As the dust settles on an extremely hectic KL Fashion Week, I finally get a chance to take in a breather, sit back & begin to document what was perhaps one of the most exciting events of 2015! (in my books, at least)
 
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The Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week (or KLFW) is an annual event organized by Andrews Models. Incepted in the spirit of bringing local fashion to new and exhilarating heights, the event sees the creative best gather to showcase tonnes of raw talent and panache. For a period of five days (and five nights if you count the after-parties), the location turns into a wonderland of style, runway & gorgeous models. Backstage is where rows upon rows of dresses, gowns and other material vie for space with dressing tables, steam presses and ironing boards, all clashing together in a chaotic symphony!
 
And where do I fit in in all of this?
 

Well, this year was my first KLFW participation. It was held in the Pavilion Shopping Mall in KL, with the giant centre court converted into a fashion worthy arena (complete with seats and gawking onlookers) bedecked with state of the art lighting and audio visual systems (to ensure that even the most near-sighted of participants got to appreciate our work in all its detailed glory). Without fail, the maestros at the marketing department put out the appropriate banners and ads for weeks/months before event itself, ensuring that everyone from Bukit Bintang to Timbuktu was aware that something big was going to go down from the 12th to the 16th of August. In this aspect, the heavyweights of industry (not limited to that of fashion) threw in their support and branding to make this year’s KLFW one of the most eagerly anticipated ones around. Comparing to last year’s massive turnout of over a 100,000 spectators and buyers, the lineup of over 80 individual designers showcasing their own lines was poised to garner an even bigger turnout in KLFW’s third installment.

 

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The Entourage Series on display!

If you’ve been following my stories and posts all this while, you’ll understand how my modus operandi works, when it comes to runway shows and presentations. Always preceded by my bell trolley (the infamous one which I wheel to every show I attend), which plays Santa’s sledge to almost all my work pieces. I normally handcraft personally all the door gifts and souvenirs that my guests receive. However, due to the higher number of participants, I found myself somewhat beleaguered with duties, and had no choice but to enlist a dedicated workforce: my husband & kids!
 
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Pictured here: Supportive Husband Lugging Trolley Around. This is him 40 mins after waking up on a Saturday morning. Guys just have it so easy…

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Made with Love: Clarisssa unpacks plain bottled water>Cayla cuts ribbon>James ties ribbon on bottle>Clarissa sticks CELEST THOI sticker & puts it back into the box.

Taking precious time off to assist, the hubby became a miracle worker by turning bottles of water into beautiful door gifts almost overnight. Together with his elves (see: my two daughters), he set up a processing line where on one end, raw items like ribbons and bottled water went in, and came out as bespoke mementos on the other. “Made with love” for sure.
 
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Bottles upon bottles of water…

Despite having settled the door gifts, there were still 101 things to do. My slot was right smack in the middle of the week, and there were loads of errands that had to be run, dresses to be pressed and alterations to be made before I could even contemplate taking a break. Here, my trusty assistant and protégé Shirley stepped up and bowled us all over with her remarkable coordination skills and amazingly enviable disregard for the need to sleep. In short order, the programme was in place, the schedule booked, and the hems ironed. All set for the main stage!
 
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The Dream Team! Thanks Sara and Rachael for helping out.

SHOWTIME. It was as if I stepped into the middle of a battlefield. The battalion of models rushing back and forth was only outdone by the foot troops of make-up artists, garment handlers and general assistants dashing about. In little islands of their own, backstage generals shouted (or rather gestured furiously) to coordinate the runway procession and ascertain the timing that each specific model would take. Not rocket science, but close enough that it would boggle the mind of any passerby that happened across the backstage proceedings.
 
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Backstage madness. So much work for just 30 seconds on the runway.

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Putting the final touchups…

Despite having had a fair share of stints where I got to co-display my work with other designers, the thought of sharing the limelight with the likes of Alia Bastamam, Carven Ong, and Jonathan Liang never fails to excite! At the end of the day, however, its nice to know that I’m in good company, and that there’s no shortage of ideas and thoughts to tap on from my peers and talented friends! It is simply sublime to think that I’ll be in the same boat with these creative and lovely people.
 
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Happy and Silly: Patricia K still looks good even with a silly face.

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Suave and dapper Sean Ghazi!

I had the honour of showcasing my line to the likes of Serena C, Patricia Knudsen, Lynn Lim and many more! Even more interestingly, I had the whole plethora of industry people present, from photographers to models and from bloggers to designers! Do allow me to express my sincerest gratitude to all of you who took the time to support and lend a supportive hand to the Celest Thoi line! Surely, the event would have been far less a success if you had not been there.
 

And, to cap the day, I even got the chance to get interviewed by Mandarin Daily. Pardon my atrocious Mandarin, its been a while since I had a chance to take it for a test run!

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All in all, it was an amazing experience, with many bonds formed, friends made, and relationships built! Underlying the glitz and the glam of the event was the deep sense of satisfaction when I saw my own designs being appreciated and seen by the masses, and even more importantly, the strong sense of camaraderie I got from everyone! Tiring as it was, I just can’t wait for the next one! Well done Andrew Models for organising the event.

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Alright, I’ll just go ahead and take a much needed siesta now.
Much love,
Celest Thoi.

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