The last week of November 2015 held one Vancouver’s highly anticipated annual events: Blanche Macdonald’s grad fashion show. It was standing room only as an excited mix of family, friends, media and industry professionals came to see student collections ranging from ready-to-wear to conceptual work. As always, the show was inspiring.

This year’s theme was “The Places In Between” and the event was held in a brand new location – the truly stunning, historic Permanent Building. The Permanent Building is a converted bank built in 1907 that offers a luxurious ambiance. On entering, guests could see a runway lined with gift bag-adorned chairs. Intriguingly, they led to the bank’s vault. A side stairway led to a second floor loft where attendees were offered refreshments and the all-important table of portfolios. Perusing the grad portfolios can offer great insight to the creative potential of an emerging designer, so it’s a must-see for all media and industry reps.


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Soon it was time for the show to begin. Everyone headed down to take their seats with the feeling of anticipation high. Emerging from the vault, models offered us collection after collection in style. Students shared two to three complete looks from their larger collection. One strength of this grad show was that students were encouraged to find their own design voice, so each collection’s look was unique. Inspiration for the show’s hair and make-up came from David Bowie, vintage tribal photos and 90’s grunge. Hair was styled soft and slightly messy, “too cool to care”. Makeup was daubed on in a striking, unusual kaleidoscope of colours.


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There were many, many stand-out collections offered this evening, making it very difficult to pick just a few to feature here. So be aware, this is only a very small sampling of the incredible talent showcased that evening.


Maryam Niazi


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“The inspiration for my collection has come from sacred geometry, which is said to be the invisible architecture of all creation. Sacred geometry has been related to the galaxy, science, architecture, nature, life, ancient culture and religion. I have taken all of these elements into consideration and found the images that I thought were most interesting. Working around these images, I decided to design my collection by mixing architecture, nature and culture.”


Chloe Prusa


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“I’ve always had a love of French architecture. The Palace of Versailles in particular has been a large inspiration for me. I read a quote online this past year which read, “Be the kind of woman who, when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the Devil says, ‘Oh no, she’s up.’” This is the woman I am designing for. She’s powerful and determined, not afraid to embrace her curves and show off a bit of skin. My clothes are all about embracing the female form and exuding confidence.”


Caitlyn Bellavance


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“The inspiration for my grad collection was the word “fernweh”, which means the longing for somewhere distant. To me, this meant somewhere beyond this world, a mystical alien world. I tried to imagine what the people who inhabited this world might wear, and designed it.”


Joy Nickerson


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“The inspiration for my collection began with quilts from the 1930’s. The patterns of the patchwork and the designs of the fabrics were printed on feed sacks before being made into quilts. I am greatly inspired by clothing that is constructed in complex ways and I wanted to take the patterns of the quilts and shape them around the body without losing their geometric effect. I was also inspired by the texture and stitched details of the quilts, the way they pucker, and the warmth and comfort that comes from wrapping a handmade quilt around your body.”


Asli Katina Bozdag


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“My collection, MAT, was inspired by the nesting dolls known as Matrushka in East Europe and Turkey. I have always wanted to make a collection including cultural and authentic elements, combining them with my personal taste. Being partly Turkish and partly East European, I decided to build this collection on Matrushka dolls, which I have loved of since I was little. I tried to combine soft, curvy, feminine lines with traditional details such as beads and embroidery.”


Asli Katina Bozdag


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“The target market for this collection is the urban independent woman. My inspiration evolved many times over the process from architecture to art to books in general and then to a specific book by Kahlil Gibran called The Prophet. It felt natural to contemplate the deeper matters of life that we all are a part of, such as love and the passing of time, and be moved to a particular silhouette for the body.”


Asli Katina Bozdag


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“The inspiration for my collection originally came from stained glass window used in church. I decided to use the same concept by fusing different coloured glasses to create pieces for my collection, such as the glass bustier.”


Zoe (Jiayi) Han


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“My inspiration is quite abstract. It’s basically from the translation between ink and water. Ink has no shape and I mean to give it an outline.”

Garret Alexander Elphee


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Garret Alexander Elphee had no comment. Photos of his collection can be seen above.

Congrats to the following award winners:

Overall Achievement: Maxine Siperko and Lindsey Kapitzke
Pattern Making: Joy Nickerson and Alsi Katerina Bozdag
Pattern Making Honourable Mention: Maryam Niyazi
Garment Construction: Joy Nickerson
Garment Construction Honourable Mention: Chloe Prusa and Sadife Bakar Carne
Illustration: Sierra Lundy
Design Innovation: Caitlyn Bellavance
Portfolio: Lindsey Kapitzke
Fabric Innovation: Garret Alexander Elphee

Special thanks go to all those who helped create this wonderful show – Program Fashion Director and show Creative Director Tyler Udall, Fashion Department Director Peggy Morrison, Stylist Lacey-June Berry, Key Make-up Artist Tim Hung, Key Hairstylist Lisa Callendar, the team at CurliQue Beauty (CurliQue also provided the gift bags), Emcee Jaylene McRae, DJ Hana Pesut (Sincerely Hana), a dedicated support team of faculty, instructors and students who work tirelessly behind the scenes, and corporate sponsors Make Up For Ever, Oribe, Dermalogica, Embryolisse, Aldo & Aldo Accessories and Town Shoes.

For more information on the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald, visitthissite.