Articles Tagged ‘Ottawa Fashion Week’

THE Q&A: Fashion designer Lucian Matis brings Marrakesh dreams to Winterlude

Toronto-based designer Lucian Matis was born and raised in Romania.

If you’ve seen the ice sculptures once, and skating on the canal isn’t your thing, then Winterlude can seem like more of a tourist festival than something that brings real energy to the city. But a new event, one that brings together fashion and molecular gastronomy, aims to shake up the staid images winter in Ottawa.

The American Express Winterlude Food and Fashion Evening gives local fashion lovers a glimpse of what’s to come at Ottawa Fashion Week when Toronto-based designer Lucian Matis presents his vivacious and alluring Spring/Summer 2013 collection. (This is the second year that OFW has partnered with Winterlude; OFW runs February 8-10.)

Marc Lepine, the winner of the 2012 Canadian Culinary Championship and the chef/owner of Ottawa’s Atelier restaurant, will set the stage with a five course meal. Anyone familiar with Lepine’s fare will know he brings flare and creativity, as well as a sense of adventure, to every plate. This is high-end, experiential eating at its best.

While Lepine will undoubtedly pull the foodies in (the $165 ticket, which includes wine, is a steal), we wanted to chat with the young designer chosen to add the sartorial finale to this special event.

SHOP TALK: Your education includes studies in art, painting, graphics. How do these influence your collections? Who is your favourite artist?

Lucian Matis: My art studies have helped me enrich my array of duties by allowing me to design my own fabrics, create more sculptural silhouettes, at times shoot the look books or campaigns. It allows me to never get bored of my job.

I have a few fine artists that I respect but as far as them influencing my work as a designer I think one of my favourite fine artists is Gustav Klimt.

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THE INSIDER: Hussein Rashid on moving Ottawa Fashion Week to Preston Street

OFW founder and executive producer Hussein Rashid says the Sala San Marco venue allows more space for creativity.

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

When we first heard that Ottawa Fashion Week (OFW) was moving to Sala San Marco, we were confused. Sure, we could pull up an image of the Preston Street hall in our mental map, but it involved memories of lunch dates, not runway shows.

So, as OFW takes their presentation out of the downtown core for the first time in its history, we chat with one of the original visionaries behind the show: founder and executive producer Hussein Rashid.

“It’s all about really getting more involved, it’s about taking the event to the community,” explains Hussein. “We wanted a space that people live near.” The venues available downtown, he says, have restrictions that his team found difficult to work around.

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MALL MADNESS! Flare Magazine brings runway styles to Bayshore Shopping Centre

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

From the Flare World Runway Tour stop in Burlington, Ontario. Photo by Adam Moco.

Let’s face it: mall fashion shows can be a bit of a yawn. But when we heard about Flare Magazine stopping in at Bayshore, we snapped to attention. After all, this is the (Canadian!) mag that, in addition to covering fashion weeks around the world on a regular basis, is also reportedly bringing on lit it-girl Sheila Heti as a columnist.

So we wanted to know more. We tapped our sources.

The event is one of a series billed as the Flare World Runway Tour. With stops in six Invahoe Cambridge malls across Canada — Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre kicked things off in September — Bayshore was an easy pick as it is actually one of the more fashion-forward of the chain.

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SHOP TALK: Guest blogger Vanessa Ortynsky goes behind the scenes at Ottawa Fashion Week

This week SHOP TALK’s guest blogger Vanessa Ortynsky tags along with key Ottawa Fashion Week players as they prep for the upcoming event. From TV appearances to finance meetings, it’s all in a day’s work for these busy organizers.

Models strike a pose on Daytime while designer Geneviève Lima and PR lead Kimberly McCarthy talk Ottawa Fashion Week.

At the helm of OFW Spring/Summer 2013 is beauty guru Bruno Racine. An OFW veteran, Racine has held the position of creative director for the past eight seasons. This October, the heart of Little Italy plays host to this much-anticipated event, which features 21 local and international designers. Preparations have already been underway for months when I catch up with Racine, plus PR coordinator Kimberly McCarthy, and designer Geneviève Lima at The Loft — Racine’s salon and spa — a few days before OFW kicks off. This seems to be the place to be, as the salon is abuzz with stylists and long-limbed models who are prepping for Lima’s TV appearance on Daytime with Lois Lee and Derick Fage.

