Unpaid debts draw police to fashion show
Published Saturday, October 3, 2009 11:52AM PDT
B.C.'s annual celebration of fashion was shut down Friday when a production company took down the stage in the middle of the afternoon show.
The fiasco at B.C. Fashion Week shed light on a financial mess that has alienated many former staffers, prompted legal action, and caused police to be called Friday to keep the peace.
But the fashion show's executive director, Chez Noel, blamed the disruption on a group of organizers who had recently quit the show.
"There's been lots of mayhem, there is a crew of people trying to destroy B.C. Fashion Week, and every angle they've tried, we have come out on top and we have defeated them," she said.
The mess began with a debt owed to Showmax, the production company that was supposed to set up the stage at the Chinese Cultural Centre.
Showmax filed a lawsuit Friday demanding the return of $5,000 they say is unpaid.
"We had lost faith in the person we had lent money to, and we're not prepared to do business with people who can't keep their word," said Showmax's Pariya Kaligi
A second production company, PS Production Services, was paid up front -- but through an account that didn't belong to Fashion Week. Instead, it was paid through the credit card of a designer.
When the production company found out about the irregularity, it pulled the plug, and the lights came down.
"We were watching the show, and not even halfway through, you hear someone saying in the back, 'Go, go, go,'" said one spectator. "They did a quick finale, and all the guys started taking the lights down."
Noel said B.C. Fashion Week is allowed to bill the designer by a previous agreement.
The show was restarted without a stage in the hallway of the Chinese Cultural Centre. Organizers say the rest of the weekend's shows will go on -- they'll just have to find a new stage.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward