VFW, Sept. 2012 - Maanaki, Fung, Greer, Coetzee and Sanchez

All runway photos unless otherwise noted are courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography.

The first day of runway shows at any fashion week is full of anticipation - the pressure is on to come out of the starting blocks with a strong line-up.  The audience was not disappointed with Vancouver Fashion Weeks's opening offerings.  I have selected a few personal highlights to share, but there were many other designers showing that day that deserve kudos.

Gianni Maanaki -

Love the neck detail on
this gown.
Gianni Maanaki was born in Lebanon and began studying fashion design at the age of 18.  By 24 he was creating Haute Couture fashions that caught the attention of the Lebanese fashion world. His prominent clientele grew to include members of the royal families of Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar and his collection became a regular on the runway.  Relocated to China in 2006, the line is now sold mostly to buyers from the Middle East and Asia. The collection shown at Vancouver Fashion Week was an Italian-inspired selection of very feminine high end garments with a focus on soft fabrics that floated down the runway.  Colours were vibrant and fabrics included lustrous satins, sheer chiffons and black lace.  One of the higher end gowns that encompassed all this designer is about was the green one on the left above.  It showcased a jeweled bodice, flowing satin skirt and an attached scarf the could be draped across the arm.  Luxury, resort, red carpet and more - this designer creates looks that are ready for the glitterati of the world.

Frederick Fung -

Frederick Fung is well known in Vancouver as both a fashion design teacher as well as founder of the Tass Fashion Show (October 13th this year). I have had the privilege of viewing his collections over the last several seasons and am amazed at his growth.  A month ago his menswear hit the runway at Men's Fashion Week.  Afterwards I remember thinking he had set the bar high and looked forward to seeing how he tied it all together for this whole new show a month later.  Fung not only added a few mens looks but created a whole new womenswear line to pair with it. There were so many strong offerings, it was hard to pick a favourite, but I think I am drawn to the top left combination in pale blue, pink and white.  The finish work and detailing on the garments was some of the best work I have seen from this designer.  Kudo's for such a strong showing and I look forward to seeing his work on the runway again at the Tass event.

TrunkShow by Misty Greer -

Ah Misty Greer.  I had the privilege several years ago of interviewing this talented designer when she was just a graduating student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and have been a fan ever since.  Her unique line of sexy garments with a hint of pin-up to them are designed with the Burlesque world in mind, but there is something to bring out the sexy in every woman. The world is our stage and TrunkShow is ready to show us off. This collection inspires women to step out of their comfort zone, to be comfortable in their own skin, to celebrate their sexuality and more than anything to just have fun!!!  Every time Greer's garments hit the runway there is an energy that's hard to miss. Model representing a variety of female silhouettes dance and strut to music sure to get your feet tapping. You can just see the audience sitting up and smiling.  I had to include a separate picture of one of my favourite models in this segment.  The striking opening model with blonde and fuschia hair had us all in the palm of her hand.  She embodied everything this collection is about to me and I hope to see her on the runway more in the future.

Gert-Johan Coetzee -
Runway Photos courtesy of Peter Jensen

This strip of close-up images showing is courtesy of Patrick Parenteau.

It was EXTREMELY hard to pick just a few photos as I recently interviewed this designer for Raine Magazine in NYC, so have a personal attachment.  Gert-Johan Coetzee is the designer to the stars in South Africa and is known for his over the top garments.  Media there expects him to bring drama to the runway and this collection certainly fit the bill.  From the opening piece adorned with neon lights, to the boa style shrug, to the neon plastic accessories, to the lazer cut detailing - nothing was held back.  The most wearable pieces were the 2 one-shoulder dresses - a shorter one in lime green (above centre) and a longer one in black with stenciling around the bottom.  Most fun? They fuzzy boa style shrug in lime green (top left).  Every slight breeze created movement.  Most garments are fashioned out of stretch fabric making them not only a dramatic statement, but oh so comfortable to wear. Most of this is ready-to-wear with several silhouettes being offered in a variety of colors - but a few looks will see slight modifications to make them market-friendly.

RG Sanchez -

I remember loving RG Sanchez last season, but this collection in particular caught my eye.  The garments shown in the first half were my favourites.  Here he melded bright colours and prints along with a nod to traditional Mexican aesthetics/arts and produced contemporary pieces with a flavour all their own. The 2 on the top right are great examples.  You have a textured turquoise top paired with a yellow skirt adorned by applique work that is ethnic inspired.  Then next to it is my personal favourite - a long yellow lacy top with peek-a-boo cutaways paired with a blue print skirt.  I could feel warm, tropical breezes blowing through the venue.  Add in the unique purse line accompanying these looks and you have a real winner.  The second half of this segment showcased the designer's evening wear. There were many great pieces here that were a great addition to the collection overall, but it was the day wear looks and unique purses in the first half that caught my eye this season.