Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Spring/Summer Window Display @ KLCC - Let the frenzy of elements cool your mind away.

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Even hotel rooms are plastering spring/summer
Spring and Summer is finally here. Everywhere I went, motifs of flowers and leaves are seen everywhere. Like the picture you see me leaning against the wall. It was actually in a hotel room. And I find it interestingly beautiful to have. Of course in Malaysia, we don't have such a season, but we can certainly enjoy "summer", since it's a season we have all year round! Shouldn't we be thankful for this hot weather? We don't have to buy so much clothing to cover up, wear little clothes (or none at all). For this thankfulness, I put myself as the first on display...

Of woods and leaves
Recently I took a walk around KLCC and found many interesting window displays. Notice the display next to you here, a wall of sprigly leaves with a giant balk of wood in the foreground. I believe the balk of wood is used as a mirror effect on the poster beside it which displays a pair of legs. Notice the products are everywhere within this display, especially at the floor. I think this could be unbalance, for the eyes when first seeing this display might not look down right a way. If the products were the main idea, it could be placed slightly higher above the eyeline. It's like a model or actor facing the camera, I always coached my students in my ARTISTE TRAINING COURSE to look in the eyeline, differing at various degrees to convey different types of emotions and meanings. For course details, enquire via email:

Audience-friendly catwalk runway stage
It was a Friday, and I came across a magnificent runway stage. Instead of being elongated towards the front of the stage, it goes horizontally from the sides (left and right), forming a semblance of zig-zag. I think this stage was designed very well, for it gives the audience from sides and the front, a complete view of the clothes being modelled. Of course, the models also walked very slowly, so the passing shoppers can see each piece. At times, I wished it could be faster and the music more uptempo, for there were moments where it becomes a bit boring. But kudos to the well-designed runway stage.

Green and Blue Moss for the Men
So back to the window displays. Sometimes simplicity does work. Just add a touch of colour. Especially for men's clothing, you can't add much flowers or colours for it may not give the image of masculinity. But it really depends on the tastes, some men do love brighter colours and even flowers. But for this window display, I notice a very sturdy, strong feel to its background, which mainly consists blocks of stones, sprinkled with some moss-like material of green and blue. These elements are there to give the feeling of spring/summer but with a feel of masculinity.

Flowers and Pink Skies for the Girls
Undertoning with colours of spring - bright yellows, dotty reds, extremely light purples, blues and beige. The colors for this display is very underplayed and not shouting at your face. Very much down the radar, but notice the sunflowers as the only "shout" element to get a hold of shoppers' attention. The word "Pink Skies" is actually the theme of the window display? But if I were a shopper, I didn't notice much of any skies in the background. A bit out of sync here to make this window display truly cohesive. Only saving factor- the dramatic placement of the mannequins which give various model poses.

Minimalist Modern
Now, I wouldn't place this window display as very spring/summer. It is quite surprising for this store not to follow into the whole mood of spring/summer, but instead retain its image of minimalist modern. The mannequins have very distinct hairstyle, featuring a skirt, pants and khakis. Love the central element in the display - a kind of wooden wedge that gives the shape of an oval ear. The long hose at the right side acts as a form of hanger for the bag. Interesting, but not thematic.

Cold clothes in a hot oven
It's like taking a walk in the beach and being greeted by the waving palm trees. The background of this display is hot and sunny, take a notice at the degree of temperature, just from looking at it. I feel hot! And the male mannequin is wearing a blue jacket! least the other cross-legged lady mannequin have the sense to tie up her shirt in a knot right above her belly to give let go some steam. The floor of the display is yellow, further heating up the atmosphere. Even my feet feels hot! Hey, where's the sunglasses? No sandals? Yikes, I feel the mannequins must be shouting inside "Let me out of these clothes please!" I applaud the idea of making the tree leaves into a shape - a semblance of the sun. But the atmosphere is hot, the clothes not condusive to the heat.

