Friday, September 19, 2014

Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 15 - Day 3 Shows: Marita, Lozena, Shravan and Green Embassy

The fabulous 4 together again -
Mark Abbott (Province), Robbin Whachell
(The Bahamas Weekly), Edward Quan
(Styledrama) and myself.
Day 3 of Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) runway shows something magical happened for me.  The shift to the new venue after so many seasons at the Chinese Cultural Centre was a great one, but the space felt strange for the first few days.  It was like being in a new town and the dynamics of the event felt different. Then last night something shifted and the new venue suddenly felt familiar. That spirit of community and warmth settled in that VFW has become known for. There was even cheering during the last 2 shows.  The venue finally felt like home.

After a more demur day yesterday in terms of my personal dress, I was privileged today to sport a long silk and alpaca felted vest created by designer Zuhal Kuvan-Mills of Green Embassy.  The interesting surface pattern was created with eucalyptus leaves.  To add a bit of drama, I wore my new gold flecked sunglasses from Sue Randhawa at The Optical Boutique.  These are prescription and not overly dark, so I could wear them all night with ease. Can't wait to sport them in Europe at the end of the month.

I know I mentioned them yesterday, but just so getting a kick out of Miranda Sam and Aurora Chan of Style by Fire.  Last night they were wearing outfits by Alex S. Yu who showed the previous night. Both looked very out-of-the-box, but it was Aurora's blue wig that put it totally over the top.  Well done ladies. :)



Now to my choices for the day. There were an interesting array of designers covering a wide range of styles, so that always makes it hard to select - but select I did. Be sure and check out more write-ups to get a view of the other great fashions on the runway.

Marita

Images by Ed Ng Photography


Designer Marita Mamuchashvili opened the evening with a show that made us all sit up from the first look.  Comprised of knitwear and simple silhouettes that were a canvas for print - the feel was almost two shows.  Here is her bio from the VFW site - "Marita is based in Tbilisi, Georgia. She studied at Academy Of Arts and graduated in 2013...Born 1988 EDUCATION: Bachelor of Design/Tbilisi State Academy of Arts Magister of Designer/Tbilisi State Academy of Arts. her collections are prodused in Georgia. Name of the collection is “Cryptogram”.She participated in many projects, exhibitions and fashion shows with this collection."

Image by Ed Ng
Last night I was most intrigued and drawn to the truly unique knitwear.  It was intricate and captivating, so have chosen to showcase those silhouettes here in the runway images.  But I did pop by the designers Facebook site called Marit ART and was entranced. Her work is inspiring.  Marita produces clothing that are works of true art and I am crossing my fingers we will see her back next season. Hoping there will be a piece of her work in my closet one day.


Lozena

Images by Peter Jensen


We have seen a lot of conceptual and edgy collections this season, so it was a breath of fresh air to see the collection by Viktoria Nasteva of Lozena.  Beautiful construction, great fabric choices, nice palette and definitely created with women in mind. I didn't know until I did a bit of research that she is also creating sustainable fashion. From her VFW bio - "Viktoria started Lozena with her sister and mother because they noticed a lack of responsibly made clothing in the upscale, mainstream marketplace. Her Bulgarian heritage inspired Lozena’s ethical philosophy and is reflected in her design aesthetic. Through Lozena, Viktoria is working to make sustainable fashion synonymous with high-end fashion. Preserving traditional craft, bolstering the livelihoods of artisans, and treading lightly on the earth is of utmost importance in her business. Viktoria enjoys taking risks with her style, and hopes to motivate women to be true to themselves and to live close to nature!

Images by Peter Jensen


Sustainable fashion? Beautiful. Vibrant tones, houndstooth, beautiful tailoring, sleek shapes occasional highlighted with a sweep of fabric or a wavy skirt.  I love the fact the silhouettes hinted at a stronger, confident women - feminine without being overly so.  My favourite look personally was the dress created from solid black with a houndstooth draped side skirt as an accent. Again that balance of strong with a hint of femininity.  A great show all around.

