Drafted By: Marilyn R. Wilson

Images Courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

The annual Blanche Macdonald Grad Show is a must see for all in Vancouver interested in fashion. In addition to looks that could walk off the runway and right into stores, the school’s students are also known for creative, innovative ideas that push the envelop. These looks offer us a glimpse into the possibilities of where fashion may be headed in the future.  This year’s show – titled Wandering Stars – was held on Tuesday, November 25th, and it definitely had the wow factor! 

For the last several seasons, Blanche Macdonald has presented smaller, more intimate shows at their downtown campus with reception held in the fashionable CurliQue Beauty Boutique on the main floor and and runway show/portfolio presentation offered upstairs in their classy second floor Atelier space. This year they chose to return a large, spacious venue offering one grand show including all graduating students.  Beautiful St. Andrew’s Wesley Church on the corner of Nelson and Burrard was the location and although the evening was a wet one, the show still had a packed house.


Images Courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

The entry way of the church held the excited crowd until the doors opened. It was here everyone circulated to connect with friends and industry acquaintances.  Beverages were offered on silver trays as you entered and sweet treats were artistically arranged on tables adorned with white table clothes. Talking, sipping and nibbling kept everyone entertained as we waited for the doors to open.


Images Courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

Off to the right, there was a side room offering a table full of design student portfolios. If you’ve never had a look at a student portfolio, I highly suggest you make time at the next show. Here you see their creativity without adornment. No sewing skills or fabrics to distract. There are also technical sections included for industry reps looking to hire. 


Images Courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

Personally, looking at the fashion illustrations is a priority for me as the style of the drawings alone offer a feel for their aesthetic. Illustrations give you a look at where these students will be in as they mature as designers. As well, these drawings offer the student’s potential from an artistic angle, and let’s face it –  fashion design at it highest level truly is art.  There were many stand-outs in this group – a few with illustration styles I had not seen before.


Images Courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

Our emcee this evening was the lovely Jaylene McRae, CurliQue Q Talent Leader and Blanche Macdonald Makeup graduate.  She has handled this role for several seasons and is always a delight. 30 students offered their work this evening showing anywhere from one to three looks each.  The evening opened with two strong, interesting collections featuring black/white colour blocking and an crackle effect by Maegan Lyons and Shin-Yi Chi. The show ended with another set of strong designers showcasing looks including a sculptural green/teal gown by YiYan (Ella) Zhu and a hi-tech dress by Jiayun Wang. 


Images Courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

 In between were a wide range of collections from menswear, to short sets to structural, wearable pieces out of neoprene. In addition to the designers mentioned above, a few other stand-outs for me were: a white collection by Liis Sober, an interesting mix of fabric and wool felting by Marissa Campbell, a structural black/white coat by Dream Zhang, a short dress offering an interesting combination of fabrics and colours by Aila Crowther-Hayward and a pair of detailed skinny pants I would die to own by Chantel Lafreniere.


Images Courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

There were nine award winners chosen this season for their exceptional work.  Overall Achievement – Liis Sober and Daria Volokhova. Overall Achievement (Honourable Mention) – Elya Postma. Achievement in Pattern Making – Shin-Yi Chi and Joanna Pang. Achievement in Garment Construction – Joanna Pang. Achievement in Illustration – Marissa Campbell. Portfolio Presentation – Kathryn Brown. Design Innovation – Tia Zhen.  Congrats to each of these award winners.


Images Courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

Special thanks this evening go to the show’s amazing sponsors that helped make it all possible – Make Up For Ever, Oribe, Dermalogica, Aldo Shoes and Accessories, Town Shoes, Embryolisse and Linacare.  Goody bags were provided by CurliQue Beauty Boutique.


Images Courtesy of Peter Jensen Photography

For more information on the Fashion Design Program at Blanche Macdonald go to  www.blanchemacdonald.com/Fashion.


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