Friday night: Delightful hits & head-scratching misses

Bernice & Barclay designs at Ottawa Fashion Week

Designs by Bernice & Barclay on the catwalk on opening night of Ottawa Fashion Week at the Convention Centre, February 8, 2013. (Wayne Cuddington/Ottawa Citizen)

From oh-so-wearable to “what the heck was that?”, Ottawa Fashion Week opened last night with an eclectic show filled with delightful hits and head-scratching misses. And despite ‘snowmaggedon’, which caused a delayed start on Friday, fashion mavens filled the Ottawa Convention Centre to catch the action. Winners and losers? Read on.

bernice & barclay: In two words: Such fun. This first collection from Ottawa’s Lorianne Hawdur and James Nesbitt was called “Rock and Royalty” for a reason: blends and fine-treated jerseys found a home in red, grey, black and Missoni-influenced prints. The silhouette was chic and spare, if perhaps repetitive and overly simple with its focus on dropped shoulders and unembellished pencil skirts. Watch for them online.

Inna: The LBD — Little Black Dress — had a Big Night Out in the simple and largely effective dresses by mother and son designer, Inna and Kirill. Spare to the point of Bauhausian minimalism (Peter Murphy would have been proud), the dresses featured leather patches, net insets, lace and zippers that underlined the sedate silhouette.

Eliz Bourk design was one of Ottawa Fashion Week's first night standouts. (Photo: Wayne Cuddington)

Eliz Bourk: Mature and considered for such a young designer, Bourque (her parents named her Elise Bourque) has evolved and built on past efforts to offer a deliciously complex and sexy collection that reflects her own youthful energy and style. This collection was big on short coats with flared hems, nipped waists, leggy dresses and lashings of sass.

Copious: Glamorous, chic and influenced by the ’40s, Carissa McCaig’s gorgeous collection crossed between tweed, plaid and chiffon dresses and Hollywood bombshell gowns. Streetwear was sweet and demure with some innovative updates—think cut out dropped shoulders and bilateral dress backs. Overall, McCaig fronted well-tailored, nicely executed and considered pieces.

White Label design was one of the closing lines at opening night of Ottawa Fashion Week. (Photo: Wayne Cuddington)

White Label: Three words: Feminine. Edgy. Elegant. This Montreal-based collection started with camel and black separates and ended with edgy leather and velvet lingerie.

SEFANI: It’s all about the jacket for Montreal’s SEFANI, who staged a decent show of well-tailored, comfortable merino wool and double-knit jersey prêt-a-porter jackets with contrasting rolled and tuxedo collars in black, tan, navy and taupe. Overall? They were functional and comfortable with flashes of unstructured wraps and belted sweaters.

Shass Design: What are they wearing in the Caribbean? Plenty of capes, architectural shoulders, appliqué details and animal prints, if Shass is anything to go by. University of Trinidad and Tobago design students Angel Cooper, Curlene Charles-Robinson, Charmaine Charles and Delia Alleyne presented their own works that varied wildly and although fun and beautifully sewn, were unfocused as a singular collection on the runway. Trim, fitted jackets with peplums contrasted with odd basket-weave, rag-hemmed dresses, distractingly shiny, hot metallic pantsuits and ’80s-era chiffon blouses. Bright pink satin knickerbockers, anyone?


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