Edmonton Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2009

I met up with my sister and a few of her friends last Thursday for the fall/winter incarnation of Edmonton Fashion Week.

Serendipity by Kelsey McIntyre

The final night of the weeklong celebration of fashion saw a mix of seasonally appropriate, cold weather wear, alongside optimistic, albeit out of place, spring lines. Although I appreciate that the organizers provide designers with seemingly free reign when it came to exhibiting their collections, I think some control should be exerted – otherwise, the show comes off as disjointed and inconsistent.

More than other Fashion Week shows I have attended in the past, the age range of the audience varied widely this time around – from families with young children, to groups of teenage girls, to clusters of retirees. I think it’s great that such diverse individuals decided to attend the event.

I have to also make mention that I loved the music played that night. And probably because of being trained after numerous seasons of The Hills, I almost expected (and wanted) a continuous listing of the the evening’s soundtrack.

As for the collections themselves, Kelsey McIntyre and Jason Matlo stood out the most for me, although for different reasons. I was happy to have had the opportunity to see McIntyre’s Serendipity collection again (she also exhibited in the spring), and as previous, I could definitely see myself wearing her designs – fitted pants, feminine but practical sweaters, and flirty skirts. And oh, the dresses…

Serendipity by Kelsey McIntyre

Matlo’s shows (he had two) got off to an odd start. Instead of letting the collections speak for themselves, he felt the need to project choice words up on the backdrop, such as “chic”, “classy” and “sexy”, prior to his first model hitting the catwalk. Form-fitting, Babe by Jason Matlo definitely displayed his appreciation of the female figure.

Babe by Jason Matlo

His second showcase wasn’t notable so much for the clothes, but for his choice of models, which included the runner up in this past season of Canada’s Next Top Model, Linsay Willier. As someone commented, her air of confidence was unmistakable. Although she wasn’t necessarily much taller than her fellow models, she definitely seemed to be.

Linsay Willier wearing Jason Matlo

The other three collections didn’t really appeal to me, although Lani Van Rooyen had some show stopping gowns (why the models had to walk like they were jilted brides was another issue entirely). Amanda’s favourite outfit of the night was by Laura Dreger, which featured a leopard print coat, leggings, and a Starbucks cup as an accessory (you can read more about her thoughts about fashion at her blog).

Lani Van Rooyen

Laura Dreger (not Amanda’s favourite outfit, but another leopard print one)

Edmonton Fashion Week Spring/Summer will be returning in April – check the website for updates in the spring.

Thanks to Amanda and Eric for taking all of the photos – you can take a look at the photo set here.

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

Serendipity

Serendipity

Serendipity

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.