Guests mingled and nibbled on chocolate in Leone.
Vancouver Fashion Week kicked things off on a strong note at Leone last night. The press, along with some of Vancouver's most fashionable, gathered in the upscale store for the Opening Gala, chatting with designers about their work and getting a close look at the jewelry and apparel to be featured on the runway. Guests indulged in fine chocolates and wine while models circulated the room showing off designs from 15 jewelry designers and 20 apparel designers.
Justine Brooks designs jewelry under her own name and is participating in VFW for the first time. Her nature-inspired statement necklaces and earrings are made with sterling silver, peacock feathers, and stones sourced from Shanghai and Cairo. Here she wears a necklace and ring she designed and an ensemble by Malene Grotrian.
Malene Grotrian halter and ballgown skirt. Earrings and bracelet by Justine Brooks.
Speaking of VFW newcomers, Danish-born Vancouver-based designer Malene Grotrian will be making her VFW runway debut this Saturday. Her show will be wrapping up a day focused on international labels and designers: Turnover (Amsterdam), Lauren Vidal (Paris), Joseph Domingo (San Francisco), Helen Lee (Shanghai), and Clothilde (LA). I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Malene and her designs after being invited to her studio for an exclusive show. Malene explains that this time around her clothes were inspired by the classic feminine glamour of the 20s and 40s, but with an "edgy and raw twist." As always, though, her pieces will feature luxe Italian fabrics and an eye for detail.
Malene Grotrian talks about the designs in her upcoming show.
Kerianne Taves of Innergypsy Design was also there to showcase her sterling silver creations. I admired the fluid lines and sculptural quality of her work when I saw the silver multi-chain necklace on a model, but I was very impressed with the other pieces she had on hand. My favourite? A multi-strand choker featuring a silver plate imprinted with Audrey Hepburn's face.
Kerianne Taves stands between two models sporting her jewelry.
Helen Lee was born and raised in Shanghai where she is well-established as a designer, and has been featured in various publications such as Chinese Vogue and Chinese Elle. Nowadays she divides her time between Shanghai and Vancouver because her husband is based here, but this is the first time she has shown her evening wear overseas. Helen will be the featured designer at VFW's A Night In Shanghai this Friday. If her edgy qipao done with shiny black material and side cutouts is any indication of what's to come, her show should be tremendous.
Helen Lee poses next to model Fei Ren, who wears Helen's edgy interpretation of the traditional qipao dress.
All photos in this post except the last one are by Yvonne Chew. Thanks Yvonne!