Ottawa Fashion Week in Review: Day 1

On Thursday September the 29th, Ottawa Fashion Week (OFW) officially opened it’s doors at the Convention Centre and welcomed three days of style, design and fashion in the nation’s capital.

The show kicked off with Birds of North America, a vintage-classic clothing line for women designed by Hayley Gibson. Featuring structured, clean lines and neutral colours along with pops of brights, the pretty collection included pieces that would fit into almost anyone’s closet. The ‘nautical-inspired’ pieces were evident of Hailey Gibson’s “sailor sweet” influence and she confirmed this with many of the dresses that were seen in this season’s collection. Many of the cotton dresses were adorned with bows and buttons, this gave the illusion of sweetness but once juxtaposed by the models’ various face masks, eye and leg bandages, the whole combination gave the show an overall edgy feel.


Amber Watkins, an Ottawa native and an expert in Swimwear, featured her usual signature gold belts and gold jewelry but with a twist. The bright feathers adorning Watkins’ suits complimented the retro vibe of the collection along with trendy high waisted swim shorts, bandeau-shaped and boy-cut shorts, which were repeated throughout the show in various bright colours.


This season, Valerie Dumaine wowed her audience with a beautiful collection of incredibly wearable and chic clothes. Her collection included a wide range of  pieces, including trench coats, pants, shorts, jumpsuits, dresses and light sweaters. Valerie claims to have been inspired by her fabric, which she purchased in France, and the graphic-patterned jumpsuits were a clear indication of such inspiration. Some of the other trends on the runway included: racer-back dresses, sweetheart necklines and flowing airy garments.


Following Dumaine, jewellery designer Micalla stayed true to her design aesthetic: sparkly, flashy statement pieces made to be worn as more than just mere accessories but rather as articles of clothing. Bib necklaces, pieces draped off the shoulders, piles of baubles in a variety of colours and shapes showcased Micalla’s daring creative aesthetic and made obvious the fact that there is simply nothing subtle about her jewelry!


Anomal ended the second part of OFW with some lovely Japanese-influenced garments complete with obi belts and kimono-style sleeves. Particularly, the show-stopping gold sequined kimono, although over-the-top it worked well with the rest of the collection. Going with this season’s lace-trend, Anomal’s gowns were featured in dark, gothic and victorian-style and added plenty of  texture to the overall look and feel of the show. The collection’s predominant colours included a mixture of  gold, black, deep purple and beige which were complimented by the lace and satin fabrics. Although some pieces were far too theatrical for everyday-wear, the clothes added a bit of drama to the evening.


Swedish designer, Simon Ekrelius, opened the last third of the show with a cohesive and original collection inspired by Bauhaus. The designer has said that this particular season, is a “fusion between masculinity and femininity…It’s a lot more about fashion this time and it has a strong wearability to it…It’s a love yourself collection.” The overall industrial look and feel of the garments was unmistakeable. Ekrelius’ jersey maxi, t-shirt dresses were silk-screened with arrows and minimalist lines combined with a variety of textures and a colour scheme of bright yellows, reds, oranges as well as some signature black and white pieces.


Finally, Rud by Rudsak, closed the first official day of OFW with a collection of fine tailored classic jackets with leather detailing. The wearable garments included a mixture of motorcycle jackets, bombers, long and cropped trenches, which were accented with black piping. The overall collection inspired a sense of practicality along with a hint of edginess.


Overall, the first day of the OFW shows included a good mix of edgy, ready-to-wear and classic garments, with a little hint of dramatic flair for good measure. The venue, packed with various vendors throughout, provided a stunning backdrop to the fashionable festivities, with a breath-taking view of the Rideau Canal and Parliament buildings. Guests mingled throughout the space and some lucky few even managed to rub shoulders with the showcased designers, models and other VIPs in Blackbook Lifestyle’s exclusive champagne lounge. Not a bad start to a week of style and design…