Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Day 3 : Mercedes-Benz STYLO Asia Fashion Week 2014 (Backstage)

Hi all!
This is the final post of my backstage experience in the Mercedes-Benz STYLO Asia Fashion Week 2014!

If you have missed out the entries of the previous days, here are the links :

Day 3 – Fashion Show + Awards Night (22 Oct 2014)

Today was the last day of the fashion week. The show ran the whole day but my duty only started 4PM onwards. This time, I also got to be in a proper backstage rather than like Day 1 with a super small room, limited designs, and models. There were also a lot more volunteers today and some of them were from Raffles as well.

Before the next show at 6PM, Jimmy brought his 2 assistants and I to tour around some of the booths in the exhibition hall. Basically, the designers who showcased their collections on the runway also rented booths so that potential customers who watched the shows can make purchase. There were other booths selling random things such as soaps and uniforms as well.
(Errrr... Okayyyy....)

^ Designers' booth in the exhibition hall
(I think it looks really sad. Not sure if this is the common standard though.)

^ Min Khant's booth in the exhibition hall (the designer is the guy on the left)
(ps, I met him during the fitting and he's a really nice person!)

There were 2 runways, located side-by-side so that the shows can run continuously.

For the closing ceremony, the partition was removed and the runways were combined, forming a "U" shaped runway.

(Can you picture it? Don't worry, I drew a diagram below.)

^ Runway 1 (left)
(I think this was a sadder-looking one. LOL)

^ Runway 2 (right)
(The fancier one, complete with elevated stage and chandeliers.)

^ The runway arrangement for the closing ceremony. 
(ps, it was SOMETHING like that, I drew this from memory)
(pss, please take note of the purple 'X', I'll explain what's that later)

Similar to Day 1, my duty for the day was to ensure the models walk the runway on time by helping them to dress up etc.

^ Backstage
(Yup, quite sempit punya, but it was quite long, like 3 times longer than shown in this picture)

^ Backstage with Melinda Looi

These are some of my favourite designs of the night : 
Pleatations (Singapore)
^ This is Lais, the one who strutted topless during the fitting (Day 2) with the same skirt. LOL

^ Her tattoo definitely completed the outfit!

^ Designs by Pleatations
(Sorry about the bras in the background. LOL)

Avel Macudio (Phillipines)
(He was the winner of Asia's Most Influential Designer in 2013)
^ Designs by Avel Macudio 
(Sorry about the hand. LOL)

Designs by Avel Macudio
(Photo from Demotix.com)

An interesting show for the night was the avant-garde collection. Avant-garde collection are experimental or innovative works. The pieces were made with unconventional materials such as egg container, soft paper-like material as well as soft polystyrene-like material (I'm sorry, I really don't know what were the materials exactly, I'm not that experienced yet you see. LOL). To create an ombre effect, black spray paints were used.

^ Some of the avant-garde pieces

^ Qianghui in one of the avant-garde pieces

^ Alina having fun with another model inside the avant-garde piece. 
Can you spot the eyes? LOL

  The designers used clogs as shoes. Usually clogs come with red handles so they sprayed the front half black. However, clogs are free-size and the models were not able to walk properly in them so we used cable ties to make additional handles. This is avant-garde, afterall! 

^ Clogs

^ Our improvised version

Lais' avant-garde outfit was a giant umbrella with black top and leggings. She was too tired from holding onto it while waiting for the show to start so she asked me to help share the weight by carrying it with her. While we were under the umbrella, she shared stories of her modelling career which has just started a year ago. She enjoyed being a model because it enabled her to travel around the world. Before Malaysia, she was in Beijing, China and one of her biggest challenge there was the language as people there barely spoke any English and she admits she's talkative. She was pleasantly surprised that almost all Malaysians can speak English. I could see the sparkles in her eyes and how passionate she was while telling her modelling stories. 
Now you know why she was my favourite (Not just because she strutted topless OK. LOL)

^ Lais with her avant-garde umbrella

As shared previously, backstage helpers do not get the chance to watch the show at the front at all. However, I got to see Dato’ Jimmy Choo giving out some awards that night because I was waiting for the models who wore the avant-garde collection to walk the runway. 

^ Spot Dato' Jimmy Choo

As some of the avant-garde pieces were too huge and the models were unable to see properly while climbing up and down the stairs, a few people and I were sent out to help them with that. Yes, I was basically at the side of the runway holding the models' hands in the middle of the show (I was standing at the purple 'X' in the diagram earlier). Sedikit malu but we wouldn't want the models to fall down the stairs, that would be worse.

^ As you can see, some of them really can't view the bottom of their legs
(Photo from Demotix.com)

The fashion week ended with the announcement and final walk on the runway with the winning designs. The winners of the Mercedes-Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week 2014 were :
  • Albert Andrada (Phillipines) : Asia's Most Connected Designer (He's my favourite! I've mentioned it in Day 2)
  • Joe Chia (Malaysia) : Asia's Most Influential Designer
  • Chun Ting Liu (Taiwan) : Asia's Most Promising Designer

^ The winners of the night
(Photo from Demotix.com)

We packed up and found many clothing left behind by designers and models. As much as we wished we can keep them (the designers’ pieces I mean), they are to be stored at Stylo’s office until the rightful owner comes forward. 

