Ottawa Fashion Week, spring/summer 2013

November 22, 2012

By Katherine Ellis

After three days of walking, strutting and posing for cameras in the spring/summer 2013 Ottawa Fashion Week collections, models put away their heels, washed glitter out of their hair and make-up off their faces, and the designers moved onto the next challenge.

Held at a new venue, OFW offered a different feel than last season’s Westin Hotel and white runway. A wood-like catwalk in a u-shape shook things up, while offering an intimate setting. Across the street, a Marketplace featured local talents on stage amidst merchant booths. Though a little chilly, the rainy weather did not seem to keep people at bay.

Over the course of the three days, a variety of celebrities, including local television and radio personalities and even a couple of singers – jazz and Juno winner Kellylee Evans and opera extraordinaire Measha Brueggergosman – made an appearance. Many regulars from the Ottawa fashion scene were present, including Blackbook Lifestyle’s Daniel Mackinnon and James Jefferson, Sakla-Seymour and her daughter Alexis, as well as OFW Creative Director Bruno Racine and Executive Producer Hussein Rashid. A pleasant surprise for Ottawa locals was the arrival of international model and success story Herieth Paul on Day 2.

FAJO Magazine, one of the official media sponsors for a third season in a row, was on the scene reporting and live-tweeting from the front row. Among the peplum tops, tailored pants and everything in-between, we provide our take on some new and returning designers at the spring/summer 2013 OFW, as well as the trends for next season.

Ottawa Fashion Week: Day 1

Photography by James Park

Muse par Christian Chenail

The expert tailoring by designer Christian Chenail was presented on the first day of the Ottawa Fashion Week. With a very 60s vibe, the designer’s more than 20 years of industry experience and architectural background were evident in the clothing, including tailored jackets cinched at the waist, mid-length shift dresses and architectural details in the pattern of blazers and pants.

The collection, mostly black-and-white with  a few pops of colour, had a casual but chic look. Chenail was also not afraid to use bold prints – something refreshing to see in the classic silhouettes which brought the designs to the next level. Polka dots, colour blocks and swirls accentuated the forms of models, while drawing the eye to create curves – something that most women will want in their summer 2013 wardrobe. The use of cinched waists, either by belts or buttons on a blazer will also be something we will see off the runway.

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Korto Momolu

Korto Momolu, originally an Ottawa resident who attended L’Académie des Couturiers Design Institute, made her way back home on OFW’s Day 1. A well-known face on Project Runway’s fifth season, the now Arkansas-based designer returned on the popular television series for Project Runway: All Stars, winning the prize as fan favourite and first runner up.

Momolu did not disappoint in the collection she presented at OFW, nor did her reputation precede her. Her bold use of colours was refreshing, showcasing the designer’s fearlessness to use bright and arresting colours, from red to yellow and even a floral print with both. There were plenty of peplum tops and dresses. A silhouette that was all over fall/winter 2012, the peplum is definitely something we will see more of next season.

Momolu’s collection was at once light and cool, as well as restrictive. Draped fabrics, light T-shirts and skirts floated by, followed closely by pencil skirts and cinched-in waists: an interesting dichotomy to say the least.

We hope that Momolu will venture north again sometime soon, so we can see what she comes up with next.

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Ottawa Fashion Week: Day 2

Photography by David Kawai

Jana Hanzel & Emilia Torabi

One simple word can describe this collection: red. Opening with a short red dress worn by Herieth Paul, the designing duo of Jana Hanzel and Emilia Torabi took a bold choice and picked a single colour as the palette of their latest collection.

Cocktail and full-length dresses had details to accentuate the red, including pleating and ruffles, along with the different fabrics, the use of which added a dimension to the monochromatic collection. It was not uncommon to see chiffon, lace, leather or even sequin appear together on the runway.  Though simple in cut and design, the more formal business blazer and skirt combinations that were also on the runway, exuded a classic elegance and a Jackie O. vibe.

The pieces were all very tailored. Even the sleeked hair and simple make-up, topped off with a red lip, reflected the elegance of the collection. From professional to elegant to fun, the clothing in this line could be worn on any occasion for a woman who wants to make a statement.

