Halifax: The goddess of gaudy

Appliqued earrings from Wa'Ou
Appliqued earrings from Wa'Ou

I carry around a little bit of Moncton-born designer Céline Vautour on a near daily basis. It’s a quarter-sized fabric strawberry, as plump and adorable as its muse, that sits on my ring finger. It’s a touch gaudy, a bit unexpected and borderline ridiculous. But I love it. And hey, that’s exactly how I feel about Vautour’s entire collection: the funky and funny Wa’Ou. I love it, too.

Wa’Ou (waoucreations.blogspot.com) is a loud line of shirts, dresses and accessories that’s fun and whimsical. Having recently moved here from Montreal, this new Haligonian is soaking up all the charm of our seaside town. Vautour developed a love for the quaint little gardens and landscaping she sees spotting the city—a clear escape from the “concrete jungle” she left behind—and has let it explode into totally adorable designs.

A top with Celine Vautour's signature strawberries.

Cut in a simple silhouette, her shirts ($75) are adorned with strawberries and vines, frilly fairies, owls and more, done in ’70s-style appliqué—all hand-sewn and embroidered. Her dresses (from $75), the designer’s passion, are more complex and include a “no-fail” cotton jersey frock, which gathers and drapes in a dozen perfect places and a nylon mini appliquéd with cars. She has a no-zipper policy, which means her comfortable garments are as fitting for quirky weddings as they are for a bike ride, and she’s cut her designs to fit every woman from size 0 to 18.

Along with the little strawberry bauble holding tight to my finger, the Wa’Ou accessory line (from $5) is made up of more rings (fabric skulls included), embellished headpieces, including cutesy headbands made from strings of hearts, and earrings garnished with such adorable miniatures as teapots, mushrooms, swans and, you guessed it, more strawberries.

Vautour’s collection may not be a head-to-toe line for all, but deep down in everyone, there’s definitely a little Wa’Ou just itchin’ to get out.

Wa’Ou can be found at the Halifax Farmers’ Market, 1496 Lower Water St., every Saturday morning.

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