The Many Sides of Spring : Ottawa Fashion Week Spring 2013

The Many Sides of Spring: Ottawa Fashion Week Spring 2013


          The phrase ‘spring is in the air’ evokes many images of rebirth and romance, often with a feeling if freshness, as though the change in the air is palpable. Those images came to life at Ottawa Fashion Week, which took place from September 13-15 at the Hilton Lac-Lemay in Gatineau, but they are met by a different kind of renewal, one that is more of a modernization.

            Zarucci, Joseph Ribkoff, Elena Hinke, Iman Nakhala, Kavi Kavi, Copious and Prophetik by Jeff Garner all captured the romance and whimsy of spring; showcasing flowing chiffon and silk, intricate beading and feminine detailing of lace and florals. The collections present the woman of the past and the woman of abroad. She is at once flirtatious and poised, embracing her femininity and basking in her own mystery. Zarucci and Iman Nakhala in particular demonstrated heavy influence from the Middle East. Copious and Prophetik both took more natural approaches to the woman, shaping her as a princess figure.


            The ethereal woman of the distant past at Prophetik by Jeff Garner.

            These ideas of the woman and women’s fashion fit perfectly with the traditional ideas of spring. Collections for the spring season often choose pastel palettes and dreamy fabrics to create softer looks than the harder, edgier looks of the fall and winter season. Ottawa Fashion Week, however, has designers that presented an opposing idea of the woman in the spring: they look to the modern woman as something fresh and a symbol of rebirth.

Modern woman cool at Rachel Sin.

The cool, monochromatic women of Brit Wacher.

            Collections from Beaucoup Fashion House, Y!D.N.A. by Andy Nguyen, Brit Wacher Jana & Emilia, Rachel Sin and Naïké used leather, patchwork detailing and menswear inspiration to create an image of the modern, urban woman. These collections made use of asymmetry, graphic prints and a muted, neutral palette for an undeniable feeling of cool. This is a woman who is not afraid of anything. Avenir, Bernice & Barclay and Alfred Marcel created a cool, modern woman by looking to the past, though not particularly far back. They borrowed the colour and vibe of the 1960s to reimagine the modern woman as fun and fearless. All of these collections use the idea of rebirth, but not in a way not usually associated with spring. They look at rebirth as cyclical, as the woman recreating herself rime after time, which women often do. She is changing, but she is eternally sexy and fun.

            Three collections that combined these opposing ideas of spring came from Helmer Joseph, Dare and Kania. They showed both the romantic and modern side of the woman. Helmer by Helmer Joseph featured short, graphic and colour blocked dresses and playsuits as well as richly detailed and showstopping gowns. Dare and Kania both took tribal influences, rich colour and simple materials, and thrust them into modern context by using body conscious silhouettes and flamboyant embellishments.

Romantic past meets modernity at Helmer Joseph.

Sleek femininity at Dare.

            At first glance, the collections presented at Ottawa Fashion Week show little in the way of cohesiveness, but in fact all point to a common theme of spring: rebirth. Though they all take different routes to get to that theme, an eventual image of the rebirth of femininity comes to light. Whether past or present, she is beautiful, she is worldly, and she is eternal. That is the woman of spring fashion.