Category Archives: STYLE SEEN

Style SEEN: Nicole Bridger’s Love Local Launch

Nicole Bridger Love Local

Last week we had the chance to check out Nicole Bridger‘s Love Local launch event. The idea behind Love Local was to invite in a variety of local designers who share Nicole’s philosophy to also share her retail space to promote for Valentine’s Day.

Jessica Walker, Wholesale Manager of Redfish kids, holding up the double sided bubble dress

Jessica Walker, Wholesale Manager of Redfish kids, holding up the double sided bubble dress

One of the first designers that caught my eye was, interestingly, a children’s wear line called Red Fish Kids. The brand has been around for 8 years and although I have heard of it before, I have never interacted with the product. And it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the line.  Designer Lorraine Kitsos was inspired by an Asian aesthetic, as she had lived in Hong Kong for 3 years. You can see it in her kimono style dresses, mini swing Qi Paos, and use of Chinese button knot closures. We love the Flor de la Vida bubble dress that can pretty much be worn inside out!

Hiroko Kobayashi and Neil Prakash of hk + np studio with Nicole Bridger

Hiroko Kobayashi and Neil Prakash of hk + np studio with Nicole Bridger

We met Hiroko Kobayashi and Neil Prakash, a pair of architects with a knack for their designs to manifest much sooner than the construction of a building, they turned to jewelry design. Hiroko and Neil design the jewelry while a silversmith in Japan creates the final works of art. What I love about hk + np studio is that even without knowing what their background is, you can appreciate the architecture in their designs. I quite enjoy their Twist series, inspired by the ripple effect. What I see is that the meaning of a ring is given much more depth. Traditionally, a ring symbolizes eternity, as there is no defined beginning or end. But the Twist series ring shows an ‘eternal’ fluctuating curvature, which to me signifies ups and downs in a relationship, which is totally natural and should be expected rather than a linear ‘happy ever after.’

Mary Cardi buttoned up twice

Mary Cardi buttoned up twice

Having been a big supporter of Nicole Bridger for the longest time, I finally now own a piece. I went for the Mary Cardi, which I can wrap myself in it about 5 different ways. There’s a button behind the neck which allows the ends of cardigan featuring 2 buttonholes to connect. I debated it for a while: I have about 3 other similar style cardigans in my closet, and who doesn’t know I have a ton of black already – did I really need another long-sleeve drape cardigan? The cincher was the fabric. Made of super soft modal fleece, I felt like I was ‘cheating’ the audience by looking good in so many different ways, when in fact I was wearing fleece! I told just about everyone on the NB team they have to bring back this fabric next fall season; crossing my fingers that they do!

Knixwear packaging

Knixwear packaging

I also tried on a pretty set of Knixwear sweat resistant underwear. Even though I’m not a fan of lace, the Knixy Boyshort and Knixy Thong were super comfy!

Other featured designers at Love Local include AATMA crystal energy line, Urban Body Organics, Mellifera Bees (beautifully packaged honey), Jackson Rowe scarves, and Twenty One Tonnes artisan home décor, and of course for Valentine’s Day, Cocoa Nymph chcolates. These designers get to ‘live’ at the Nicole Bridger store until the end of February, so stop by to check them out!

Nicole Bridger is located at 2151 West 4th Ave in Kitsilano.

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Barcelona Designer Nerea Lurgain Pops Up at Woo To See You

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This past Saturday, February 1st was the only day that Nerea Lurgain made an appearance at the pop-up shop hosted at Woo To See You boutique, the sole Vancouver stockist of the Barcelona designer.

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Nerea showed a sneak peek of her Spring/Summer 2014 collection. The designer is known for her looser-fitting garments with touches of detail that aren’t too subtle but don’t shout at onlookers either. In contrast to her dark Perthes inspired collection for Fall/Winter 2013, splashes of colour are featured this time around. The collection is made up of tie-dyed pieces in black overlaid with a brighter colour. The patterns range from exotic animal-inspired prints to what the designer calls Jackson Pollock-inspired abstract designs.

