Photography by Natalie Castellino

The Lovas fashion show is always a bit of a highlight for me because it gives me the opportunity to witness the work of a designer who seems to ‘get it’. Wesley Badanjak, the man behind the three-year-old label, knows which side his bread is buttered on and expertly caters to his clientele. While some younger designers create fantastical designs that look great in magazine editorials but don’t translate on the sidewalk, Badanjak dresses the everyday woman who wants a piece that will seamlessly fit into her wardrobe and lifestyle. For spring 2012 Badanjak presented his “Bird of Paradise” collection, inspired by his travels of the islands on the Caribbean Sea.

The show opened with a model in a stunning feathered headdress and a graphic geometric print shift dress in stretch cotton that set the tone for things to come. What followed was a parade of well-tailored collection of unfussy designs on models sporting messy Pocahontas fishtail braids and over-the-top feathered eyelashes. The palette was quite subdued, enlived by hits of colour via coral hues that appeared as embroidery on the hems of cotton dresses, colour blocked on full skirts, woven throughout printed dress, and as an unexpected burst of colour upon the lining of a trench coat.

While I loved the clothes and the styling, it seems Badanjak may have his references a tad jumbled. The gigantic (and elegant) feathered headpieces were reminiscent of the aboriginals of North America and not the various indigenous tribes of the Caribbean, not to mention the bohemian feel to the collection that was also quite North American. Unfortunately, in the end, the birdThe  of paradise reference seemed quite out of place as the collection reflected neither the colour and vibrancy of the bird, the flower, the Caribbean or its people.