Home     About     Contact     Press     Yellow Skirt     SKETCHES

Friday 27 November 2015

My debut as a fashion show stylist! What they wore.

I styled a fashion show! Can you believe it? At a gala Wednesday night at posh Terminal City Club, Vancouver. The crowd went wild, cheering and applauding. Seriously.  Bwahaha! My Sister's Closet (MSC), a social enterprise run by Battered Women's Support Services, invited me to do the gig as part of BWSS's yearly fundraising gala.

I had a blast and I met the best people you could hope to know. Everyone involved was a volunteer and put out more than 100 percent. I almost burst with happiness at the stellar performance of the show team. You should have seen the models' beaming faces when they came off the runway. If I can dress people to make them that happy, then, hell yeah, my mission has just begun.

Su Bennett and Mel Kobayashi, Terminal City Club, fashion show stylists

Above I am with holy-moly style conspirator Su Bennett, a long-time MSC volunteer and a veteran of MSC fashion shows. I couldn't have done this show without her. She was not only generous with her time, encyclopedic knowledge of clothes, and advice, but she also has a wild style eye; we finish each other's style sentences. Thank you, Su. It's a privilege to know you.

The Clothes
Everything was secondhand from My Sister's Closet stock, which is primarily donated quality mainstream brands and designer labels, what I call "normal" clothing (heh), with enough runaway vintage and oddities to make life interesting. I scout there regularly for far-out pieces.

The Models
There were six models in all shapes, sizes, and ages, most without experience. I tried to dress them as whole people wearing cool clothes, not as clothing displays, keeping in mind the show's theme, Breaking the Stereotypes. Five women, two looks each; one man, three looks. They walked their own walk, oh yes.

I snapped all the photos I could between freaking out and checking on everything. With low light, no flash, and limited time, these are the best I could do. MSC had a photographer who probably captured better shots from the runway.

She was hesitant to wear the left look but loved it most of all in the end. Such a cool woman.

Left: red sleeveless dress with rampant accordion pleats, oversized men's orange Nike workout top, oversized orange knit sweater nipped in at the back with a mitten clip, filmy polka-dot scarf, yarn-worm scarf, beads, cool tie shoes. Right: leopard print stretch pants, leopard print sweater, inside-out jacket, leopard print scarf, green faux-leather cargo bag, studded belt, brown leather booties, Stella's own ring.

I wanted ultra-wide hair so there was lots of spraying and teasing. I even requested that the hairstylist put little pony tails on the sides of her head for extra pouf. You know me: when I say big, I mean BIG.

Imreet, model at Breaking the Silos fashion show of My Sister's Closet

Left: halter top chiffon maxi dress, midi embroidered Moroccan vest, jewel-toned sparkly vest, black designer silky jacket with thready bits, felt hat, bangles, black cowboy boots. (The sparkly vest was supposed to be worn over the coat. I knew something looked a bit too normal. I kick myself! Lesson learned.) Right: cashmere blend red/black track suit, over-the-knee heeled boots, ultra-wide burgundy faux fur collar carried as a bold swingy accent.

Two days before the show we were told that the hairstylists couldn't come!? Panicking that I'd have to do hair, I went to Dollarama and bought two large glittery bell-shaped Christmas ornaments. One of them is buried in Angel's towering hair below. In the end we were lucky to get some awesome hair specialists, but the bells gave us shortcut lift-off. My hair concept was Dr. Seuss with a fashiony edge.

Angel, model at Breaking the Silos fashion show of My Sister's Closet

Left: purple pencil skirt with front zipper pocket, men's checked button down, men's tie, patterned tank top, glasses on a blue chain, briefcase, and Angel's own charcoal tights and black boots. Right: red/black/white handkerchief-hem tunic, black leggings with faux-leather diamond pattern on the sides, black sparkly flats, red heart pendant. Angel made the gorgeous earrings and sells her jewellery at MSC.

I love how the woman with the pink in her hair is also the one in the most tailored outfit. But how she can rock a mini-dress too. WOW! Wish I had better pics.

