Vancouver Fashion Week Day 3 - Romielle, Gardé Del Avante and Shravan Kumar

With talented designer Naanafya Adu
of Gardé Del Avante Jewelry
Well, it's happening already.  I'm exhausted.  This week is always such a high for me full of amazing energy, the chance to connect with so many wonderful industry friends as well as meet new ones and the opportunity to see fashions from around the world. Every year there are one or two who floor me with what they're doing. Between shows, people literally flood the runway and it becomes a hive of talking, laughing, photo ops and more.  It is one of the things that makes Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) unique. And a bonus - I shed a few unwanted pounds from the pace I keep.

The downside is the schedule I keep.  Up early to write up the previous day (usually 3 hours minimum), figuring out what to wear so I can keep pace with my uber-stylist friends which takes more time than you think and often cooking dinner for the family before I leave. Then the energy is absolutely palpable all night which means when I get home I'm truly on empty, yet sleep doesn't come easy as the mind is abuzz.  But to be honest, I wouldn't miss a single moment! Please forgive me if I get droopier each day and your name slips my mind. A hug and smile awaits regardless.

Images by Norm Lee

Images by Norm Lee

And now for today's choices.  As I am wearing out, I have had to unfortunately cut back to 3 in order to finish in time, but they are great ones and offer an amazing range from Western couture to cutting edge jewelry to exotic high-end East Indian designs.  Enjoy!


Image by Kuna Photography
Watching the models come down the runway, it was impossible to fathom this was the first collection for the mother/daughter team Irina and Anastacia Shorohov. Irina brings professional experience as a wedding gown designer - couture tailoring, construction and detailing.  Anastacia is the artist who brings her fashion industry experience (including Drama Queen Import/Export) to mixing drama, flattering silhouettes and the element of seduction into the looks. The designers share, "The collection consists of high-end quality garments for women who love to wear luxurious fabrics and styles that increase feeling empowered and beautiful."

Industry professionals near me and I could not stop whispering as look after look went down the runway.  Romielle is a sophisticated, boutique-style clothing line featuring excellent fabrics, thoughtful silhouettes and beautiful tailoring.  Vintage and contemporary elements are fused to create something both classic and modern. I loved the mix of textiles and was particularly drawn to the light white/black material in the suit 2nd from left above. It had a slight sparkle thread in the fabric took it to pure luxury status. That suit in particular showcased it best by the cut and the placement of the black leather accents.  The final unique wedding dress was the perfect close to a perfect show. There was a sophistication to it that was a standout for me and I loved the hint of vintage it offered. Can't wait to see more from this label.

Gardé Del Avante 

Image by Kuna Photography

"Evolving the way you wear jewelry!" - yes, that about sums it up. Toronto designer Naanafya Adu of Gardé Del Avante Jewelry is a self-taught artist who creates high-end pieces that are both thought provoking and redefine what the term "normal" means. Clients are looking to step out of the box and want pieces that are both conversation generating and exclusive. Naanafya offers just that. I want to quote from her bio as her words say it better than I can. "...Each piece from Naanafya's ready-to-wear collection is part of a limited-edition series rarely exceeding 6-8 units of one style. The craftsmanship in Naanafya’s pieces continues to inspire and innovate by reaching outside of "the box" redefining what makes jewelry such a personal expression through her use of zinc belt buckles, exotic feathers, aluminum chains, luxurious leather finishes, plated elements and stainless steel spikes. By exploring creative ways to blend traditional and non-traditional elements in jewelry making- particularly her innovative approach on body harnesses (body décor) have become the centrepiece of Naanafya’s signature style."

The designer's table upstairs featured large, bold necklaces and a rings, but in her show we were treated to wearable art pieces with feather epaulets, chain sleeves and more. Jewelry can be lost on the runway, but these took the audience from the first look and held us right through the designer's walk. Kudos! This is definitely a line I want it my arsenal for an upcoming event. FYI - some of her statement making designs are also available for rental!

Shravan Kumar

Image by Kuna Photography
What a great end to the night as always.  The final show needs to be a show-stopper and designer Shravan Kumar did just that.  Based out of Hyderabad, India, he creates designs that embrace the latest trends and styles - but with his own unique touch. The countries rich variety of hand looms offer unique fabric choices and he is not afraid to make bold use of unconventional fabrics. From his bio, "His collections usually reflect his way of approach to life that is ethnic and regal.  Shravan Kumar believes fashion is a 'recurring cycle' in a nutshell." I was delighted to find his website URL Fashion the! 

Image by Kuna Photography
From the first look to the final, Kumar owned the audience. How could I pick just 8 looks to share? I couldn't.  So I had the photographer make that hard decision for me. A fairly muted palette anchored the collection, allowing the great pops of colour including orange, burgundy, blue and green to keep the energy high. The women's designs had that beautiful movement and feminine touch I love. Models floated down the runway obviously loving the looks they were wearing. And then there was the menswear. I have to admit, I have a special love of Indian menswear.  It masculine, oh so sexy and embraces colour and print in a way Western culture is still slow to accept - way way too slow! Kudos to this designer for ending the night on such an amazing note. 

Image by Norm Lee