What struck me when I first visited Woo a few weeks ago was that every other piece I picked up was by Nerea Lurgain. There’s something unique about her designs that stand out to a shopper seeking interesting items. Take for example this high-low shirt in a passionate red: it has a zipper in the back allowing the shirt to be worn as a tighter or looser fit. With the zipper undone, the hardware adds interest to the back of the shirt. With it zipped up when I tried it on, even though it was very loose fitting on the bottom, the bust area felt nice and snug. If this shirt is any indication of Nerea’s design skills, I’d have to say she’s a master at engineering clothing for a woman’s body.

Nearea has been designing her eponymous label for 6 years, but before that she was a painter, teacher, and had even worked in finance. When asked whether it was a big jump for her from finance to fashion, she said it was quite natural. Nerea took sewing lessons at night while working with numbers in the day. Indeed, having a strong financial background helps any creative person in business.

In Barcelona, she sells her designs at a boutique in partnership with two other designers. They also carry an array of Spanish designers at the shop. You can also find her clothing in Denmark, Japan, and the Netherlands.

We can’t wait for the Nerea Lurgain collection to pop up for spring at Woo To See You!

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Style SEEN: Ivido Jeans Fashion Show

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On Friday, January 31st, LuvnGrace Entertainment hosted the Ivido Jeans fashion show at the Waterfall Building. Ivido Jeans is a brand of push-up jeans designed in Vancouver and manufactured in the South American country of Colombia – the same place where hip-shaking songstress Shakira also hails from.

The show had a late start, leaving the crowd in much anticipation of the night’s entertainment. Once Magdalena Lima, designer of Maggie Fu Fashion and Zumba instructor extraordinaire, came on stage with a dynamic Zumba routine, she got everyone swaying in their seats.

Afterwards, when the models started coming out, there was immediately a sense the positive feedback from the crowd. Many people oohed and ahhed at the interesting blue hues of the denim, and of course commented on how good the girls’ assets looked in the jeans.

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Halfway through the show, two models even demonstrated exactly how much stretch Ivido Jeans actually have. They sashayed up and down the runway, bending, stretching, and finally performing the splits in the jeans!

Another highlight of the show was when Ivido founder Ivis Gonzalez performed a traditional dance routine with a gentleman, portraying the flirtatious dance of two lovers getting together.

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When asked about what exactly pushes up the jeans, Ivis told us that it’s simply in the way that the pattern is cut. This surprised us as we would have easily placed a bet on a padded seat.

Now this definitely intrigues us to go try on a pair ourselves! The Ivido boutique can be found at 638 West Broadway in Vancouver.

Words by Miranda Sam

Photography by DesireeAnne Holder

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Tales & Treasures from the SMOC Collection – Historic Fashion Talk

Founded in 1992, the Society for the Museum of Original Costume (SMOC) is a registered charitable organization that collects historic fashion, traditional costume, and textiles with the ultimate goal of creating a permanent museum to display them.  Its calendar of activities include presenting historic fashion shows, providing education programs to various institutions, and providing resource materials for media and other museums.

Style by Fire was in attendance at SMOC’s latest presentation on January 19 at the majestic Hycroft Manor in Shaughnessy, entitled “Tales & Treasures from the SMOC Collection”.  Hosted by the venerable fashion historian Ivan Sayers, the audience was treated to a fascinating and humorous review of some of the highlights of recent additions to the SMOC collection.  Full of snide asides and gossipy tidbits, Sayers had a distinctly dry and caustic sense of humour which made him an entertaining storyteller.

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Before carrying on, I should confess that I’m not very knowledgeable about fashion style and trends prior to the 1940’s and this was my first time at a historic fashion talk.  As such, there were moments when I was lost somewhere along the way as Sayers breezed through 19th century fashion with the ease of an expert passionate about his favourite subject matter.

