Monday night Vernard LUVNGRACE Goud and Bella Garnet Beauty Salon joined forces to offer Vancouverites The Parlour Yaletown Fashionshows Mixer.  I personally love the recent new direction of having these events in a variety of restaurants around town instead of in a nightclub.  The atmosphere is lighter, there is lots of seating and we can all try a new menu while we catch up with old friends and introduce ourselves to new ones. The Parlour Yaletown's menu had an appetizing selection of options, but looking around it was obvious the hand-made pizza was one of their specialties. I had a bite thanks to my wonderful friend Keiko Boxall of Studio Keiko and it was delicious.

First I would like to mention Tracy Cake.  This super stylish freelance make-up artist often is the person at the door who welcomes me to these events.  Her smile lights up the room and her unique style sets the mood for me from the moment I walk in.  Then there is DJ Angel of Boy Meets Girl.  She not only made sure the music was well-matched to the evening, but had a welcome smile and hug for all of us. This evening was hosted by Mandy Ross of Fashion TV.  Decked out is a black dress with fitted bodice and short bubble skirt that showed off her LONG legs - vintage Betsy Johnson from Timeline Boutique in Gastown - she graciously kept the evening moving along smoothly.

Left Tracy Cake, Middle DJ Angel, Right Mandy Ross - Images by Kuna Photography

Now for the fashions.  We were offered not one, not two, not three, but FOUR fashion shows (five designers) this evening featuring runway models from Numa. One would think four shows would be too much, but fortunately each designer had such a unique aesthetic that every show was a surprise.

Images by Kuna Photography
First down the runway was Trina Marie Cairns' amazing dresses created with an enormous amount of intricate detailing.  Fabrics were painted by hand, embellishment was done by hand, yarn was unraveled by hand - you get the idea.  The designs showcased are just a small representation of what this talented artist offers the fashion world.  Left above you can see the beautiful hand painting on the skirt fabric. On the far right is a dress that was her submission to the Cool VS Cruel fashion competition. It was chosen as a national finalist and in Los Angeles ended up taking 10th over all.  The feathery looking material in this dress was created by untwisting strands of yarn. The group photo is small, but I wanted to point out the v-neck dress in the middle because all the textural trim on the bodice was also done by hand.  Kudos!

Top Image by Ed Ng - Bottom images by Eugenio Flores
Paired with these dresses were hats by Hive Mind Millinery.  Designer Dominique Hanke has been blazing trails since launching her first collection about a year and a half ago.  The inventive hats offered this evening were a wonderful compliment to Cairns' fantasy garments. While I enjoyed all the combinations, my personal favourite was the peach hat - top photo above.  Hat and dress each enjoyed the same ethereal, feminine quality and their colours blended well. Two others that caught my eye are in the photos on the bottom above. The hat on the left offers the same fantasy element as the dress and the bowler on the right proved the perfect combination of model, hat and dress. It was a knockout on the runway.

Images by Kuna Photography
Rogue Designs is a relatively new line of edgy garments by designers Jennifer Van Vuuren and Valmai MacIntyre. This brand is not for the faint of heart.  Body hugging, short hemlines, sheer fabrics, leather strapping, metal accents, you name it - there is a definite young, hip slant to the collection. Tonight the palette was understated with the focus on tight silhouettes and texture (either in the print or the weave of the fabric). A good choice which let the daring designs stand on their own. Interesting shoulders, low-cut backs, bare shoulders/mid-riffs and a long evening dress created in see-through fabric - I think the best word to describe this collection is BOLD. I did miss the material spats worn over heels that they had included in previous shows. Hopefully we will see them again at their next event.

Image by Kuna Photography
Let's face it, swimwear is always popular on the runway and the Qispi Kay Bikini segment showcasing sexy modern swimwear by Peruvian-born designer Sandra Jazmin Higueras Salcedo was no exception. From the website - "Qispi Kay means Liberty in Quechua;the language of the Incas...We chose Liberty because our line is for the independent, strong, fashion forward, determined Qispi Kay woman, the one that has it all."  Lovely models in beautiful, well-cut swimwear - what more is there to say. My favourite on the runway was the white suit third from the left above.  I thought the subtle ruffle on the bottom was a great detail. Understated and elegant. The cut on all these suits, especially the bottoms, is youthful.  That means your well-toned derriere will be shown off to perfection. Colours were mostly white and tropical, with notes of orange in particular popping up throughout the show.

                                                                 Image by Eugenio Flores
Closing the evening with a theatrical BANG was Nancy Perreault.  This designer incorporates FLARE with a capital F.  Every show I have seen has included glamour, sequins, a bit of bare flesh and sometimes hints of androgyny in the male designs. I dug a bit to find a few of her own words. First her Facebook Mission gave what I thought was a great hint to her inspiration - "To have people be a rock star. Or just look like one."  Then there was a description of the aesthetic as a whole, "...inspired by a fusion of classic cuts blended with modern glamor."  Amen. It comes as no surprise that celebrities have come calling.  This evening we again saw lots of glitter and colour.  I couldn't find an image, but one unique detail I was drawn to was a sheer inset instead of a kick pleat in the centre back of the red velvet skirt. Perreault included one male model - Justin Voitic of Five Agency - to ramp up the fun.  Sporting Linda Farrow x Jeremy Scott Mickey Mouse Sunglasses  from Jennyfleur Loves Boutique in Yaletown, he brought the show to humorous close by hamming it up with each female model at the end of the runway.

Next on the list for LuvNGrace is 'LA SAINT VALENTIN ' on February 14th at the Waterfall Building in Vancovuer.  Hope to see you there.