VFW Sept. 2012 - KoH T, Xsenia & Olya, Pola Thomson and Ha Sang Beg

Runway photos courtesy of Peter Jensen

Another tough day at Vancouver Fashion Week to pick just a few designers to highlight.  There were MANY this day that deserved attention.  Unfortunately, there just isn't time to write up everyone.


KoH T is the brainchild of award winning Japanese designer Taisuke Kohji.  With studies at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K., Sugino Fashion College in Japan and an internship with Issey Miyake, it's no surprise that the collection was a standout.  The palette was anchored by black and white with a variety of accent colours to add interest.  Elegant simplicity at its finest.  The garments also had a subtle undercurrent of femininity that added to their charm.  Separates and short shift dresses were offered that could easily move from day to evening out.  The softer fit of the silhouettes meant they were wearable as well.  Let's face it - today's woman lives hard and fast so being comfortable in your clothing while still looking well put together is a strong selling point.

Xsenia & Olya

This London-based, Central St. Martins trained design duo - Xsenia Runa and Olya Shishkina - was one that really caught my eye last spring, so I couldn't wait to see what they had to offer this season and they did not disappoint. The collection - titled Liquid Smoke - built on a theme of movement by exploring hte properties of smoke and water. I loved their watercolour prints and the soft, fluid fit of their silhouettes - not overly feminine, just the right balance to meet a wide range of personal styles.  What was difficult was trying to note 1 or 2 favourites. Their collection had so many looks in such a wide colour palette that I finally gave up.  I did manage to single out 2 of the above in my notes. There were several looks with bright turquoise and neon yellow like the short set on the left.  I loved the energy and vibrancy of that colour pairing and am going to have to work it into my wardrobe.  I also thought the dusty pink short set would be a hit. I can imagine this look being worn at a beach resort anywhere in the world.  The best news was in talking with this designer, she mentioned the possibility of a local store opening.  I will be first in line.

Pola Thomson

Designer Pola Thomson understands the concept of less is more. This Chilean born, New York based designer has won awards such as "Best Collection" from Marie Claire Latin America and and 1st place in the "Femme" category at the "Who's Next" show in Paris.  The collection shown at VFW offered clean lines and silhouettes that said so much more.  Soft drapes, a great palette and strong selection of separates - all looks that most women would love to incorporate into their wardrobe - came one after the other. The audience was entranced.  I personally loved the palette that moved from white, black and pastels into a deep gorgeous red.  I would wear the 2 looks on the left above - the red pantsuit and the black coat and skirt with white top - in a heartbeat.  I am hoping Pola Thomson will come return next season so I can schedule an interview.


What can I say about this mysterious Korean designer? HaSangBeg has been a regular at VFW for the last 4 or 5 seasons.  An overview of his work shown at VFW is covered in The Evolution of Ha:Sang;Beg.  Despite following him for so many year, I still don't have an interview on file, nor is there much to find on his website (it honestly is a total mystery starting with the opening page) or in an internet search.  While he is still an enigma to me, HaSangBeg always brings something to the runway that is outside the box. In past seasons I felt I was always seeing something brand new, but this season I began to see some detailing, such as the unusual use of belts, that had been featured in previous collections. Whether he is beginning to find elements that will be a regular part of his aesthetic or just wasn't finished with that design element only he knows. The collection was a refreshing show of streetwear from a designer that loves to push boundaries - full of energy, a great palette and tons of attitude. We can only hope he will be back next year to delight us again.