Maybe I’m just a sentimental ol’ fool, but in a world of celebrity Twitter feuds and reality-TV throw-downs, sometimes it’s nice to see people in the same field support each other. No shit-talking. No pitting contestants against each other. Just artists backing artists.
Which is why covering the fashion portion of the recent RAW:Vancouver launch party at Gossip Nightclub was such a treat.
Interestingly, this feel-good event has been in the works for a long time. RAW started out as a collective of like-minded indie artists in L.A. several years ago. Now it hosts variety-style showcases in cities around the world, and this latest Vancouver edition marks the organization’s Canadian debut.
Celebrating a multitude of disciplines, RAW:Vancouver’s program included dance performances, live music, a short film, and more than 25 visual artists. But it was the catwalk shows that dominated the second half of the night. Melissa Nasby from Salmon Arm kicked things off with her SoulFibre collection of fantastical felted, wearable-art masks.
Here, we had models strutting down the runway in elaborate and mystical headdresses—my favourite featured creatures included the friendly and colourful octopus and the black angel. Nice juxtaposition.
Then it was time for makeup artist Paula Lanzador to shine. To showcase her work, Lanzador collaborated with burlesque dancer Scarlet Delirium, who teased us with a little dance in what looked like futuristic marine-nymph body paint and face makeup.
After that, fellow makeup artist Kelly Touvongsa highlighted her talent by painting super-sexy, masquerade eye masks right onto her black-clad models—total glam slam.
One of the most entertaining performances was the Nadia Fabbro and Jacob Rozenberg hair show, which involved punk-rock flappers tap-dancing around voguing models in epically backcombed Victorian-esque hairdos. From wardrobe to choreography, the two stylists did a bang-up job of putting on this cutting-edge, cabaret-type showcase.
Then it was time for some meatless merriment. Designer Kaykay Bads rocked the stage with her vegan Bambii Clothing line. Here we had cruelty-free fabrics and street-punk attitude—so lots of faux leather leggings, denim vests, and studded hardware. Yep, the happy-cow set never looked so badass.
Perhaps the biggest surprise hit of the night was Darius John Tuliao and his Darius John Designs. Where did this man come from? His Raven collection was superbly executed—elegant, classic, femme-fatale cuts with smart modern twists. He seriously knows how to drape, fold, and suture fabrics on the female figure. Definitely one to watch!
Following DJD was the adorable Nicole Guzzo, who was showcasing her Misfits–meets–Lolita Rebel Up collection for the ladies, as well as some horror-punk couture for the fellas. The highlight here had to be the caped male model rocking black underwear that featured a white skeletal hand grabbing his basket from behind—a little graphic I like to call “the reaper reach-around”. Guzzo says she’s got her sights set on cracking the L.A. market. Well, I’d say this hellish hottie definitely has what it takes to do just that.
Pretty Bastard by TMC closed the show with a crescendo of macabre glamour gowns and playful bondage-inspired separates. No shortage of drama in this collection, so a great way to not only cap off the show, but to also kickstart a new platform for artistic camaraderie in Vancouver.