But I get to keep the remaining of the avant-garde fabric!

^ I'm sure I will find some use for this eventually. LOL

We finally left the place at about 11:30PM. It was raining and my car was at the open carpark. I don't usually do this but somehow I brought my foldable umbrella (it was usually in my 'school bag'). On my walk back, I can't help but to feel how incredibly blessed I am with everything. :')

^ No naked models for you but got naked mannequins. LOL

Elaine New

Monday, 29 December 2014

Day 2 : Mercedes-Benz STYLO Asia Fashion Week 2014 (Backstage)

Hi all! 
I hope you have enjoyed reading Day 1 of my backstage experience!
Here's the link if you haven't read it yet : Day 1

Day 2 – Fittings (19 Oct 2014)

With only 5 and a half hour of sleep, here comes Day 2 at Menara Matrade. 

Today, you will get to see more pictures because I a bit more kam cheng with the backstage manager already and I've asked his permission if I can take some pictures and post online. He said OK, as long as no nude photos of the models.
(Sorry, guys. LOL)
 Also, I only dared to ask when it was quite late already so yea... Don't get your hopes up. LOL

^ This is Menara Matrade. I'm pretty sure you've seen this building before but never knew its name! It's nearby Publika.

We have to be there at 8:30AM. NOBODY from my class turned up but some seniors from INTI were around today though. 

The doors to the hall were still locked because the person-in-charge for the building was still sleeping (Probably because it was a Sunday but seriously??). Maryam was pissed because most models and some designers have arrived and it was very unprofessional to keep them waiting and some even sat down on the floor. Eventually, some security personnel eventually came up and unlocked the door at around 9:30AM (Finallyyyyyy).

My duty for the day was to ensure the designers have their models fitted, confirm the sequence of the garments for each show, note down any special requests such as what shoes to be brought by models for the fashion show the following days (Yes, most models are required to bring their own shoes for fashion shows, mostly basic styles such as black or nude pumps, because most designers only designed clothes), and other ad-hoc requests.  I was so glad to be given this role (I'm the only one BTW. *super happy*) because I got to see and even touch the garments first-hand, talk to the designers, and witnessed how they arranged the sequence for the show.

^ Shoes by Albert Andrada

It was a more relaxed day as each designer was allocated about 30 minutes for fitting. Some models didn’t turn up because they were booked for other events. Another thing I’ve learnt was that the comp cards for models (basically a paper containing the models' measurements) were not always accurate because they were not updated regularly. Therefore, some designers have trouble fitting models into their pants.  

^ Fitting session

Highlight of the day was when a model named Lais (she's my favourite) decided to strut topless with a long pleated skirt by Pleatation (Singapore) and joked about how she will finally get to be married with a rich Dato’ if she did it like that on the runway. 
(ps, you will get to see her picture on Day 3!)

My favourite designer throughout the fitting was Albert Andrada from Philippines (All the photos here are from his collection). He used pastel colours, drapes, sheer and flowy fabrics, which created an ethereal collection. 

^ Cassandra posing in Albert Andrada's design

^ Kateryna and Ekaterina in Albert Andrada's design
(Urgh, aren't they pretty?? I love love love both the models and their outfits!)

^ Tanya in Albert Andrada's design for the Gala Night

Most designers just took picture of the models wearing the garments and then forgot the models’ names. I had to ask for Maroush, the person-in-charge for the models for help to identify the models' names for the runway sequence. However, Albert Andrada’s team was the smartest one because they wrote the models’ names on a piece of paper and then asked the models to hold it while they took picture of them with the garment.

^ Yup, just like a mugshot. LOL 
This was Robert Downey Jr., arrested for dug possession many years ago, for real. 

We ended earlier than expected at about 6:30PM. YAY!

(Day 3 to be continued)

Sunday, 28 December 2014

My 1st Backstage Experience - Day 1 : Mercedes-Benz STYLO Asia Fashion Week 2014

I had a subject called 'Introduction to Fashion Design' last semester and one of the assignments was to keep this thing called a 'Personal Journal' where I can write / sketch any crap I want related to fashion design. This was one of my favourite entry in my journal which was my 1st backstage experience!

^ I made the entire cover!
ps, I accidentally tore the bottom left frame and used another pink paper to cover that shit. LOL

Due to my OCD-ness, I have actually typed everything out in Powerpoint before I started writing on the book. So, I can spare you from reading from my scribbles. LOL

I have edited some parts here and made it a lot less formal because this blog is not an assignment. LOL


The Mercedes Benz STYLO Asia Fashion Week is the first ever Asia wide collaboration of top emerging designers in the one media event, taking place once a year in each Asian host city. The event is a collaboration of 12 official fashion associations across Asia, with the likes of China, Korea, Japan, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam, showcasing their best designers in one central location. 
(I copied the paragraph above from here : http://mbstyloafw.com/about/)

To summarize, it's basically quite a big deal of a fashion show. If you have watched Project Runway or followed the fashion news, you would know that Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York is a big thing and this is the Asia's version.

