Halifax: Old favourites come out for Atlantic Fashion Week’s designer showcase

VERONICA MACISAAC Fall 2010. Photography by Brent McCombs

Still exhausted from last Thursday’s Emerging Designer Showcase, an epic evening of 15 collections, a glance at my sparse program the following evening reminded me of the even-then thin second showcase we experienced last season at Atlantic Fashion Week. With some of our hard-hitters (namely Katrina Tuttle and Deux Fm) nabbing spots in, ahem, shall I say larger fashion weeks, ol’ AFW night two, intended to show our biggest and brightest, was feeling a little sparse.

Luckily, many of our remaining players stepped up to the plate.

Sunsets on the Eastside, though perhaps presenting pieces that appear less polished than what we’ve seen in the past, are investigating design and technique to a more thorough degree–a mature decision that points to the simple fact that these young Islanders are indeed growing up. Having been promoted from the emerging designer ranks where it has been in the past, 3 Elements unveiled a robust collection of colour and texture. Weighing a bit too heavily into the crepe chiffon for my liking, the collection did offer some truly charming pieces, from a tiered blue eyelet mini dress to an admittedly fantastic genie trou (go ahead, judge me).

With even more punk spunk than seasons past, Halifax’s fashion magician Kim Munson of Orphanage Clothing paraded yet another eclectic and original collection down the music-pumped runway on Friday. Playing with leather elements at the knee, bicep and slung from the waist, Munson’s typical street look had more edge this season, with lots of denim, suiting and strips and straps galore. Her last two women’s looks, though, softened the punch, with two doll-like dresses deconstructed from outerwear and femmed up with pleats, gathers and perfectly puffed sleeves.

Cape Breton’s Veronica MacIsaac closed the show, presenting a simple and stunning collection. Perhaps it’s my Nova Scotian pride, but the tartan does it for me every time. Unveiled to music written, performed and arranged by MacIssac’s brother, the collection began subtle, first with a cute teal mini dress with only a few bands of plaid at the neckline, and next with a sleek high-waisted piece of pencil skirt perfection. Along with teasing me with a beautiful fitted sheath with a stand-up collar (I must have it), the collection also treated me to my first ever tartan fringe experience (‘twas lovely!) in the form of a fitted and tiered mini. Having dedicated the show to Alexander McQueen, and having drawn a dash of his dark aesthetic into her own designs, MacIsaac completed the show with a nod to the late designer: her final piece, a floor-length gown with a plunging neckline, features a band of red tartan–the traditional MacQueen tartan–under the bust.

With many of AFW’s emerging designers beginning to shed their rookie status, next season’s Designer Showcase could see a plumper roster. But with all our East Coast designers making considerable ground, perhaps an embracing of fashion week custom and breaking out into a solid line-up of solo shows is in order.

Click the images below to see looks from Atlantic Fashion Week.

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