Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 17 Friday Shows - Seafolly Australia, Lee Atelier, Salomé Barragán and IAROCHESKI

Runway images by Ed Ng Photography

Love this image courtesy of Rosanne Braniski.
Not only does it include some of my great friends,
it offers a look at how diverse style truly is.
Day five of Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) found many of us slowing down and getting a little fuzz-brained.

I am not sure those attend just a few shows, watch for pleasure only, read daily media reviews or enjoy the thousands of images - runway and candid - really understand the sheer hard work and long days that go into this week.

For the event itself, hundreds of volunteers are involved.  They arrive early in the day and stay far enough past the last show to get everything ready for the next day. Then some of the staff and volunteers also support the after parties for another few hours.

Many media and photographers, including myself, sit through all shows. That can be up to 15 shows in one day. I just counted and I been in my seat to watch 55 runway shows (students shows featured multiple designers) and there are still two days to go. The photographers have to stay up into the wee hours trying to get at least 5-7 images in the media bucket for each show. Without their hard work, I couldn't do what I do.

As media, I am up between 6 and 7 a.m. to write my article, add in the images/photog credits, make it live by noon and share links across all SEO platforms. Then I have just a short time to clear my head, have a bite to eat, figure out what to wear, put on my make-up and head out the door to do it all again. The difficult rush hour traffic this week has meant I have to leave home 1-1/2 hours before the first show to be in my seat on time. A very day.

Why do we all do it?  The inspiring fashion designers - local, national and international - who come to share their vision on the runway. Each and every season, I meet at least one new designer with a great story that inspires me and see a other collections that challenge my views on fashion. Then there are hints offered of what may emerge as new trends. I am honoured to give press to these talented artists and go on to follow the careers of many. And I love the increasing number of student shows featured. These new designers are the future of fashion.

I have said it many times. Fashion is art for me. It's not about what the media says I should be wearing, it's about connecting with designers from around the world to see what I am drawn to - what makes me feel special when I wear it. Katherine Soucie of Sans Soucie once asked me what relationship I wanted with my clothes. It took me six months to figure out, but my most cherished pieces have a history to them.

Occasionally I have the honour of purchasing a unique piece for my wardrobe from one of the artists I admire. The designer's story is usually a part of the reason I am drawn to the garment and it's their story that surrounds me when I wear it proudly.  Love a show you've seen this season? Try to support that designer by putting one of their garments in your closet.

Now on to today's coverage. And my look today featured a long top with a criss cross neck and black/grey colour blocked skinny pants by JAC. These were paired with a pull tab and crochet handbag from Escama Studio (you really need to check out the amazing variety of designs and colours they have) and a pair of cool shoes with spinal heels by Hades Footwear.

As always, this is only a very small representation of the shows featured on Friday. Please take a moment and check out all the collections shown on the runway.

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Seafolly Australia

I almost never feature swimwear in my column.  It's very hard to create an interesting show and have enough diversity to keep it interesting. Well, Seafolly Australia is obviously an exception as here we are.  This Australian swimwear/coverup label has grown to be not only the centre of beachwear in Australia, but has a huge presence in international swimwear boutique and major fashion department store. I love this excerpt from their bio, "Seafolly’s fashion designers, staff members, friends and family spend countless hours enjoying life in our own products. We are our own best customers and our toughest critics. Innovative, fashionable, high quality swimwear, lifestyle apparel products and accessories are as important to us as they are to our customers."

What we saw on the runway was a great mix of fabrics, colours and swimsuit styles intermixed with a variety of beach wear and coverups.  Props included great bags and blow up pool toys.  Make-up was fresh and kudos on the hair team for catching the feel of "beach hair." Models were encourage to have fun - interacting with each other and the audience and playing it up for the photographers. A note of thanks to the organizers - loved the fabulous cookie you handed out.  Well done all around.

Lee Atelier

U.S. based designer Angela Lee was born and raised in Toronto, then trained in New York City. But she has always felt a strong tie to her Asian roots and travels there often. These trips are where inspiration is found for her Lee Atelier label, but there are still elements of her western upbringing evident. It is a brand that spans two continents and Lee hopes to establish a loyal client base in each.

Black and white dominated the palette, allowing our focus to be on the silhouettes and construction. This collection was interesting.  Classic looks were taken apart and revisited in ways that challenged the audience's concept of how a pant, a shirt or a blouse should look. Fabrics and construction were excellent. Looks were strong and very architectural.  An interesting, thought producing show that I truly enjoyed.

Salomé Barragán

As  the first model took to the runway, I found myself intrigued. The textured multi-hue fabric in the long, simple jacket was paired with white pants and a white blouse that had tiny coloured flecks to echo the jacket. I will try to add a picture of the tomorrow. Colombia based designer Salome Barragán shares this in her bio, "My dream is to tell colourful stories through fashion... I am inspired by the beautiful forms of nature, in the incredible beautiful objects around us, in the vibrant colors of the Colombian landscape where natural and organic patterns development. in terms of technical interests me propose a novel and disquieting draping. resulting in a playful and elegant style."

What we saw were lots of separates in mostly soft, pastel hues. Fits were loose and comfortable and there was some combinations which offered contrasting fabrics or prints.  Definitely very wearable in our West Coast summers.


This is a Brazil based menswear label founded by Lui Iarocheski which has graced the runway in Vienna, Vancouver and Sao Paulo.  The pieces are all designed in house and offered in only a limited run to maintain quality with great attention paid to fit and finish.  From their bio, " Our focus is on quality and experimental design translated into pieces that you can build your wardrobe around. We are committed to producing products that are unique, made from quality materials, designed with great care and presented in simple and inspiring ways. This is a story sewn by honest hands speaking to a better way of living."

We last saw IAROCHESKI at VFW a year ago - write-up HERE! I for one am so glad the brand has returned. I love seeing menswear on the runway, especially when it brings something new and interesting to the table. Let's face it, in North America it's pretty staid. Iarocheski brings a fresh look to menswear that walks the perfect line between wearable and pushing the fashion envelope. There was also an intriguing fabric that caught my eye in the collection this year. It was seen in two looks including the last coat down the runway. The coat in this final look was my hands down favourite. Yes, I know it was designed for men, but I would wear it myself in a minute.