The second night of Ottawa Fashion Week continued with 7 more shows. I was lucky enough to snag front row seats for almost all of these shows and as such was much better able to get some photos without heads, arms or legs getting in the way.
First up was Illyria Design. Mostly simple dresses in shades of green and blue, I have to admit that the amount of struggling exhibited by numerous models in this show distracted me a lot from the clothes. The lady next to me nudged me and asked (in all seriousness) if the girls had ever walked before. There were a few pretty pieces, but some fit issues on a number of the girls had me wondering about the quality of the garments overall.
At Everyone Has a Dream by Karine Breton, shades of cream, lime and purple dominated the looks that walked the runway. There was an attempt at making this very ready-to-wear collection more avant-garde by adding somewhat awkward bat-like cape-poncho hybrids. I'm not sure it worked. There were a lot of floaty, sheer fabrics, and though there were some prettily flowing maxi skirts which I did like, I did also have some concerns about construction.
After the first two shows, I was hoping for something a bit more exciting, and we sure got it with Kania. From music, to show-stopping feathers adorning each model, to the dancing fun each model displayed walking down the runway, the attention of all showgoers was rapt. The models clearly felt fabulous and they looked great, even when you got past the amazing feathered head-pieces. There were cute dresses (I particularly liked the white number above) and some great separates - sequined pants = love. Designer Stacey Bafi-Yeboa came out to a standing ovation - the first of a few that happened during OFW. You can check out all of my photos on my facebook page.
Next up was the presentation from !Nu.I. I had seen their show at the last Ottawa Fashion week and so knew a little of what to expect. In this case, there was a lot of navajo-inspired print featured in many of the garments, as well as bright blue (which I love) and neon pink fringe accents which found their way onto the back of dresses, fringed bracelets, even onto a short-haired model as a faux-hawk of sorts. Some nice and wearable pieces in this collection, but also a couple of shudder moments, most notably a pair of diaper-like bloomers that my seat-mate and I shared an eye-roll over.
Spanish designer Alexis Reyna presented next, and I was interested to see his work since he was the first to include menswear in his show. The styling of the models was intense with body paint and major hair. Entitled Nairobi, this collection featured intriguing prints and interesting use of colour on for the most part fairly androgynous looks. Although some pieces were not necessarily what I personally might wear, I really enjoyed the show (minus one pair of unlined mesh shorts - eek). It was certainly one of the most thought-provoking collections of the night.
The second to last show of the evening came from Ralph Leroy. It opened up with a fire-dancer and major smoke, which provided a great ambiance but didn't mix well with the remnants of my bronchitis, but I digress. This collection was obviously very well made - the tailored pieces were excellent, particularly the menswear - wow! Definitely the standouts for me, especially the coral blazer above. There were some billowy flowing dresses with ombre fabrics that fluttered up and down the runway, finishing with a white frothy number with a train carried by shirtless male models (there was actual giggling on the part of many ladies in the front row, I will note).
My favourite collection of the night came from Montreal based designer Travis Taddeo. His use of gentle colours, easy shapes, and well tailored denim and leather pieces won me over pretty easily. Herieth Paul also walked this show, and looked absolutely fabulous in every look she sported on the runway. The two looks that have stuck in my mind from this collection as pieces I hope to get for myself are an amazing pair of denim culottes (third from left) and a perfectly flowing sheer top (second from left). One of my favourite collections of the night, hands down.
If you want to see more, I've posted all my photos and a few videos on the Lot 65 fb page - take a look and let me know what you think!