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Five things you might not know about Western Canada Fashion Week

All the way from Vietnam, designer Joli Poli's Haute Couture collection was part of Western Canada Fashion Week in 2016.(Photo:formal dresses 2017)Going into its 25th season, WCFW showcases the creative talents of over 40 designers per season, with entries from across the country, as well as international designers from as far away as the Philippines and Vietnam. You may have thought that WCFW was just for serious fashionistas, but the style, excitement and entertainment value are geared to delight a much wider audience.

It challenges norms for models: “Style is ageless,” says Sandra Sing Fernandes, the creative force behind WCFW. That is why this year there will be an evening dedicated to diversity of age, with stylish models who challenge the fashion industry’s norms for age and body types. “Our philosophy has always been self-expression, creativity and style for all,” says Fernandes. “Some designers are realizing that women are changing. They want more fashion options, and we feel now is the time to push fashion boundaries.” Fashions for men and women by local designer Stanley Carroll and Le Chateau Canada will be featured in this show that opens the festival Mar.23. “Nothing before has created as much excitement as Ageless Style,” adds Fernandes.

Rolling out style: This year, for the first time, on April 1, WCFW will feature models with disabilities, including models in wheelchairs and models with prosthetics. On the runway will be members of Canada’s Paralympic Volley Ball Team. Made possible by a partnership with Alberta Medical Supplies, the evening will include demonstrations of pain-free compression wear as well as a fashion show. The models and fashions are organized by Benveet (Bean) Gill, whose history with WCFW goes back five years, before she became paralyzed due to a viral infection. Back then, she was a talented makeup artist lending her skills to WCFW. Today, Gill, is co-founder of ReYu, a local non-profit activity-based paralysis-recovery centre. Gill herself will take part as a model in the fashion show. Fashions to be modelled are from Van Mil- Amsterdam, LUXX Ready Wear, Nu2 You and The Running Room.

A local event with global vision: WCFW is a real boost to the city’s local fashion and beauty scene, says Lynn Mandel, wife of former mayor Stephen Mandel and a longtime supporter of WCFW. “I’m thrilled that WCFW takes place in Edmonton. I’m honoured to be a part of this important event that celebrates and unites the enterprising, innovative and change-making talent of our city,” she says. Mandel points to the links between fashion, culture and the arts. “Edmonton has always prided itself on our cultural diversity and how those differences have influenced our arts scene. Fashion design in Edmonton, which reflects our culture, is both an art form and an industry and is supported in many ways, solely by WCFW.”

A showcase for emerging talent: With its competitions for emerging designers, costume design and fantasy hair and makeup design, WCFW serves as an incubator for new talent, providing opportunities for novices to break into the world of retail fashion. It has been instrumental in launching the careers of designers such as Sid Neigum, Caitlin Power, Derek Jagodzinsky, Malorie Urbanovitch and Jessica Halabi, as well as models such as Linsay Willier. Past first-place winners of the competition have used the free showcase to help launch their clothing lines or open their own boutiques. The nine-day event is also a platform for hair academies to showcase new graduates. In addition, there are opportunities for more than 30 hair salons to work with models to build portfolios and their client base.

It celebrates arts and culture: “Each season, we work with young dancers and singers to help build their confidence by performing on our stage,” says Fernandes. “As well, we support the artistic talents of inner-city kids by showing their work in our foyer.” There will be a different lineup of performing artists each night, with the greatest variety on Fantasy Night, March 27, says Fernandes. Among the host of performers will be pop singer, songwriter and dancer Mackenzie Dayle, who performs March 23, 27 and 28; and Michael Ortiz on March 27, as well as Viva Dance troupe on March 31. Also look for Peter Raiwe, a singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, and poetry from Lady Vanessa Cardona.Read more at:formal dresses online


The fashion industry has long been rightfully criticised for not accepting the bodies of its customers. Despite the average British woman wearing a size 16 (in America, she wears a size 20), high-end brands rarely acknowledged that most women wouldn’t be able to buy their clothes. But if recent events are anything to go by, we might be reaching a landmark moment in terms of inclusivity. And it’s about time.

