When you've lasted 10 years as a fashion designer in a city known for Gore-Tex and yoga pants, all the while creating clothes fit for a modern-day glamazon, what do you do to mark the milestone? If you're Jason Matlo, you put on a luxe runway show at the Fairmont Pacific Rim on a Friday night, and you invite Vancouver's industry insiders, media, and fashion influencers.
Matlo's decade-long career began with haute couture techniques honed during his student days at the Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design. From there, he launched a successful eponymous collection. More recently, he also ventured into a diffusion line called BABE and a bridal collection. The vision of the "Jason Matlo woman" who sported his creations remained more or less consistent throughout it all. She was confident, sexy, aware of her own allure and power. She knew how to command a room armed only with charisma and a form-fitting dress.
That vision was very much in evidence at the 10 year anniversary show, where models sashayed down a custom-created mirrored catwalk. There were party dresses with deep V necklines and strategic cutouts and ruching, all fitted just so. There were plenty of jumpsuits, sometimes adorned with paillettes. The makeup and crimped hair by La Biosthetique really complemented the clothes in hearkening back to full-on 70s glamour. Meanwhile, the oversized bows adorning everything from the hip of a little black jacket to the shoulder of a jumpsuit were reminiscent of Valentino Garavani, who also understood how to use bows to dramatic feminine effect. The finale dress—a bridal gown, naturally—showed off the best of Matlo's style signatures.
Of course, a Jason Matlo retrospective wouldn't be possible without recognizing the significant contributions of his chef d'atelier Wen-chee Liu, a fact Matlo acknowledged himself that night. Liu logs countless studio hours as the seamstress executing his designs and as a fellow Visual College of Art and Design instructor. Congratulations go out to both on the great show and all their successes. Here's to 10 more years.
All photos by Peter Jensen