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.
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.