While the models are in hair and makeup, I sit down with Racine to discuss his role as creative director. He says the biggest misconception about the job is the amount of time he puts into it. People don’t realize that the job “is ongoing, and it’s full-time. Two weeks leading up to the event, I don’t sleep. At all.” He’s constantly networking, answering emails, conducting business meetings, and attending Fashion Weeks around the world. “Initially, when we started eight seasons ago, [the job of creative director consisted of] hair and makeup, coordinating the beauty team, and creating looks for the designers. Now it’s evolved into the entire production of the show.” Racine and McCarthy, the PR lead, are thankful for the numerous volunteers who help organize the bi-annual, non-profit event. “Everyone involved loves the event; they do it because they believe in it,” says Racine.

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EVENT REVIEW: Five things we saw at Ottawa Fashion Week

A favourite from the Jana Hanzel/Emilia Torabi collection. Photo by Sarah Fischer

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

Let’s start this post off with a disclaimer: we don’t attempt to ‘cover’ OFW. Covering means attending all the pre- and post-events, all runway shows, and having a decent base of WordPress skills to translate our observations into something comprehensive and pretty that accurately reflects what we took in. We have no such skills, and we don’t have the time (on top of managing multiple print projects and maintaining this site) nor the expense budget to camp out at the Westin! (One of us has a baby bump to keep fueled with fatty nutritious food, after all.)

But we can offer our opinions on what we did see. For one thing, it was fun! The event is definitely becoming a social event, with fewer people looking anxious or bored and more attendees using OFW to mix and network, dress to impress, and get involved. There was a palpable buzz surrounding the crowds of people hanging between shows. A great sign.

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GREAT IDEA: Rent Frock Repeat offers practical (and pretty!) solutions to wardrobe dilemmas

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

All the buzz in the lead-up to Ottawa Fashion Week is making us envious of those with walk-in closets full of designer duds. (Do those people worry about what to wear, or is it just a matter of taking a stroll through their personal collection and choosing something that strikes their fancy?) Indeed, we’ve started to wonder what to wear to the biannual showcase that is OFW. We’re thinking of taking a casual approach, and yet we can’t help but envy those that put together a killer ensemble and stand out in the crowd.

Mark & James violet one-shoulder minidress by Badgley Mischka. Retails for $345, rents for $90, sizes XS - L.

All these wardrobe woes (call them #firstworldproblems) made us remember a unique operation based out of Toronto. The gals at Rent Frock Repeat (RfR) seem to have a real handle on this mindset: the need to appear stylish and trend-savvy at important events, the realities of a clothing budget and closet space, and the availability of designer clothes — plus the time it takes to track down the right dress!

While we didn’t have time to rent-a-frock for this weekend’s OFW shows, we wanted to get the lowdown … and start planning for the next big event. In this week’s installment of SHOP TALK, we chat with RfR’s Kristy Wieber about what’s hot right now, how the business works, and what’s in her closet.

Where do you go to add new pieces to the collection?
We buy new, fresh off the runway, directly from the designer. We’re heading to NYC next week to buy for Fall 2012, but we also buy directly from Canadian designers as well.

What are your most popular dresses right now?
Right now, due to the gala/fundraiser season, we see a lot of floor-length gowns being rented for black-tie events.  It just makes so much sense to rent a gown for a charity fundraiser and use the money you saved on the dress and put it towards the charity.  Our motto is “Rent the dress, donate the rest!”

After renting a dress and falling in love with it, can I buy it?
No and trust us, our customers fall in love with so many of the dresses that they can’t wait for their next event to try out a different one.  RfR lets you experiment with fashion without the buyer’s remorse. Think of us as your virtual online closet — not only do we save you money, but closet space as well.

