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Vancouver Alternative Fashion Weekend's dazzling first night

Photo by Nadia Mahd

The taxi curved along the lamp-lit Alexander Street  to The Ironworks. The twinkling roadside trees were aglow with  Christmas lights. On the first day of  Vancouver Alternative Fashion Weekend (VALT), beautifully dressed people crowded around the entrance doors, eager to get in.

"I'm pumped," yelled a man in a long black coat and glasses. "Vancouver hasn't seen anything like this before." 

Inside,  I was greeted by the event organizers who gave me my media badge and put away my coat. On my right, a crack of shattering light. The lights above the runway made everything super bright. Super clear. Super exciting.

Photo by Nadia Mahd

The Ironworks is an old warehouse. Grungy, industrial-feeling, yet cozy. Fringed with lamps and portraits on  the walls, and red, lots of red.   Despite the storeroom materials, and other objects lying around, I felt warm and at home.

Decadence. The theme of the night. "TOMORROW", read a sign draped behind the already-seated crowd, to touch on the idea of an apocalypse, the coming of an end of all ends, and tomorrow (will it come?), I closed my eyes and hoped that it would.....

Photo by Nadia Mahd

The cupcakes at the end of the runway brought on a fresh wave of curiosity, and a cry from the stomach. A man with a grey duke wig appeared. His cherry red coat and black shoes glistened underneath sharp lighting, as he announced the start of show.

Then, with a light gesture of his arms, we were transported to the Edwardian era. I looked at the crowd sitting opposite of me, on the other side of the runway, a mirror image of my side. Suddenly, I became conscious of my ripped nylons in what appeared to be HD lighting.

Photo by Nadia Mahd

Two young girls walked out to get the sweets sitting at the tip of the catwalk. The older gentleman, their father, asked them to share with the beautiful people in the front row. The woman next to me grabbed the last one and I hungrily dismissed the idea of a free cake.

The first ever Vancouver Alternative Fashion Weekend played with the word fashion, with its edgy, not-your-average tattooed models and barefoot performances. There were fancy face veils, antler head wear, flowery hats and long ruffled chiffon gowns, feathers and leather. How fitting for this exuberantly avant-garde fashion weekend.

The night ended with a dance party to electronically-hypnotic beats from Blac Hollywood.

Photo by Anja Konjicanin

Performances by House of La Douche, Kristen Karma, Blac Hollywood, Kieran Strange, Teddy Romance, deVah, Art Kenyon, Girlfriends and Boyfriends, Vikki V entertained the audience mid shows during the weekend, while fashion watchers filled up with cocktails and cupcakes and other snacks sold at the bar. Historical fashion from Eternally Waisted, Arafel Designs, Shiverz Designs, Neid, Mitmunk, Milk Tea by Silent Kay.

Kristen Karma busted out on stage while fashion-dazzled audience looked on; Photo by Anja Konjicanin

Check out Vancouver Observer Kelly Marion's pics from Vancouver Alternative Fashion Weekend's Saturday and Sunday shows here.

VALT 2012 film and edit by Lon Gross and Julian Plimley of Shutter House Films

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