Lights, cameras, and…AFW 2010! With our Media Passes in hand, we crowded into the intimate but beautiful venue, BR& at the Bank, for the last day of runway shows. More exciting than the shows themselves was the people watching; the front row was littered with the “who’s who” of Calgary’s apparel industry. Outfits ranged from mild to outrageous as we saw everything from jeans and peasant tops to dress ensembles that resembled tulle hurricanes! Here in Calgary, being chic and sophisticated is not a priority at Fashion Week; rather, it is a night to unabashedly challenge fashion boundaries with furry lace-up boots, loud striped coats, and tropical leaves as hair adornment. The vibe at AFW was eclectic and quirky and the range of designs on the runway was just as diverse.

Jason Matlo’s clean and simple designs showcased his minimalist approach to suiting and casual wear. Using an unusually dark palette of black and charcoal gray for spring, Matlo played with soft textures and flirty ruffle accents. The highlight of his collection was his finale pieces: a breathtaking silver-sequined gown and a fun, flirty slip embellished with the same sequins. Give me sparkle any day! His pieces were wearable but lacked the “oompf” and ingenuity we expect on the runway.

Our senses were certainly awakened with the next show designed by Holly Allen of ChiChi Couture. Targeted at a mature age group, the unsavory collection of cuffs and elaborate collars was punctuated with bright colours of red, blue, and fuchsia. Allen also showcased her accessory collection and much like her clothing, her jewelry was over the top and gaudy; necklaces and earrings drooped with crystals and heavy lucite pearls. With the clothing and accessories vying for attention and our senses in overdrive, it is hard to say which piece left a lasting impression.

KaaDiki was last to show and his contemporary menswear line and shoes were fun and energetic. By injecting pops of red (pockets, buttons, and zippers) to basic black and white silhouettes, cargo pants, and shrunken jackets, he created an edgy yet youthful collection that most men could easily incorporate into their wardrobes.

All in all, it was an entertaining evening of stimulated senses…for better or for worse! It is exciting to see the growing pains of fashion in Calgary as we seek to find our place among the fashion forefront.

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