The first ever Canadian Fashion Weekend (CFW) kicked off July 8, 2016 in Ottawa. The two-day event, spanning Friday night and Saturday night, was hosted at the National Gallery of Canada by the up and coming public relations firm, The Exclusives PR. True to their name, The Exclusives offer services for the Canadian fashion industry catering to designers, boutiques, fashion magazines, and more. CFW was birthed out of a desire to promote and develop the fashion industry in Canada. After Ottawa Fashion Weekend was cancelled in 2014 due to a lack of funding, the fashion scene in Ottawa has been severely affected. The only other major Ottawa event to feature fashion is The Loft Gala. Now, with the news of the cancellation of Toronto Fashion Week for the same reason, Canadian Fashion Weekend was a much-needed event for fashion lovers in the capital. Fashion is a form of expression, it is important that its culture be preserved in Canada. While Canadian Fashion Weekend occurs only in Ottawa, the ultimate goal is for the event to become nation-wide.
Each night featured a single designer, allowing the focus to be solely on the one collection. Friday night’s designer was Antoinette Di Carlo of Di Carlo Couture. Arriving at 5pm, guests dined on tapas and sipped on wine from the cash bar while they waited for the fashion show to begin. The show was held in the water room of the gallery, the glistening water providing the perfect backdrop for Di Carlos stunning custom gowns. Her collection was very feminine. The featured gowns were primarily pastels and had many delicate accents, including long white gloves, floral prints and jewels. Afterwards the Gallery held a showing of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) film “Dior and I”.
Sonia Leclair’s brand Anomal Couture was showcased on Saturday night. Hosted in the gallery’s main foyer, the exceptionally tall young models walked down a slanted hallway turned runway, while viewers sat or stood along the windowed sides. Anomal Couture’s collection was Gothic contemporary, but with a very feminine undertone. Leclair included not just flowing gowns, but tapered pencil skirts and figure forming jumpsuits as well in this collection. Each black outfit had it’s own unique wow-factor. Some highlights include a peek-though lace imprinted gown, large tulle shoulders, and the final look: a draped tulle gown. The models hair and make-up beautifully complemented the aesthetic of the collection. After the fashion show booths were set up to allow guests to mingle and learn more about fashion, beauty, and blogging. The setting provided a uniquely interactive and educational experience.
The two designers served to be a beautiful contrast to one another. Although the event was not without a few minor hiccups, such as time delays on the Friday night, it was a welcome resurrection to the Canadian fashion industry and the Ottawa fashion scene. It can only be hoped that the event will continue to grow and that The Exclusives PR will have success in their mission to expand the reputation of Canadian fashion.