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VFW: Day Four

Tuesday 25 September 2012
Words Spindle

The fourth evening of avant garde runway shows was indeed an international celebration, with a bit of Japan, a good dose of Britain and a whole lot of Korea.

First to present was Tokyo’s award-winning Taisuke Kohji and his KoH T collection, with its classic, stripped down look and feel. Kohji’s models strutted the catwalk in an array of graphic print t-shirts in dark and muted tones, paired with black trousers and skirts. Having interned for top fashion house Issey Miyake during his fashion school studies, it is apparent how much influence Kohji has gleened from the famous Japanese designer.


Next on the agenda was Finnish-born, London-based Sini Moilanen and her emerging womenswear label Tramp in Disguise. A qualified master in knitwear, the multi-talented Moilanen taught herself print design, the results of which resonated brilliantly on many her pieces. Models with swept-up Aphrodite hair donned satin pants with tied waists, silky, printed dresses, and figure-hugging floor-lengths in a black, cerulean and royal blue palette. Pale sea foam metallic jackets and collars added just the right amount of edge to an otherwise delicate collection.


Also from Britain, London design duo Xsenia Runa and Olya Shishkina were third up with their womenswear brand Xsenia & Olya. As graduates from the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, the designers balance a layer of fantasy in their aesthetic that is innately female but acutely powerful using a mixture of sheer feminine fabrics. Their collection was nothing short of striking, with each piece designed in statement patterns, like coloured smoke in water ­– aqua blue, crimson, purple and blue, each swirled with white. Smart, tailored blazers, and filmy chiffon dresses and skirts, were the stand outs in this alluring show.


Adding some Latin-American flair to the evening, US-based, Chilean-born Pola Thomson wowed the audience with a 22-look show, in patriotic red, white and blue. Broad brush strokes embellished airy blouses and trousers, while crisp, all-white skirts, blazers, and swimsuit cover-ups for both men and women were markedly simple.


The mid-portion of the night was granted to The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Vancouver, in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Korea-Canada diplomatic ties. The segment was highlighted by an official ribbon cutting ceremony signalling the event, a customary Korean wedding ceremony, and a runway show featuring traditional costume. The observance was attended by consuls from various countries.

In a complete 180 degree turn, the show to follow was a celebration of a very different kind. Flamboyant South Korean designer Lava Woman got the crowd energized with a sparkle and light filled extravaganza. Models wearing coloured moustaches, elaborate headdresses, and lycra leggings, put on a glam glitter party set to pumping techno. With more painted lips, wigs, and sequins than a pride parade, Lava Woman flaunted her gender-bending designs in her signature outrageous style.


For the next show, South Korean designer Stanley Juno Kang turned on the time warp, with the dial set to 1965. With looks that would make Mary Quant proud, Kang’s Sir.Stan Studio collection boasts multi-colour blazers, mini-dresses, and fitted skirts. Models with Bardot-inspired hair and socks with pumps looked groovy in canary yellows, contrasting checks and bold florals.


Internationally renowned Korean designer Ha Sang Beg closed the show with an aggressive and fast moving homage to ’80s punk culture. Damp-haired models sped along the runway to a rave music soundtrack, in Doc Martens, multiple layers, and a lot of belts from the waist down. Shredded denim vests and drop waist trousers in colourful Tibetan prints dominated the looks, accessorized with gold dog collars, chains from neck to wrist, and animal jaw necklaces.

Words by Spindle’s Vancouver Fashion Week Correspondent Natalie Clark