The poster is the display
Contrary to the previous display where the clothes are somewhat not that condusive to the heat, this display have the right clothes for the heat. The clothes have the Miami-feel to it, light, white, dark blue jersey. Shorts for the boys, and light pants for the men. The girls are wearing open neck dresses, that shows off the arms. This display doesn't use any props or mannequins. The poster is the central idea. I believe it is also part of the print advertisement.

Pink Petals and Poster
For this display, its a combination of poster in the background and flowery petals in the foreground. Right inside the glass, is the product displayed. The product is very specific - mainly only handbags. But you get the mood of spring in this piece.

And this summer winner is...
And lastly,  I love this display, for it uses each element and combine it to give the feeling of a place. What place is it do I mean? Different people may have different interpretation. For me, I feel like I am at a tropical dock - waiting for my boat. I love the shadow of the palm tree falling at the background. The rope barrel that serves as a platform for product display. The few wooden bark at the side. It really does feel like I'm at a familiar place. Summer theme? Yes. And it's a very familiar summer feel to it. That's what makes it special - making use of every element within the display to conjure up a place and destination - so familiar, you didn't notice they were actually selling the bags to you. I think the colour brown is used throughout all the elements - rendering the product seamless within this display. Well done.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fashion Show Review - the "secret" position teacher took where all amateur designers don't know about.

My lovely diverse students (me on the right)
I received an invitation earlier from my loving fashion student to attend their fashion show. I believed personally, an invitation should be properly send, meaning in a letter with a card, or a friendly email, definitely not publicly in Facebook. But I understand it's a student's fashion show. Upon agreeing to attend the fashion show, I already have the expectation that this won't match the other more experienced fashion shows I've been before.

Here's the "English" teacher...
It was a rainy day, but I arrived earlier at the venue and avoided the downpour - to be warmly received by a few of my students. Notice I mentioned only a few of my students approached me to talk with me, while the others were looking at me, kinda surprised to receive my presence. I got a bit shy and self-conscious seeing my students dressed up (mostly in black). A few I heard mentioned "Here's the English teacher". I laughed secretly inside, for the headmistress must have "advertised" me a bit wrongly for I presented myself to her specifically as a Communications Coach. I understand that most of her students are not educated in the English language, hence the title.

Ripe Fruits for the Plucking
Turn on my eyes, ears and mind
In a fashion event like this, I must not be too critical, for the sake of my fashion student's learning level, which I assumed must be still amateur at this level. Of course to be fair, some of the students whom I've personally got acquainted has already opened boutiques of their own. For their sake, when I see a piece of fashion, I will judge the fashion at the most basic level - wearability, aesthetics value and communication. Wearability here means how comfortable it is to put on and take off. Aestehetics value means the artistic design and the elements used for the dress. Finally, communication means the feeling or message it gives when the person seeing that piece of fashion. Now, the theme is Spring/Summer, but as one of the student told me that the rule has sort of flunked out due to some creative differences, some of the designs I will encounter will not follow exactly as the overall theme.

Fierce purple but below is a like a snake just shed its skin?
Strategic location for teacher to spot mistakes
Took my seat at the centre corner of audience section, but its places only at left side of the stage. The side is usually where the "mistakes" are visible, hence is where a clever teacher will sit. The other side has no seats whatsoever, and is open for the passers-by at the mall. Many of my pictures will only get the side view of the models and the designers. The show was late for a few minutes. The music for the opening could be better, for there are many separated tracks in between and not timed at all for each of the models entry and exit.

Emcee of the show
The emcee, I assumed, must have been instructed by the headmistress to advertise about the school, in which he did. It gives the whole fashion show a kind of sales presentation to the public who stopped to watch. I wish the emcee would stress and be more "lively", rather the more straighforward talk. I understand he has certain messages that need to be relayed - like the school's accreditation and affiliations. If he could, he should inject more tonality in his articulation, so as to keep the audience attention sustained, since the actual fashion show also fights for the attention as well.