The selection of historic dresses on display ranged from the early 1800’s to the 1940’s.  Sayers spoke about the predominant fashion trends and backstory surrounding each dress, supplemented by a slideshow of fashion illustrations.  What follows is a very general overview of the main fashion trends covered.

1820’s to 1850’s

By the early 19th century, the classically influenced Empire/Regency styles had given way to re-adopting the characteristics seen earlier in the 18th century, including full skirts and visible corseting of the waist.  The waistline moved down from just underneath the breast to the more natural waistline, while skirts became fuller and conical in shape.  Sleeves began to increase in size as well.

Over the next two decades, the general silhouette of women’s dresses continued to widen, with shoulders moving outwards and sloping down, while the circumference of the skirt became increasingly exaggerated.  These shapes were meant to make the waist look as small as possible, signifying femininity and petiteness.  Sleeves continued to enlarge over most of the arm.

At this time, the skirt became detached from the bodice, allowing for greater flexibility in outfits.  A number of different bodices could then be made for one skirt, depending on the occasion, ranging from daytime to formal evening.  The separated skirt also allowed for greater ability for it to jut out from the body, leading the way to the transition from a conical to bell shaped skirt.

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1860’s to 1880’s

The 1860’s began with skirts being at their fullest, propped up underneath with crinolines and hoops.  Gradually over the next couple of decades, the shape of skirt moved from being bell shaped to a narrower silhouette with the bulk of the fabric moving to the back of the dress, creating a bustle.  In this way, a woman’s best angle to be seen moved from being her front and back in the first half of the 19th century to her profile.  Sleeves deflated and began trimming down closer to the arm.

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It was at this time that a woman’s expected range of activities expanded from being merely a delicate flower transported everywhere to a more active one.  The notion of a woman going out for a walk became the norm.  As such, she required a walking costume, an example of which is shown below.   Albeit white in colour, it was easy to wash and would have been worn when strolling the boardwalk of a beach.

As sporting became more acceptable for women, the walking costume needed to be modified to accommodate a woman’s stride.  As a result, the overskirt was often pinned back to reveal the petticoat in order that she not trip over her hem.  This trend then began to be incorporated into regular dresses, giving rise to the polonaise skirt with three layers of skirt, as shown below.

1920’s

The 1920’s saw the significant introduction of fashion into the modern era, with the abandonment of restrictive clothing of years past and the move towards more comfortable attire, including short skirts and pants.   This was a reflection of the end of World War I and the onset of a prosperous era in the US characterized by The Roaring Twenties.  The sportswear worn by women became incorporated into everyday attire in the form of a tubular dress with pleats, gathers, or slits to allow for motion.  The most prominent manifestation of this trend was the flapper dress which was functional and flattened the bust line.

Proper attire for wealthy women still continued to follow decorum depending on activity; for example, they were expected to change from a morning dress to an afternoon one.  The afternoon or ‘tea gown’ was less form fitting than the evening gown and featured long flowing sleeves and sashes or bows at the waist.

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LORE MARIA WIENER

The last outfit on display was a special one, created by the celebrated local fashion designer Lore Maria Wiener.  A German native, Wiener began apprenticing as a dressmaker at age sixteen.  In 1939 she moved with her Jewish father to Shanghai to escape the Nazi occupation of her homeland.  There she met her husband and together they opened a successful dressmaking shop, catering mainly to clientele from the French Embassy.

Her stay in Shanghai was cut short due to continued political upheaval and together with husband, she moved to Vancouver, Canada.  They were lent the start-up capital to open a new dressmaking studio designed by a young Arthur Erickson.  With Wiener doing the designing and her husband taking care of the business side, the studio flourished for forty years.  Specializing in custom designed clothes based on her clients’ wishes, she started out as a one-woman operation and grew to a team of twelve staff.

Her attention to detail and immaculate construction, resulting in elegant pieces that never went out of style kept her clients returning for more.  SMOC’s ensemble was no exception, with the oriental-influenced embroidery and pleated detailing on the skirt, inspired by her stay in Shanghai no doubt.

