Editor’s picks: Ottawa Fashion Week, fall/winter 2014

February 25, 2014

Ottawa Fashion Week has once again come and gone, bringing warmth and whimsy to the runways at the Casino du Lac-Leamy. Ranging from ready-to-wear to couture, OFW introduced a variety of looks that could be worn on and off the runway.

Some of the trends spotted this season included the use of metallics, the pairing of leather with lace, and the use of tartan and floral prints. There were also minimalistic colours, with lots of warm greys, blacks, blues and nudes.

With a few returning and new designers, we picked our favourites at OFW fall/winter 2014.

Joseph Ribkoff

There is a reason Joseph Ribkoff has remained successful for so many years in the fashion industry (more than 50 years!). His collection definitely presented a head-to-toe look, with models walking down in pairs, and accessorised to perfection. What made his collection so invigorating was the use of print (graphics and soft florals) and different silhouettes. However, Ribkoff cut his pieces to flatter the female form, by accentuating the waist and adding a touch of sexiness with the use of sheer panels, cut-outs and leather pieces. His collection was one of the most colourful on the runway, with hues of cobalt blue, yellow, rich purples and more. By far my favourite collection, Ribkoff once again proved that fashion, and the woman who loves it, never ages.

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CBrido Collection

Rock ’n’ roll. Warm. Relaxed. Those were the first few words that came to mind when newcomer Céline Brideau’s pieces made their way down the runway on the first night of OFW. The New Brunswick-based CBrido Collection included flowing tops, relaxed dresses and warm sweaters in intriguing shapes in greys, blacks and red. Harder silhouettes were also seen on the runway, including a stunning red tartan dress Brideau chose as her closing look.

Given the harsher than usual temperatures this winter, the collection brought a freshness to the idea of the “winter sweater” and made you think warm thoughts, with some audience members even tweeting they wished that winter would last just a little bit longer so they could wear her pieces. Though I enjoyed her show, I for one am looking forward to spring!


What can we say about Nora Zabarah Pucci’s collection? Flawless is the first word that comes to mind. But what brought it above and beyond were the feminine details: beading, sheer panels, the mix of lace and leather or sheer, peephole backs and exaggerated belts — all kept the audience on the edge of their seats. In black and nude and with pops of red on the runway, each dress had just enough details to add that extra “oomph,” making it a fantastic show from beginning to end. We can’t wait to see what she will bring next season.


Named the New Upcoming Designer of the Year at Paris Fashion Week, Jeff Garner’s Dreamer’s Cure collection was something new, yet still distinctly Jeff. The collection held his signature style and inspiration — the Southern belle with exaggerated shapes and bottoms, as well as the southernly gentleman, complete with jackets and knee-high boots. Light colours, thick fabrics and voluminous shapes, there is no mistaking Garner’s signature style and look.

Bernice and Barclay

It was slim, sleek silhouettes and darker colours this time around for Ottawa duo Lorianne Hawdur and James Nesbitt, much different from their flirty and flowy spring/summer 2014 collection. Some of our favourite pieces included the cowl necks (very reminiscent of the ’70s and ’80s) and their signature mid-flare dress we have come to expect at their shows. Though sleeker than last season, the collection was still feminine with high-waisted pants emphasizing slim waists, fitted dresses and a dark floral print that could transition into any season.

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Jana and Emilia

Tessellation was the name of Jana Hanzel and Emilia Torabi’s collection this year, and it brought something fierce to the runway. Accompanied by the unmistakable music of Game of Thrones, the womens- and menswear designers brought something different — as they always do. Master seamstresses, the designers expertly mix and match prints, and piece clothes together, all while creating interesting shapes. Every time you look at one of their pieces, there is something new, from a design on the bottom of a pant leg, to a different fabric or material — an unmistakeable Jana and Emilia quality. Bravo, ladies!

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Alberta-based designer Kelsey McIntyre created a very ethereal collection this time around with a soft palette, which included pinks, blues and florals (again, time to break out the florals for fall!). What we especially loved were the high-waisted skirts that had a ’60s feel, especially when paired with the oversized button cropped jacket (very Jackie O), as well as the loose sweaters and collared tops and dresses. Though a simple collection with simple silhouettes, McIntyre added a twist by including a gold metallic gown. The first (and only) metallic piece on the runway was a standout look, but maybe for the wrong reasons. Still, she finished with a strong piece, and that made up for small breaks of soft colours.

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Sukhoo Sukhoo

Silver and gold, oh my! Frank Sukhoo, the eponymous Ottawa designer, brought the drama once again this year in his closing show on the second night of OFW. Metallics, shiny details and an interesting hair/makeup combination (complete with mesh over the models’ faces) made people sit up in their seats as his looks made their way down the runway. The minimal colour trend for this season continued for Sukhoo, who also included sheer pieces, cut-outs and lots of embellishments in his pieces. For his incorporation of the “it” print – florals – flowers adorned the gowns rather than using a print. He also included ruffles adding softness to some of the hard looks of the metallic materials and angular silhouettes. A few pops of pink and red could also be seen on the runway, breaking up the gold, silver and black, and they were a nice touch.

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Mirari Studio

For the final night of OFW, audience members were taken out of the familiar surroundings of the Casino du Lac-Leamy and transported to the newly renamed Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization).

Flanked by totem poles and the Ottawa River with a light dusting of snow on Sunday night, models walked in Montréal-based designer Duy Nguyen’s DUY Collection. With a distinct ’30s and ’40s feel, the collection had an interesting mix of hard and soft pieces, ranging from leather with cut-outs, fur accents, ruffled knitwear and a gorgeous black dress with peaked shoulders and sheer fabric reminiscent of Bette Davis in Now, Voyager. It was a shame that this was the designer’s last collection.

Other features at the Mirari Studio included digital art exhibits by former Olympian Patrick Biggs and Arline Malakian, as well as musical performances by pianist Silvie Cheng, cellist Fiona Armstrong, singer May-Jun and Inuit throat singer Becky Mearns.

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By Katherine Ellis
Photography by Jill Adams

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