The runway hits and misses
Now comes the runway. Due to space constraints, the length of the runway is not long. At the side, it has a platform that serves as some kind of pedestal for the model to stop and pose for the cameras. About the models, since the runway is not long, their walk were basically basic, to say the least. Not much playing around with the dress or showcasing them in elaborate manner. I noticed when a model were standing at the tall pedestal, I could almost see her poochie and slight hair on her armpits. Good idea to have such pedestal? Questionable again.

Skirts Redefined - An Analysis of what works, and what can be improved upon

Wearability: 7/10
Aesthetics: 4/10
Communication: I'm going to dance but my skirt will fly when i shake my booty. This is the example when the models stood on the pedestal, their poochie and underarm hair can be seen if unaware. I just hope the top covers the shoulders, then it will more like a fun girl day's out. Or else these 2 dresses just spell s-l- (u know the rest).

Wearability: 8/10
Aesthetics: 7/10
Communication: My bottom is a swan, but my top ain't tight. The top should be knit much tighter so as when viewed from the side (where a lot of mistakes are visible), the skin underarms are not left untidy. I love the bottom part of the dress, for it really moves and give the feeling of a swan princess.

Aesthetics: 7/10
Communication: I'm a court jester below, a sex vixen on top. I understand the concept of the bubble skirt. I'm kinda worried what happen when she decides to sit? Will the bottom part of her skirt goes flat? I love the top, with lace peeping through. But somehow the total look of the dress needs to be more cohesive. And the colour black is not suitable, for its neither telling me its fun or death is a joke. More colours could perhaps save this piece.

Wearability: 8/10
Aesthetics: 7/10
Communication: I'm simple, breezy, safe and only slightly out of the ordinary. This piece is taking the safe route. I understand to be a great designer, it needs to be edgy, make it stand out. I only wish the designs could go further, developing more on the idea. Or else, these 2 could be just another ordinary dresses.

Wearability: 8/10
Aesthetics: 6/10
Communication: I'm soft and blue, but sometimes goes cuckoo. I love the headpiece (like a bird's nest), very beautifully done. Love the blue, except I'm trying to understand the touch of pink and gauzy blue (again?). The back and front of the dress is presentable. But again, the side? More thought need to make it more cohesive as a look.

Wearability: 6/10
Aesthetics: 6/10
Communication: I'm a fusion flower of Rafflesia and hibiscus, touch me to love or die. An extremely eye-catching piece when it comes onto stage. My only concern is the designer focus too much on the top part. If you look at the bottom part, there's basically no continuity. Again, another case of half-baked concept. But good try for showmanship.

Wearability: 8/10
Aesthetics: 8/10
Communication: I'm a lady. This is an interesting piece that looks almost well-done. It's pleasing to the figure, but what happens if the lady is slightly more meaty?

Wearability: 8/10
Aesthetics: 8/10
Communication: Ice royalty. This dress is almost "perfect", from head to toe? But for today's woman? I just hope it has more shape at the bottom part, instead of the drape just drop to the feet. More work can be done to make the bottom part work.

Wearability: 7/10
Aesthetics: 6/10
Communication: My butt is big. Glaring mistake here. If a woman were to wear a dress that accentuates her booty, then this dress would be perfect for her. Bear in mind, bright colours like blue usually enlarges a shape.

Wearability: 7/10
Aesthetics: 6/10
Communication: I'm a muslimah. This piece suits for more religious undertones. I rather the designer try a more brighter, happier colour - to balance the seriousness of the message the piece is conveying.

Aesthetics: 6/10
Communication: I'm a pricess from purple galaxy. The side you can see holds through her arms and the shoulder cum breastplace looks like she's ready for battle. Sensible design elements need to be considered. Should also ask - why do I need to layer my skirt with draping after draping?

And finally, we have the men. It's funny that the men's wear only have 1 student who are willing to do? How come there aren't any student who venture into men's wear? Personally, I felt it's just filling the "quota" for a show, that if they were going to feature men's wear, should at least have more of it, rather than reserve it for the last?

