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Just Like a Circus: BCITMA Fashion Show

15 Feb

New York Fashion Week may well be underway, but Vancouver’s BCIT Marketing Association also played host to a fashion show last Friday at Republic Nightclub. The event, called Cirque d’Etrange, featured a mix of six local well-established and emerging womenswear designers.

Going into the event, I was expecting a more literal translation of the circus theme à la sunaokuwahara’s S/S 08 collection, but was pleasantly surprised to discover a wide range of styles and designs. The show stayed consistent to the circus idea through its use of eye makeup in bright pinks, purples and blues and excessively high updos streaked with the same colours.

The White Stripes (and Dots)

The first designer was Nicole Guzzo, a third-year fashion design and technology student at Kwantlen University. Her line, predominantly red, white and black, pays homage to 1950s pin-up and rockabilly.

Friday I’m in (Carny) Love

The designs from Carny Love by Christie Clayton were constructed using a variety of whimsical prints. The fun, artsy pieces were the most fitting of the night for an event named Cirque d’Etrange. A graduate of Vancouver Community College’s fashion arts program, Clayton also appeared in season two of Project Runway Canada.

Say Hello to the Angels

Miriam Melanson, designer behind the Flaming Angels line, is also owner of the boutique on Main and 27th of the same name. The dark aesthetics in Melanson’s designs wouldn’t look out of place on Helena Bonham Carter’s character in Sweeney Todd. Velvet panels in rich red, blues and purples enhance the pieces in her collection.

Bloomfield of Dreams

Bloomfield by Cyndi Schuring is the most wearable collection of the show. The models sashayed down the runway in casual outfits made from eco-friendly fabrics. My favourite of the Bloomfield set was the patterned silk with a Monet-like quality used for a skirt and dress.

With over two decades in the fashion industry, Schuring believes she knows what women look for:

“My goal is to create clothing that brings out women’s authentic personal style and compliments their body type. The silk fabric was fun to work with and if you look closely at the pattern, it has a city skyline in it. There are so many wonderful colours in the silk print I felt it would compliment many different skin tones and colour preferences of women.”

A Tribe Called Yuki

Like Guzzo, Jamie Carlson is also in her third year of fashion design at Kwantlen University. There’s a bit of a tribal element in Carlson’s line, Yuki. She chooses fabrics that stay structured even though she tends to use a draping process.

Carlson said she lets the underlying idea of her collection and fabrics guide her:

“The theme of my line was contemporary Afro-Caribbean, and I focused on mixing bright colors and geometric shapes with soft lines and neutrals as a reflection of that culture. When I’m designing I’m mostly inspired by process, so I’ll start with a theme and a basic breakdown of what garments and fabrics will compliment the theme. There is a lot of trial and error involved in this process, but the result it yields can be really unexpected.”

Black Swan

The highlight of the night was definitely the collection by Eva Chen Couture. Working mostly with black material accented with muted colours, Chen manages to blend feathers, chiffon, rosettes, and lace tulle into a gorgeous array of dresses.

Partial proceeds of the Cirque d’Etrange event went to Dress for Success, a non-profit organization which helps low-income women prepare for job interviews.