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Monday, October 7th, 2019 – Vancouver, BC – the Opening gala night was a night to highlight the local talents from Vancouver complemented with a few from further afield.
An Indigenous welcome and City of Vancouver proclamation kicked off the night’s proceedings. Followed by the Nancy Mak scholarship award, recognizing up-and-coming British Columbia based designers that have a strong creative vision and a desire to expand their design knowledge and brand reach.
Next for opening Gala night, attendees were privy to the Designer Preview, showcasing an outstanding selection of key looks from this seasons designers and an exciting look at what’s to come over the next 7 days of the latest in contemporary SS20 design.
Soft piano keys introduced the first offering of the night, Portsmouth, England based designer Denzil Mapfumo’s collection Brothels & Bottle Stores. The looks showcased a mix of sophistication, bold colours, and patterns—paying homage to Mapfumo’s Zimbabwe roots. The collection started with clean, casual all white outfits, with notes of reds and blues. After a model donned an all-red outfit on the runway, bold colours, leopard print, plaid, and lace rolled out shortly after. In the mix, Mapfumo nods to the 60s and 70s with flare pants and tucked in turtlenecks, but with modern twists on classic strappy dresses. Blurring the lines between gender and sexuality, Brothels & Bottle Stores finished off with a masculine style bride—complete with a train and bouquet.
German brand INSIDE/OUTSIDE STUDIO is changing the way we create and design clothing. Designer Julia Talita Pagenkopf honours Japanese culture and appreciates sustainable fashion strategies. Pagenkopf showcased her line, Transcultural Deconstruction, in which she uses secondhand textiles from Japan and Germany to create styles that merge traditions from both cultures. As rock music echoed throughout the room, each model adorned with the same hair and makeup to really showcase the clothes. Transcultural Deconstruction features edgy silhouettes with a large influence on pattern and variations within each look. Pagenkopf’s usage of second-hand textiles represents her desire to push the fashion industry towards sustainability by developing a collection that embraces the concept of zero waste. She also celebrates imperfection through using secondhand materials and subsequently prolongs the life-cycle of clothing.
A wash of rainbow colors flooded the room and cheerful music echoed throughout as each model danced on the runway adorned in multicolored garments and wigs. A neurosurgeon turned fashion designer, Dr. Maaya studied art and design in London and returned to Japan in 2013 to open Dr. Maaya Labo in Tokyo. Dr. Maaya uses an interesting tool to produce her clothing: a glue gun. She maneuvers the glue gun to create unique and innovative garments to bring light to people’s lives and push the boundaries of what is acceptable in the fashion industry. Dr. Maaya herself is the definition of bright and colorful, her energy and style brings a smile to the audience and lights up the room; exactly what her vision was for her brand. As she finished her show singing and dancing on the runway, the entire room was ecstatic dancing along with her. ANQA is the label by designer Madeleine Blanc Vantier from Strasbourg. Coming from a lineage of couturieres, her training in Paris led to styling for Guy Laroche Haute Couture. Inspired by nature, asymmetric ruffles in coral colours flowed down the runway like waves, along upbeat, tranquil music. The first piece was a neon yellow suit, signalling the collection’s modernist approach. From gowns to dresses, the collection shines in versatility - wearable at work and an evening party. The highlight was a vibrant red dress with flowers forming the train. Blanc’s years in couture training was evident in the clean, sharp lines and intricacies of petal arrangement. Elegance and sophistication were told through Blanc’s technique, proving the collection timeless.
WooLeeX was next to hit the runway. A master at integrating paintings with fashion, fabrics took on new life and form as designs blurred the line between garment and canvas. The colour palette arced from pale blocks of white to vibrant tropical greens and acid blues. Top designer Jerry Hsieh brings with him influences from Taiwanese’s traditional culture with embroidery, braided tassels, dragon and lion dance, and historic figure Guan Y that ran throughout the collection. Seeking to combine different cultures from around the world, WooLeeX Color collection provides a statement SS20 offering that is sure to make its mark.
Shin Ae-yeon debuted her first ever fashion week collection on opening night of VFW. Her label, Andar, is a nod to the modern woman’s minimal and comfortable take on high-tech fashion. The collection Stretch Your Story promotes body positivity, inspiring a beauty that goes beyond shape and size. Mechanical pop and drumming opened the show, as models of different sizes walked to the beat. Beginning with her choice of technical fabric, the range of street and athletic wear sit soft on the skin, but give a vote of strength and confidence to women. Model silhouettes were accentuated by black, white, and silver tights in minimal styling. Outerwear ranged from boxing hoodies to trenchcoats - all light and mesh - focusing yet again on the models’ natural form. Unafraid of accessories, glossy visors, handbags and fanny packs made appearances. More than just functional, Shin’s collection finds strength in the feminine.
The generosity and commitment of our sponsors, suppliers and supporters is more vital than ever. Please help us by acknowledging their support for Vancouver Fashion Week October 2019. Thank you to Redken, Ken kozuki, Jean Paul Gaultier, Hungry Guys, and Sole Vodka Water.
About Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW)
Vancouver Fashion Week is the fastest-growing fashion week in the world and the only industry event that actively seeks out to showcase international award-winning designers from over 25 global fashion capitals.For 33 seasons, VFW has celebrated multiculturalism and up-and-coming designers on their runways.VFW strives to identify undiscovered designers by providing an accessible and internationally-reputable platform. Through international media coverage and cogent buyer connectivity, VFW has provided the exposure to project past designers on to international success.
Photo credit (first image; left to right): Denzil Mapfumo, Julia Talita, and Dr. Maaya.
Photo credit (second image; left to right): Madeleine Blanc Vantier, WooLeeX, and Shin Ae-yeon.