By Bronwyn Seier
Being obsessed with fashion and simultaneously in love with Winnipeg can be a discouraging contradiction. In the same way that jeans and a denim shirt are thought to clash, style and Winnipeg are two concepts that, when put together, have a bad reputation. Although the city is filled with stylish people, and is known for producing artists, musicians, and other talents, the fashion industry itself is a fairly new phenomenon to Winnipeg. The good news is that there are countless people and organizations redefining the Winnipeg fashion industry. Thus is the case for the annual St. Paul’s Fashion Show, an event that is both a leader in the fashion scene and a generator for an important cause. Denim and Diamonds, the title of this year’s show, ended fashion week with a bang, or, more appropriately, a sparkle.
The show took place this past Thursday at the Victoria Inn Hotel and concluded Winnipeg Fashion Week, a seven-day series of fashion events curated by the Winnipeg Fashion Incubator. Fashion Week made its first appearance last spring, and returned this year with a variety of affairs showcasing Winnipeg designers, modeling agencies, and salons. The St. Paul’s show did not feature local designers, but rather the stores that give Winnipeg its one-of-a-kind style. Ladies from Panache Model Management and Grade 12 students from St. Paul’s High School hit the runway in spring collections from The Bay, Danali Clothing, Silver Jeans, October, and a variety of other local boutiques.
In keeping with the show’s theme, cocktail dresses from October Boutique and gowns from Stella’s Bridal sparkled and shined, quite literally “bright like a diamond”, as Rihanna’s song accompanied the formal wear down the runway. Diamonds were not the only similarity between collections in the show, as spring trends such as neon yellow made appearances from many of the stores including Hudson’s Bay, Cha Cha Palace, Danali, and Chestnut Lane Boutique. Pastel colours were another reoccurring theme in the show, from the men’s dress shirts to women’s lilac denim. The abundance of spring trends delivered wardrobe inspiration by the closetful, whether it was through monochromatic cocktail dresses with edgy cutouts, or floral blouses and coral blazers. The show was reminiscent of every woman’s Pinterest Style Board brought to life on the runway.
Above all, Denim and Diamonds displayed a value that exemplifies a key quality of Winnipeg: its charitable spirit. The purpose of the show went beyond the realms of the runway, to raise money for the St. Paul’s High School Magis Fund. While bursaries cover school tuition for one in eight St. Paul’s students, the Magis Fund allows these students to fully participate with the school. The fund provides opportunities to attend school trips, rent band equipment, and aid in graduation expenses for students that would not otherwise be able to do so. The Magis Fund goes beyond the cost of tuition to provide the underlying costs of high school involvement, and the annual fashion show is the sole generator for the fund.
All in all, the Denim and Diamonds fashion show was a rare gem in the small selection of events compiling Winnipeg’s Fashion scene. That said, it is still true that Winnipeg is more than what is said of it, and the show was a great reminder of just how stylish the city can be. If it’s true that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, then it is most certainly true that fashion shows are a girl’s best evening, and this fashion show was no exception to the rule.
Bronwyn Seier is a lover of fashion and all pretty things, she has her own clothing line and writes about it on her blog, www.bronwynco.weebly.com