Ottawa Fashion Week, Day 3: The Finale

Editor’s note: This is a special blog post for Ottawa Citizen Style by Justyna Baraniecki who produced a show by Ottawa’s own FrAsh on day 1 of fashion week. Check out her blog at 

Another successful season wrapped up at Ottawa Fashion Week last night and an eclectic mix of designs strutted down the runway. There is always a bittersweet feeling in the rooms as the lights are dimmed one last night and months of work, hundreds of volunteer hours, sweat and passion culminate in a 15-minute finale. One could almost get used to the frenzy.

Day 3 closed with a charity walk for UNICEF, featuring prominent members of the local and national community. Each “model” wore a piece from a select designer who participated this season. Elizabeth Manley received cheers of welcome in her crocheted deMoyo dress and Gabrielle Miller was all smiles as she floated down the runway wearing Rachel Sin. The show opened with a moving introduction from UNICEF Canada Ambassador Solange Tuyishime on the impact the charity has had on her own life. It was an elegant end to a frenzied weekend of fashion.

Helmer (Montreal) seems to have taken inspiration from early Yves Saint Laurent with other influences. (Photo: Justyna Baraniecki)

Highlights from Day 3 include the most varied collection to show this season — the work of Helmer (Montreal). He seemed to have taken

A show-stopping seafoam floor-length skirt styled with a feathered top by Helmer (Photo: Justyna Baraniecki)

inspiration from early Yves Saint Laurent mixed in with some Bollywood flair and intricate bead work. A show-stopping seafoam floor-length skirt styled with a feathered top was the pièce de résistance. The collection included beautifully tailored jackets with curve-hugging, jewel-tone mermaid skirts, capes as well as tribal-inspired minidresses, Lucite jewels and gowns. It finished with a matching lace pant suit/wedding gown combo accompanied by Scottish bagpipes. The music choice was odd, to say the least, but overall Helmer is an undeniably talented designer with an exciting vision of fashion. The show was the most ambitious in its range of influences and while it did not seem to flow naturally at first glance, the overriding homage to vintage tailoring and YSL-esque dramatics tied it together in the end. In short, Helmer was worth the hype.

Designs by "Sukhoo Sukhoo" on the final night of Ottawa Fashion Week (Photo: Justyna Baraniecki)

The day closed with Ottawa’s own Frank Sukhoo. The show seemed to be a ‘best of’ collection, as Suhkoo’s designs are one-of-a-kind and custom-made. Several pieces were repeats, previously seen in other runway shows over the years in Ottawa, but his knack for tailoring and his understanding of his clients excite those in the know about the possibility of an upcoming ready-to-wear line. Still, it would have been nice to see some new work come from the talented designer.

As fashion week continues to grow season after season, the most exciting shows are the ones willing to take risks and potentially fail. There is a strong creative force in the city of Ottawa and a great opportunity to grow, create and develop a keen eye. Seeing designers blossom season after season and redevelop what inspires them, and watching standards rise is all part of the joy of having such an event. How does one define a successful show? A standing ovation is an obvious indicator, but an even bigger success is bearing witness to the slow and graceful evolution of great designer on the runway. The countdown is on for next season!

Connect with Justyna Baraniecki |