Edmonton Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2009

My sisters and I decided to have attend the last Edmonton Fashion Week show on Thursday, partially because we were curious to see what this year’s incarnation would look like, and partially because of the more convenient south side location (as public transit users, the hangar at Kingsway was not appealing).

My only other taste of Fashion Week was in the fall of 2007, where we scored front-row seats in a tented venue on Churchill Square. The Arts Barns was a marked improvement venue-wise, as we were able to wait inside the lobby to avoid the spring chill. Unfortunately, the doors didn’t open until twenty to 8pm, and given that this was about forty minutes later than advertised, we weren’t impressed. Moreover, line control was sorely lacking, which meant as soon as the doors opened, the haphazard crowd randomly crushed their way inside the theatre. As someone used to the hat-drop efficiency of the Fringe, the front-of-house organization was poor.

Sisters! (I am indeed the least fashionable of the three)

Once inside, we settled in our third-row seats (which, combined with our point-and-shoot camera, explains the quality of the photos below), and admired the lovely transformation of the black-box theatre. I loved the dramatic, lush, red velvet curtains and the two beaded chandeliers hung above the runway. Three projection screens had also been set up at the head of the stage, and during the show, would mediate between images of the name of the designer and a runway camera – I’m still on the fence about the use of multimedia – it was an interesting perspective (and gave it a metropolitan feel), but I wasn’t sure it was entirely necessary.

The show was undoubtedly sold out, but as with the show two years ago, I had to wonder why organizers continued to sell more tickets than seats available. As a patron who paid full price, I would be annoyed at the need to stand, particularly when nothing on the ticket indicated the possibility of limited seating. I suppose their system of selling individual advanced tickets that can be used for any show date might need some retooling.

An unrecognizable CityTV personality (whose name I forget, and for the amount of presence he had, it wasn’t important) and Sandra Sing Fernandes hosted the show. Though Fernandes should be commended for spearheading the fashion festival in Edmonton (and based on the age range of attendees, seems to have helped bubble the city’s excitement about local designers to the surface), it appears to be self-serving for her at times – for example, the cover of the week’s program was a picture of a model wearing one of her designs.

Fernandes and CityTV personality

Whatever tone was established by the setting of the fashion show was destroyed by the opening performance by Kimberly Spears, a country singer. It ensured the audience reminded that the show was firmly ground in a prairie city.

The show as a whole wasn’t bad – Sarah Shell’s 442 McAdam, a collection of bags, got redundant really fast. Nokomis was fairly blasé, in Amanda’s opinion. Serendipity by Kelsey McIntyre, on the other hand, presented a stunning array of dresses, including a few wedding gowns. She definitely got the loudest applause from the audience, and I appreciated that the models incorporated umbrellas into their walk – it played off of the musical selection, Duffy’s “Rain on Your Parade”. Jessica Halabi showed both spring/summer and fall/winter collections, while Joeffer Caoc, presented by My Filosophy had a few sophisticated pieces, albeit some that badly needed steaming.

442 McAdam




Joeffer Caoc (it was a little much that all models finished with My Filosophy shopping bags)

As a whole we enjoyed the evening. Though they have a few things to improve on, I’m sure Edmonton Fashion Week will become one of the city’s festival staples. Fall/winter will run September 17-24, also at the TransAlta Arts Barns.

If you want a bit of fashion to tide you over until then, I suggest you check out my sister’s blog.

6 thoughts on “Edmonton Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2009

  1. Hi,I just read your blog, I attended the show that evening also.I too was very impressed with the venue. I have attended EFW for the last four seasons and can say that it has come a long way. It appears you may have misunderstood, the doors did open on time infact they opened earlier as we were one of the first that evening, they let us in early so we could look around at some of the vendors (which wasn’t the best idea since I spent too much money at Unrau Designs, but her jewelry was so lovely- but “when in Rome”) The front door was great, greeted us nicely. I understand why you would think the doors opened late, the show was not until 8:00 and doors opened at 7:30 The main doors were open at 7:00.. I take it you saved your self some cash and went right in to the line!

    I do have a big disagreement with you about Sandra Sing being a bit self serving. Very much the opposite. She has gone way beyond what anyone would do for the fashion and design community. Did you see the Careers TV piece that they did on her and EFW? She is 100,000.00 in debt personally for everyone else. I was happy to see she did the design on the cover, keep in mind there is a board that makes the decisions, and as far as I have seen she has spent a lot of money for everyone else’s careers. I have been to Planet Ze, she is an incredible talent, but we never see it during fashion week. So I have to disagree about her being self serving. Name one person who would spend and lose one hundred thousand on a fashion week , for the community. I can tell you I wouldn’t and don’t know of anyone who would. That is optimistic belief and passion at its finest.
    so it was nice to see her get something out of it other than large bills.

  2. Kathy – I guess I misinterpreted what the “doors open” statement on the ticket actually meant – I thought it meant seating would start at 7pm.

    I also had no idea Fernandes had sunk that much money into the festival – perhaps that sort of information (in a paragraph about the history or genesis of the event) should appear in the program.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. I’m not sure that going $100,000 into debt should be spun into such a positive thing, though it does make the point about her not being self-serving I suppose. I agree it might be better if it was actually written down somewhere.

  4. Is it just me, or does it look like she wet herself on stage. Edmonton Journal page G2, Sat sept 17, 2011. Why did the journal use this picture, the poor woman!

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