On Day #1 I had the pleasure to meet South African designer Thabo Makhetha, whose signature is bold and bright. She graciously agreed to let me wear one of her colourful patterned vests with exaggerated collar for the evening. I jumped out of my taxi, met with her outside of the tents, slipped into the vest and within minutes the look was StreetScouted! by photographer Marshall Heritage!

Paired with a peacock blue straw hat with veil from Granville Island Hat Shop and a simple grey wool skirt by Escada, the yellow sash on the vest added the colour needed to brighten up this look.

The day outside was getting increasingly dark but my outfit for the evening was warm and comfortable with the yellow and blue providing the pop that I needed to attract the flashbulbs!

Dark Knits Boutique, designed by Nikki Styx, Edmonton, AB

MLZ’s Helen Siwak, with Corinne Simpson and Nikki Styx of Dark Knits. METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Vancouver Fashion Week (www.vanfashionweek.com). Photographer: Dominic Manea.

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: StreetSideFashion.com by photographer Katherine Kingston.

I had patiently waited until VFW Day #4 for the evening that Dark Knits was to be showing their corseting collection as I had worn a locally made corset on Day #1 as part of this fun look to the left – pictured with frow partner Paige Sierra.

In my 30’s I had been involved in the local underground scene that favoured corseting, leather, latex, pvc and whatnot and had thought the days of a good tight lacing was over. I was sorely mistaken. A quick visit to Bound by Bond studio and I was laced up in a beautiful intricate corset to complete Day #1’s Boy George inspired look.  (Background: In August, Kitsilano Kitty’s Closet had been involved in a fashion show celebrating the opening of the Fashion Lounge in Gastown where Jennifer Bond from Bound by Bond was also showing her very theatrical line of amazing corset’s, trains and headpieces. I was reminded of the initial exquisite breathlessness involved with a tight corset and I wanted it again).

In the 1970s Vivienne Westwood resurrected the corset and gained a following by not only thinking outside of the box but breaking the box down and throwing it in the recycling bin. Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler presented collections in the 1980s that used corsets as protective armor and pushed women to sci-fi based proportions. Who doesn’t remember the Madonna and Gaultier partnership? The 1990s saw Mugler continuing his rapturous path and Christian Lacroix joining in with wedding and evening gowns featuring corseting. The 2000s have been rife with corseting, so much so that a corset in print or on the runway does not seem out of place. It is in real life that they do seem extreme.

Thierry Mugler with Jerry Hall, model in Jean Paul Gaultier, model in Balenciaga / METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDITS: http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f46 / http://www.couturecorset.net/2011/01/jerry-hall-everywhere/jerry-hall-and-thierry-mugler/ / http://outrageouscorsets.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/root-couture-gaultier2_web.jpg

Meanwhile at VFW, the audience were entranced as the Dark Knits collection of corsets began hitting the runway. Corsets with topped by fuzzy hair, contrasting make-up, feathers, cage skirts and hoof boots (yes cloven foot hooves) and soon the tent was abuzz! Even our favourite front row server Mathew Doubledee had been bit by the corset bug and was strutting in a black and white solo breasted corset, cage skirt and heels! The corsets themselves were beautifully made and many had unique details that I had not seen before. The decorative side lacings and oval hip inserts with romantic imagery show a designer with imagination. One not satisfied with following the tradition of corsetry but striving to continue pushing the boundaries of a article of clothing that, by its very nature, is designed to be very limiting.

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Vancouver Fashion Week (www.vanfashionweek.com) by Photographer: Dominic Manea

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Vancouver Fashion Week (www.vanfashionweek.com) by Photographer: Dominic Manea

I spoke with Nikki after VFW and she says “it’s been a crazy few weeks for sure, Corinne and I had a very successful showing and panel with a huge turn out at the Edmonton Expo. Our creation of a cosplay coffee table book about inclusive cosplay and costuming has released for pre-sales and is getting some interest from the community.” 

For the future Nikki has begun drafting a new collection, currently called Robotica. It is a departure her usual style and you can hear the excitement in her voice when describing the inspiration for the collection.

The future holds the upcoming Taboo show where her pieces will be showcased in a runway show and Edmonton’s annual steampunk ball where many of my newest pieces, including some from the Masquerade collection will be showcased. 

FB: DarkKnitsBoutique / T: @darkknits

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Vancouver Fashion Week (www.vanfashionweek.com) by Photographer: Dominic Manea

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Vancouver Fashion Week (www.vanfashionweek.com) by Photographer: Dominic Manea
METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Vancouver Fashion Week (www.vanfashionweek.com) by Photographer: Dominic Manea