Article by Marilyn R. Wilson

Images by Cyrus Wu

The Art Institute of Vancouver’s Atelier 2015 – an annual fashion show where student designers showcase their grad collections – was held on March 24th at their beautiful Renfrew Campus.  While the main focus of the evening was fashion, the school chose this year to expand the concept to include talented students from their culinary, marketing and film departments – offering a truly unique interdisciplinary experience.

Holding the show on-site is a change from previous season’s large theatre venues. The beauty of holding Atelier 2015 in this smaller, more intimate setting is that the long, winding runway was lined with only a single row of chairs on each side. This meant every single person in attendance had a fabulous, up close view.  You could literally reach out and touch the garments.

On arrival, guests were met by a red carpet adorned with a stunning white Rolls Royce. Smiling photographers were on hand to snap your photo.  Just inside the door, the school’s art gallery hosted a pre-show reception featuring tasty treats created by the culinary students. Upstairs was a separate VIP reception that also offered tasty bites as well as wine tasting and a S’mores Bar.

Soon it was time to take our seats. The Atelier 2015 program incorporated this evening’s theme by pairing each designer’s editorial image with a beautifully photographed culinary offering. Then the show began. From opening designer Suman Faulkner’s South Asian fusion-inspired dress to closing designer Zong Peng’s colourful conceptual garments, the appreciative audience was kept on the edge of their seats.

While the designers are challenged to create a 30-piece collection for their portfolios, they only present three completed looks on the runway. It’s always interesting to see which they chose to represent their design work. Models with beautiful hair, make-up and styling offered us men’s and women’s wear for many markets – casual, work, luxury and bridal – theatrical costuming and avant garde.

Interspersed throughout the show were several interesting fashion films. These shorts were the product of a creative collaboration between the school’s film and fashion marketing students. With 22 collections being offered, the films offered us much needed breaks to clear our minds so we could have a refreshed focus to welcome the next looks.

The evening’s finale offered larger collections by two very special students – Jamaree Eiammanassakul and Zong Peng. These two talented fashion design graduates recently returned from showing on the runway at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. We were treated to all looks from both six look collections. What a great way to wrap up Atelier 2015.

The evening ended with the announcement of this year’s award winners. Special congrats to Suman Faulkner (Excellence in Execution), Jamaree Eiammanassakul (Most Marketable Collection) and Zong Peng (Most Outstanding Collection). And kudos to all staff and students who worked hard to make this evening such great success.

For information on the programs offered at The Art Institute of Vancouver, please visit their website at http://artinstitutes.edu/vancouver.