Opportunities are few, cherish everyone of it ... but how?
All in all, I hope my dear students learn to take whatever comments in good faith. A fashion designer is very much similar to an actor. Both works are presented to the public and media, both are judged and being commented. Like what I taught my students through my Artiste Training Course, they should utilise the media to their advantage, don't run away from them. They should be thankful that their work is even featured in anyone's blog or news website, for it's publicity. A good fashion designer will learn to embrace the limelight. Unfortunately, at the end of the show, one of my students decided to go home immediately, in which I quickly stopped her, and advised her to go back to the show (even when it's over), and mingle in the crowd. There were photographers and journalists everywhere! (as shown in the pic) But she has yet to have the courage to do so. Perhaps she should take my Artiste Training Course. What a golden opportunity that goes to waste. But sometimes human are unsure of HOW to approach in situations such as this. It's perfectly understandable. But again, how many times would u have such a spotlight? Think about it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vital Points to Consider before You Join a Reality Show Contest - 7 Preparation Methods to help you succeed all the way!

Most of my Artiste Training Course students know I encourage them all to participate in reality show contests. I told them it's a great platform to showcase their talents and get some exposure in the media. Now, exposure alone is meaningless. Anyone can get exposure. It's what you do after that, is what counts. That's why the really smart aspiring artistes will take my Artiste Training Course, because it prepares them fully - mentally, physically and emotionally. I, myself, accidentally started my acting career through this path. So I am totally for reality show contests. Not many of us are born into a family or have friends with contacts "inside" the industry. Participating in a reality show is really a legitimate way to make yourself famous -  in a good way or otherwise.

But there are a few points you need to consider and prepare yourself before participating in the show. Hopefully these first 4 tips will help you to sail through smoothly in the course of the contest, and perhaps even win the show!

1) Select the right reality show for you
Nowadays we have a lot of reality shows. They are all targeted at very specific skill sets and age demographics. My students who has been through my Artiste Training Course are very well-aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Either you are very confident of your own skills or just in middle ground about your own talent, I will usually push them to go on and just try your luck. Some reality shows need to have a certain physical trait, say a modelling contest. If you don't meet the physical criteria, don't even bother to go for the audition and save your energy.

2) Be organised within yourself
During the audition process of any reality shows, there are bound to be tons of confusions flying around. You will have questions about the duration of the shoot, the prizes, fill up forms, take pictures, search for the location, time and etc. Firstly, you need to be organised within yourself. This means being prepared for any eventualities. Do your research about the program and see whether it suits your natural skill sets. At times, I feel like an outsider during this reality shows. Follow your instincts. If you feel the reality show is not right for you, then don't go for it. If you do, then be prepare to organise your thoughts, actions and the outcome you expect from entering such shows. Have realistic expectations.

3) Expect the unexpected
Reality shows hinges on twists and turns. Drama. Unexpected challenges. As a contestant, you need to be open about such turn of events. Some reality shows can be unfair, in the sense that the judges may already have their favourites. Or you may accidentally made some enemies along the way. So be prepared for the unexpected. Even production crew may cause delays in the schedule or you need to wait for the camera to get set up. Plenty of frustrations on set to welcome you into the world of reality TV. The producers might want you to act out your dramatic moments at expense of making you look like a fool. Sometimes you have to bear it up and just do it for the sake of getting some screen time.