Thanks to arrangements by INTI and one of our lecturers, Ms. Laura, I have had the privilege to join this event as a backstage volunteer (means I don't get paid at all *sobs*). The fashion week actually ran from 17th to 22nd October 2014 but due to assignments etc., I joined for only 3 days. I chose the Opening Bash (18th), Fitting (19th), & Closing (22nd) so that I can see the entire process of the fashion week. 


Day 1 – Opening Bash (18 Oct 2014)

The opening bash was held in Sultan Lounge, Mandarin Oriental Hotel. 
A handful of people in my class actually signed up for this but in the end, only 2 turned up (surprise, surprise) - Lily and I. Upon our arrival at 7PM, we met Maryam, the volunteer recruiter, and was passed to Jimmy, the backstage manager.

Disclaimer : Due to this is my 1st time in the backstage, I takut nak ambik gambar so please don't expect much. LOL

^ Casbah, a bar area which is connected to the Sultan Lounge. This was basically the backstage. 

^ My first backstage pass!

Our 1st task was to steam iron some clothing. Both of us did not know how... HAHAHAHA! Yes, I do not know how to iron clothes because I'm a spoilt child. (I love you, mom!)
Anyway, no choice so I have to simply be honest and ask for guidance. Honestly, I was expecting some rolling eyeballs but Jimmy patiently taught us how. When we were ironing a blazer by Bon Zainal, the designer himself saw us doing it wrongly at the sleeves part and taught us how. He was very nice and patient as well. (Where's all the bitchy people you see in reality TV?!)

There were 18 looks to be shown that night, 3 looks each from 6 designers. However, there were only 12 models (FYI, it's a normal thing to repeat models for the same show). We get to see how the models were arranged – who wear what, sequence, who has to repeat garment, and more.

^ Finale rehearsal

There were some fittings issues due to some shorts and pants were too tight and a dress was too short but the models would just have to squeeze themselves in those tight shorts and wear leggings for the short dress. (Yes, not just us mortal beings have problems with our tight pants. The short dress would have fitted average people in the correct length though.)

Then, the make up artists and hair stylists worked on the models’ hair. There was a slight drama whereby all models had their make up on except 1, Alina, because one of the make up artist, let’s just call her ABC, thought she wasn’t a model. Alina started questioning ABC things like, “Do I not look like a model? Is there something wrong with my face?” and proceeded to scold things in Russian to her other model friends. Meanwhile, ABC spoke in Mandarin to her other make up artists and put on make up for Alina.  

The event was supposed to start at 10PM but we waited until about 10:30PM for more guests to arrive (Malaysian's timing?). Apparently, it is a norm for an event to start late but not for an event to be scheduled this late at night. While waiting, we sat down with some of the Russian models and one of them had trouble with slippery heels. A simple trick that they did was to stick some adhesive tape with a more rough surface on the base to provide a better grip (Mindblasted! I can't believe that I've never thought of this!).

^ Photo from xojane.com

The models were only asked to start dressing about 15 minutes before the show starts. I assume it was to prevent wrinkles on the garments as the models were not seen to be seated down anymore after they’re dressed. Our role was also to help the models to dress and undress throughout the fashion show. (Yes, we managed to see many half-naked girl models with perfect bums that night.)

Working on backstage really mean you will be on the backstage only. We did not manage to see the runway show AT ALL because we were busy helping the models.

All the photos below were taken from smallnhot.com.

^ One of my favourites of the night by Khoon Hooi

^ Alina wearing Radzuan Radzwill’s design

Fairuz Ramdan’s design, with a legging

After the finale walk and most models have already taken off their garments, there was a sudden announcement that the models have to change back their clothes for some photo op session. Jimmy threw a fit (and rightly so) because the announcements were so last minute and it was unfair for the models. Nevertheless, the models did it anyway.  

When everything was finally done, we have to arrange the garments on the correct hangers and vacuum bags given by the designers and wait for them to collect it, unscrew the racks, pack the additional hangers, and call it a night. We left at about 12:30AM.

(Day 2 & Day 3 to be continued)

Friday, 26 December 2014

Hello, I'm back!

I just want to say that I absolutely love the new look of my own blog!

My old template was something like this (I've forgotten to print-screen before I changed!!) :

I personally think this is a vast improvement.
(Self-praise is STILL praise OK?! LOL)
This is after days and days of searching for a nice and customize-friendly template and I had to re-learn how to edit the little details in the HTML part again.
So, I think I definitely deserved a pat on the back! LOL

I've stopped writing for a few years now due to rise of other blogging platforms such as Tumblr and Pinterest
(here are my other babies : Hear Me Crap (quite dead) and Elaine's Pins (quite alive)),
but those are more like reblogging / pinning rather than my original thoughts.

As I'm on my journey to become a fashion designer, I think this would be a great platform for me to record my experiences so that I can reflect back in the future and probably laugh at myself 
(like how I just did by reading my old posts. I've hid some of them because they just can't make it and I don't know what was I thinking. LOL)

Also, I just got my very 1st sewing machine today!

Super excited about days to come! =)
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