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THE WEEKENDER: Family fun, fashionable shows, a monster party to ward off cabin fever, plus Black History poetry and life drawing

The Funatorium Explorium is all about hands-on fun for parents and kids to play together. You’ll have a chance to rock climb and joust, as well as meet Star Wars characters, princesses, and superheroes. At the stage, watch amazing performances from science to magic (including Ottawa’s own Eric Leclerc). Check the schedule for the show times of feature  presentation Free The Children. Saturday, Feb. 18 to Monday, Feb. 20. $19.99 or $75 for a family of four. Age 4+ appropriate. CE Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr.

Last fall, Simon Ekrelius wowed audiences with his avant-garde designs. What will raise eyebrows at this year's Ottawa Fashion Week?

Local and international designers fill the city this week for Ottawa Fashion Week. For the first time in partnership with Winterlude, OFW showcases the latest trends and continues to be an outlet for arts in the community such as photography, music, and film as well as fashion. Friday Feb. 17 to Sunday Feb. 19, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., $45, $90 three-day pass. The Westin Ottawa, 11 Colonel By Dr..

The February installment of this quirky series offers participants a chance to make their very own cuddly plush monster — the perfect way to beat cabin fever! Cover charge includes all materials, as well as solid beats from the Spins crew, courtesy DJ Pelletier and Meterman. Special guests include Hobo and Sweetcheeks (of Promdemonium, Kitchen Party fame). Friday, Feb. 17. 8 p.m. $8. James Street Pub, 390 Bank St.

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MODEL WATCH: Local model Veronica L. wins MIM contract, looks to OFW casting call

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

Every day we seem to receive another announcement about a casting call or new up-and-coming model in the area. We’re not sure if it’s because of the steady growth of Ottawa Fashion Week or the skyrocketing success of models like Herieth Paul — either way, we figured it was time to poke our nose into the world of modeling and take the pulse on the local scene.

Veronica L. recently won a full modeling contract with local agency MIM. Photo courtesy MIM.

This week, we tracked down the latest name making headlines: Veronica L. She’s just 13 years old, but has just landed a free modeling contract with Models International Management (MIM). At 5’11”, she easily surpasses the industry standard of 5’8″ and sports an athletic frame honed from years practicing synchonized swimming and gymnastics.

While MIM spokesperson Jessica D’Angelo describes Veronica as humble, she made no mistake about her talent:

“In front of the camera, Veronica had a serious fire about her,” says D’Angelo. “She was very shy, but so open to putting herself out there.”

Veronica beat out over 60 people — men and women, kids and teens — at the event, held at Bayshore Shopping Centre.

She describes the event as fun and “not stressful at all.” She found out about the contest through her friend, Megan W., who currently models with MIM — plus her mother has some modeling experience, so maybe it runs in the family!

Next up for Veronica: the Ottawa Fashion Week casting call.

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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.

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SHOP TALK: Fashionable events around town

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

Here at Shop Talk, we usually blab about shops and trends, observations and must-haves. But as we noted when we first expanded this blog, fashion events like Ottawa Fashion Week give us the chance to dress up a bit — which, in turn, give us a chance to talk about clothes, as we plan our outfits and dissect winning looks. So this week, we’re looking ahead to a few gigs sure to attract a fashionable crowd.

Angie Sakla-Seymour, host and owner of Angie's Models and Talent. Photo by Marc Lavoie.

The Scene: local fashion stalwart Angie’s AMTI hosts its annual runway show — but this time, the focus is on the models, not the clothes. Expect all eyes to be on sixteen-year-old supermodel Herieth Paul. She’s already been featured in New York Magazine, where she adorably espouses the merits of being a Canadian girl. Also in the aisles will be Paul Weber, the head of casting for MGM Studios in Los Angeles, and Al Onorato, the man who catapulted the likes of Katie Holmes, Jennifer Lopez, and Tyra Banks into the international spotlight

USP: Held in the grand-and-gritty Canadian War Museum, this event gives local talent a chance to shine — and then go to sleep in their own bed. And given the location, it’s also an opportunity for Ottawans to take pride in all the city has to offer.

At the door: Invite only. Media and those interested in attending may contact Angie’s Models at 613-244-0544 or

Saturday, May 28. 9:30 p.m. Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place.

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