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The designs by Carissa McCaig were a breath of fresh air. A mix of bright colours, including pink and blues, floral prints and soft greys, the show’s light and airy feel breezed its way down the runway.

A stand out piece was the first look – an interesting peplum shape (longer than others seen on the runway), the model glided down in bright pink. Only when you caught a glimpse of the back did we see the cut-out.

The colour palette flowed seamlessly and the simple silhouettes were accented by pleats and cut outs. Definitely a wearable collection, the pieces reflected a femininity that could appear on the streets in spring/summer 2013.

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Y!D.N.A. for Collection

More of a shock and awe spectacle, Andy Nguyen’s “Confession” collection reflected the designer’s  Montréal  background and theatricality on the runways when the first models appeared. Oiled, wearing leather-like speedos and muscular, the male models seemed to impress certain fashion goers, with even a few whooping in the crowd. The show began with a recording of a father, telling a story to his child in heavily accented English. Shortly afterwards female models (followed closely by their male escorts) walked through a storm of glitter falling from parasols in hard edgy designs. With pops of colour, including red and green, the looks included short hemlines for shorts and skirts, simple lines and sheer materials.

Most distinct in this collection was the mix of hard and soft: leather shorts with a simple black top; a black body suit with sheer cape and trailing pieces of leather. Not a wearable collection and at times hard to distinguish under the sea of glitter, the pieces introduced Ottawa to something different than what we had seen on the runway for the last two days at OFW – a harder edge and aesthetic in the use of materials and theatricality.

Whether due to entertainment, the show or the pieces, just as he had in fall/winter 2012, the designer received a well-deserved standing ovation for his show.

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Ottawa Fashion Week: Day 3

Photography by Natalie Haggar

Solace: Shweta Wahi

Models for Solace: Shweta Wahi walked down the runway barefoot in rich fabrics, and accented with gold make-up and jewelry, reflecting the designer’s Indian/Canadian background. The audience was transported to another world at the sight of this exotic collection.

A short crop shirt paired with a draped three-quarter pant made of rich, heavy fabric with sheen or a flowy skirt, were a common silhouette in this collection.

The use of vibrant and muted colours, including teal, brown and blue, created a collection that was once alive but grounded by the earth tones; duality was indeed an overarching theme. An apprentice for Evan Biddell, winner of season 1 of Project Runway Canada, Solace was created by Wahi to be released at Ottawa Fashion Week.

Though exciting to see the non-standard Western silhouettes, it remains to be seen whether these looks will be on the streets next season.

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Elena Hinke

From a red mermaid dress worn with gloves and a crystal broach to the simple black suit, Ottawa-based designer Elena Hinke showcased an interesting collection of high glamour and ready-to-wear designs where no silhouette was exactly the same. The variety of shapes of the clothes can be considered a theme in itself: no woman is made the same.

The collection began with a darker muted palette in a business suit and wide leg pants, then exploded into colour and ended with a red dress that screamed the Valentino Red collection, and was worn by Ottawa’s own Herieth Paul.

Details in the designs made the collection. From an off-white dress with pleating throughout the entire garment, and a bow and broach at the waist, to elbow-length gloves paired with a dress with  large flower patterns,  Hinke’s collection was  a feast for the eyes.

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Prophetik by Jeff Garner

OFW headliner and eco-friendly designer Jeff Garner’s collection was comprised of 42 dresses. “A Dress to Change the World” embodied the elegance of the woman who inspired it: Princess Grace of Monaco. A former Hollywood actress, she gave up an illustrious career in the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1950s to marry the Prince of Monaco – a real-life fairy tale of the age.

Opening with a stunning red dress, models walked down the runway as if out of a Vogue of the time. Cinched in waists, bell skirts and the classic 1950s cocktail dress, as well as suits and pants made their way down the runway. A few menswear pieces made an appearance too (a change of pace after the numerous womenswear looks), reflecting the designer’s southern background and equestrian in nature.

But what distinguished this collection from the rest (other than the number of looks) were the materials used to create them. The Tennessee-based Garner only uses sustainable fabrics (organic cotton, silk and vintage lace) and plant or earth-based dyes in all of his designs. He is well-known in the U.S., dressing big names such as Kings of Leon.

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