Shravan


Images by Peter Jensen

Shravan Kumar Ramaswamy is one very special person. This is 2nd season at VFW and I look forward to interviewing him today. Gentle, warm, open, a talented designer, enthusiastic when talking about his work, and a kind spirit involved in charity work - what a combination.  Here is an excerpt from his VFW bio - "Shravan Kumar Ramaswamy has crafted magic with fabrics for 18 years; a coveted journey that began when he became the first and youngest fashion designer to emerge from the classical city of Hyderabad.

Images by Peter Jensen


A true-blue fashionista, Kumar is a craftsman who belongs to an emerging generation of research driven designers. Best known for the revival and reinvention of eco friendly fabrics as well as unusual creations from unconventional fabrics Shravan Kumar draws his inspiration from the sheer volume and beauty of ethnic Indian designs that reflects an amalgamation of colour and texture along with class. His mantra for himself is, “fashion is my religion,” and he feels blessed to be able to “weave magic through fabric.” There is so much more - I encourage you to check it out more. Just click HERE.

Image by Peter Jensen
This runway show was a full showcase of the designer's talents with a wide range of both mens and women's looks.  What struck me this season was how very modern some of the looks were. They still were true to their cultural roots, but presented in a fresh new light.  Many times I heard - I would wear that - circulating around me. In fact I said it myself, surprisingly to one of the mens outfits that I felt had potential to work on either.  The palette, the way colours and patterns were combined and the show's styling all came together on the runway to create a spectacular experience and the reward was clapping from the audience almost from the first look through to the end. Kudos Shravan. Hope you're back next season.

Green Embassy

Images by Ed Ng Photography




I love Green Embassy and all it stands for. Founder Zuhal Kuvan-Mills also has an amazingly soft heart and during our interview, her deep passion became oh so apparent. She comes to the fashion industry through a totally different route.  A trained vet who raises her own herd of Alpacas, she has an abiding love for all animals.  She has also been an educator and is an established artist with many installations to her name - some with strong social statements.  Her textiles led her into the fashion world when she started draping them on models and they were taken for gowns. That was a year ago and she has since shown in London, Vancouver, China, New Zealand and is shortly off to Paris. Excerpt from her VFW bio - "Zuhal Kuvan-Mills is a Turkish-born Australian Visual artist, Textile and Organic certified ( GOTS) haute-couture fashion designer The Western Australia -based creator has two unique eco-sustainability labels to her name – Atelier Zuhal, an artisan studio specialising in handmade textiles using certified organic alpaca and merino fibres, and Green Embassy, a cutting-edge ‘slow fashion’ clothing label employing earth-friendly, hand-crafted techniques...Both labels also intensely celebrate the spirit of sustainability. They fuse zero-waste production, ‘conscious ethics’ and ancient techniques with luxurious, sumptuous and alluring works designed to be passed down from generation to generation." Read the full bio HERE.
Images by Ed Ng Photography
The Green Embassy show opened with two beautiful dancers who moved fluidly down the runway. The crowd was instantly quiet. Last season we saw heavier weight wool felt pieces - beautiful, enticing and more structural. This season Zuhal has grown and explored new directions, creating a line that is much more diverse.  There were thin layers of wool felt on top of a light weight silk. I was wearing a piece created this way - light, fragile and with a great drape. The new collection also showcases other organic fabrics as well as upcycled fabrics - the reason we saw sequins. The detailing seen on the garments came from several different sources: the ball shapes wrapped with copper wire provide one way to use up scraps of fabric as the designer embraces a zero waste policy.  The interesting patterns on the cotton garments were hand-painted by a native artist. The designer also spins her own black yarn and uses it to "write" intriguing shapes.

Image by Ed Ng Photography
So glad Zuhal returned for a 2nd season. I wish her well at her next show in Paris and hope she returns to VFW next season.

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