Tag Archives: designers

Spring forward: Accessory trends for the bright new season

20 Feb

Whether you’re the type to pile on jewelry or adhere to a minimalist approach, accessories are a simple and cheap way to spruce up your wardrobe as we transition into the next season. And as spotted on the runways for spring, there are plenty of accessory trends to fit every style.

Pretty in pink… pastels

The look was ladylike and demure on the pastel-shaded runway at Louis Vuitton. Dreamy lace outfits were accentuated with candy-coloured handbags and pointy mules in combinations of metallics and light hues. Easy to wear, a pale purse or oversized envelope clutch will brighten up any outfit without stealing too much focus from the rest of your ensemble.

Art deco glitz at Gucci's spring show

Make a bold statement with oversized earrings, as seen at Dolce & Gabbana

As part of the 1920s throwback to the Great Gatsby trend emerging this year, art deco-inspired accessories are cropping up for spring. Seen on such runways as Milly and Alexander Wang, art deco fashions may be easier to incorporate through jewelry. Look for embellished pieces that use geometric designs and patterns in bold colours. A bonus if they’re oversized art deco earrings — you’ll be getting two trends in one since ear accessories are in vogue for spring and have become the statement jewelry for the Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana shows.

It’s a jungle out there

For those wanting to take on a bolder style as the weather starts to warm up, look for accessories inspired by tribal prints and materials. Burberry sent their trench coat-clad models down the catwalk accessorized in tribal belts, heels, bags and hats. Over at Michael Kors, the focus was all on safaris — his collection of earthy sandals strapped up the calf looked fit for an expedition in the wild. The key to a good tribal-inspired piece is multiple textures and vibrant patterns. Look for accessories that incorporate wood or beads for that extra flair.

Show some arm candy with this beaded tribal bracelet from Jewelmint.

Tribal patterns translate well for nails too. Whether done by a professional or painted at home using a nail brush, tribal designs will be sure to attract attention to your fingertips. As for other nail trends, a lot of designers opted for neutrals on the runway such as nudes, French manicures and pale pinks. Retro neon shades are also hot for polishes: classic reds in the style of Mad Men, bright corals and Pantone’s colour of the year, Tangerine Tango.

On your Marc, get set, go!

Another big theme for designers this spring is athleticism. Sporty ensembles graced the runway at Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs, and along with that came the return of backpacks as accessories. This isn’t a revival of the mini-backpack trend that was all the rage 15 years ago though (I still have a patent leather one in pristine condition stored away in my closet). The ones popping into stores for spring are larger and are fashioned in an assortment of colours, shapes and exotic skins. But for those who feel their knapsack days are over, another simple and fun way to sport the athletic trend is through brightly banded, rubber wristwatches.

Not your average schoolbag -- sporty backpacks were featured at Alexander Wang.

Sporty punchout backpack from ASOS


Put a spring your step

If you’re looking to buy an ‘it’ shoe, go for heels with a platform. We’re not talking about platform boots typical of the Spice Girls, but something more understated. Look for vivid sandals or pumps with a slight platform. Comfort won’t be compromised too much in higher heels because of the heftier sole.

You’ll be standing tall and trendy with these platform pumps from Zara.

Accessories are a good starting point for experimentation with a trend or style not typically your norm. Don’t be afraid to branch out but try not to incorporate too many trends into one outfit. It’s also not necessary to dress in one trend from head-to-toe. Sometimes it’s more eye-catching if you’re wearing a basic ensemble accessorized with one or two statement pieces. Most important of all is to have fun with it — a good accessory can take your outfit from drab to fab.

[Article first appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of Richmond Review.]

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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.