Couve Couture spring fashion show

10 local designers, including two-time 'Project Runway' champ Seth Aaron Henderson, usher in spring with annual fashion show Saturday

By Ashley Swanson, Columbian features news coordinator



Couve Couture has cultivated another lovely garden of designers for its spring fashion show. Ten local designers, including Vancouver's Seth Aaron Henderson of "Project Runway" fame, will showcase their latest looks at the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay.

Spring trends will be on display, with a big focus on separates, saturated color palettes and handmade details.

After the runway, a trunk show, called a "cut and sew," will allow attendees to custom order a design, said Brett Allred, Couve Couture's master of ceremonies.

If you go

• What: Couve Couture spring fashion show, featuring the collections of 10 local designers, including two-time “Project Runway” winner Seth Aaron Henderson.

• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay, 100 Columbia St., Vancouver.

• Cost: $25 to $30 for standing, $35 to $40 for secondary seating, $50 to $55 for front row. Tickets are available at Beigeblond Salon, 909 Main St., Vancouver; Sweet Spot Skirts, 105 W. Sixth St., Vancouver; and Most Everything Vintage, 815 Washington St., Vancouver.

• Information: Couve Couture website.

After a busy year, Henderson will pull together a runway collection from his design stock.

"It will be something that's brand new to Vancouver," Allred said.

Expect pieces that combine graphic textiles with structured silhouettes and possibly a surprise headpiece or two.

Portland designer and "Project Runway" alumnus Bryce Black also will return to Couve Couture as a guest designer. His most recent Portland showcase featured strong silhouettes in textured fabrics. Attendees can also expect him to push the fashion envelope.

Ten re-enactors from the costume department at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will be dressed in period costumes from a range of eras. After all, "they create handmade, one-of-a-kind, period couture," Allred said.

Designers participating in the Couve Couture show include:

• A flirty edginess: Nineteen-year-old designer Nike Pappas is not afraid to challenge herself.

"I don't think people will expect to see such detail and work in my collection," Pappas said, because of her age and her self-taught sewing background.

As part of her senior project at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, she made six little black dresses inspired by Coco Channel. For her work, she received a junior designer scholarship from Couve Couture.

Her spring collection centers around an electric blue fabric with ornate detailing.

"It's been the backbone to my designs," she said.

Pappas will mix structured and flowing clothing to adhere to her style of flirty pieces with an edge.

• Bohemian spring: Kate Beeman's first fashion client was her childhood friend and nationally touring singer Kate Earl. Beeman created for her friend a few bohemian-style stage outfits that unexpectedly took off.

"Boho really inspires me. In high school, I was a total hippie," Beeman said.

Her collection called Origin will feature draping chiffon fabrics, mixing in pops of pinks and blues against neutral beiges.

"(Spring) is just a breath of fresh air from the dark, rainy season," she said. "I really think about the sun when I design."

Her collection also includes capes, kimono-inspired dresses and a floral trench coat, inspired by her own love of structured jackets.

• Samurai and geisha: Carlie Bailes was inspired by the traditional elements of geisha and samurai for her seven-piece collection.

"With the designs, I really like to have a sexy, edgy vibe that comes out with each look," Bailes said. "I really like to have soft and hard elements in all the collections I do."

Though the collection might be better suited for fall, with its reds, oranges and blacks, the mix of silk and leather will make the collection lighter.

She will also showcase a dress made from the inner tubes of tractor-trailer tires.

"It weighs about 50 pounds," she said. "It's a show-stopper piece."

• Something old, something new: Caryn Stockwell of Second Star Designs is embracing the one-of-a-kind nature of upcycling, which is the repurposing of fabrics in new ways and forms.

"All the fabrics are unique to the dress, so it's clothing as individual as the person wearing it," Stockwell said, which has brought a lot of interest to her work.

Featuring organic cottons and hemp fabrics in an earthy palette, the pieces were inspired by the ease of a breezy spring. The big reveal will show off the complete look.

"There will be a very huge contrast between the hair and makeup, and the opulence of the collection," Stockwell said. "That will be a very big surprise."

• Zenlike: Dawn Elise is balancing out her love of simple lines with her creative energy in her nine-piece collection.

"I'm using fabric that I've already purchased that's been waiting for me to make something with it," she said.

Working in silk and satin, Elise will incorporate a variety of purples and charcoals, and perhaps a digital textile or two.

"(Clothing) is very much a form of self-expression, but it's also about being comfortable about who you are," she said.

A number of her pieces will feature fabric that's been hand-dyed to fit with the soft feel of the collection.

"My friend describes it as very 21st century, with simple lines and a clean, Asian influence," Elise added.

• A 1930s twist: Last year, Alisa Ann Tetreault of Vancouver's Most Everything Vintage explored the lacy elegance of the 1920s. This year, she has moved up a decade for a collection of casual 1930s-inspired outfits.

A pair of vintage Pendleton pants inspired her to remake the woolen pants into knickerbockers, with enough fabric left over for a few bow ties.

"All the buttons I use for the knickers and bow ties are true vintage," she wrote in an email. "They come from a large tin of buttons that have been passed down to me by my mother and grandmother."

The collection also will feature dresses from the same period, saved by Tetreault's sewing skills and accessorized with handmade fur collars and clutches. And the show will feature a multimedia surprise for the audience.

• Athletic meets casual: Stephanie Lynn of Vancouver's Sweet Spot Skirts has been a staple at Couve Couture with her signature athletic wear.

"I'm still just happy they keep asking me (to take part)," Lynn said. "That they're still allowing a sports company in a high-end couture project says a lot. I really love to make them proud."

She will showcase a six-piece collection: Three of the pieces will be the new line of versatile skirts aimed for the office, combining longer lengths with athletic fabrics; three traditional sporty skirts will complete the collection, debuting in spring's trending colors of purples, blues and grays.

Nicole Smith, the assistant designer for Sweet Spot, will showcase a six-piece collection titled Gen Y.

"It's all about being flirty but modest, making the average woman feel cute when exercising," Smith said.

A companion to Lynn's collection but aimed at 20-somethings, the collection features soft lines and jewel tones, yet is made from technical fabrics. Each piece includes a hidden pocket for a phone.

"I personally find it difficult when buying gym and running clothes, (and) there's no place to really put my phone," Smith said.

• Street style: Lydia Wagner is aiming for a seven-piece collection that offers "a causal dressing up." Inspired by street-style photography, Wagner is challenging herself to move beyond the world of bridal.

"I'm delving into a little more tailored look," she said, but in more accessible fabrics. "This is the stuff that you could wear walking around town, or dress up with some beautiful jewelry."

Her looks include bias-cut dresses, wide-legged pants and cropped jackets made from natural cottons, wools and silks.

"I like to include the model in the (design) process, because they're the person wearing it," Wagner said, "and I want them to feel good in it, even if it's my designs. I want people to feel a certain way when they wear my stuff."

• Avant garden: Botany becomes a fashion statement in Kelsey Lovelle's collection, with multiple shades of green. The collection takes its inspiration from the roots, leaves and barks of plants.

"It's really different. I'm going a little more over the top," she said. "I want to make it pretty avant-garde. It's an avant garden."

Lovelle created many of her own textiles through her own felting techniques, with felted leaves and vines tangling themselves across dresses and skirts.

"Spring is all about newness, new colors and new styles and showing them off in the sunshine," Lovelle said. "I'm excited for spring."