According to French Fashion designer Christian Lacroix, "Haute Couture should be fun, foolish and almost unwearable." Such a statement holds true in the public mind when considering the sometimes esoteric world of fashion. Runway models often seem like alien beings, drifting down the catwalk with attire inconceivable in both cost and appearance.
Designers take pride in creating the unique haute couture which grace the catwalks each season. While it may seem such a practice breeds a certain degree of inaccessibility, high fashion items are not meant to alienate the observer but to demonstrate the artistic expertise of the designer.
This October, Calgarians will have the chance to enjoy locally created high fashion during Alberta Fashion Week, running Oct. 4 - 10. While the idea of a local fashion scene may seem absurd to Calgarians packing themselves into shapeless parkas for seven months of the year, the degree of talent present in Alberta is underrated.
In its debut year, the event will feature 29 local designers whose own roots are from across the Canada, and the world. The event takes place at various venues on Stephen Avenue, including daytime and nighttime runway shows and a variety of after parties where Calgarians can mingle with designers and models alike. A number of the designers' work will be available for purchase at two weekend trunk sales, a good opportunity to look good and help out local artists.
On the night Divka designs will trace the runways, Calgary-based label designer and Divka's creator Sara Chalupicek will be behind the scenes executing last minute details.
"I have to have final say on all my designs," insists Chalupicek.
Popular media gives a false impression of the design process. Project Runway, for example, depicts a group of highly talented designers crunching out unbelievable pieces of fabric artistry at a breakneck pace. In reality, designers spend months labouring over ideas, and bringing each detail to fruition.
"There are a lot of problems that can occur," says Chalupicek "Machines break . . . seams have to be ripped apart. It's definitely not as easy as it looks."
Fashion Week will prove to be a starting point for many designers, whose labels may have been overlooked had event organizers and sponsors not been so dedicated.
With only a few days until the first show, designers like Chalupicek will be working well into the night perfecting their creations. Event organizers will be smoothing out any last minute glitches. While the graceful models wearing the designs throughout Alberta Fashion Week will look effortless and flawless, it is the culmination of months of blood, sweat and tears, and reflects the very nature of high fashion.