Lynn, model at Breaking the Silos fashion show of My Sister's Closet

Left: Prada sleeveless front-zip dress, designer zip jacket with sticky-out shoulder detail, jewels, black pumps. Right: mini red tank dress with keyhole back, fuchsia cami peeking out around the neck, red nubbly-fabric designer coat, big round red dangly earrings, opaque very purple tights, black booties, silver twisty bracelet. 

When Marc came for his fitting he pointed at the faux fur coat on the rack, broke into a grin, and said, "I could rock that!" And did he ever. Love this guy!

Marc, model at Breaking the Silos fashion show of My Sister's Closet

Left: women's oversized pants held up with unisuspender, men's velour snake-print button-down, women's black faux fur coat, big honkin' pendant, bracelets, and Marc's own red and black striped socks and tie boots. Right: women's midi tartan skirt hacked to knee length (Su customized it with an uneven thready hem and fantastic hangy swishy bits), women's designer drop-crotch knit track pants, men's vertical-striped brown vest, white button down, men's tweedy patterned jacket, red bow tie, leather/cotton super-wide belt. There was no time to turn up the cuffs. Another lesson learned...

Marc had a third look too - a Christian Dior suit. I didn't get a passable photo - the change was too quick.

Florinda also had tower hair. You could see bits of gold bell glittering inside. Very cool effect. Too bad she didn't ding. Heh. Florinda has more photos of the event on her Facebook here, where you'll see she is a real pageant queen.

Florinda, model at Breaking the Silos fashion show of My Sister's Closet

Left: men's hugely oversized jeans cinched with a men's tie, men's flannel shirt tied at the front, men's sweater as scarf, striped socks, insanely high platform Melissa sandals with tassels and psychedelic colours on the heels. Right: fitted coat with embroidery details, intertwined scarves, black shiny boots.


Samantha Kearney, Tracy Richardson, Mel Kobayashi at Breaking the Silos fashion show of My Sister's Closet

Left: Samantha, Manager of thrift boutique My Sister's Closet - she is the woman who initially invited me to guest-style the show. I thank her and BWSS from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity. Middle: Tracy Richardson, Professional Stylist and Consultant - she has decades of experience styling celebrities for TV and film. She oversaw the fabulous hair/makeup team of Susanna and Jennifer, and Sarah on makeup. And then yours truly. 

[Edit: Gaaa, I forgot to mention Dianna Drahanchuk, a pro in the fashion business and another volunteer at MSC, who provided invaluable support getting the models prepped for their walk on site. Given her experience, her presence alone was a huge comfort!]

The obligatory bathroom selfie taken at Terminal City Club.

Mel Kobayashi, bathroom selfie at Terminal City Club

While I planned to wear a gown to go on stage, I didn't have time to change and went out in my working clothes: vintage top made in Hong Kong, stretch flower bell bottoms, and platform farked boots - my lucky boots, also shown here. Full outfit seen on Florinda's Facebook here. Later I changed into my backup gown below. The first one disintegrated. Heh.

Melanie Kobayashi, Paul Stanley dress, Bag and a Beret

The Pose. Pao of projectminima gave me this vintage dress by Paul Stanley of New York, not the KISS Paul Stanley, heh, although I almost met him once when I was wearing my rockstar pants. This is a dress her mother used to wear, and although she has passed over, her style keeps on going. You may have seen this dress before - I have worn it as daywear here and here. Thank you, Pao!

So that's where my head has been at lately. It's been a whirlwind week for me. Thanks, everyone, for the help. And thanks to my friends for your support. You are all stellar. Hurrah!

Time for a nap. And chips, and chocolate. And black and white movies. And grand sighs of contentment. A cat would make it complete but I don't have one. 

How has your week been?

EDIT: I also linked my Instagram photo of this gala dress to Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike Christmas Party Dress linkup on her blog Not Dressed as Lamb


  1. I'm trying to think of the bestest single word... and the only thing coming to mind at the moment is "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"

    You really killed it Melanie. The models look freakin' fantastic. Su is a cutey too!

