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Ottawa Fashion Goes Funk
Skating icon Brian Orser backs new fashion concept by local entrepreneur

OTTAWA'S Bank Street Promenade saw a fashion show and party yesterday evening as part of the grand opening of a new funk boutique.  The innovative concept includes specialized items from Montreal and New York as well as an in-store designer.

Called 'fünf funk boutik,' the store near the corner of Bank and Lisgar Streets was launched a month ago and features clubwear, partywear and streetwear as well as four other group items:  fashion accessories, footwear, gift items from the Cirque de Soleil, and an integrated design line - the store's own - called 'ÜNA.'

Shoppers in their 20's have been finding the clothing lines - including Body Bag, Groggy, Lithium, Luscious, and Geek Boutique - appealing, according to store manager Chris.  "[These are] items that are very wearable ... people could wear the 'I Clothing' line even to the office because it's really hip and versatile," she said.  "[They're] really transferable and very individual," she added.

Brian Orser with fünf store manager Chris
The name 'fünf' is German for five; hence the 5 group items in the boutique's line.

The store's interior is German in design as well.  The funky 'lot of metal' look includes vertical chains and doors which enrich the space.  "It's something you really don't see very much in Ottawa," said local machinist and form-and-function artist Dan Evenson, who played a hand in developing the boutique's fixtures.

In fact, owner and entrepreneur Luc Thivierge told the crowd comprised of the media, business contacts and friends that experiences in his previous work contributed to the choosing of a German theme.

fünf owner Luc Thivierge
"The design of the store is very German.  I spent a long time in Munich with the Cirque de Soleil and learned German.  I have been so influenced that this is the result," he stated.

And a successful result it has been since the launch on April 1st.  "[Luc's] doing extremely well so far, saleswise," said Gunta Millers, Small Business Account Manager with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, who attended the event.

Designer Tonia Weber of integrated fashion line ÜNA
"I think that fünf funk boutik has an extraordinary entrepreneurial flair to it and that Luc will go very far in life," Gunta continued, saying she believed Luc's success to-date "will continue into the future because he has a really good marketing flair."

But the CIBC isn't the only one who believes in Luc Thivierge and his business potential.  Canadian figure skating icon Brian Orser is backing him, too.

"I saw his business plan and was very impressed but what put me over the edge was Luc's passion for this venture.  I'm very proud to be part of it," Brian told the Grand Opening party.

Brian explained earlier that Luc had approached him several months into the 11-month development of the idea.  "Luc is the sole owner," Brian stated.  "I just backed it.

"It's kind of nice to venture out into different areas .. I've always had an interest in fashion," he continued, saying that he's still touring professionally as a skater.

fünf funk FUN!

After the introductions the fashion show and party began in earnest.  Store hosts and hostesses served wine and German Hors d'oeuvres with smoked salmon to the guests while DJ Joe Juarez from Ottawa's Velvet Productions warmed up the crowd with music.

Former Cirque de Soleil contortionist Laurence Racine, who has now turned pro, performed a dance contortion act which had previously been performed around North America.  Guests watched in amazement as she gracefully moved her body in and out of esthetic pretzel-like positions.

Then the music pumped up and the models arrived showing fünf's line.  Striding across the floor to the stage, they turned, posed, continued on to the window facing the crowd gathering outside, then returned to the stage and finished-up on its side blocks.  The male models arrived next and after showing fünf's men's items at one point lifted an earlier model and carried her away horizontal-like as if she were a mannequin!

The grand opening continued with drag shows, which Luc explained were German tradition as well, and began to take party form.

Looking busy but happy, Luc said "Entrepreneurship has been my lifelong dream."

The store was closed for the day but will re-open Saturday.  fünf funk boutik is normally open on Sundays but not Mondays.