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Toronto Fashion Week BTS Madness!

JESSICA BOLA

Posted on October 14 2018

Toronto Fashion Week BTS Madness!

10am

Work. Work. Work. The Mani Jassal Showroom was open just an hour before showtime! In between appointments, the girls divided their time between garment prep and gift bagging.
Open for business! Devina & Simran held down the fort early morning while the rest of the girls arrived. Thanks to all our clients that dealt with the Yorkville Village madness while visiting the showroom on fashion show day!
Picking up backstage passes, coordinating change and backstage access timings, and model sign in sheets were only a few of the long list of things to do before showtime.
Backstage access!! The girls showing off their "designer" passes! Just a fun perk of working with Mani. 

12pm

In the world of fashion shows, seven hours before showtime is nothing but a few minutes worth! Lots to do before the grand debut. Fortunately, the Mani Jassal Showroom is situated right above the Toronto Fashion Week backstage! Making it easy to run back and forth and take a peek at the, far from glamorous,  TFW prep.
There's us, right above the madness!
Ever been in a backstage of a fashion show? Let's just say the bts prep for one show is chaotic, imagine sharing the space with several other designers! 
"Backstage is always hectic with the dress changes and the large amount of people in a small space. Yet, it all looks so flawless when the models hit the runway." - Devina, design assistant

1pm 

The team is slowly arriving at the Mani Jassal Showroom where game plans are being made and emotional conversations shared.
One of the most multilayered collections to be produced by the Mani Jassal team, the ‘free spirit’ collection is a tribute to the loss of Honey, the love of Simmy Jassal. The ideology of a free spirit is one that Honey followed throughout his life. Designing with organic surface details and unrestricting silhouettes aims to emulate this lifestyle. 
This emotional connection with Honey inspired the choice to produce a large number of pieces in-house. The process of producing clothing from conception to final product by hand is an emotional and time consuming process. However, the connection between sewer, cutter, and designer to the piece is one that is unbeatable. 
Sisterly love. Simmy, Mani, and Sunny pose just under an hour before showtime.
"It's so cool to see fabric swatches and illustrations come together. It really makes you connect to the piece more when you personally make it or watch your peers do so. While everyone's hands were breaking from sewing and cutting, mine were hurting from making RSVP lists over & over! Who knew how much work went into the logistics of a fashion show from creating invites to a final headcount," - Sunny, office administrator, social media & customer service
While some of the girls took charge of managing the showroom, the rest of the team continued with show prep. With 300 gift bags in total, fashion show audience members were treated to jewelry from Banglez Jewelry, music from DJ Envy, and treats from Wake & Bake. Each bag was individually tied with some help from the TFW volunteers!

Just a couple extra things. The amazing staff at TFW made room for a few hundred of our audience gift bags.

Yummm. Watermelon “Magic Stick” Lollies & Falooda Cupcakes: a rose water flavoured base with Rasmalai Swiss meringue buttercream.
These mouthwatering dessert are more than just a pretty treat, Simmy of Wake & Bake explains the inspiration behind her dessert choices for the ‘free spirit’ fashion show.
“Honey was a little boy when it came to candy. He always wanted me to make him lollipops but unfortunately I never got the chance.”
The Watermelon Lollies were a long time project of Simmy’s. The perfectly shaped circles were decorated with gold flakes and contained miniature edible flowers at every centre.
Flowers were an appropriate choice for the event, playing off of the floral motifs and appliques of the collection. Simmy adds, “That’s what bees love & need!”
Tucked safely inside our gift bags, Simmy's treats were ready to be enjoyed!

3pm

Let the games begin!

Only four hours before debut and the team has been given access to backstage space. This means hair, makeup, and garment prep!

 

Safely delivering the collection from the showroom to backstage.
Design assistant Devina & Nikki of Art-Cle Studio spend some time filing the new MKJ X ArtCle vinyl bags with fresh flowers. The bags are one of a kind and handmade in-house at Art-Cle Studio  in Toronto. They derive influences from modernity in relation to Mani’s young, modern Indian aesthetic.
A new design venture, the bags are the first of its kind at the Mani Jassal Showroom. Purchase them in store or online at our website and at the ArtCle Studio Instagram page.
Squeezing in a quick pic; Rup, Devina, & Elisa pose with Mani.

“From sewing in her mom’s basement to opening a store in Yorkville Village and showcasing at Toronto Fashion Week; seeing this company grow so quickly is really exciting.” - Devina


While Devina was hard at work in the showroom, the rest of the team was right downstairs steaming away! Elisa, Rup & Simran unwrap all garments from their bags. With 33 looks in total and multiple pieces per look, it’s safe to say, this took hours!

 

Rup putting in work!

"Working on this collection was a whole different experience from the start. By introducing plus size garments , production of tops and bustiers doubled. The entire process of production changed in speed and types of silhouettes." - Rup, production

Gettin’ her hands dirty. As stress levels rise, Mani helps out the team with some steaming.

Inching towards 7pm (showtime), our models slowly began to arrive. 

Tensions are high. the fear of debuting a collection is something a designer never gets over.

Always first to arrive, brand ambassador Kiran (a.k.a KayRay), and long time friend of Mani's gives some well needed support to the team before showtime. 

Time to change! KayRay helping Mani get into her custom outfit. 