The autumn/winter 2017 shows embraced size diversity more than ever before. This wouldn’t be hard – designer catwalks notoriously feature mainly teenage models with slight androgynous physiques – but it is worth noting. Michael Kors, Comme des Garcons, Dolce & Gabbana and H&M all celebrated more shapely forms in its shows, led by the increasingly popular Ashley Graham, Katy Syme and Stella Duval.

Prabal Gurung – who has previously offered his designs up to size 22 – has collaborated with US plus-sized label Lane Bryant on a collection of 22 pieces, modeled by the beautiful Candice Huffine. “What I wanted to do was have the platform that reaches a large audience and have the conversation,” he told Refinery29. “If I did it on my own I could have this conversation, but to have a bigger conversation I needed them.”

Victoria Beckham has also recognised that it’s a market that has a lot of potential. Her debut high street offering with Target carries pieces up to XXXL. She also featured Candice Huffine in her lookbook, highlighting the importance of inclusivity. “I feel there’s something here for everybody, no matter her age, her size, where she’s from,” she told US Harper’s Bazaar. “For me it’s about being inclusive and that’s how Target feels as well.”

Last week, Selfridges announced it was stocking its first plus-size label in the form of Khloe Kardashian and Emma Grede’s denim brand Good American Jeans. The jeans are designed to “contour” curves, rather than limiting them.

“Whenever we bought new jeans, it was hard for us to find a pair that fit our body types, and even when we did, they’d always need alterations,” explained Kardashian. “We knew if we both had this problem, there must be tons of girls who did, too. So we set out to make a denim line that’s sexy and flattering, and made to fit you – not the other way round.”

In the fitness market, brands have traditionally only catered for women who are already ‘slim’ in the traditional sense of the word, only produce exercise apparel for small sizes. However, Nike launched a more inclusive offering last week with sizes going up to XXXL – featuring sports bras, running tights and hoodies. Lululemon and Adidas would be wise to follow suit.

Another brand celebrating diversity is Esse Vie, which launched in 2015 and has an interesting approach to design. Unlike other labels, the patterns for each piece starts at size 14 working back to a size six so that each item flatters all shapes. Collections created in the reverse methodology can be ill-fitting, with busts lacking support and sleeves being too tight.

“I believe that in today’s industry everything is designed towards sample sizes and then jumps to plus sizes,” said Sonam Vaswani, Esse Vie founder and creative director. “There are limited in-betweens for healthy girls with realistic body shapes. I found a niche in reversing the grading. Our focus is concealing ‘problematic’ areas whilst enhancing flattering parts of a woman body such as the waist or décolletage.”

The reality is that the fashion industry would be short-sighted not to take stock of the now booming plus-size market. Last year, the arena made $21.4 billion business, compared to $17.4 billion in 2013, according to the NPD Group. WWD also reports that plus-size teens are also a key force in this, accounting for 34 percent of the market in 2015 compared to 19 percent in 2012. It’s a fact – plus size is the future.

Listening to the needs of its consumers is something luxury brands have started doing more often. The See Now Buy Now model, whereby collections become available immediately after a fashion show, was born of shoppers’ changing buying habits. We don’t want to wait six months for to buy a piece when it’s already been shared all over social media platforms. So the industry – Burberry, Michael Kors, Topshop and Ralph Lauren – have adapted their approach accordingly. So perhaps this is all part of the increasing democratisation of fashion.

