Photo by Canna Studio courtesy David Chen
I didn’t know what expect from the Canada International Fashion Festival “Power of Love” spring show in the Pacific Gateway Hotel at Vancouver Airport ballroom Saturday. The printed program, too, was a little vague alluding to many organizations, a college of art and design, an imaging academy and iPOP! Canada.
There was also a page dedicated to Miss Wheelchair Canada 2018. That, and the cancer society fundraising desk should have been clues.
The packed house saw the start of the fashion show, complete with glistening runway and throbbing music to which the models strutted their stuff. The parade of models, at first the normal tooth-pick thin, leggy women you’d expect, gradually became women and men of all ages, sizes and abilities.
There were fashions designed for people in wheelchairs. A kid’s roller skating group modelling Gap gave an enthusiastic display of skills learned at Richmond’s Skate School.
The evening’s designs ranged from wedding wear, with a bride, attendants and the youngest models of the show, who won everyone’s hearts, to designer jewelry to sports wear, daily wear, wheelchair wear, and leggings.
The leggings, designed and made in Kelowna by Sweetlegs came in plain and a multitude of designs from large plaid to subtle geometrics. To prove they really were for everybody, the models ranged from young, to mature, from curvy to thin, and all looked fabulous. It proves that if designers want to sell their clothes, they have to show people of shapes and sizes that their designs look good on them.
In between each designer, whose names remain a bit of a mystery since the program didn’t list who they were or in what order they would appear, was an act. A wheelchair ballroom dancing group swooped, spun and really cut a rug. Two girls performed modern dance with grace, a woman sang, Harman Maddhar sang music from one of his two albums and sang from his wheelchair. A woman danced in her wheelchair in a gown of her own design as another sang “You are the Wings Beneath My Feet.”
Lastly, there was a video projected of a beautiful woman playing organ music with skill and grace. I and my guest were mystified as to why there were Christmas decorations in the video. Then organizer David Chen took the mike, explaining this was his wife playing at a Canadian Cancer Society fundraiser a couple of years ago. Two months after the video was shot, she died of her cancer.
Suddenly, everything came into focus. Chen relayed his wife’s words, “There are only two things in life. The first is love and the second is art.” Chen said he now lives his life by those words and thus the name of the fashion show, “The Power of Love,” was a tribute to his late wife. The Cancer Society fundraising table was busy accepting generous donations as the evening drew to a close.
Many thanks to Tourism Richmond for putting me onto this show of high style with heart.
And many thanks to all who participated, donated and created this show that clearly demonstrates the wide range of normal.
The name of the show, “The Power of Love” said it all.