By Joshua Langston
Photos by Viranlly
When Jason Matlo conjured the idea of celebrating his ten years in the fashion business, he knew that it had to be a show unlike we have ever seen from him. While Jason Matlo is no stranger to the runway, he had taken a few seasons hiatus from showing formally, to focus on his booming ready-to-wear business, Babe Line, Bridal and custom pieces. The collection was created almost like a moving thank you card to all his friends, family, supporters and clients that have seen him through the last decade.
When deciding the venue for his show, one thing was for certain, it had to be iconic, which is why he chose to show at The Fairmont Pacific Rim, one of Vancouver’s most prestigious luxury hotels. For a designer who’s imagination knows no limits, the team at the Fairmont Pacific Rim was ready to deliver one of the most opulent and luxurious runways I have seen. From the mirrored entry to the runway to the mirrored runway, there was an incredible vibe to the room even before the show started. Guests were passed champagne as they took photos along the step-and-repeat, before grabbing their seats for the show. Jill Killeen of The Fairmont Pacific Rim opened the night with a few kind words about Jason, before she snagged him to speak just before the models hit the runway. He was literally finishing the last couture bow as he came out onto the runway, and after a few minutes of sharing his gratitude to the attendees, he disappeared backstage and the show began.
The first series of looks were signature Jason Matlo pieces, jersey dresses that skimmed the body in all the right places. His appreciation and understanding of the female form is apparent in the precision like cut of his dresses. From keyhole openings at the bust to the intricate necklines and shoulder details, Jason knows a thing or two about what women want. There’s also a level of taste that Jason is known for, perfecting the art of sashaying accross the line of sexy and sophisticated without being vulgar. While he is known for his jersey dresses, I was really impressed by his separates. White faux fur jackets paired with a white camisole and high-waisted trousers gave a Bianca-Jagger-a-la-Studio-54 vibe.
He also was very successful and selective in the prints he would show in this collection, my favourite being an abstract take on animal print that was used very thoughtfully. The bordeaux dress that was ruched down the center with waterfall sleeves made a high impact on the runway. This look will undoubtably be seen on the red carpet one day on a very lucky lady.
Near the end of the show, Jason hit his crescendo and gave us what we all wanted, over-the-top-GLAMOUR. One word. Sequins. The gradient sequin he used looked like moonlight shimmering across water as it came down the runway in a full sleeved mini-dress with a bateau neckline. However the most instagrammed look of the night was the sequinned jumpsuit. This look had so many flashes being shot at it that the jumpsuit lit ip like a disco ball. This was definitely a piece that needs to be worn by a major artist, when I say major, I mean BEYONCE major. I actually turned to Viranlly and said “So you need this, and you should be Beyonce for Halloween”.
For the finale Jason closed the show with a couture wedding dress that had a 1930’s art deco embellished print. When you close a show you should have every attendees jaw hit the floor, and that was exactly what happened.
We caught up with Jason after the show to ask a few questions about the collection, check out his answers below:
What inspired you to do this anniversary collection?
The pieces were an homage to the women of influence and affluence who have supported the brand since 2004 and became regular clients. 1970’s influences were apparent in: high glamour jumpsuits and slacks with wider legs, voluminous bishop sleeves, sequins and Swarovski crystal cutout halter dresses reminiscent of Studio 54 and champagne fueled disco nights. A typically Matlo restricted color palette was predominately black but featured accents of red and Bordeaux.
The Jason Matlo woman has changed a lot over the years, but in what ways has she stayed the same?
It is interesting because as the customer has aged and matured I also have matured and changed. I was in my 30’s when started the brand in 2004 and being exposed to so much fashion and cutting thousands of patterns and garments has refined my eye both aesthetically and technically. The Jason Matlo women has stayed the same in that regardless of age she wants quality in fit and finish and garments that embody a certain sexy sophistication.
What is your favourite look in the collection?
Its like picking your favourite child! I love different pieces for different reason. I love the tailored jacket with sequin sleeves and large sculptural bow because no one in Canada tailors the way we do. We always consider the body and make the structured pieces utterly feminine. The sequin jumpsuit was one of my other favourite looks because I resisted doing that look and eventually gave into Wen-chee. That look was a show stopper so I’m glad I gave in on that one.
In the ten years you have been a couple defining moments in your career?
The 10 Year show sponsored by VCAD is probably the most satisfying because I’m teaching there and love the program and my students. They also gave me carte blanche to do the show visually however I wanted and feel it really reflected my personal aesthetic.
What was the best advice you were given in your career and how did it shape the designer you have become?
Helen Lefeaux who was a important mentor for me and she said “design for the women’s body and not for the Runway”! She insited it is critical for the women to wear the dress and not the dress to wear the women. I like to think I design half way between the runway and the real world!
You have your ready-to-wear, babe line, bridal already, what’s next for the Jason Matlo brand?
A day off. A vacation. The launch of Jason Matlo Special Occasion/Bridesmaids collection…..Stay Tuned 😉
With Jason Matlo’s work it’s all in the details, and this was ever apparent in the couture finishing of the collection. In ten years we have seen Jason’s woman go many places, and she has no sign of stopping, and neither do the head turns of all the men watching. Congrats Jason on a gorgeous collection, and we can’t wait to see what you are up to next.
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