Women above a size 14 are looking at the same catwalk collections and shows as everyone else. There is no reason why they should get at best a diluted version, at worst be excluded entirely from a world that they want to buy into. Being a larger size does not mean that a woman doesn’t have the money or the inclination to invest in fashion, but attitudes are changing. It goes without saying that the industry should have acted sooner and that there’s still a way to go, but better late than never.Read more at:formal dresses online | cocktail dresses

We’re talking too much about nepotism: Alia Bhatt

We're talking too much about nepotism: Alia Bhatt 

(Photo:www.marieaustralia.com/vintage-formal-dresses)Actress Alia Bhatt comes from a family of actors and filmmakers, but with her versatility and choice of films like “Highway”, “Udta Punjab” and “Dear Zindagi”, she has made her own mark in Bollywood. She feels people are unnecessarily talking “too much” about the existence of nepotism in the industry.

“We are talking too much about it. We need to stop,” the actress, who recently turned 24, told IANS on phone when asked about her views on the nepotism debate.

The discussion was sparked off after actress Kangana Ranaut tagged filmmaker Karan Johar a ‘flagbearer of nepotism’.

Alia, who was launched in the Hindi film industry by Karan with “Student of The Year”, has been charged many a time with getting an easy entry into Bollywood because of her father Mahesh Bhatt.

However, the actress let her work talk with her talent in her second film “Highway”. She again impressed many by taking the attention away from Shah Rukh Khan in Gauri Shinde’s “Dear Zindagi”, and in “Udta Punjab”, she got a thumbs up for portraying a Bihari girl with ease.

Asked about what makes her choose roles as varied as the ones in “Student Of The Year” and the very recent “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”, Alia said: “Like the way I don’t dress up for other people, in a similar way, I do different films for myself and not for someone else. I want to do different films for myself and not because ‘log aise kar rahey hai’ (people are doing so).

“That’s the byproduct of it.”

Her five-year journey in the film industry has made her more responsible.

“I think the more years you spend in the industry, the more you get experience. I don’t know how I have changed as an actor, but yes, I have learnt a lot of the technical things. I am growing up in the public eye, so there will be changes. But it’s not like I really sat down and noticed things that have changed.

“I think I have become more responsible now because now I also live by myself. I am satisfied with my work and not anything else,” Alia told IANS, and added that she doesn’t miss anything in her life.

“This is what I always wanted to do so I enjoy doing this,” added the actress, who is in the capital to walk the ramp at Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) Autumn-Winter 2017.

She is the showstopper for the ‘Maybelline New York presents Namrata Joshipura’ show scheduled for Friday night. The show is bringing drama and the latest beauty trends from New York to New Delhi.

Talking about her fashion and make-up choices, the actress says she never cares about the fashion police while dressing up.

“It’s not like I am ignorant to them, but it’s also not like I won’t choose or make my fashion choices thinking about them either. Because that means, I am dressing for someone else and not myself. It’s not like I am not aware of what they are writing and what they feel, but it also does not mean that I am not overtly conscious either,” said the actress, who says her make-up on a certain day reflects her mood.

“Make-up is the second nature for an actor. It is part of my daily life and the best and comfortable part of make-up is that its always parallel to the way I am feeling and my mood. If I am feeling dramatic, then I will go for dramatic eyes, and if I am feeling subtle, then I go for subtle or nude look.

“I think that’s the way it should be. We shouldn’t do things which we are not comfortable with, because then you won’t be able to carry it off,” Alia signed off.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/backless-formal-dresses

Aspiring NB designer hoping to hit the runway

A fashion designer from Moncton is working on her latest line of clothing that she hopes will take her to Atlantic Fashion Week in Halifax, N.S. one day.

LeeAnn Dussault, whose brand is called East Coast Couture, said she has never been one to follow the popular trend.

“What inspires me is to be able to make people go, ‘wow, that is just unusual,’” Dussault said.

Dussault has been trying to get that reaction with her alternative photography for years and now she’s hoping to wow the runway with her new line of couture fashion she calls “Limitless”.

“Why limit yourself to one thing,” Dussault said. “I learned to develop an eye for what I want in my photos and from that I learned to make my outfits for my photo shoots for my models.”

