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.

THE LOOKS
STELLA
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.

IMREET
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.

ANGEL
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.

LYNN
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. 

MARC
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
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.

MY SISTER'S CLOSET

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?
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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


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Lost in wrong translations

I told the world to roll over and... it did! - magical residue from Serena, my Halloween alter ego from Bewitched. The view is much better sideways in some respects. Not so much traffic either. I'm standing on the mall.

Melanie Kobayashi, fashion blogger in a sideways world

Apart from my warped perspective, what have I got for you? Brown. It's a phase - it's cold outside. 

Outfit 1
Oversized Diesel men's T and high-waisted brown stirrup cords, very soft, by German brand blutsschwester, both $5 at My Sister's Closet, booties from MSC, black under-T, and magic loupe. 

There is a deer embroidered on the front left hip of the pants and writing, "Landadel verpflichtet," which means "Rabid deer." Pfft. I have no idea what it means; I just like the pants. 

Bag and a Beret, brown stirrup pants, Diesel T, do you read these?

Maybe it means "Kill deer." They resemble hunting pants after all. That would be alarming to me. The stirrup foot loops are trimmed with stiff brown glittery lace, which is a bit weird, and there is red and white gingham fabric like a tablecloth(!) lining the front flap and edging the pockets. I don't want to kill deer. 

And look! - writing on the left shoulder of the T-shirt. One would assume it says Diesel, but maybe this is German, Dies El. Or maybe it's English, like "die hard" but instead it's "dies el." What does it mean?! Everything is abstruse in a sideways world.


Outfit 2
More brown, but it's mixed with dried mustard so it's not truly brown. I'm referring of course to my maxi muppet coat. There's no writing on it but the message is fairly clear, sometimes with expletives, sometimes not, depending on my mood. Here? With, despite the smile. I put an IG photo looking mean, here

Mel Kobayashi, fashion blogger, in a muppet coat

It's a whapping, flapping, flowing monster of goodness, grrr. The pants do have writing on them, embroidery on the back right waistband: "Sanchez." They used to belong to him; they're mine now. 


I love those tufts. And my tuxedo blouse, it's slightly stretchy, fits well. Thrifted. All thrifted.


Here I am walking swiftly towards the wall, coattails whapping. It looks like there's a small animal on my head; that's just my hair, although it too can be playful and do tricks like real animals. That day I saw a woman piling six rats onto her shoulders as I walked by - I counted them. 

Melanie Kobayashi in maxi muppet coat, bagandaberet

I bought a very pink swishy vintage gown for the gala (What gala? See previous post) and realized I'm an idiot. I got the gown home, then hand washed it, and portions of it disintegrated. That wouldn't bother me too much if it was only $5 but it was expensive, at least much more than I usually pay. 

Why can't there be an "Undo" button for life?

Among other things, I've been busy styling for the gala, which I'm enjoying immensely, working with some awesome people. I'm learning a lot. I'll show you photos of the outfits next week. 

That's all. I'm linking with Patti's superb Visible Monday party at Not Dead Yet Style. Yay, Patti!! Weren't the finger sandwiches last week faboo? I must ask where she gets her gherkins. This week, corn pudding! Hurrah, my favourite. Is there corn in that?

One more thing:
Kezzie of KezzieAG has entered Lady Vintage's Hall of Fame photo competition. In her submission, she is wearing a fantastic Lady V dress in front of Doddington Hall. If you love this shot as much as I do, you can vote for her on Facebook HERE. She definitely looks prizeworthy! (This info is entirely unsolicited.)



Monday, 16 November 2015

My secret life revealed

I've been lying to you. I'm ashamed of myself. But you'll forgive me when you find out why - I hope. It also explains why my shoes stay in great shape and why I'm wearing vintage welding goggles. And looking so tough.

Melanie Kobayashi, serious welding goggles face, Bag and a Beret

You know how I said I go on inspiration walks every morning? This video finally reveals my secret identity, 15 seconds of pure action. I'm not sure why I wear welding goggles though; I can't see a frickin' thing. Seriously.


I guess the goggles are for when I get close to the sun, but I don't go there very often. I prefer to leave my winged sandals and wax wings at home - they're hard to lug around when I land. And people keep asking me, hey, where'd you get those gigantic candles that look like wings? Plus, my fall/winter clothes are for cruising in cool air.

As usual, a few birds caught a free ride on my platform shoes, which accounts for the rear drag in the video. I'll need to do something about that. Fake owls maybe.

