Calgary’s PARK organization continues their run(a)way success with the October Parkluxe fashion show.
In the blistering wind of Friday, October the third, a massive festival tent was painstakingly erected along the East Village Riverwalk. The following evening, the who’s who of the Calgary fashion world descended upon the tent to indulge in the exuberant social scene, exclusive designer pop-up shops, and artistically masterful fashion show that have become characteristic of the PARK event series. On this particular night was the Parkluxe luxury art and fashion show. Parkluxe is the culmination of PARK’s yearly event series that features pop-up shops and fashion shows from emerging Canadian designers and artists. With a diverse showing of both men’s and women’s fashion designers from Calgary and the rest of Canada, this year’s event was not something to be missed.
PARK (Promoting Artists, Redefining Kulture) is a western-Canada not-for-profit organization managed by young Calgary professionals and supported by volunteers. PARK’s focus is self-explanatory – to promote local artists and designers, and to support local art and fashion culture. However, what isn’t so self-explanatory is the seemingly limitless creativity they express in their Calgary event series that runs yearly from the summer to fall. This year kicked off with the late-May Parkshow, which saw Chinook’s north underground parkade fully transformed into a nature-inspired contemporary art scape and runway. Then, the month of June saw the Parksale, which utilized the beautiful scenery of our downtown Central Memorial park, and the vibrant atmosphere of the Sled Island Music Festival to put on a free outdoor market with local vendors. Parkluxe served as a finale, sending off the 2015 event season on a high note with appropriately high fashion.
Through the vision of Edmonton designer Cory Christopher, the stunning venue and décor gave witness to a fashion show that was a spectacle all its own. Notably present was one Calgary’s own rapidly-emerging House of Nonie brand, who just recently had a fantastic showing at the Mercedes-Benz Start Up competitive fashion series in August. For Parkluxe, HON designer Nina Kharey presented her eastern-inspired refined womenswear collection for SS16, featuring characteristically muted slightly off-neutral colours and ready-to-wear modern cuts. Also notable was the guests’ opportunity to meet designer Travis Taddeo from Montreal (via his pop-up shop). There may be few other ways to describe this man other than being “unapologetically extroverted,” which happens to be a natural match for his raw talent in the design of contemporary modern men’s and women’s fashion, which he showcased in the finale of the runway show.
Along with a dapper and distinctly Calgary-business menswear presentation from Henry Singer, there was an array of talented women’s fashion designers presenting their proverbial bevy of talents. Luxurious materiality from Calgary’s Paul Hardy, masterful use of colour and texture from Edmonton’s Malorie Urbanovitch (a previous winner of the Mercedes-Benz Start Up), artful and expert tailoring from Toronto’s Caitlin Power, and bold, unmistakable whimsy from Vancouver’s Eliza Faulkner. Thanks to the designers, artists, planners, and volunteers, this year’s Parkluxe was the perfect punctuation to end PARK’s 2015 event season, and unlikely to be forgotten until they outdo themselves next year.