    ...well, now the post-euphoria phase. Napping and chips and chocolate sound just right.

  2. oh, oH, OH! WOW, man. So cool, you have made it happen for everyone. Dressed by Melanie, I mean Styled by Melanie. Why hasn't that happened before?! That's what coulda happened at the blogger meet-up - the opportunity to be styled by Mel from the grab bag of stuff we all brought. Anyway, everyone looks fabulous. Is there a video coming out soon? ahhh, and the Spider Woman dress too. sweet. Can't wait to see what comes up for you next. After the chocolate, cat, nap...

  3. OMG, what amazing looks you created!! And the hair...totally farking inspired! I'm in absolute awe.

  4. You are just AWESOME! The only surprise is that no one has asked you to style a fashion show until now. Amazing looks, but you in the long, lean Paul Stanley dress really wins!

  5. Oh Melanie. I am so happy that your talents have finally been discovered by the big shots. Schtardom is just steps away. I can feel it. I think it would be absolutely wonderful to be styled by you. I am getting in line, please. And you in your long lean Pao Momma dress!!! Chic X 100. Love the obligatory bathroom selfie.

  6. Wow Mel, you found a new calling. Absolutely amazing! Your looks are so creative and stunning. Of course you looked fabulous too. I hope you get to do this a lot more so you can get those creative juices flowing and others can profit from them too!

  7. AMAZING!!!

    You and Su nailed it!

    Every outfit was a piece of art. So many layers and details! I especially love the one with the oversized men's jeans cuffed with the striped socks, high heels, tie belt and sweater worn as a scarf. Brilliant!

    I love how you mixed women's clothing on the men and men's clothing on the women.

    Your signature is on each one of these looks.

    Bravo lady! Bravo!


  8. Fabulous! Amazing! Incredible! And every other superlative one can think of! You done good, Melanie. Of course now you probably have a permanent yearly job, right?

  9. standing ovations!!!
    what fun, so cool, I love it, you all look beautiful!
    x Stefanie

  10. Ooh I've been awaiting this post with bated breath! Wonderful stuff! All round ACE! You rock! You could style your way out of a chain store! You could style yourself out of an medical bandages supply store! You're amazing!

  11. What a great event! And you styled it very trendy. So you see that second hand clothing can be really on trend when stylingbit correctly.

  12. Amazing!!! Totally awesome what you did. You are the queen of style and I bet you had the best fun doing this. Hope you get to do this again and again and again!!! Well done.

  13. The models all looked great! I hope you get more opportunities to be a stylist - you're great at it.

  14. WOW! I see your gifted touch in each outfit, including the faboo hairstyles! And from a wonderful store and for a good cause. I think you have won the lottery, and they were lucky to nab you as well. Brava, xox


  15. wowwouuuu such a magnificent event (supporting a good cause!) and you've rocked as a stylist!!, fabulousness!! and everybody looked so awesome and damn cool!, I would love to be dressed by you!, yes!! amazing!!
    Obviously, you're gorgeous and absolutely lovely!!
    besos & enthusiasm!!

  16. Congratulations, Melanie, on a job well done. So creative. Every outfit is a work of art and an inspiration to all women--all ages--all body types. Fashion should be joyous and fun (and not expensive). Wish I could have been there. Maybe next year???? Vancouver's not that far away.

  17. WOW!!!!!!!! You did a really good job. How nice to see a man in the mix.

  18. Oh Mel, you did such an amazing job styling the outfits!! You've definitely got a talent for this. I love the orange and red one with the yarn-worm scarf. Marc is adorable - I don't suppose he's single and straight by any chance ;)

    The dress formerly belonging to Pao's Mom is one of my favourites and she would be thrilled to see you rocking it, I'm sure.

  19. You are just a sensation!!! You styled them beautifully and I love that they emulate your brilliant style! The hair idea is so cool. Wish I could be styled by you!! Well done my lovely! Plus, you have giraffe-height in that Amazing dress!!!xxx

  20. You can borrow my cat. : )

    Wow, such awesome looks - you're so creative and these are inspired! I wish I could have been there! I'm just boggled by how awesome every single outfit is! Well done, Mel!

