Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Blanche Macdonald - Jessica Lidder, Sleek and Sophisticated

Runway images by Peter Jensen Photography
Illustrations by Jessica Lidder

One of my favourite looks in the entire
show. 

Blanche Macdonald's annual fashion show was called The Places In Between this year. It was held the last week of November 2015 in a beautiful new space, the luxurious Permanent Building, a converted bank built in 1907. As posted previously, in addition to a show review that will be featured in Metro-Living-Zine, I have chosen a few students who stood out for solo articles.

I already covered Caitlyn Bellavance in a previous article. Today I'd like to introduce you to Jessica Lidder. I was impressed with her portfolio when I viewed it - illustrations, a strong, well designed collection and presentation - so I looked forward that night to seeing what she had to offer on the runway. I was not disappointed. 

Both looks stood out for their strong tailoring, choice of palette and beautiful fabrics. The looks were hands down wearable luxury. A big part of fashion is personal - what speaks to your taste - and the jacket/pant look shown to the left was one of my top favourites that evening. It's definitely time for me to hit the gym.

As always, it's such a pleasure when you see a young designer bring it. The best follow up is to learn more about them. I hope you enjoy this Q and A as much as I did. Jessica Lidder is definitely a designer I will be keeping my eye on.

= = = =

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in a small town in Central BC.

What were you like when you were young?

Having grown up in a small town, I had an idyllic childhood. Summers were spent bike riding around town, having water fights, playing tag, and other games with the kids in my neighbourhood. My parents would have to bribe my sister and I to get back into the house after the sun went down! Our winters were spent building massive snow forts, having snow
ball fights and finding hills to use our magic carpets on.

What were your interests in High School?

I had an interest in architecture in high school. I had strong math skills and took the time to learn the
program AutoCAD. I didn’t know it at the time, but a lot of the fashion designers I learnt about this year also had an interest in architecture.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion?

At the age of 4, I was very particular about the clothes I wore and had a strong opinion about what was fashionable for a 4 year old. My mother finally relented and allowed me to pick out my own clothes and dress myself. She also had a sewing machine, so as I got older, I spent a lot of time learning to sew from my mom.

Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was your family supportive?

I was not entirely sure what to do after high school and my family encouraged pursuing business for my post-secondary education. I worked at wealth management firms for several years before I started to seriously consider pursuing another career. Fashion has always been an interest, however, not having anyone around me in a creative field, the decision to pursue fashion design seemed daunting - an impossible dream.


As I grew emotionally and spiritually, I realized that I could spend the rest my life being safe and working at a desk job for a pay-cheque or living the life I

dreamed. This lack of passion for what I did made me realize that there was no better time than now to pursue my vocation in fashion. My family has been amazingly supportive and I couldn’t have done this without them. For that I am eternally grateful.

Why did you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?

Changing careers was a bold and scary decision. Going to Blanche Macdonald meant an intense year of the best fashion education available. I felt that if I was going to do this, then there was no better way than attending Blanche Macdonald and completely immersing myself into the program and fashion.

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you? What was easy for you? Are there any high, low or funny moments you can share?

When the teachers tell you that your social life as you know it is over, they mean it. The program is
incredibly intense and you have no time for anything but your work. The best way I can describe my
personal experience there is that it was like learning to ride a bike, over and over again, all year. The
minute I thought I finally got the hang of it, I’d fall off the bike and be starting from scratch again while at the same time, loving every minute of it!

What was the inspiration for your grad collection?

My inspiration evolved many times over the process from architecture, to art, to books in general and then to a specific book by Kahlil Gibran called The Prophet. It felt natural to contemplate the deeper matters of life that we all are a part of such as the passing of time and love and being moved to a particular silhouette for the body.

Describe your collection – customer, day-evening-sportswear-separates-casual-highend
glamour-stage costuming-punk?

The target market for this collection is the urban independent woman. Sleek and sophisticated.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

Like everything this year, the fabric choices and palette also changed over time. At the start I chose a
neutral safe palette and as I developed more confidence, I decided to take a risk by choosing bolder
fabrics with golden tones and a floral painted tweed.

Do you have a favourite look?

I do not have a favourite look. I am still discovering myself as a designer, so I am interested in trying new looks and enjoying the creative process.




What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

I plan to stay open to the process of learning thi
s industry and hopefully along the way I can make a
contribution that will change the landscape of fashion through originality and creativity.

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own
line, take a break and travel?

The big goal for the year is to try and launch something of my own. I plan to spend the year developing my talent and working on creative new designs. At the same time. I hope to incorporate some travel in my schedule to allow me to broaden my horizon and open my mind to new ideas and get those creative juices flowing!


Please share a quote on what fashion design means to you.

A quote that sums up what fashion is to me is from the tv show Gossip Girl. “Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It’s movement, design, and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be.” - Blair Waldorf.

For more information or to contact Jessica Lidder please email jessicalidder@gmail.com.  You can also follow her on Instagram at @jesslidder

For more information on the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald go to - http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/landing/fashion-design-merch/

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