4) Take it as an entry point into career of choice
Reality shows are simply a platform for you to showcase your talents. Don't hope too much that it will give you instant fame and success. I hear a lot of winners of past reality shows are not even gaining the momentum they should in their careers. If you get selected for the show, just take it one day at a time. You never know what might happen next. There is the elimination process. So it's really not in your control. Your thoughts of early success and stardom may vanish in a moment. So be level-headed and think ahead. It's OK to lose, get eliminated or disqualified. If you're strategic and resourceful like I did (all my students know about my strategies through my Artiste Training Course coaching), you could end up like me - starring in dozens of local dramas, 2 local movie, 1 international film and a string of commercials, like the last one I appeared in below as the main star, considered as success finally after all the supporting roles:

Now here's the downside of entering a reality show contest. Personally for me, being an experience Artiste Training Coach, I've been a participant in 3 national TV reality show contests in a year! Unheard of? Well, that is due to my "popularity" that year in which I received these offers. Thankful? Yes, in some ways. But it also takes something out from me. I was downgraded and made to look "foolish", in my opinion, in some of these shows. But I managed to make use of this bad experience and turn it into something good, which leads to an acting career. Hopefully the following last 3 pointers will keep you aware, and hopefully prepare you for the negative downside.

5) Be aware that you do not conform yourself to the show
It's an unconscious psychological domino effect that will happen to everyone who auditions. Contestants auditioning say, a male beauty contest, will put their frame of mind into how a male beauty contestant would think. Conformity happens when you're in a group of participants, who are striving for the same prize, hence it could happen even without you knowing it. It is very unhealthy, for it takes away your own thoughts and opinions about yourself, and can seem like the judges opinion about you is true. In a way, a contestant can lose himself (his identity, self confidence, ideology) in a reality show. For example, recently there's a reality show targeted specifically to Chinese male. The purpose of the show is to find the most gentle and well-mannered Chinese man in the country. The cynic in me instanteneously rejects the whole idea. For one, I feel there's a conspiracy of sorts between the media ministry and TV station in part to "tame" the beauty-centric Chinese males in this country, and put them out there in the spotlight to represent the typical Chinese male- the quiet, orders-following metrosexual. Perhaps in true reality, they sense an overwhelming dissatisfaction among this group who are highly-strung and outspoken of their discontent over the extreme lack of representation in the media, hence, the birth of this show. I, for one, cannot be tame in this sort of way. I will surely fail if I join, hence the rejection of the show! Because at the back of my mind, this show is like a brain-washing mechanism skewed towards quietening the highly vocal Chinese male masses, which is growing at speedy rate. And with this reality show, their actual objective might just backfires, who knows?

6) Be sure you can stand criticisms, no matter how unfair it sounds
This is truly difficult, for nobody can take criticism well. What if the criticism is unjust and seem to marginalise you in some way? What's worst, it's for the whole nation to watch! Your self-belief will be used as a punchline. It's like a secret conspiracy of the reality show "dark agents", who are out there to strip you bare and open for the public to see your dirty linens, worst, even your unclean undies. Unfairness do happens, because you've signed a talent release form. You have to bear it. For a young talent who has no idea of what self-belief is, they will certainly get crushed under the pressure. That's why I advised new talents to undergo my Artiste Training Course first, to prepare themselves mentally and  physically first, because in the reality show land, things can get pretty harsh, the conformity herd-mentality mechanism never stops shredding your original voice and mental self-image. When I'm coaching, my intention is only to bring you up, to enable you to know who you are as an individual, so when you are put in the face of such situation, your true self remains intact and stronger even.

7) And finally, remember it's reality
A lot of our local producers of reality shows don't seem to get this concept. All the contestants are so beautiful, tall, slender, macho-ly covered in make-up, dressed and glammed to the nines for the show, thinking that beauty sells. To the point that it looks fake! Reality shows are for normal folks like us. Folks who need to find work, from middle income group or below, with dreams and aspirations. Not everyone in this world looks like models. And worst, there's certain protocol to follow, like when the host/emcee of the show is talking (why do we even need a host for? It's reality!), the contestants need to shush up (hey, the contestants can't even make an honest opinion?). Personally for me, I would rather the contestants protest and buggered the host down for talking too much. Or punch the blady judges' faces whenever an unfair comment is made. Wow, that indeed would be great reality, isn't it? Break the rules of reality, because it's becoming so much like a soap opera now with all the perfectly coiffered contestants. And mind you, soap opera is NOT reality.