Words + Photos by Aurora Chan

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A Fun and Skin Happy Night at Bare Essentials

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This is the first post by DesireeAnne. Learn more about her here!

Tuesday evening the Style by Fire team had the opportunity to learn how to get ‘skin happy’ at Bare Essentials Skin Bar on Richards street. When I arrived I was greeted by friendly faces and industry experts. I then received a tour of the skin bar and browsed a variety of event perks, including food, wine, and even a photo booth! I was able to view products and speak to professionals, learning different ways to achieve ‘skin happy’ skin.

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I was introduced to Shantelle Robb, a dermatology expert here in Vancouver. She taught me neat tips and tricks for my skin and introduced me to the skincare line Dermalogica. Upon asking about her biggest skin care advice, I was surprised with her response of “picking your skin’s favourite foods.” Shantelle went on to describe how certain foods are beneficial to specific skin types, “Pineapple is a great solution for oily skin because the enzymes exfoliate your skin from the inside out.” Most women (myself included), do not realize that good care of the inner skin will significantly increase the appearance of your outer skin.

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After gaining insightful information from Shantelle, I had an opportunity to chat with Skye Lintott, who is not only a sales rep for PRIORI skin care, but a former member of The Real Housewives of Vancouver. She discussed her background in esthetics and skincare as well as her passion for ‘beautifying’ women. Her eyes lit up while talking about PRIORI, “I love working in the makeup industry because every woman loves to be beautiful.” Skye shared how easy it is to represent such an amazing brand. The products spoke for themselves as Skye was giving free mini treatments at the event.

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Cleverly named after cocktails and drinks, Bare Essentials’ services range from target treatments to de-stress & relax remedies. The most popular menu item? The Mai Tai facial which hydrates customers’ thirsty skin with ingredients that reveal dewy and fresh skin. Not only did I receive an awesome gift bag on the way out, the entire Style by Fire team left with knowledgeable insight we can apply on a day-to-day basis.

Thank you, Bare Essentials!

Words by DesireeAnne Holder

Photos by Aurora Chan

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Style SEEN: Jennyfleur Loves x Holly Boutique Pop-Up Opening

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Jennifer Gray is holding her beloved Jennyfleur Loves boutique as a pop-up shop at Holly Boutique from Dec 17th – 31st. We were at the grand opening and got the chance to browse the racks ourselves, which included lots of goodies, some of my favourite items were by WILDFOX. You can see me try on an awesome pair of diva sunnies!

I asked Jennifer how the idea for a pop-up shop came about; turns out that Holly had the idea and emailed Jenny. They had actually never previously met but had heard of one another, but Holly knew about Jennifer’s boutique moving out of Yaletown. This was experimental on Holly’s part too, having owned Holly Boutique for 4 years, it was the first time her store hosted a pop-up shop.

But it works out for the two self-described easygoing shop owners. In the past they had carried a few of the same things and some of their loyal clientele shop at both boutiques. What a great match!

Check out both the Jennyfleur Loves pop-up shop and Holly’s own line of brands at Holly Boutique. Jennyfleur Loves will be there for your shopping convenience until December 31st.

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Jennyfleur Loves x Holly Boutique-23

Photos by Aurora Chan & Miranda Sam

Words by Miranda Sam

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Style by Fire Dresses Mannequins at Dynamite

WIN A $100 DYNAMITE GIFT CARD!

Sbf x Dynamite-VOTE-fb  Sbf x Dynamite-VOTE-insta

We’re part of Dynamite’s blogger mannequin contest, and right now we’re the runner-up! Head on over to Dynamite’s Facebook and Instagram pages to vote – you will have a chance to win a $100 gift card! (And we really hope the winner will be a Style by Fire reader.) Contest runs until Sunday, December 15th, 2013. Full contest details here.

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This post was sponsored by Groupe Dynamite. All opinions are our own.

