Vogue’s fashionable fight

This year’s Vogue has an edge, with a theme of V.S. — What’s Your Fight?

Jackie Paré in Vogue’s opening number models an independent design.
Jackie Paré in Vogue’s opening number models an independent design.
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It’s Vogue against the world at the Grand Theatre this week.

At the opening of the 16th annual Vogue Charity Fashion Show on Wednesday night, a cast of 130 students took on dance, dress and design with the theme: V.S. — What’s Your Fight?

“We fight to get to class on time, we fight to get along,” said Jacob Channen, Vogue’s vice-president. “And we definitely … fight SOLUS.”

Nabbing the stiletto on the heel, so to speak, Channen set the tone for the rest of the show. From beginning to end, this year’s Vogue sparkled most when models and dancers found the fun in interpreting their fight.

This year, the club aims to raise over $30,000 for Home Base Housing in Kingston, an organization that supports individuals who are homeless or at risk of poor living conditions. While the cause is their collective battle, each designer presents a different brawl in the show’s eight collections.

Designer Hemani Kamdar is the first on the runway with her series Tearing Me Apart at the Seams, featuring some chiffon-layered pieces among tight tops and leather shorts — definitely a fight with some edge.

In contrast, designer Erin Meiklejohn shows off a flirtier collection with a young-and-fresh feel. Her Dear Past, … Love the Future showcases a high-waisted, cutout bathing suit and white, wide-legged pants that are particularly memorable.

Designers Bekah Brown and Beck Lloyd incorporate one of the ballet dancers into their scene, tracing the story of a young girl throughout the collection.

Elizabeth Doney took a completely different turn in her Clash of Canadiana, where the models seem to be channelling animals and hunters in her fur-trimmed ensembles. The dancing is at times more literal with the theme V.S., with moving contemporary choreography and Mad Men-inspired breakdancing — Queen’s dance crew KinetiQ performed a dramatic breakdance sequence, wearing 60s-style suits and acting out gang fights. But the talented group also gets creative, with all kinds of dance from an all-male bout of hilarity — choreographed by Lauren Paterson to a mashup featuring Destiny’s Child “Bootylicious” — and tap dancing to hip hop music.

“I really like the dancing, it made it a lot more aesthetically pleasing,” said Heather McMillan, one of the youth from Home Base Housing who came to see Vogue on opening night.

McMillan said she’s interested in pursuing a career in fashion and was impressed by the number of unique designs that walked the stage. She appreciated the playful energy brought out by many of the models.

“I’ve seen a lot of YouTube videos that are like ‘I’m tall and serious and scary,’ but I really liked this, it’s a lot more exciting than I thought it would be,” she said.

Though there were missteps along the way — sequined bras and spandex in one of the dance scenes was definitely distracting and not in a good way — the overall show was entertaining from SOLUS to finish. Vogue is a show best performed for students, by students. But no one leaves without a good feeling as the curtains close to none other than Madonna’s “Vogue.”

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