Yesterday was the first day of Ottawa Fashion Week, and needless to say, my excitement for three evenings filled with local fashion was pretty high. I took off straight from the library and headed over to the Convention Centre in downtown Ottawa, the new venue for the shows. First up were two collections I was very much looking forward to seeing - Birds of North America and Valérie Dumaine.
While waiting outside, I met up to a fellow blogger Melrose, who is such a sweetheart! We sat together for the first few shows, it was nice to chat with a friendly seat-mate about what was coming down the runway. First off, Birds of North America. This line is sold at local boutique Victoire, so I had some idea of what to expect. I was looking for pretty dresses and separates with a vintage flair, and was not disappointed. The papier maché masks and patches were a little odd, but when not distracted by the styling the pieces were pretty and eminently wearable.
Next up was a swimwear collection from Amber Watkins. I hadn't previously seen any of her work, and so was looking forward to seeing what style of suits she'd show. I really enjoyed the high waisted bikini bottoms and the vibrant colour choices (think royal blue, emerald green, pops of orange). They were styled up with lovely feather earrings from, I believe, Pica Jewelry, which added some definite glam to the suits as they strolled the runway. You can check out the video of the finale walk on my facebook page!
Valérie Dumaine is a Montreal designer who I've been following for a while now, having seen some of her pieces before at Victoire and on other Canadian bloggers. Hers was one of the shows I was most looking forward to seeing, since I hope to add a few of her pieces to my slowly growing wardrobe repertoire of Canadian designers. There were soft gentle colours and a lot of neutrals in Ms. Dumaine's Spring 2012 lineup, with easy, flowing shapes and lots of separates. As far as my own personal taste goes, this was one of the collections I could most easily see myself wearing. I've also posted the video of the finale walk for this collection on fb which you can check it out here.
After a short break between shows (I hurried over to Rideau Centre for a snack and some emergency foot first aid - my shoes for the evening absolutely destroyed my feet), it was time for the Micalla show. Micalla is a jewelry line based out of Ottawa, and I'd seen some of their pieces at the last Ottawa Fashion week I attended at the National Gallery.
The lovely Herieth Paul closed the show in an amazing sparkly piece (see the video of her closing walk here). I really enjoyed the show, but I have to say I might have preferred to see the collection shown as a presentation. It would have been much easier to see (and photograph) some of the more detailed pieces in that kind of setting. I am currently a big fan of statement necklaces and on that front, Micalla certainly did not disappoint. There were also some more dramatic pieces - see above - that were almost like vests comprised of chains and sparkling crystal that elicited a gasp or two from show attendees.
Another Montreal-based line, Anomal was up next. The colours and styles in this collection spoke a little more fall than spring-summer to me, but there were some lovely garments here and there. I wasn't such a huge fan of the major body-suits -- the poor models were showing off a lot of cheek, but managed to strut confidently nonetheless. I am hard pressed to say no to a sequin though, and the black dress above (second from right) was one of my favourites of the show, hands down. Along with some amazing wide-leg pants (above left).
The second to last show last night came from Simon Ekrelius, a London (UK) based designer who showed us what was by far the most avant-garde collection in the bunch. In spite of the more quirky (albeit interesting) plastic bubble-boy jacket and other plastic garments that walked the runway, there were a number of much more easily wearable pieces that I liked very much. Namely the dresses which featured interesting prints (read: arrows and lines) and unique fluid shapes. The collection was inspired by modern art and architecture of pre-WWII Germany, and Mr. Ekrelius certainly expressed that inspiration in an interesting and unique way.
The final show of the night was Rud by Rudsak, a Canadian line focused mainly on leather and outerwear. Local stylist and blogger Erica Wark joined the line-up (I believe she's also walking for Rachel Sin on Saturday) in stomping the runway. After the intriguing collection from Simon Ekrelius this was perhaps not quite as interesting, but there were some definitely some very wearable trenches and leather jackets that I'm sure will be big sellers for the line.
It was a crazy night of fashion, with time spent between shows chatting with fellow bloggers and members of the media, snapping photos, and seeing some of Ottawa's most fashionable proving that there are at least a few stylish people in this city, in spite of what some may say.
I'll be posting all of my pictures as well as videos on my facebook page, so if you want to see more head on over! I've also been live-tweeting all of the shows, so if you want minute by minute updates, follow me on twitter and join in the fun!
All photos are my own