that a large part of her work is custom couture for high-end clients. I try to the best of my ability to wear synthetics as much as possible, but when the tall model came out in the long, beautiful coat in the image below 2nd from left, desire hit. It had serious runway appeal. This was a strong collection that showcased not only Mclellan's technical skill, but her eye in created just the right silhouette.

Pouneh Askarian

While I was starting to fade by the last show, there was no way I would ever miss seeing Pouneh Askarian. She was one of my favourite shows at VFW in April 2011 and has been on my mind ever since. Born in Tehran, with a fashion degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Askarian decided to move to London to gain more experience at the University of the Arts London. On completion of this program in 2006 she offered a runway show inspired by Persian art, then returned to Canada to launch her first collection in 2007. The aesthetic for this brand is contemporary women who embrace different cultures - a fusion of many elements that creates exciting interesting silhouettes. The collection we saw on Friday is titled Gold Peafowl - "...a journey between Japanese Kimono silhouettes to Middle Eastern nature in a glamorous way." The look I want in my closet - the grey dress with the soft flowing silhouette below top right. I hope you enjoy the images from this collection as much as I did the runway show, but to get the full effect of this label you really need to see it up close and personal!