Vancouver Fashion Week F/W 16 - Sunday - Je Vis Couture, Averynthe, LAT, Futa Kashmir and Heill

Image by Carolting Photography
Sunday! Boy was I tired. Not only did I sit through all shows the previous five days, but I managed an interview with designer Eymeric Francois on Saturday and attended a lecture by Emmy nominated costumer Eduardo Castro of One Upon a Time put on by SMOC before coming this day.

BUT, I was also feeling very blessed to have been able to sit through all Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) shows and talk to so many talented artists from around the globe. The volunteers and staff were amazing as always - I couldn't do what I do without each of their contributions.

Then there was the chance every day to catch up with my fashion family as well as to meet many new artists and attendees. One lovely couple, after finding out I wrote a book, bought a copy off me right there on the runway. WOW!

The mood all week was high energy. At an event this big there are always glitches, especially as we are not required to exit the venue between shows. This means seating in the front row in particular can be contentious, but I would not change that free for all on the runway for anything. I love the chaos and high energy. I love the pictures being snapped right, left and centre, and designers mingling right in with the crowd instead of exiting unseen. This doesn't happen anywhere else.

Interviewing Eymeric Francois on Saturday - image by Dale Rollings
Sitting next to Sarah Murray of Fashion Capsule one day, I was pleased to learn that she was brought in to run a seminar on two different days for participating designers. She talked with them about wholesaling, how to break into the local market and answered their questions. A few wholesalers were brought in to meet the designers and assess their collections as well. I spoke with one designer who attended the seminar and his response was very positive.

My outfit today (seen in photo at the very top) ended up being one of my favourites as it's a mixture of old and new. The pieces are all local labels except for one from Toronto designer Elina Tan. The beautiful shawl I am wearing is hers and I bought it right off the runway on Saturday. My earrings - hand crocheted mixed metal - are my latest pair created by Pam of Street Cat Designs. My leggings are by Some Product and my great handbag is by Alex S Yu. I feel like a million bucks and love that everything I am wearing was made by someone I know. Nothing like it.

Line-up outside and in lobby - images by Dale Rollings
For the umpteenth day in a row I could not decide who to cover. There were so many collections and each was so different - like choosing between apples and oranges. In fact, I reached out to a couple photographers who have been shooting all week to ask their advice. In the end, right or wrong, a decision had to be made. Again, I can only encourage you to check out all the shows this week as fashion is a very personal thing and there truly was something for everyone. Wish I could have written up everyone - especially today.

Je Vis Couture presented by JCI Institute - 

Images by Ed Ng Photography

Toronto Based designer Bonnie Chung is a graduate of John Casablanca’s Fashion Business and Creative Arts Diploma Program in 2006. She also has a diploma in Professional Sales and Marketing from BCIT. In 2010 she began to design custom evening and cocktail dresses, and the rest is history. The designer travels to major fashion capitals to find just the right unique fabrics. Her extensive travel experiences all around the world have exposed her to design, fashion and architecture from many cultures - all which influence her work today. After creating a few seasonal collections, she decided to focus on custom design wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses - catering to those who already have a design in mind and would like to convert it from an idea to reality.

Images by Ed Ng Photography

I have to say, there is a really high bar set for bridal collections. People want fabulous couture looking garments for their special day, but often are looking for a price that is impossible to meet. So often runway collections offer ready-to-wear choices trying to find that balance. Bonnie Chung instead brought a brilliant selection of one-of-a-kind gowns with wonderful silhouettes, beautiful fabrics, great detailing and excellent tailoring. I'm sure I leaned forward a few times to check out a detail on a gown. It was a wonderful, romantic show and I am seriously hoping Chung will return next season.

Averynthe presented by JCI Institute - 
Images by Ed Ng Photography

Calgary based designer Mark Abenir is a graduate of the Fashion Business and Creative Arts Diploma from John Casablancas Institute in Vancouver, BC. He started designing high fashion looks at a young age - a self taught artist who is forging his own path into this competitive word. From his bio, "Prior to graduating, his label Averynthe was featured in magazines such as Ellements, FreshlyWorn, Dark Beauty, Calgary Fashionsign Magazine and was shown on the runway at Calgary Fashion Week, Vanstyle Fashion Show, Project Reveal, Runway Monthly 2012, Western Canada Fashion Week, Vancouver Fashion Week and more."

Images by Ed Ng Photography

I have been following Abenir's career for several years now.  The designer has a wealth of unique ideas and great confidence. He loves to explore sexy silhouettes and flowing shapes, and it's obvious he loves designing for women. Because his tailoring skills are self taught, it's taken awhile for this side of his design work to catch up with his creative side, but catch up it did. This collection was full of his unique style and the construction aspect was strong. I love see young designers continue to grow and push themselves to new heights. Kudos!