Melanie Kobayashi, welding goggles, very essential accessories

I tried shooting the video myselfie, flying single-handed, but it threw me off course.

I finally asked a group of three passersby to help out, reasoning it might be harder to run off with my camera in a group than alone. They thought I was odd, flying like a dork in my heels and my Alaia dress, and while the guy did an okay job, it wasn't until weeks later that I coerced O into filming these scenes. So happy.

And a SECOND secret to reveal:

MY FASHION SHOW STYLIST DEBUT!

I'm very excited - I was asked if I'd like to style a fashion show for My Sister's Closet (MSC) at a swanky fundraising gala for Battered Women's Support Services. Heck, yeah. I bought my tutu at MSC in the summer and mentioned to the manager that I had finally styled it. She checked my blog on the spot (she didn't know I blogged) and then immediately asked if I'd like the job. I knew the tutu was magic. Hurrah!


The gala is being held at a swanky downtown venue and will feature a TV celebrity MC, a gourmet meal, a talk by Severn Cullis-Suzuki, and other stuff. Best thing of all is the ticket proceeds (@$100) go to BWSS, which operates MSC as a social enterprise. You can find details here.

FINALLY, a superhero coat. My hair fell over.  All that flying, you see.

Melanie Kobayashi in shaggy red coat, heh, bag and a beret

I bought the coat last year for next-to-nothing at MSC when I was on the brink of spending truckloads of money on Etsy for a similar inferior coat. Check out those humongous buttons. Hahaha! The princess-heel burgundy boots are from MSC too, lightly insulated and waterproof, made by Montreal brand La Canadienne - very fine, oh yes.

Oooh, I just got a 'dis dress call from a thrift shop. I must fly. Superheros never rest. Wheee! Heh. Meanwhile, it's raining and dark and I just want to eat chips and watch old movies. How are you doing?

And, you know what's next, right?
I'm linking up with Patti's energy-giving Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style to hang out with all the other women with superpowers. And with Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for her #iwillwearwhatilike. Yesh, I will wear what I like, dagblammit!


Friday, 13 November 2015

News Flash: Yellow Skirt Freak Show storms New York!!

LOOK Who'S Back! Bwahahaha! It's our friend, Freakish Yellow Skirt (FYS). Hurrah! Such a jet-setter she is, having stopped in New York City for a little quality hobnobbing, R&R and...

...another heap of love, added this time by NYC artist and doyenne of style Debra Rapoport. I'm so happy that Debra has joined the FYS show to spread our message of positivity and acceptance All Around the World. Thank you!


Debra's fruitally fun additions to the waist (shoulder, heh) of the skirt are excellent extensions of her brilliant creativity.  You may also notice her artistry shining like a BEACON (yes, a beacon!) on her head. Debra is the 26th woman to style FYS.

Many thanks go to Shelley of Forest City Fashionista, an early FYS adopter and stellar FYS travel coordinator for some years, for snapping these photos during a party of arty glitterati hosted by Debra.


Debra is renowned for her hat- and jewellery-making with paper towels and other recycled materials, as well as her joie de vivre expressed in inspiring styling of thrifted clothing. Hurrah! Not surprisingly, she co-starred in the internationally-acclaimed documentary Advanced Style, released by Lina Plioplyte and Ari Seth Cohen, creator of the Advanced Style blog.

  
Debra currently does not have any active social media hubs - apart from her hyperactive hub in real life - even better. Just a quick search online will net you thousands of sources where you can read more about this fascinating New Yorker.

The skirt is still in New York, living it up. If you would like to know more about the Travelling Yellow Freak Show project or even join in, details are here. A Gallery of the 25 previous FYS stylists is here or click the sidebar.

Thanks again, Debra! And Shelley! And thank you, Suzanne, for getting FYS back on the road with a BANG.
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Edit: This post went up before I knew about Paris, but I would like to think of this cooperative project as a tiny reminder that there is a whole lot of love still in the world. I wrote that Debra's hat is a beacon - maybe it is even more so now. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Happy upholstery coat and alley opera coat

Why am I smiling? Because I finally mastered how to fake it - even in public with a tripod and people watching. But, really, why

I suppose because I like the effect. I look happy. Smiling lifts the face and is a welcoming expression. "Oh, she looks fun!" I certainly recoil violently at the idea that one should smile for any reason. Clearly, in high-style/fashion photos one shouldn't smile - fashion is serious - which would make this smile a little toothy finger to the sucked-in-cheeks crowd. Heh.