Entirely self taught, LeeAnne said she knows she still has a lot to learn about design.

Her sewing skills for example she said are admittedly a work in progress.

“I bought myself my first sewing machine and enlisted my mother in law to teach me a few basics, like how to thread a needle.”

But she is hoping that her passion to sketch and sew the designs that pop into her head will help her make a name for herself in the fashion world.

Dussault said she recognizes her designs are often edgy and a little risqué, but “it’s my own personal style. It’s out of the box, different.”

Dussault debuted her premier line at the Trend and Fashion Expo in Moncton at the end of February.

One of her models, Sarah Lawlor, said the line was very well received.

“I don’t like to follow the fashion trend that everyone else is doing, so it’s great I love it,” Lawlor said.

Dussault said she hopes that there is room for her creations on the runway in Halifax later this fall.

“I would like to hopefully get into Atlantic Fashion Week at some point.”

The fashion event takes place in Halifax this coming fall.Read more at:formal dresses canberra | formal dresses australia

Fashion: When the Going Gets Ruff


(Photo:bridesmaid dresses online)Ruffles here, ruffles there, our favourite embellishment is everywhere! This spring, designers are evoking wavy beaches and flowing romanticism with ruffles. Luckily, this versatile trend can be adopted by anyone, whether your style is boho, Victorian, western or just plain old glam.

All the major fashion houses showed ruffles on their spring catwalks, from Gucci’s bubblegum-toned dresses, to the romantic nearly-nude layers at Valentino, and the party-girl mini dresses from Philosophy. Fendi hit the accessories too, with shoes and bags featuring ruffles, while Prada stuck to puffing up and ruffling up the sleeves on their formal tops, for a touch of drama.

Designers also played with texture and tone, as Jill Stuart embraced an edgy iteration of this trend, with ruffled black leather skirts paired with darkly floral ruffled blouses. Marissa Webb, meanwhile, went for cocktail party attire, blending bold colours with midi lengths for sophisticated statement dresses. Elsewhere, Valentino and Sonia Rykiel looked to history for their inspiration, incorporating high-necked Victorian ruffles to add some modest glamour to their dresses and blouses.

To embrace the Victorian vibe, look for high-necked blouses and dresses with delicate detailing; lace and crochet fabrics are perfect. White, cream or blush pink hues will look summery and sophisticated, while black or glittery fabrics will evoke a sexy, gothic romanticism.

For a modern, edgy take on the trend, look for dark colours with modern silhouettes. Crop tops with ruffles and mini-skirts with a drop-hem look incredible when paired with a leather jacket or fierce gladiator heels, ensuring that the flowing innocence of the ruffles is grounded by some rock chick edge.

If you’d prefer to embrace the great outdoors, you can draw inspiration from wild flowers or the wild, wild west. If you like a bit of bohemian beauty, ruffled peasant dresses look fantastic paired with a little denim jacket and some boots. Halter-necks and shoulder cut-outs can balance out the layers of ruffles with some seductive flashes of flesh, and ruffled maxi skirts will help you embrace the summer early.

Finally, if you prefer to keep this pretty trend professional, balance out ruffles with otherwise sleek silhouettes. Pencil skirts with a single ruffle will emphasise your curves, while bodycon dressed with a ruffled top will add some flair without overwhelming your frame.

Or if you prefer to keep your stylish sartorial adventures on the subtle side, bags and shoes with ruffles are a great way to work this trend into your existing wardrobe.Read more at:short formal dresses

Goodbye to teenage kicks: in a ridiculous world, fashion gets serious

Athleisure no more … APC, Christian Dior and Balenciaga. 

(Photo:formal dresses online)During the month of fashion shows, which finish today in Paris, there has been a lot of style news – but not much of it has been about where designers stand on hemlines or the catwalk’s prevailing wind towards knee-high boots. Instead, we have talked about pink pussy hats and slogan T-shirts, Ralph Lauren and Melania Trump, retail’s tussles with Ivanka, sexist dress codes, headscarves and the drive toward diverse model casting.