"The free-flowing lenghas, the use of printed cotton fabrics, the bell-sleeved tops with colours that she had never used in her previous collections really brought a new element to her brand. Seeing the chaos before the show, from fabrics thrown all over the studio, running the showroom in Yorkville and online, providing orders for clients, having dozens of models coming back and forth for fittings was a sight to see. It's important to acknowledge all the work that goes behind each show, each collection."- Kiran

Beautiful words Kiran, always amazing to have you apart of the team.

4pm

Final phase of the gameplan, get the models ready!

Grand entrance; Mani arrives backstage.

The clock is ticking! Pauline and Jess check in models and guide them to hair and makeup. 

Check, check, check. Keeping track of our long model lineup!

 KayRay, forever photobombing. Love it!

Models chatting with Mani before hair & makeup.

Models chatting with Mani before hair & makeup. 

 

Giving a helping hand. Each model received a bag of Baby's Breath flowers to decorate their hair. Mani envisioned a soft, romantic aesthetic for hair and makeup.

 

Glam Time

 

 

 

 

The calm before the storm; Mani squeezing in a quick, well deserved pampering before showtime. 

Don't be fooled, a designer never rests! Mani adds in a couple notes while getting her makeup done.

Loving our BTS images on film? There's our BTS photographer Baljit! Or, how she likes to put it, Mani’s personal paparazzi.

"I’ve worked with Mani before, but I feel like this time around it was different. It was a lot bigger than all of us and it was to honor Honey’s spirit. This time around I was also tasked with following the team and Mani (the designer) around more, which gave me more of a look into how the show is truly brought together. I was able to watch Mani lead everyone in the wonderful way she did." - Baljit

6pm

No time rest now, with just an hour before showtime, models were taken behind stage for a rundown of what to expect. 

Rup, Devina, & Elisa gather the models and lead the backstage. 

"The show itself took a lot of preparation. The morning of we had a light and sound check, which was cool to see. We were able to see the fashion film for the first time and listen to the music of the show. It was nice to see Mani's vision evolve." - Elisa

Elisa is production and design assistant at the Mani Jassal Showroom. Being at the company for three seasons, she was proud of what the team accomplished. 

 

"The ‘free spirit’ collection must be one of my favourites by Mani so far. I love the colours used and seeing the collection come together was inspiring. Working as a design assistant, I was able to watch Mani design each piece and help her create them. About a month before collection release, we were all working super hard to get all the pieces made." - Elisa

 Go, go, go! Devina and marketing assistant/ stylist, Simran, take the show pieces to their final location to be changed into by the models.

Quick rehearsal! Due to limited time between designers our first & only fashion show rehearsal was conducted merely 25 minutes before showtime! Talk about stressful.

“The models were wonderful to work with and quick learners. They recognized their coordinating outfits and easily transitioned from their first outfit into the next!” - Rup
With 33 looks and multiple changes in under 15 minutes, it's easy to get flustered.  However, the models were professional and very helpful, making the process go smoothly. Great work ladies! 

Model Changes

Finishing touches for the designer. Nikki, Director of Art-Cle Studio ties Mani's custom fanny pack.

"Honey had lovingness and compassion about him that was rare to find within others.. He was truly an embodiment of a free spirit. This collection of bags was our contribution to his memory, in hopes that they would inspire others to find beauty in the simplest things the same way Honey did." - Nikki, Art-Cle Studio

Meanwhile...

While half the team assisted with model changes, a couple girls took the liberty of running to and from the Mani Jassal Showroom (right upstairs) to set up for our ‘free spirit’ shopping soiree! The shopping event took place immediately after the looks debuted on the TFW runway. Clients were given the opportunity to purchase pieces half an hour before the online release. Many familiar faces joined us for this event and purchased their favourite looks before the limited-edition pieces sold out!

Lights were turned down low while replacing the “Garden of Desire|Erised" collection with 'free spirit'. The looks had not yet gone down the runway; they were still a secret. The showroom transformed in under 20 minutes!

7PM

SHOWTIME

 The show began with the 'free spirit' campaign video.

"I remember taking in a deep breath after hearing Simmy's voice echoing in the back room from the campaign video. It felt like there was a responsibility for me to make sure the show was off on the right vibe."-Kiran

Kiran opens the show in the Flower Child Hierarchy Lengha.

"I walked out, turning the corner to see the runway - it was everything I dreamed of. It felt like a movie - bright lights beaming, hair blowing, cameras flashing, people cheering."- Kiran

 

Our view of the show.  A live stream of the fashion show plays on a small screen backstage. This screen helps the team keep track of looks, timing, and required adjustments.

The best part of the show, watching Mani do her designer walk! The team is so proud of her hard work.

"When it was time for Mani and me to walk down together - it felt like we had really broken down a wall and created a new pathway. All the blood sweat and tears, in that moment, felt so worth it. The feeling was unforgettable. And I am forever grateful for such a beautiful experience" – Kiran 

Postshow

Following Mani's final designer walk, the team kept their game faces on and cleared the backstage within 15 minutes! Meanwhile, the shopping soiree had begun and Mani took some time to do some interviews!

Shopping Soiree

 And that's a wrap!

Thank you to everyone who came out to our show and supported this very personal collection.

Special Thanks

Runway Photography: George Pimintel 

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