Ottawa Fashion Week Wrap-up Day 1: Dark and Twisty

New designers at a new time in a new place…

Ottawa Fashion Week (OFW) Fall/Winter 2012 opened last Friday at the Westin Hotel. The seventh season of OFW took place during Winterlude for the first time this year. Another welcomed change was the new riser seating to improve the audiences’ view of the fine fashions paraded down the runway.

Designers Elena Hinke and Elena’s Creations, Amanda Emmanuel, frAsh, !Nu.I, Illyria Design and Y!D.N.A. Collection opened the weekend-long fashion festivities.

FrAsh and Y!D.N.A. both showed stand-out inaugural OFW collections.

FrAsh is a jewelry line created by designer Isobel Walker. The frAsh F/W 2012 collection was inspired by “The Passion of Joan of Arc”, a silent film from 1928. “That particular film was a momentous film for me in my education. It was a huge turning point in my understanding of film,” Walker said. She received her BA in film studies at Carleton University.

Walker took inspiration from the story of Joan of Arc and also the film’s footage itself. Originally, the film reels were lost, but 20 years ago they were found in a decrepit mental institution and restored. “Joan of Arc was a warrior and a woman and then you have this crazy story that goes a long with it. It’s so beautiful and then so dark at the same time, only to be beautiful again,” she said in an interview on Sunday.

Walker said her collection is made up of three periods. First the “warrior”, which included fiberglass anklets, brass necklaces and body chains resembling armor. Next, rich shades of red were utilized to represent Joan’s execution. Finally, the show closed with a model adorned with a gold head piece depicting rays of light around her head, symbolizing the greatness of Joan of Arc.

Walker is self-taught in jewelry design. She said created her OFW collection in about four weeks and it was stellar. The oblong wrist cuffs featured in forest green suede and clear fiberglass were striking.

Justyna Baraniecki, a local blogger and stylist, produced the show. Walker said Baraniecki conceptualized the models to become a canvas for the jewelry by dressing the models in white body paint, red paint on their hands, no shoes, white men’s button downs as skirts and shredded white feathers on panels covered their chests. “It wouldn’t have happened without Justyna,” said Walker.

FrAsh F/W 2012 will be available in store and online around July or August 2012.

Twenty-one year old fashion designer, Andy Nguyen, also debuted at OFW on Friday.

Y!D.N.A. Collection was the most cohesive and intriguing collection shown at OFW this season. A doomsday feeling filled the air as male and female models pounded the runway in eerie, apocalyptical ensembles in step with menacing music.

Underneath torn tights, a gas mask covered in spikes, Russian ushanka caps, and long twisted braids were wearable pieces. Sheer men’s shirts in black and forest green, oversized sweaters and skin-tight pants with leather details were spot on. The final look, a textured overcoat was utterly cool.

An oversized beige sweater with a three-dimensional flower on the front was another great piece that could easily translate from runway to everyday. The four-lens glasses worn by the final model and then the designer himself were reminiscent of glasses worn by characters in the original Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

Models carried props such as bird cages and small briefcases leaving the audience to question what were they carrying inside. Unfortunately, we will be left in the dark because Nguyen declined to comment to Ottawa Life.

*photos by Ming Wu, for more please see here: