The Centre for Arts and Technology announced today that fashion design and merchandising student Mitchell Gilroy was named to the …
Not Just a PhaseBy Nicole Trask | Sep 27, 2012
This week I had the privilege of attending the first annual Phase; emerging designer showcase. The graduating class of the Centre for Arts and Technology Fashion Design and Merchandising program of 2012 were eager to strut their stuff and I was curious to see what they had to offer. The show didn’t disappoint. Held at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on a mild fall evening, it was lovely to mingle amongst Halifax’s fashionable people at Untitled Eats and in the foyer where displays gave us a sneak peek at what the designers would be sharing.
We were soon ushered downstairs to one of the gallery spaces and seated. I loved that this show took place in an intimate yet modern setting. What better place to showcase the artistic nature of fashion than surrounded by even more art? Michelle Kulyk is the Fashion Design and Merchandising program department head and she introduced the designers as only a proud mama could, full of praise and bursting with admiration for her students.
First up was Ashley Reading with her brand Blair: Fashion & Accessories. Right away I was struck by the sophisticated pieces that this young designer has created. Bold colours and prints and on-trend elements like cropped tops and high-waisted cigarette pants and long skirts were strong mainstays. A gasp may have gone up from the crowd when a statuesque model (think blond, reed thin and hovering well over six feet) took to the runway in a floor-length striking white dress with an exposed back. I loved the modern simplicity of this look. My next favourite would be her high-waisted houndstooth skirt paired with an electric blue blouse.
Mitchell Stuart Gilroy was up next with his brand NOADDEDMSG. I’m familiar with Gilroy’s work as he had already made waves by being selected as a national finalist in Telio’s Breakthrough Canadian Designers competition as well as showing this year at Atlantic Fashion Week. It’s always interesting to look at how male designers do fashion for men. Gilroy’s styles were utilitarian with a modern twist – exposed pockets, intricate zippers and a hint of the modern day soldier. I wouldn’t say that these are evening looks but seem more suited for facing the everyday world with assertion. It was impressive and I love how Gilroy is embracing the unknown looks of the future instead of revisiting retro trends as so many designers do.
Eman Mustafa was also a familiar designer to me. Her looks caught my eye this year at AFW and the pieces she showed this time were even more evolved. I am already intrigued by her “majestic pleats” which are the most vibrant floor length skirts and dresses with a unique detail of pleats that are gathered upwards at the waist. Her looks are unusual and subtle but look incredibly comfortable at the same time. Favourites for me were the deep blue top with intricate gold roping perched on the shoulders paired with a long draping gold dress. I love that these looks are so fluid and elegant without being overtly sexy.
Rounding out the evening was Wadha Al-Abduljader, a brand new face to me. I felt that this collection may have been the most formal of the evening, as in – looks you would source out for a special event. Al-Abduljader has a knack for blending simple silhouettes with small dazzling details. Elegant cocktail dresses that managed to be contemporary with details like cutouts and draping were prevalent. I really enjoyed the cropped jacket with nipped waist and slightly pointed shoulders and thought it was an edgy yet very wearable look. My absolute favourite piece came at the very end – a little black dress that would be perfectly wearable at an art exhibit opening or cocktail party. With a daring plunging neckline and peplum detailing which reigned in the sexiness, this dress was an amazing standout piece.
Essentially, I was very impressed by this show. Each collection was shown promptly without any lengthy speeches by the designers. They merely took a bow afterwards and collected flowers and embraces from Kulyk before being whisked off for pictures. The event seemed professional and polished. Did I love every look? No, of course not. That’s part of the fun of attending a fashion show. These designers still have their work cut out for them to make their collections boutique ready. But after seeing the hard work put into this event it’s clear to me that they have the commitment to forge ahead and take on the next phase of their careers.
Pictures by Anna Gilkerson
Ashley Reading’s Blair: Fashion & Accessories
Mitchell Stuart Gilroy’s NOADDEDMSG