Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 15 - Day 6 Shows: Valerio Moda, Jessie Liu, Connally McDougall and Hong Kiyoung

Image by Dale Rollings
The final day of shows for Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) S/S 15.  It's always a bitter sweet time. There were 6 days of shows this season, up from 5 days which we have had in the past. So it was a long week of sitting and absorbing all the wonderful fashions for those of us that attended all shows. At the same time, it was truly inspiring to see both Vancouver and global designers together and on the runway and the range of aesthetics was very diverse.

This is the start of the fashion season, so a chance to connect with industry friends unseen since the beginning of summer.  Many new friends and connections developed on the runway and in the lounge during the longer breaks.  And tons of pictures were taken.  One of my favourite moments that night was having my new friend Symone Says - one of Vancouver's top drag queens - come in full regalia. She outshone most of the crowd.  Then there was the meeting of the Fabulous Four - Robbin Whachell of the Bahamas Weekly, myself, Edward Quan of Styledrama and Mark Abbott from the Province. We started as fashion week friends a few seasons ago, and now add a lunch catch-up here and there. Best runway moment is when Titus' son strutted the runway for Valerio Moda. My new small camera performed so-so. The auto focus mechanism is overly sensitive and missed the mark on several great shots. Oh well, I will learn.

Left, image by Dale Rollings - Right, image Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

For my final outfit, I chose to work it around a very special necklace I own by fashion designer Laura Siegel.  I was fortunate to view her amazing grad collection she brought from New York to Vancouver several years ago and wrote her up for Raine Magazine. Since then her star has soared.  I happened to see this piece in the Holt Renfrew's in-store shop that features special items with money going to charity.  The large necklace is made up of  dark brown wooden beads with a cream fleck, so added a rust print shirt, a black textured knit skirt from JAC, black stockings, cool rust cut-out heels and a pair of porcupine quill drop earrings.  Very proud that I am learning how to put looks together. This one worked.

Valerio Moda

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

It is always such a pleasure to see a show by Ali Mokhtarian of Valerio Moda - in fact he was featured in Fame'd Magazine back in the day.  Here is an excerpt from his VFW bio - "Ali Mokhtarian’s journey began in his home country of Iran, a culture that did not exactly encourage artistic freedoms and ambitions. Ali’s passion for design, however, was strong enough to defy artistic restrictions, and a budding fashion designer quickly emerged. As a child Ali, sketched clothing designs, eventually leading to the quest to create the perfect leather jacket. He was primarily self-taught, letting his natural talent flow until he came under the tutelage of a master tailor where he further refined his skills. Ali continued to hone his craft with a leather design course at MODA PELLE in Milan as well as seminars at schools in both Milan and Paris. “My love for design eventually envolved into outerwear, initially leather only. I then began experimenting with other fabrics and incorporating them into a full apparel collection,”

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery
Ali is most know for his exquisite leather wear.  I still remember a leather bomber jacket in red he created one season that replicated the letterman sports jacket you would see on a university athlete. Each season the focus changes a bit and increasing you see the addition of complimentary shirts, pants and sometimes suit jackets that give a wider range to the collection.  This season was no exception. You can see the wide range of looks in the group photo above. I particular liked the textured leather jacket with the braided leather colour.  The pops of red scattered throughout also offered variety. A great opening show and a real treat for the audience. Check out past coverage of S/S 14.

Jessie Liu

Images by Dale Rollings

This is award winning designer Jessie Liu's first trip to VFW and she won my respect in a bit way. Here is an excerpt from her VFW bio - "Jessie Liu is currently the proprietor and Chief Designer for Simple Pair Fashion Design, Inc, based in San Francisco, California, USA. She has recently completed her degree in Master of Fine Art from the Academy of Art University (AAU), San Francisco...Jessie was originally from a small coastal town of Penglai, Shandong Province, China. In the fall of 2011, among many contending designers competing for the opportunity, Jessie’s evening gown has been jury-selected to be shown at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. Also in early 2012, her design has won the Vitamin Water Inspired Fashion Design Contest with a cash prize. Most recently, her graduation collection was once again jury-selected to be shown at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. She subsequently received best young designer’s award from Arts Thread/WGSN and was sponsored to present her collection in the Who’s Next show in Pairs, France.

