Whether they were local designers or from elsewhere, night two of Ottawa Fashion Week was full of familiar faces. The city’s most fashionable gathered to see returning designers and welcome new ones to the fun.
Despite cold temperatures last weekend, hundreds arrived at Sala San Marco in Little Italy to celebrate the eighth season of OFW and preview what designers had in mind for next spring.
Opening the night was young, Ottawa-based designer, Guertina Cruz, whose collection favoured shades of white and innocent pastel blue. Consistent with Victorian styles, her line featured sexy cut out backs, lace and fish tail hemlines, giving her collection a modern flare.
Then came Voyou, designed by Lisa-Marie Cayer. The collection could be summed up by polka dot chiffon and layered hems. It was very 90s-reminiscent . Cayer, who believes in mixing style and comfort, may have emphasized comfort a little too much this season as some of her tank-top and jean combinations were boring compared with some of the night’s later performances. Cayer was the first designer to feature menswear this season, and fortunately the neutral long sleeves and cardigans were a strength of her collection.
Returning local designers Jana Hanzel and Emilia Torabi brought an eruption of red to the runway with their monochromatic spring/summer 2013 collection, “Volcano.” Their sophisticated collection featured unique haute couture dresses and separates in a mix of textures including silk, leather, lace and chiffon. Tight floral detailing and feathers were also reoccurring in the line. Most notable was an above-the-knee length dress, with a sheer train detailed with feathers and sequins.
Their show featured the likes of international supermodel and local teen Herieth Paul. The bold red collection brought a certain intensity to the catwalk, the way a woman wearing red instills confidence. It was a definite crowd pleaser.
Following this red hot performance was EYE Thread, a new label by recent graduates Ashleigh Kaspszak and Tim Knapp whose collection offered an entirely different kind of edgy. Featuring animal print, shiny leather shorts, plaid and stud detailing, the youthful line brought pops of pink, purple and orange to the runway. A definite strength was the leather handbags and stylish clutches. There was even a beautifully-made green fanny pack with brown trim and a chain belt. In 2011, Vogue declared the hands-free pouch fashionable again.
Copius was next, and Toronto-based designer Carissa McCaig kept the youthful looks coming with vibrant floral prints, on-trend peplum waistlines and asymmetrical hems. Her collection, dominated by teal and hot pink, featured brightly coloured pants paired with printed tops, colour blocked dresses and chic jumpsuits. A strength of the line was the flowiness created by the her fabric of choice: silk. McCaig’s spring/summer 2013 collection will be available in Ottawa boutiques for the first time.
If the crowd wasn’t excited enough, Illyria Pestich & Good Luck Shirts opened their show with internet sensation Psy’s Gangnam Style. Pestich’s collection, featuring cocktail dresses in lime green and bright blue, had a distinguished retro vibe. Regardless of using similar colours, the elegant dresses outshone Chris Taber’s menswear line, Good Luck Shirts. Taber’s collection of collared shirts lacked range and for the most part featured the contrast collar trend.
Serendipity by Kelsey McIntyre, another of the night’s OFW veterans, returned more sophisticated than ever, flawlessly capturing current trends such as layered lace and peplum waistlines. The collection uses pastel blue and pink, stripes and a humming bird print throughout. The line was full of well-crafted collars, including peter pan and inset collars. It also showcased the pussycat bow neckline. Two notable designs were the strapless contrast dresses; one tricoloured and the other hummingbird print.
McIntyre finished her show with a very romantic and traditional wedding dress featuring a fitted bodice with beaded and lace detailing, accompanied by a warm applause from the audience.
Finally came the moment many had been anticipating after Montreal designer, Andy Nguyen’s outstanding display at OFW last season. Designer of Y!D.N.A, Nguyen’s spring/summer 2013 collection, “Confessions” opened with two barely dressed male models on the runway, but ultimately focused on women’s fashion. The ladies were accompanied around the runway by men who were now equipped with parasols covered in gold glitter, sprinkling the laps of unsuspecting fashion enthusiasts in the front row.
Featuring flowing capes and leather skirts with slits, the predominately black leather collection had splashes of red and gold. The most notable was an intricately crafted, long-sleeved bodysuit covered thickly in bright and pale pink roses.
His collection, while highly imaginative and remarkable artistically, was not the most functional or wearable. Nonetheless, the crowd was in awe after Nguyen’s performance and were happy to show it with a standing ovation.
The second night of Ottawa Fashion Week had its ups and downs, but the best was clearly saved for last as Nguyen stole the spotlight for the second season in a row.