Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 15 - Day 5 Shows: Grandi's Atelier, Aaizel, Some Product, Ocksa, Joffrey Mongin

Day 5 was a special day for me.  I was honoured and privileged to wear a beautiful olive green jacket created by Japanese designer Akira Kuwabara who showed on Tuesday.  It is unique, stunning, created with intricate draping and pleats and accented with large buttons.  I spent 36 hours after his show tracking him down. Then there was that moment of anxiety wondering if a jacket created to be worn by a model would actually fit me.  I think there was a universal sigh of AAH as I slipped it on to find a perfect fit. A meant to be.

With the move to a larger venue with more seating, there has been open spaces on previous nights, but that quickly vanished last night as the crowd expanded to a new high.  There was a palpable excitement in the air and a constant murmur from the crowd during the show. A bit distracting at first, but there for a good reason - show after show was exciting and each different from the last. Nights like these that offer a wide variety of aesthetics are when I feel truly privileged to be able to come and be a part of Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW). We saw designers both local and from around the world. Hard to believe, but we have another full night of shows scheduled this evening.

Left and Right image by Harry Leonard Imagery - centre image on my camera!

How to pick shows................this was the hardest day yet.  And then photographer Ed Ng came over and asked if I was covering a specific show.  It was up in the air at that time, but I promised no matter, I would publish the images if he sent them.  I also made the decision to write a separate article on Lubov Tumanov, so be sure and check back.  Here are write-ups on Grandi's Atelier, Aaizel, Ocksa and Joffrey Mongin - plus the extra set of images promised on Some Product.

Grandi's Atelier

Images by Ed Ng Photography

 I met designer Randy C. later in the evening and loved hearing she is a Vancouverite. I was also impressed to learn she is totally self taught, an amazing accomplishment. Here is an excerpt from her VFW bio - "A celebrated humanist once put the ratio of passion-to-reason bestowed in man at 24-to-1. After graduating from business school, Grandy found this to be approximately the ratio of time she spent designing and making dresses, versus that spent searching for what her mother referred to as gainful employment...A keen history enthusiast, she often draws design inspirations from sentiments of bygone eras.In 2013, Grandy started making one dress a week, from scratch, and blogged about it at From there, her style and philosophy as a designer emerged, with special emphasis the beauty of timeless elegance, the bespoke tradition, and quality craftsmanship. All garments are locally hand-made, and tailored to the specific measurements and body type of each client.

Images by Ed Ng Photography
 So many adjectives come to mind in describing this collection - lovely, feminine, classic.  All were dresses with a classic, 50's style. Think Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O.  There were fitted bodices with flared skirts, retro inspired suits and a few gowns. Styling (including a few pillbox hats), hair and make-up all added to the allure.  This is the second show for Grandi's Atelier at VFW and I can only hope she returns next season.


Image by Ed Ng Photography
Next on the list was this great Spanish flavoured collection by Minnie Jo of Aaizel.  There was a relaxed, luxurious feel to this show that drew me in.  From her VFW bio - "….'it begins with an existing piece and I will add a feature to it or even take it apart to create a new look or at least something different… they can turn out to be beautiful if you put enough of love and thought into it'...[The designer's] major concepts behind the label is the process of re-working the established and applying her art of juxtaposing fabrics of contrasting nature in harmony and using elements from existing pieces and making it new and desirable...Minnie has always had a love for handwork technicalities and never fails to deliver extraordinary, re-imagined concepts that bring life to a dying skill of handcraft.

Image by Ed Ng Photography
The palette here used gold and black in particular to great effect.  There was one circular shoulder wrap in particular in the colour combo that would set off any LBD to great effect.  The flat, broad brimmed hats were a great styling choice to bring out the true flavour of the looks and the music well-chosen to set the mood.  Models ambled slowly and easily down the runway.  Small bursts of white included a great lace filled out the colour scheme. There were several looks here I would love to own including one amazing pair of black/gold leggings. Kudos on a great show and again. Definitely a designer to watch.


Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

I sat up and took notice as soon as the first look hit the runway and Brazilian designers Deisi Witz and Igor Bastos as this is a big departure from the clothing they showed on the VFW website.  Lots of draping, lose knit, dark colours...interesting.  I was really intrigued but the 3D collar/shoulder sculpture used to accessorize the look on the top righ above. This is their 3rd showing at VFW - so I am definitely going to find some time to go back and check out their previous collections.

Here is an excerpt from their VFW bio - "Deisi Witz and Igor Bastos were quick to recognize themselves as equals in terms of talent. However, with distinct complementary skills, starting from an odd complicity and an aesthetic sense in common, seeking in fashion was like a utopia to them. Originally from the Swedish language, Också translates as being driven to contribute. Leaving old customs aside to deliver smart and forward-looking garments, Också creates a parallel that separates from monotony."

Joffrey Mongin

Images by Peter Jensen
It was lovely ending the evening with a award winning designer from Paris - the uber talented Joffrey Mongin.  The exposure to such an incredible fashion capital always shows in a designer's work. They are pushed to be the very best they can be on a daily basis as they are immersed in an amazing fashion industry.  Here is an excerpt from VFW bio - "Having always been influenced by women, supermodels, pin point cutting, complexity of details and fabrics; these take pride of place in his work. His creations are a way of communicating “each fabric, each color has a way of talking,
sharing a true emotion through different senses” Fascinated by the mysterious depth of black 
and architecture, he draws a structured appearance,
 combining strictness and fluidity, shadows and light, power as well as seduction. He draws with a single pencil line a magnetic woman, showing the strength of timeless elegance...he continues to create his ready-to-wear collections illustrating more than ever the timeless elegance of the female shape as an explosion of modernity.

Images by Peter Jensen

I have to admit, I'm not a frilly girl when it comes to personal style, so this line was right up my alley. So many great things to offer.  Strong silhouettes, great fabrics, a black/white palette that had one surprising bright red moment.  However, my all time favourite was the way the designer created some of the looks by piecing a variety of different fabrics together like a quilter would. The pants and shorts in particular were to die for and I would absolutely love to own several of those I saw last night. Then there was the Black/white long coat over a classic LBD that could find a place in anyone's closet.  Great show and a perfect end to an exciting day.  Joffrey - from me to you - I hope you return next season.

Some Product

Here at photographer Ed Ng's request is the show he found inspiring on day 5. Kudos to Vancouver designers D. Briker and Catherine Hou for capturing his attention and imagination.

Images by Ed Ng Photography