Mix and mingle

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Interior decorator and fashion commentator Lee-Ann Lacroix of Osolee.ca, left, Bruno Racine, the creative director of OFW, and soprano Measha Brueggergosman get cosy at a meet and greet fashion event at The Loft on Elgin Street on Monday night. (Photo: Jean Levac)

Ottawa’s close-knit fashion community — designers, artists, bloggers, model agency owners and media — gathered to sip wine, nibble on appetizers and welcome news faces in the lead up to Ottawa Fashion Week.

Bruno Racine and Paul Valletta, owners of OFW and The Loft and Le Spa, hosted the event, which offered a taste of what fashionistas will see at the various runway shows. On Monday night, several designers were on hand with their models in tow wearing ensembles from their Fall/Winter 2013 collections.

Montrealer Stéphanie Gagnon of SEFANI, who specializes in jackets and blazers, was excited to be presenting for the first time in Ottawa on Friday night.

“This year we’ll be selling throughout Canada, so it is a great opportunity to give visibility to the brand. Through textiles and rich colours, each garment has its own European touch,” Gagnon said.

The city’s premier fashion event — the ninth edition — gets underway Friday and runs until Sunday night at the Ottawa Convention Centre. Twenty designers are showcasing their lines, including perennial favourites Jana & Emilia Fashion and Eliz Bourk. New York City’s Tess Johnson, known for her body-conscious draping, is making her first appearance as is Nigeria’s Anjorin Babatunde Adeniran, who is to feature natural African and Italian silks and cottons adorned with African beads.

Closer to home, crowd favourites and Montreal designers MUSE par Christian Chenail, Helmer by Joseph Helmer and Y!D.N.A. by Andy Nguyen are back.

Ticket prices are $45 for Saturday and $55 on Sunday, with $10 going to UNICEF, which includes a celebrity runway show to close out the weekend. A detailed schedule is available at ottawafashionweek.ca.

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