L A T by Lautaro Amadeo Tambutto

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

Argentina's Lautaro Amadeo Tambutto is both a Fashion and Art Director. Born in Buenos Aires, he has degrees from Palermo University and the Instituto Marangoni, both based in Milan, Italy. He is also the winner of the Fashion Clash Talent Award 2015 given by Vogue Talents. From his bio, "L A T – Latin Athletic Tailor appeared with the necessity to express the importance of the Latin American cultures mixing the ancestral aspects and traditions with global influences,sports, tribes and high street situations."
Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

I loved reading up on all the influences in his work. The use of textiles from the past such a leather, wool and fur which where used to protect the body from the elements. His Latin American history as well as "...experiments with contemporary visions of fashion, by combining sensitive and strong aesthetics." This collection was definitely aimed at the younger, edgier crowd and while there were a few looks show on female models, it was predominantly a male collection. Because black garments are so hard to capture on the runway, I've included some close-ups to show the great detail work.

Futa Kashmir

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery
Oakland knitwear designer Jocelyn Bada always loved fashion, but ended up earning a degree in Psychology with a sculpture focus. It was an injury that forced her to revisit her love of textiles - cashmere in particular. Bada loves cashmere. After a looking far and wide for unique, modern cashmere with little luck, the decided to launch Futa Kashmir in 2013.

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery

From the designer's bio, "Futa Kashmir is a sustainable, sexy and unique luxury cashmere company using Todd & Duncan yarn exclusively. Many of the pieces have unique embellishments of gold chains and precious gems or handmade custom buttons...Based out of Oakland, Jocelyn believes in working with the community . She creates the designs and works with local weaver, Myrrhia Resneck to make the dreams come alive."

Images by Harry Leonard Imagery
The collection - Tropi-Canna - made it's debut appearance at VFW. Inspiration was found in Caribbean waters, plush tropical forests, the island colours and the cannabais plant. The pieces all had a fun factor and were detailed with gold chains and gems. I was taken aback. I just don't associate Oakland with cashmere knitwear. And cashmere traditionally is seen in little classic sweaters. Here we saw it used in new a modern ways, fashioned into pants, bodysuits and jackets for both men and women.  It was young in style and oh so unusual.  As I have said many times - I love to be surprised by a runway show. Designer Jocelyn Bada did just that.


Images by Ed Ng Photography

The last show of the evening, and in fact the entire season, was French designer Heill Yang.  A graduate of the prestigious ESMOD Paris,  the designer went on to work for Torrente Haute Couture, Ted Lapidus, Jean Claude Jitrois, Paco Rabanne Korea (where he was creative director) and Morgan. In 2003 he launched « DND » which opened the door for  him to cover all the main trade shows such as PAP Paris, FAME, IGEDO, MAGIC, Hong Kong Fashion Week, Tokyo Fashion Week. With this wealth of experience in industry behind him, Yang launched his own award winning label - HEILL - in 2012. His ambition is to create a global approach where art, design and fashion are united.

Images by Ed Ng Photography
On the runway we were treated to a large collection offering both mens and womenswear. The designer's European training was evident throughout this show. The main focus was on tailored looks, some most definitely day wear, some that could easily move into an evening out.  The construction and fabric choices (silk, wool, cashmere and polyester) were bang on and the four geometric prints chosen fit in with the collection title - "Art Nouveau City." From the designer on his inspiration, "New York, F.Scott Fitzgerald's, Hemingway's and Tamara de Lempicka's city. The print expressed the beauty of decay, the chaotic mind and daydreaming. 'There was going to be no more poverty, no more ignorance, no more disease. Art Deco reflected that confidence, vigor and optimism by using symbols of progress, speed and power. – Robert McGregor.'"

Images by Ed Ng Photography
Coats, jackets and a long sleeveless vest offered the foundation for F/W 16 with many great styles to choose from. Prints were tucked in as accent pieces with three exceptions. One was the daring red print suit shown in the top strip. I love when menswear steps it up this way. The male members of our species have been hiding behind muted classic looks for too long.  The other two were the spaghetti strap dresses also in the top photos. Each featured two prints - one red and blue, one black and white. Of the two I really like the red/blue print pairing with the great high leg slit. I would need to wear a jacket or bolero over this if I wore it,  but would love having it in my closet

Images by Ed Ng Photography
Kudos to designer Heill Yang for offering such a strong closing show. It was the perfect end to an inspiring week. I hope he returns next season so I can see what HEILL will offer for S/S 17.