White Night and The Works

Last Thursday, Mack and I spent the evening at two different events downtown – it’s great to be able to just wander out our door to the next summer festival!

I love events that repurpose spaces – there’s something about embracing the uncommon that adds that bit of je ne sais quoi to an otherwise ordinary activity.

That’s one of the reasons why I was so drawn to White Night, a fashion showcase that took place last Thursday at the Edmonton City Centre Mall. The location? The pedway above 101 Street. I couldn’t wait to see how they would transform the space into a runway.

I secretly hoped that the conversion would also involve opening up the bridge’s second floor as a viewing platform (how cool would that have been?!) but no dice. Still, it was neat to see how the pedway could be used for something other than retail and café seating.

White Night

More than just a pedway

White Night was a part of White Out, a week of events to bring awareness to domestic violence, and the work done by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS). White Night commissioned ten local fashion designers to create garments inspired by a white ribbon, a symbol of domestic violence. The dresses would be available for bidding through a silent auction, with all proceeds to benefit the ACWS.

White Night

At White Night

Local dignitaries, including Mayor Mandel, were on hand to mark the occasion. Although many in the audience had incorporated white into their outfits, I think someone forgot to send that memo to Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

White Night

Minister Lukaszuk (I think I just liked how loud his shirt was)

When the show began, it wasn’t immediately clear that the fashions weren’t those created by the local designers. It turned out that the first part of the show was meant to highlight clothes available from merchants at City Centre Mall – for their own marketing purposes, though it may have been a little cheesy, it would have been better if an announcer was stating where each outfit could be purchased.

White Night

Retail showcase

Thankfully, the event MC did announce when the special dresses started rolling down the runway.

White Night

Dress by Trish Pasnak

White Night

Dress by Genette Salgado

White Night

Dress by Kelsey McIntyre

White Night

Dress by Cherie Howard

Our favourite, without a doubt, was the gown designed by Nomin Gantumur. Fitted and petite, the detail in the dress was exquisite.

White Night

Dress by Nomin Gantumur

Those interested can continue bidding for the dresses (and other goods and services donated by City Centre merchants) until June 30 (you can see the rest of our photo set here). Congratulations to the ACWS and City Centre Mall for organizing a great night for fashion and a good cause!

After the event, we walked over to Churchill Square to check out the opening night party of The Works.

The Works

The Works

The Works

Ian Johnston

The Works

OKA (the didgeridoo was great for the dancing crowd)

The Works is on until July 5. I know we’ll be back at least once more – I want to check out the coffee cup by Ben Sures.

Hope you’re able to enjoy this long weekend too!

Western Canada Fashion Week: Fall/Winter 2010

I didn’t attend the last Edmonton Fashion Week in the spring, the first that had been rebranded as Western Canada Fashion Week, but was looking forward to seeing what the event had in store this time around.

I met up with Amanda on Saturday night at the TransAlta Arts Barns about forty-five minutes before the show was to start, as we assumed the crowds would be large. It wasn’t so, at least not on this night – the Westbury Theatre was barely even half full.

Me and Amanda

Me and Amanda

The show’s ultimate draw for both of us was Sid Neigum, a young designer from Edmonton who won Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer competition last year and was recently accepted into the Fashion Institute for Technology in New York. He had first billing on the evening’s program, but unfortunately, when the lights dimmed and his name was announced, it turned out he wouldn’t be showcasing his collection at all. Instead, WCFW wanted to honour him and dressed two models in what Amanda thought were designs from his last collection. Why the organizers chose to include his name in the program at all was beyond us – we were mislead, but were hoping the rest of the evening would make up for it.

Sid Neigum

Sid Neigum

Next up was Luxx by Derek Jagodzinsky. Amanda liked some of the bright, almost tribal-printed leggings, but we both thought the collection he exhibited was quite limited.


Luxx (the first model is Linsay Willier, known for competing in Canada’s Next Top Model)

E squared offered a similarly brief snapshot of their menswear line, most outfits which included shiny bursts of silver fabric reminiscent of futuristic space designs.

Western Canada Fashion Week

E squared

My favourite showcase of the evening was Joeffer Caoc (put on by My Philosophy) – clean lines and designs meant to show off a woman’s figure, I could see myself picking up many of the pieces. More than anything though, this set had many more models than the previous two designers, and instead of having the models walk and finish the runway on their own, built up a good rhythm during their segment by sending the subsequent model down when the first was about halfway done.

Western Canada Fashion Week

Joeffer Caoc

The show wrapped up with Lanvin Menswear (put on by Henry Singer) and featured suits and business casual attire.

Western Canada Fashion Week


After Sandra Sing Fernandes came out and did her usual call for audience members to “walk off” and closed the evening, I looked at my watch – only an hour had passed since we started at 8:15, and with the fifteen minute intermission, meant that there ended up being less than forty-five minutes of actual fashion. Compared to the previous EFW shows I’ve attended, this show seemed short.

Western Canada Fashion Week continues until September 23 – I hope the remaining shows provide more than just the fleeting glance that we received that night.

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




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.

Soia & Kyo’s “Chelsea” coat

In the last month or so, I have been on the hunt for a wool coat. In hindsight, I should not have passed on an exquisite grey number sold at Banana Republic last year, as I’ve been looking for a replica ever since.
I’m not sure why I really only have one cold-appropriate coat, as the length of Alberta winters can easily excuse further diversity in this wardrobe area. Edmonton summers are abbreviated at best, and yet, I have at least five warm-weather jackets.
On Saturday, I wandered into Etzio on Whyte Avenue, and was immediately drawn to the black “Chelsea” by Soia & Kyo – a knee-length coat featuring an asymmetrical, full-length, two-way zipper and belted waist. The major selling point for me though was the collar, which can be worn in two ways: with an open neck (scarf optional) for dressier occasions, or completely zipped and buckled for more warmth. On the downside, the material is only 80% wool, so it isn’t as warm as it could be.
Since buying the non-refundable coat, I’ve been looking into the brand, which was unknown to me before yesterday. It turns out Montreal-based Soia & Kyo seem to be a darling of the Canadian fashion community. Only five years young, they have built a reputation for offering stylish, “affordable” outerwear. Their collection is created by the same person who designs for Mackage, a higher-end line sold by the likes of Holt Renfrew.
I’m also not immune to sales pitches, which I am aware are as genuine as the flattery found in fitting rooms. The sales clerk at Etzio said that the coats were flying off the racks, and had been received barely a week prior. Coupled with the fact that I am “supporting a Canadian company,” I can put together quite a strong argument for this purchase.
Or, I can admit that all of this was merely posturing to justify an incredibly pricey buy.

“Chelsea” coat (in espresso/black; the site did not have an image of the black-only coat)

These boots are made for walking…

I am not sure how often I will post about “fashion,” but the early days of my blog are a good time as any to forgivably experiment with topics.

The city has been hit with what seems like continuous snowfalls since mid-October, so since I do quite a bit of walking outside, I thought a pair of winter boots would be a good investment for me. Now that I’ve had a pair for the better part of three weeks, I can’t imagine how I got along in Edmonton winters without them.

These Kenneth Cole Reaction “Jonely Lonely” boots are actually my first pair of adult winter boots, a far cry from those pink and purple, velcro-fastened monstrosities I was forced to wear in childhood. This pair is not only functional – essentially flat and only calf-high – but they have also quickly become my workday and weekend staple, with the ability to complement both dress pants and jeans with ease. Although the grip could use some improvement, I have been able to walk to and sit at work in comfort. All hail practical purchases!

Kenneth Cole Reaction “Jonely Lonely” boots (image from macys.com)