On December 6th, 2013, Aurora & I had the opportunity to play merchandiser for the night. We were invited to style 3 mannequins at Dynamite in the themes of Holiday, Work Party, and New Year’s Eve.

It was so much fun putting our styling skills to the test! In all honesty, the work of a visual merchandiser is hard work. It took us a while to come up with the concepts and to put together a cohesive collection while giving each look a distinct feel. Not to mention, lifting mannequins is tough stuff!

Without scrolling down any further, can you tell which mannequin represents which theme?

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Look #1: New Year’s Eve – VOTE for this LOOK!

For New Year’s Eve, we immediately knew it was going to be a blinged out party dress, but to add a touch of edginess with a oxblood pleather jacket. The purple tones in the necklace gives the oxblood some continuity in the accessories, while the gold bracelets and sparkly gold wristlet added to the jazz. We also came prepared with a cat mask because we knew the Dynamite girl we were dressing the mannequin for has a fun personality, and was going to attend a fancy masquerade ball. Plus, who doesn’t like an extra roar to their outfit – right, Katy Perry?

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Look #2: Holiday

The holiday look for our “Dynamite girl” had to be full of sass! She wears a black pleather midriff bustier top with shiny holiday shorts. But expect the unexpected from this girl – she pairs cutting edge with a toned down sweater that says “je ne sais quoi,” then finishes the look with nothing other than fur. Add in an oxblood coloured bag, and she’s ready to rock any holiday party! This was definitely one of the more challenging looks, as our intention was to break away from a traditional holiday look.

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Look #3: Work Party

We wanted the second look to be classy enough for the office work party, but hot enough for the spontaneous after-party. We chose a one-piece halter pantsuit and threw over a white blazer to give the flowy pantsuit some corporate structure. A gold belt sitting nonchalantly at the hips gives her a more defined look. Adding to the black and white trend, she sports a light shawl tied to the side, and ties it all together with the pearly white and gold necklace. A small pop of leather on her cross-body purse gives personality to a monochrome outfit. If she coat checks her blazer and scarf, she’s ready to party all night!

It was an amazing experience for the two of us to dress Dynamite’s mannequins. And we’re honoured to have done this alongside 3 other bloggers: Toronto’s THISWASFOREVER, Montreal’s Ton Petite Look, and New York’s Viviere Bella. Good luck to everyone!

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Read about the full contest rules here.

Photos by: Aurora & Miranda

Words by: Miranda

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The Scene at Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week 2013

Jacqueline Ryan as the ethereal host of VALT day 1: Utopia

Jacqueline Ryan as the ethereal host of VALT day 1: Utopia

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Lead singer of Modern Limits

Pauline Lee, lead singer of Modern Limits

The display of Oculto Steam Masks

The display of Oculto Steam Masks

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Oculto Steam Mask designer Shay Lhea with a mysteriously masked VALT guest

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Dani Barnes of The Femstar Revolution (by The House of Barnes)

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VALT’s founder, Kat Kozak!

Over the few days of VALT, a lot of fantastical, fun, beautiful, and dystopian styles happened on and off the runway. In this post, we bring you some of the best moments captured from the 2013 edition of Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week during artistic performances, music performances, and good ol’ behind the scenes fun.

We loved Jacqueline Ryan’s outfit by Shiverz Designs on Day 1 Utopia, performance artists who looked like they were tormented but done so beautifully, Pauline Lee, the daring lead singer of Modern Limits, Shay Lhea’s Oculto steam masks display, beautiful performances by The House of Barnes… and much more!

Can’t wait until the next edition of VALT. Because aren’t we lucky that Vancouver is alternative?

Photos by Aurora Chan

Words by Miranda Sam

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VALT Day 2: Vancouver Alternative Fashion Week – Dystopia

The second night of VALT continued the journey of futures from Utopia to Dystopia, a bleak and anarchist nightmare world full of human suffering without respite.  The swashbuckling Aaron Morris, VALT Model Coordinator and Event Host,  guided the audience through this show of darkness with a jovial wink.  This Dystopia doesn’t seem so bad!  At first, that is.

