VFW - The International Element

Photo by Peter Jensen
Now in its 10th year, Vancouver Fashion Week's (www.vanfashionweek.com) current season begins tonight with the opening gala.  One of the things that has really been a gift the last few seasons is the increasing presence of international designers.

This season there will be a full 16 representing the U.S., Europe and Asia.  With my limited travel funds focused more on vacations, this is a blessing.  It allows me exposure to artists with a totally different point of view.  I am still there to check out new local talent to be covered in upcoming issues of Vancouver Fashion eZine, but now that I write for a few magazines outside Canada, I also have the privilege of interviewing some of the international talent I see as well.  Here are a few that caught not only my eye, but the eye of publications I sent the list to.  And this doesn't even touch on the amazing Asian designers that will be gracing the runway this season.  That will need to be covered in another article.

Pauline Van Dongen - Amsterdam (www.paulinevandongen.nl).  In looking at this talented designer's website it is obvious that she is an artist first and foremost.  Her art is expressed through fashion.  There is a hint of both sculpture and architecture in her garments and shoes.  I love seeing something out of the norm and this show promises to offer me all that and more.  This designer will be showing her Stereopsis collection on Sunday night at 7:30.

Mac Sam - New York (www.mack-sam.com). Designer Mackenzie Sam is actually a former Vancouverite living in NYC and studying at F.I.T.  Still only 19, his design work shows a rising talent we're sure to be seeing for along time.  The Mac Sam website presents a line that is focused on edgy street fashions.  They are young, hip and oh so wearable. He is scheduled to hit the runway on Thursday at 6:30.

Rosalita McGee - Spain  (www.rosalitamcgee.com)  What I love about checking out this designer's website is the vivid colours.  As much as I love wearing black, there are days I just need vibrant colours to generate energy and excitement and this designer offers that in spades.  Going through the photos on her website is like entering a candy store.  You can check out her show on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Autobiographie - Paris (www.autobiographie-paris.com).  Two designers collaborate on this strong line.  Both were born in Iran and are now living and working in Paris, but one spent her teen years right here in Vancouver, so there is  a local connection.  Their collection has a lot of structure in it along with some surprise detailing that show a hint of Paris as well as their heritage.  Look to see their line at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Dawn Sharp - Los Angeles (www.dawnsharpdress.com/)  I am looking forward to seeing what she presents and how she styles it.  While this designer is vintage inspired, she normally works with more colour.  This current collection is inspired by "Shakers" and in checking out her website you see a very muted palette and down-home styling.  The Dawn Sharp show is Saturday at 8 p.m.

This is only a very small hint at what Vancouver will be offered this week at VFW.  If your time and/or wallet are on a budget and you can only out a few shows, I suggest you visit the designer's websites to see which interest you the most.  Tickets can be purchased here - http://www.clubzone.com/me/vanfashweek.

In previous years they have offered an all event pass, but I don't see it listed, so will ask tonight at the opening gala and update this blog if it is still available.