  21. I believe ,of course, this is very good idea . You are in THIS place. :) Good luck.

  22. Congrats - super cool! Looks like everyone had a great time too AND your hair looked awesome!

  23. congrats!!! fabulous job!
    and i love both outfits - the "suit" and the dress! so many gorgeous patterns!!!

  24. Absolute TRIUMPH.
    How splendid everyone looks.
    Grinning at the wonderful layering and colour styling.
    You are going to be SO in demand for this kind of thing.
    Thank you so much for sharing xx

  25. I knew it, I knew it.... you are a real stylist. Oh I wish you were not only my friend but also my neighbour. These models look so darned good. You have had so many perfect ideas. (Must do the tie as belt thing.).
    I applaud you. And you know, us Dutchies do not flatter. We are honest, whether you like it or not. I hope you will continue doing this. It obviously brings you joy too.
    Great insight of MSC. They spotted your talent.

  26. It must have been such a buzz to watch these guys strutt their stuff and be part of something so positive. Wonderful. Great photos, great women and man (didn't he look fab?) and great styling. Thanks for sharing.
    Anna's Island Style

  27. Absolutely frigging amazing, Melanie!!! You need to do this more often (ha, that's easy for me to say, huh!?)
    You can style me anytime!

  28. Congratulations, your.models all look simply amazing . Your creative touch evident in every outfit. Looking simply stunning in the wonderful long gown. Enjoy your chill out time.

  29. Great job!
    I was in awe of your ensembles.
    Bold and fabulous.
    I have to say that you came up trumps in the Model department!!
    Personality and interest by the bucketload.
    No drab and boring vibes to battle with....these look like people who are up for fun!
    Lynn and Stella stole the show for me.....and Marc! But, where is his sporen?? :oP
    Fake Fabulous

  30. Yay! Glad it went well.
    That dress you're wearing is an absolute stunner, one of the loveliest things ever to grace your banging bod.
    I could stare at Imreet all day, what a beautiful woman and I'd kill for Florinda's big hair! xxx

  31. I love all the models ... what an amazingly diverse group! And of course your styling was fantastic, as I knew it would be. Congratulations to all! God, when I finally get a few CPP cheques saved up, I have to come to Vancouver and shop at MSC. Maybe you could 'style' me, Melanie ... I need help. :)

  32. Great styling (of course) on both you and the models!

  33. Your outrageous talent leaps of the screen in these photos! Who wouldn't want to be styled by you??? Do I sense a new artistic channel? But then, you shine no matter what you choose to do.

    You have given Pao's mother's maxi a new and vibrant life! So very beautiful!

  34. Yaaay! Holy sh*t, this is super awesome, dude. <3 You look amaaazing! Congrats, again! <3

    - Anna

  35. What a fabulous event to be part of. A good cause with a hefty dollop of FUN! Your floor length dress is just to die for with that Victoriana style velvet bow (another swoon).
    I love all the detail and little touches in each outfit but Mark - yes, that made me smile when he said he could rock the coat - and by golly he does!

  36. Fantastic! Love all the looks - they're all very you!
    HAppy to see that you've had an amazing time :)

  37. I loved all the looks =O So unique!
    And you looked amazing too ;)

  38. Absolutely fantastic, Melanie - true art! I am especially impressed with your ideas to incorporate hairstyle into each individual outfit - hair as a part of the whole sculpture, amazing! I hope your models appreciated your work, I'd feel so incredibly honored if you styled me your way. You are such a unique talent. I am wishing you many fun gigs in the very near future!

  39. Marc is a god. The as-is cuffs are a huge bit of fabulous and I feel the need to wear knee-hi's and using them as an extra handbag to stash stuff in. You're a bloody marvel you is. xxxxxxxxx

  40. Marc looks awesome!
    (The other models do too, and you too, as usual)

    I bought styrofoam balls to create big hair, but your xmas bells sound like an even better idea!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...