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Shiverz Designs is a local online business that specializes in designing fanciful accessories to decorate a woman’s head, including fascinators, hats, masquerade masks, jewelry, and feather hair clips.  It created an equally ornate collection of ensembles to coordinate with their accessories for the VALT runway, each one representing a different character.  There was the flirty burlesque dancer, the lady on the town, the femme fatale, and the elegant lady of the garden, to name a few.  Fantastical.

A.D Designs

A.D Clothing and Costume Design strives to push the boundaries of outerwear, creating costume jackets, vests, and pants to make a woman feel strong and empowered.  Inspired by the insanity and darkest feelings we hold locked up inside ourselves, the models hobbled down the runway in a state of mental mania, bound and restricted by the strappings of their attire.  The jackets represented a high fashion interpretation of the classic straitjacket and could almost be worn to the office….that is if you want to send a strong message to your boss!  Polished insanity.

Jillian Gray

The Art Institute of Vancouver graduate Jillian Gray chose to showcase her graduating collection for VALT, entitled “Slave to the Rhythm,” referring to the Grace Jones album with the same name.  Jones was the inspiration behind her designs with her iconic and androgynous presence.  The overall aesthetic and simple lines of Gray’s pieces struck very close to my heart.  I loved the monochromatic colours and strong lines, with the edginess and interest in the use of contrasting fabrics.  The masculine leather interplayed seamlessly with the softer feminine chiffon.  I would buy the entire collection if I could!  Amazing.

Oculto Steam Masks


Shay Lhea is the mastermind behind Oculto Steam Masks.  She strives to elevate the traditional notion of masks as being merely accessories to full-on disguises that enable the wearer to take on a different persona.  Each luxury piece of wearable art is given an elaborate character profile meant to help breathe life into them.  She designed and constructed a new collection specifically for VALT and the results were conceivably the most mature and honed evolution of her vision.

The models in uniform black business attire strutted down the runway while wielding a weapon specific to their character, ranging from an axe to brass knuckles.  They were given free reign to use their weapons to simulate acts of violence – they threatened the audience, slit their own throats, and slammed the baton on the runway.  The menace was all the more effective by the fact that the audience couldn’t see the models’ faces, but instead were face to face with an emotionless visage.  Darkly disturbing in a good way.

The fashion runway sets were interspersed with another magnetic dance performance by the House of Barnes x Celinski Productions, and the moody pseudo pop music of The Pink Pearl Dragon from Toronto, a return act from the debut VALT.  The world of Dystopia was twisted and tormented, and that has never felt so good.

Words + Photos by Aurora Chan

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I.IV.II: John Casablancas’ Grad Show

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On Thursday, November 21st, the graduating class at John Casablancas Institute put on a feast of a grad show, titled I.IV.II (one forty two). The runway was wider than most, and it fit a long buffet table styled with candle holders, cakes, and floral decor. The Mad Hatter-esque host of the evening announced that the students were featuring spring looks, and truly romantic, fresh looks came down the runway.

Mark Abenir kicked off the show with a series of fun, feminine, and sexy dresses. It was a much different look from what we’re used to seeing from his cutting-edge Averynthe collection.

Then the students showed of their styling and merchandising skills in teams. Andrea Young & Roy Wilcox styled a contemporary womens look, with looks that you could take to the office and out to town. Kelli Klassen, Sophie Coltellaro, and Linda Le’s joint efforts included fun prints that brought energy to the stage.  Aranyxa Maussan and Niasha Drydgen styled jewelry by local brand Army of Rokosz, showing off the sleek pieces with models in bra tops.

Jessica Moneo ended the night with her designs that literally were above everyone else’s. The models used the buffet table as their catwalk, bringing food, florals, and fashion together. We liked Jessica’s modern designs and nicely tailored pieces, especially the cobalt blue paired against vivid prints.

The business of fashion can be a difficult one, but we have a feeling JCI grads will be strong players in the industry.

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