A darkened hall with maroon and sapphire lights flooded the room, a glimpse of sequins and jewels could be seen out of the corner of one’s eye; champagne flowed easily and graceful waiters served hors d’oeuvres while the glamorous, aristocratic men and women gossiped amongst themselves below the Eiffel Tower: a true night in Paris.
The seventh annual ARTwear Show was held at Hotel Arts this weekend, where many of Calgary’s most prestigious and sought-after boutiques showcased men and women’s fashions for the winter season.
Dacey Cooper-Varga, event specialist for the Art Gallery of Calgary, said this year’s theme, Paris Glam, was planned to give an authentic feel of a fashion event in France, expose art from local students and raise money for a good cause.
Photo by: Lucia Trischuk
“We had an artist create an exact, life-like replica of the base of the Eiffel Tower — it was the centerpiece of the room.”
The clothing shown on the runway ranged from what to wear outside in the cold weather, to cocktail dresses for Christmas. It was a runway show everyone could relate to, aimed at a demographic for men and women aged 25 to 75 years, explained Cooper-Varga.
Twelve boutiques from the Calgary area were showcased.
The show began with a splash of pattern — women wearing metallic molds, furs, and pallid lace flooded the runway. Men wore classic, dark denim paired with tweed blazers and rust-colored accessories.
Shoes were chunky and effervescent; not one look went unpaired.
Next, a display of chic lingerie — elegant violet and scarlet lace, baby doll cutouts, and hosiery to die for, finished the boutique showing on a playful note.
“Besides the multiple shops that were modeled, we featured Zenobia, a Canadian fashion line produced out of Montreal. “
Jackie Hickson, Zenobia’s western sales director and area specialist, explained that their spring 2012 line added a breath of fresh air to the runway.
“Zenobia embraces a dual personality; the collection is casual yet classy, with an added touch of sensuality,” said Hickson. “It is created to constantly surprise and exceed the expectations of the buyers.”
Stunning models strutted the runway in colorful hues of vibrant yellow and crimson, textured A-line skirts with slouchy blazers, and classic ivory suits that never go out of style.
Along with the clothing trends, students from ACAD highlighted the wearable art they created — models walked about the room displaying the different insights of art.
“The event was meant to emphasize a total art experience in Calgary — it was only fitting that we include abstract art from inspiring art students,” said Cooper-Varga.
Fashionistas that attended the event said they were blown away by the show.
“Coming from a creative job, I love seeing art form in other mediums,” said Kimberley Seibel, hair stylist and show attendee.
“It is great that the design and art culture is growing; this generation of inspired people are the ones who are making it happen.”
Len and Fran Elser, show attendees, also agreed that the function really portrayed the idea of arts in Calgary.
“The structure of the show and the way they incorporated the theme of ‘Paris Glam’ really goes well with fashion,” said Len.
“It was c’est magnifique,” added Fran.
Photo by: Lucia Trischuk
Not only does the show benefit local artists in the city, but proceeds also go to a good cause.
“This is a fundraiser to raise money for the Gallery’s project to fund art workshops for kids in kindergarten to Grade 12 in Calgary,” said Cooper-Varga.
“This is an opportunity to give even more back to the community; this is how young artists and designers are born, by giving them opportunities like this,” she explained.
Seibel added that “this will help for future kids to experience more and to help grow our culture as a city.”
Preparation for next year’s ARTwear Show is already in the works.
“We had a full house, over 600 attendees and it is definitely our biggest yet,” described Cooper-Varga.
“We are always trying to make it bigger and better — the arts is a growing community and we want to showcase all this city has to offer.”