Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 15 Day 1 - Theresa Chen, ILOVECHOC, YKS by Yong Kyun Shin and Connally McDougall

From my camera!
All photos credited as noted below the images. Please do not use without permission of the photographer.

Now in it's 25th season, the Day 1 runway shows at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) brought out the crowds.  The event is running for it's second season inside large white tents set up in the outdoor atrium at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre - a move that came about when attendance outgrew the last space.  This Vancouver event draws designers both local and from around the globe - India, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Peru, Argentina, Scandinavia  France, Italy,  England and the list goes on.  What a great opportunity to experience design work outside of our own local bubble.

I truly covet this look!
Image by 
Peter Jensen Photography
This was my first big event since finishing my book - Life Outside the Box - so it was great to reconnect with industry friends.  As always, the runway before, between and after shows was full of community as we shared hugs, a few quick updates and numerous photo ops. I enjoyed all the shows immensely, but the chance to connect with so many talented people was definitely the icing on the cake. I especially loved running into Felix and Joseph - the 2 talented and oh so fashionable men I snapped the image with above.  They always have a ready smile and a big hug waiting.

This evening I supported the local industry by wearing several pieces by Vancouver designers.  Black jacket and sheer black top were by RozeMerie Cuevas of JAC. Original BEE print mini skirt was by Trish P. of Tastemaker Clothing. Sunglasses were from Sue Randhawa at The Optical Boutique.  I also love wearing pieces with a story. My necklace was a present from South African designer Gert Johan Coetzee when he stayed with me during his show at VFW a few season ago.


Images by Kuna Photography
On to the shows.  As in previous easons, I am only able to cover four shows a night in order to get my article up by noon. It is never an easy decision, so I encourage everyone to check out the other designers showcased this evening. I try to have a bit of variety in aesthetics to give you an idea of the range. You're in luck!  Because the four I chose either showcased large collections or had two parts to their collection (mens and womens - day and evening), I am offering more images this time.

Theresa Chen

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography


Vancourite Theresa Chen is not only a designer, but a senior wedding gown consultant and bridal stylist at Blush Occasions.  With a fashion career that started in Montreal and inspiration acquired working in London for a historical fashion brand, she brings international experience to her designs. The label's aesthetic is described as Simplicity Chic - actually a great description.

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography















Chen presented 2 separate collections this evening. The first half featured tailored looks anchored by structured capes and coats.  One feature I loved on the capes was the strips of raw fabric detailing the intricate seaming. The second set gave a nod to her work bridal and featured a serious of evening gowns from pale pink to black, from velvet to lace - each with it's own unique style. To help the audience move from one collection to the other, the designer wisely changed to music both during the runway show and the final walk through.  

ILOVECHOC

Images by Peter Jensen Photography
I was escorted backstage before the doors opened last night and had a chance to meet the designer and the huge support group in attendance for this label.  ILOVECHOC has over 200 stores across China as well as a a chain of Caffè (coffee) establishements.  As the collection was very trendy streetwear, I wasn't sure if I would feature it or not. Imagine my surprise when I found myself on the edge of my seat from first look to the final offering. The theme for F/W 2014 was  “1 DOLLAR”. The “$” is the symbol for the dollar currency and is a representation of international payments and exchanges - combining the icon of the “coin” with stylish clothing to express two different ideas - the new generation of youth and their love and pursuit of fashion and the irony of how the youth in society have grown to worship money and become impulsive.

Images courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography
The runway show had great energy, colour mixing and styling right down to the bright yellow socks finishing one look. While this line is definitely aimed at a younger crowd, the designer wisely offered pieces that could be worked into a more upscale look. There was a knit black/white print skirt here, a pair of leggings there and a jacket I could easily work into my own closet. Then because I love wearing the unexpected - I found myself totally coveting a knee length white dress with a large dollar sign on the front paired with a brightly coloured bomber jacket. Even my friend Christopher leaned over and said - I could see you wearing that! Kudos to the designer and team. You have a new fan.

YKS by Young Kyun Shin

Images by Peter Jensen Photography
YKS by Yong Kyun Shin was definitely a hit. When the first model turned the corner, you could almost hear a collective intake of breath from the audience.  This young, avant-garde designer from Korea is a 2012 graduate of St. Martins and has quickly garnered international recognition and awards. The label is known for it's excellent craftsmanship as well as complex details, expert pattern drafting and innovative use of new materials. Both ready-to-wear and an avant garde line are offered under the luxury label - YKS.


YKS for F/W 2015 was focused on dark colours and hard edges. Fabrics were chosen that held a firm silhouette.  Flower, ruffle, zipper and lacing details were scattered throughout. One of the first accessories that caught my eye were the boot-type leg coverings with front zipper and ruffle at thigh and ankle - seen in the set of images on the left in the top strip. More than one person around me could be heard coveting a pair of these. There was a mix of silhouettes from shorts to coats to jackets to dresses.  I really encourage you to check out the YKS website as there is great selection of looks from other seasons that give you an idea of the range this designer offers. Shin's creativity is enormous and I can't wait to see what his future collections will hold.

Connally McDougall

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography
Connally McDougall is a graduate of Central Saint Martins and based out of both Vancouver and London. She was featured in the documentary series “Emerging” by Leonard Jones as well as in publications such as Fashion Magazine, British Vogue, Glamour and Italian Elle as well as NICHE magazine, LouLou and 1Granary. This is the designer's third season showing at VFW where she has garnered a strong local following. For F/W 2015 the designer has expanded her line to include menswear, accessories and even hosiery - offering a bit of something for everyone at a variety of price points.

Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography
Inspiration this season was found in a work of art - Gustav Klimt's "Wasserschlangen" - flowing, feminine and with a simple beauty.  The collection featured a darker fall palette with a single print and a few light neutrals offered in contrast.  Both more structured and softer silhouettes were featured. Separates took centre stage with a few flowing dresses included to take you to an evening soiree. One detail that found it's way into several looks was black fringe, Especially at the hem where it accented the model's walk. Loved the eyewear from The Optical Boutique as an added note of styling. Congrats on another great season.
                               Images courtesy of Ed Ng Photography
Want to attend Days 2-6 shows? Tickets till available at www.vanfashionweek.com.

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