An outfit, bag and a beret, fake smile as accessory

You must have noticed that you usually only see women smiling/laughing or dancing in media when they're advertising cleaning products and diet yogurt? Would it surprise you to know that my hands are in my pockets to hide the callouses I get from gripping the Swiffer handle (dusting product) and the meat cleaver while preparing gourmet meals for O?

mel kobayashi, smiling in clothes

My sleeves are extra long to conceal the effects of gently sponging our dishes to sparkling newness each day and painstakingly Q-tipping the Silver and venetian blinds because that's just what one does in a phantom smile life. 

The outfit: 
  • jacquard upholstery "Mad Hatter" jacket 
  • mega-over-sized silk blouse 
  • drop-crotch high-waisted ankle-zip pants 
  • dangly earrling
  • granny shoes from Sheila of Ephemera hee hee thanks 
  • black knee socks


Usually a happy expression has wider appeal, like a pink pony (bleh), but you can't beat a gritty bitch look in my books. It's another finger to trendy cheek-sucking, although I confess that I enjoy cheek-sucking on occasion as well. Why limit myself? 

mel kobayashi with picasso of course

I wore both of these looks last week. On the day I took these alley shots I was feeling raw and introspective. I tried the big smile, I tried real hard, but even faking failed.

The outfit:
  • long black velvet opera coat
  • Converse laceless runners
  • patched jeans
  • tie-dye shirt with studs on the shoulders
  • wrap belt from Kunming in China
  • maxi cardigan
  • big scarf
  • magic loup, omnipresent

mel kobayashi bat woman

I'm a vampire again. I don't care if Halloween is over. I took a selfie and there was no one there.

I'm linking this post up to:

FINALLY, although the photo below is too grainy (I was farking with my camera), this is one of my favourite shots of the day, mostly because of the guy in the doorway behind me. Hahaha! Are you smiling? Have a good week everyone!

bagandaberet in piss alley


Monday, 2 November 2015

Chipmunk Blogger Country-Western Blues

"Ooo-eee! You hair smells like stinky socks!" That's a phrase you don't want to hear, which is why, when I was stuffing the crown of this wig, I used clean knee socks, not soggy or crunchy ones. If I don't put them in there, this beehive hair hat falls smack in my face, which could be useful on a bad face day, but not on a day I'm wearing false eyelashes.


I dressed this morning clutching that free pass that comes with Halloween, the thought that I can wear whatever the feck I want, not that I don't usually, but I felt greater safety pushing my boundaries, which for me included wearing this fabulous beehive wig. 


Surveying the results, I decided I was Serena, a guest character on the American TV series Bewitched from the '60s/'70s. She was the dark-haired fun-loving witch cousin of the show's star, Samantha, the suburban blonde witch married to a bungling ad executive. 


Except for the wig and the heavy-handed makeup, this look is not terribly out of the ordinary. Check out the wig's pointy splendour in the photo below. Don't you just swoon for it? One part hair, one part sock. One of the best compliments I got from a stranger today was, "Wow, you look awesome, but your costume is bordering normal." 


This Serena look would have fit well with my new country and western music video but I went with my fall-back: sequins and earrings. A really, really stupid song about blogging that I made up lodged in my head and I needed to purge it fast so I spit it up in a little video. 

I had grandiose plans, shooting here, shooting there, close-ups, far-outs, and, as a result, I preemptively exhausted myself. So I present this modest ditty, 41sec. Hats off to people with real musical talent!

THE LAST LINE IS TOTALLY THE BEST THING I'VE EVER DONE. I'm very proud of that. 

*** Chipmunk Blogger *** 
 *** Country & Western Blues ***


And more gratuitous shots of Serena. How could I not include them? I had too much fun wearing this. 


The full ensemble above. Jeez, I look normal there. Who knew those dials and knobs on my camera were not just decorative. Yes, I tried a new setting at ISO eleventy-eleven, but I don't like the grainy quality. I guess I'll have to fark around with that stuff some more.


And that's a selfie I took at the coffee shop with my standard camera setting. Double glasses again: sunglasses in my hair and reading glasses on my face for journaling. See the cute doggie print on the scarf? Click for bigger.


That's all. I'm linking this post up to:
Thank you for all these parties, you wild women! I'm bringing my Halloween candy. Get ready for a sugar high.


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