Shop Talk

SHOP TALK: Notes from the runway at Ottawa Fashion Week

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

Ottawa Fashion Week is growing — fast. More glitz, and longer shows (not to mention a huge runway) definitely gave this fall’s event a different vibe.

Is it growing too fast? There were times we felt that way — maybe it was the new Convention Centre location, which offered more space but at the same time a less intimate atmosphere than the National Gallery of Canada, a venue that seemed to bring more casual encounters and great mingling. Luckily, the guys at Blackbook Lifestyle created a cozier space in the Blackbook Lounge.

Other times it felt too slow — but delays, it seems, are part of the event, and most of the time folks seemed to be enjoying themselves (good thing the whole alcohol issue was cleared up quickly on the first night. Cheers!) And the 1,000+ seats? Well, let’s just say we were impressed when they had to add seats on closing night, because on Thursday it seemed a bit vacant.

But there were also plenty of moments when we felt the glam was just right, that Ottawans were really warming up to this hot event, embracing the opportunity to dress up, have fun, and imagine style without limits (or underwear, as seen in the Alexis Reyna show). We ran into tons of fun folks, which made us feel like OFW was the place to be.

One more thing to point before we get into runway details: lots of men in attendance — bravo! Could this mean a rebirth of menswear style? If so, let’s see more menswear on the runway!

We’re still amateurs on WordPress, so please excuse the random layout — and click on the images for more photos and commentary from the shows. And if you want to see more, visit the Ottawa Fashion Week Facebook page; that team did an excellent job of capturing the shows and posting pics in a timely, organized way. Another big plus for this year.

Thursday shows

Micalla offered a new approach to showcasing jewellery — and we loved it. Rather than teaming up with a clothing designer, the Quebec designer used the same cocktail dress — a simple cobalt strapless number — on all models to keep the attention on his extravagant pieces.

One of the standout pieces from the Micalla show. All photos by Sarah Fischer.

The Anomal show definitely had us pumped for fashion. Anomal injected the perfect balance between runway drama and practical pieces that could almost fit into a wardrobe (a perfect fit would have been a bit too realistic). We especially loved the high-waisted patterned pants, and the one-sleeved Kimono dress.

While not so keen on the raincoats (big clear bubble doesn’t do much for one’s figure), we enjoyed the industrial prints in the Simon Ekrelius show. The placement of the collars were unique, sewn onto the shoulders of button down tops. These pieces kept us alert, wondering. We can definitely see Lady Gaga in his quirky pieces. www.simonekrelius.com

The closing walk from the Simon Ekrelius show.

Friday shows

The !Nu.i show pushed us over the edge, into the ‘must-buy-jumpsuit’ demographic. We were also drawn to the floral print (see gallery for an image from the show).

And now for something completely different: Alexis Reyna. This Barcelonian designer put on a very different show. It didn’t have too much appeal for us (barefeet, tribal paint, accusatory stares from the models), but it was definitely one of those shows that got people talking!

Ralph Leroy put on a dramatic show with lots of smoke and intense music. A favourite from this Montreal-based designer was the bright coat with asymmetrical buttons. Great addition to any spring/summer wardrobe!

Saturday shows

Another amazing collection from Rachel Sin! Bold lines, beautiful tailoring, and unique fabrics made this a standout show. We couldn’t help but feel proud to see three contributors from our October fashion feature on the runway — writer Erica Wark modelled (third from front, left row) along with Delaney (front, left row), and of course the designer herself! The issue is on newsstands now; watch for the spread on OttawaMagazine.com in the coming weeks. And, of course, who could forget Ottawa’s own supermodel Herieth Paul (front, right row), whose success we tracked in Ottawa Magazine’s September issue.

Rachel Sin enjoys the final moments of her Ottawa Fashion Week show.

Alas, Jeanne Beker was abroad for Paris Fashion Week — and we were disappointed that technical issues prevented the presentation of her personal video message to Ottawans. But we did enjoy the heart-felt speech from the president who works very closely with her on the Edit by Jeanne Beker line. Wished we would have recognized, or been informed of, the four celebs who wore the outfits to be auctioned off as a fundraiser for Dress for Success — luckily, Erica Wark was all over it in her coverage of OFW for Flare.

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