Images by Dale Rollings

I had the great fortune of meeting Jessie back stage before her show.  The collection truly popped off the hangers at me.  Then she introduced me to her mentor, a Japanese master pattern drafter. He had come to support her show.  When this collection hit the runway, I tried to let go of the wonderful palette and beautiful prints and really see the garments on their own. It was well worth the effort. I used to sew custom costumes for 5 years and have great appreciation for couture construction. It was all here.  Extra seams on the shoulders, back darts that turned at the top to meet side seams, a horseshoe shaped insert under the arms that had to be incredible to draft and sew and raglan sleeves that turned into neck hugging collars.  Jessie Liu - I loved your collection before I noticed the details and then was floored as I realized the work put into many of the garments. Great show. I will be following your career. Keep me in the loop.

Connally McDougall

Images by Peter Jensen

If you didn't notice, Connally McDougall already has a great fan base here.  She was here last season sponsored by Niche Magazine and captured everyone's heart with her beautiful spirit and great designs. So it's no surprised that the audience loud in their applause for her new collection.  Here is an excerpt from her VFW - "Connally McDougall is a highly acclaimed Canadian fashion designer, mastering her discipline at Central Saint Martins and now living in London, England. Her work is rich in textural details, architectural silhouettes and is fundamentally designed with confident, international women in mind. Her line encompasses ready to wear and couture as well as accessories and intimate apparel. The materials used in her collections are sustainable and responsibly made in the UK and pieces are made by hand in her London studio...After honing her skills with private clients and collectors, her first collection was featured in Vancouver Fashion Week to an international audience with great success...Her work will be featured in an upcoming film by award-winning director Gulrukh Kahn and has been worn on red-carpet events across North America and Europe.

Images by Peter Jensen
I somehow missed hearing the inspiration for this season, but the picture of a desert provided the backing and the palette was full of warm colour and a vivid yellow. So it seems pretty clear. Love the mix of textures and soft to drapes to the black/white zig zag print.  Skirts were cut straight across the grain on the bottom which meant they were slightly longer at the side seams instead to follow the texture or pattern. This technique worked best on the plaid skirt. My absolute favourite look is in the centre of the top image - a loose blouse in the black/white print paired with a pair of capris and a vivid yellow handbag. I would wear this look in a minute. The other piece I really liked was a razor backed evening dress studded with bits of shine. The way the razor back was designed, it created an interesting set of pleats that ran down the back to the hem. Beautiful. Congrats on another great showing at VFW.

Hong Kiyoung

Images by Peter Jensen

This is South Korean designer Hong Kiyoung's second showing at VFW and I was as impressed this season as the last.  Want to check out his previous write-up - click HERE.  I love the fact he does both mens and womens wear and that his garments are immaculate.  Here is an excerpt from his VFW bio - " Hong Kiyoung is a young fashion designer from Seoul, South Korea. He found his principle on ‘Minimalistic Exaggeration with street’, and is trying to disseminate it to other designers. Strongly inspired by contemporary arts that portrayed by new artists who are trying to change. He presents ‘Most elegant High-Street wear with tailored suit’ with his own wit. He successfully presented his first collection of men’s wear on May 2012, and now he is preparing for the next collection, doing his best. The new definition of men’s beauty is rising up, however, many of fashion figures are settling for the present."

Images by Peter Jensen

It's always a pleasure to see well made garments.  Then when the styling is bang on and the designer has created shoes to compliment the collection - you have a stand-out show that's a pleasure to watch. The first section showcased garments in black.  Here you could see the great tailoring without being distracted by colours and patterns. BUT - I loved it when the vivid prints started to hit the runway.  I remember a woman behind me saying it was too young for her and my response was - not really. You just take your favourite print jacket from the collection, pair it with a cool pair of pants, a nice top, some great jewellery and a pair of killer, statement making heels. VOILA!  I have my eye on one piece as we speak.  So glad Hong Kiyoung returned this season and crossing my fingers he will be back next season.

Images by Peter Jensen