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Day One of Vancouver Fashion Week

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Vancouver Fashion Week kicked off their Fall/Winter 2013 season at the Chinese Cultural Centre Thursday with eight shows, two of which featured international designers. The local shows included; Emily Hart, QiQee by Kidde Itto, Papillon, Nikki Babie, Shelley Klassen, and the jewellery line from Pandora.

This year VFW is featuring 50 designers, and many eyes are on the event to finally take its place as one of Canada's premier fashion events. The venue and runway set-up this year showed growth in that direction, and it was a pleasure to walk into a room that looked so good. Even though it was a wet and dreary day in Vancouver (when is it not?) the seats were pretty much full, and the attendees were excited! My only wish; some of that excitement would spill through into street style worthy looks. As I sat in my seat, I observed a sea of black all around me. Sure there were a few people that pulled out some vibrant colours and bold fashion week looks -- but for the most part, it was black on black. I'm not giving up hope yet, there's still four more days to go.

The evening opened with a very black and grey showing by Elk Designs of Iceland. For me the leggings as pants, especially the ones with sequins were a bit of a turn off (Vancouver has enough issues with leggings already), however, the outerwear was beautifully tailored. Following Elk was Mirae Kim of Korea, showing a very runway-friendly collection. Lots of drama, military/warrior inspired pieces, and even some glimpses of over-the-top Japanese street style. From the audience reaction, I would say it was one of the favourites of the night.

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Photo Credit: Peter Jensen

The local section of the evening opened with 23-year-old Emily Hart's debut collection. The young designer showed very wearable pieces (although most were quite Spring-like), and I really liked her selection of soft fabrics. She told me that her pieces were inspired by nature, and the theme for her collection came from a picture she took of some trees and later turned into a print that was seen on the runway. I'm really looking forward to seeing her line and aesthetic develop further over the next few seasons.

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Papillon showed an interesting range of pieces -- including some print dresses that were very current and wearable for the spring season. If someone is interested in fashion and wants to support local designers, a piece from a line like Papillon will easily fit into your basic wardrobe. The same can be said of local favourite Shelley Klassen of Blushing Boutique. She showed her spring/summer 2013 line which is currently available in her store and very wearable. My favourite pieces from her line were the shift dresses, lots of bold colours and texture, and easy to dress up or down.

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Photo Credit: Peter Jensen

What I found most interesting at Vancouver Fashion Week is how accessible the fashions really are to the local community. Traditionally fashion weeks around the world show very avant garde looks and it can take two to three seasons for those pieces to filter down to the masses (or the average shopper). On VFW's runway I saw many pieces that were affordable, accessible, and pretty much ready to wear.

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