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Sunday 5 May 2019

Bespoke Adventure, Part 2 of 3

For background on this post and the overall fashion project, please scroll to the bottom or go to the previous post HERE.

This is the second of three bespoke outfits that Vancouver Community College's (VCC) Fashion Design & Production Diploma program students made for me under the direction of their instructor and prominent designer, Jason Matlo @jasonmatlo. This team was comprised of:

OUTFIT 2 - Spacewalker with Flower

Have any of you seen that movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers starring Donald Sutherland, 1978? In it, aliens terminate humans when they sleep and then grow replicants that don't have emotions in giants flower pods. Look at that flower again! Heh. And I like it! Although I am not devoid of emotion.

Below is the sketch that the team presented during my first classroom visit of three. They also wowed me with a fabric swatch of that stretchy pearlescent vinyl.

The things I loved about this outfit:
  • huuuumongous flower!
  • iridescent stretchy vinyl
  • powerful simplicity
  • enormous padded shoulders
  • overall space/retro/rockstar vibe
This design superbly incorporated the Tildon Swinton and David Bowie sense that were part of my mood board. While I am easily seduced by loud patterns and colours, this piece hooked me with its intense simplicity accented with the outrageous whimsical flower. I kept thinking about this outfit long after after I left the classroom.

sketch and photo by Armita Azadmanesh
I love how Armita perfectly captured the iridescence of the fabric in her sketch.  

One thing that concerned me about this initial design was how body con this dress is. The stretchy vinyl was very thin, and I was nervous to have that much cling over that much body, even with the lining they had planned, even with secret underthings! After a bit of back and forth, the team proposed a top and pants instead; problem averted! 

I was still excited about the overall outfit and happy that the signature elements would be included in the new design. Below, Armita at work.

Victoria Stephenson left and Kiera West. The big flower is made of vinyl and it has two pin closures on the back for security. Those are the blue pants that go with this outfit.

Below, the top without the turtle on the neck. Note those gigantic shoulder pads. Seriously huge. I love how the armhole goes in a bit and then flares wide at the top. (That's the dress from Outfit 1 hanging in the background.)

photo by Armita Azadmanesh
Kiera and Jason Matlo pressing the pants for the final fitting.

Getting the length just right.

Standing at the thread wall during the final fitting. 

Done! I regret that I don't have a photo of the toile of the pants, which was made of the same blue/yellow plaid used for the coat in Outfit 1. Oh well. 

And time for my street shoot. I was already feeling the space/rockstar/Swinton/Bowie vibe, and then Jason casually mentioned Kathryn Hepburn with her wide-shoulder, high-waist pants look. Yes! Absolutely. All my favourite things in one outfit.

Yeah, the honkin' sunglasses again. They feel spacey. 

I love this red wall. If I had a personal assistant, s/he would have unbunched that top for me. 

I had to pin the flower on myself for this shoot and I didn't do as good a job as the students did in the classroom. I think I've got the hang of it now - after I finished this shoot. Pffft. You can just make out the bright turquoise eye shadow I wore under my brows.

The clean lines of this ensemble were a sharp contrast with the outfits by the other two teams. The range and effectiveness of imagination during this project was stellar. 

And below, the real stars of this show, left to right: Armita Azadmanesh, Victoria Stephenson @victoria_stephenson, and Kiera West @kierawest. It was a such a pleasure to work with these talented designers! And my thanks to them for sending me some photos of this outfit behind the scenes.


In January I received an email with this as the subject: VCC Fashion wants to dress you. Oh!

It was from Sarah Murray, the Co-Program Coordinator of Vancouver Community College's (VCC) Fashion Design & Production Diploma program. In essence, she wanted to know if I would like their students to make me some bespoke clothing in exchange for taking part in the process and posting about it. Umm, let me think... Hahaha!

As a first step, I spoke with Jason Matlo, the class instructor and a prominent Vancouver-based designer, to form an initial mood board. He divided the class, who were in "cycle 4" of their program, into three teams of three, and based on the mood board, my Instagram, and a budget, each team had to create an original design that resonates with my personality.

These students had only made a tote bag, a T-shirt, and a draped top during their first six weeks of school. I was curious, perhaps slightly worried, about what they would come up with. Well, they blew me away with their creativity, technical skills, adaptability, and hard work. Incredible, as you'll see. 

For my part, I made three classroom visits over a month as follows:

Visit 1: Consultation and measurements. Each team described its design concept and vision through sketches and fabric swatches. Jason and I joined the discussion to fine-tune the design to my taste, if required. This was an exhilarating process.

Visit 2: First fitting of the pieces, in some cases with a toile made of less expensive fabric as a tester.

Visit 3: Final fitting. The finished pieces were ready for pickup in mid-April.

These three posts show you the work that the students created. Be prepared!


Vancouver Community College's Fashion Design and Production diploma gives students an immersive experience in the fashion world.  You can read more about HERE. Their campus is in the heart of Vancouver, just a couple of blocks from our city's top fabric stores. It was a joy to meet the faculty working in the program and get an insider's view of their studio/work space. Student designs are regularly showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week. 


  1. Another stunning look that says MEL from start to finish! πŸ’•Yes, it's a conglomeration of David Bowie, Tilda Swinton, Katherine Hepburn, but it is totally, completely MEL! One day, if they're not already, fashionistas will be saying their inspiration came from you! And in fact...I can say that already! Just you wait until I finish that jumpsuit I'm working on. πŸ’•


  2. The iridescent of the vinyl top is perfect with the periwinkle blue of those pants. I'll bet the top soul go well with neon colors too!
    Love, Jude

  3. That is one honkin' giant feck-off flower (as Sarah Misfit would say)! I like the iridescence of the top; I'm curious as to how the dress would have looked in that fabric. I think you could have worn it beautifully.

  4. Mel, what happened? I am sure I commented on this post. Have you got a tech glitch? Or am I slowly losing my mind?


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