Well, of course we have. But it would be stupid not to look at the fashion content of the catwalk collections as well. Stupid is a strong word; I use it deliberately. Yes, this feels like a moment for direct action, and therefore slogan T-shirts resonate. But the fashion that happens on the catwalk – shifts in silhouette and mood and tone; opaque references and obtuse proposals about what to wear – is how fashion engages with the world around it in a more subtle sense. And fashion has more to say about the female experience than you can fit on a T-shirt.

Fashion’s attempts to intellectualise getting dressed fail at least as often as they succeed. I have sat front row and read enough pretentious show notes that make me want to stab myself in the eye with my Smythson pencil to know that better than most. But in our new dumbed-down world, where public debate is debased by “locker-room talk” and constitutional government overruled by ungrammatical tweets, the argument for at least trying to keep intelligent and nuanced conversation going seems pretty strong.

What happened on the catwalk in Paris this week was that designers reclaimed fashion for grown-up women, and therefore put grown-up women, rather than girls, back in the driving seat. It happened in the model casting – Dries Van Noten’s show starred Cecilia Chancellor, 50, and Amber Valletta, 42, while Vivienne Westwood took to the catwalk aged 75. And the Hadids were notably absent for a large stretch of the week, Snapchatting from Disneyland Paris instead. But, most importantly, it happened in the clothes on the catwalk. The look of the season is a longish skirt or dress worn with the hem swirling around high-heeled boots, with a tailored jacket. Or wide trousers, with a slash-necked top. Lots of trenchcoats and coat dresses. These are not clothes for teenage kicks. You can’t see your abs, for a start.

Balenciaga is the buzzy, cool brand and designer Demna Gvasalia is only 35, which would logically skew the collection young, but no. Think long, pleated skirts to below the knee worn with cosy jumpers, boots, large handbags and proper earrings. Even the coats that looked like they had been buttoned up wrong were there to make the point that putting effort into styling clothes is as important as buying them, which, when you think about it, is quite a grown-up point of view. Céline was, as ever, cool and cerebral: I love how the clothes and the mood make the models look as if they are on their way to somewhere interesting rather than stalking a catwalk. Dries made the case for the trouser suit, and the blazer worn over a dress, and the grown-up quilted coat. Valentino’s swan-necked dresses with their long, slim sleeves are dreamy and poetic on the twentysomething socialites who flock to the front row, but the look is one that translates well into actual grown-up life. At McQueen, corset laces were left unlaced and evening wear had softly drawn Barbara Hepworth curves, which gave a sense of maturity, while at Stella McCartney, tailoring had a female swagger, the jackets high-waisted and the trousers louche. Dior’s new New Look, with its ballerina-hem skirts and simple sweaters, had a crisp urgency that is every bit as inspiring as ballgowns.

And then there was the fact that the most frenzied phones-in-the-air social-media moment was when Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons stood for a photocall after Met curator Andrew Bolton had announced to a packed press conference the upcoming Costume Institute show in her honour. Although her clothes look extreme, Kawakubo is about nuance. Her clothes are about fashion and art, self and other, high and low culture, body and dress, but she rejects these as binaries in favour of embracing the spaces in between. (And no. No one dared to ask for a selfie.)

Whatever happened to athleisure? Apart from the running leggings under dresses at Giambattista Valli, it was mostly notable for its absence. Not completely – Rihanna’s Fenty show for Puma, staged in the National Library was a sort of High School Musical for the athleisure-and-Instagram generation – but definitely on the wane. This is surprising because last year it felt relevant as a way of expressing a sense of agency. Of women being active rather than passive in the style syntax. Perhaps it has now come to stand with youth culture rather than high fashion. Who knows? That’s the thing about catwalk fashion. It’s actually quite complicated. And that’s how I like it.Read more at:short formal dresses

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