Mercedes-Benz Stylo Fashion Grand Prix: The Voodoo Ball, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Awards Gala, & Aloft Grand Opening

March 26, 2013
Last Thursday, the 5th & final evening of Mercedes-Benz Stylo Fashion Grand Prix was also the night of the  Mercedes-Benz Stylo Fashion Awards Gala and the launch of Aloft K.L Sentral. Dubbed 'The Voodoo Ball', the theme du nuit was gothic. 
Although most of the guests were more glamourous than ghostly, the dramatic fashion presentation by Jovian Mandagie and the staggering presence of the MC more than made up for the lack of the macabre.

Not very long ago the gothic dress code would have truly been up my street, but as I've softened my 'look' of late, my ensemble that night was more like a walk down memory lane. Now you're just somebody that I used to know. 

In true Chinese style, the opening ceremony of the new Aloft K.L Sentral featured a lion dance.

Z & M.

Waiting for the show to start. Forget the performers and their disco sticks, the whole time I couldn't take my eyes off Kai Schlickum (Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Mercedes Benz Malaysia) who was sitting right across me in the front row. I'm probably biased because he's exactly my type---at least 10 years older, tall, salt & pepper hair, blue eyes---but, still...the man is handsome. His wife is a lucky woman.

The MC was a vision, towering on stilts yet walking with the ease & deliberate grace of...Jack Skellington. Who I'm certain was her inspiration that night. 

Models who complain that walking in heels is difficult, please watch this woman and learn.

The show opened with La Formela from Czech Republic who showcased silky, printed ensembles not unlike the pyjama trend that took S/S'12 by storm. It all looks terribly comfortable, and I think the loose, slouchy cuts would be especially suited to tropical Malaysian weather. Freezing cold London, not so much.

Followed by Mercedes-Benz Stylo Fashion Awards Gala, of which a very unfortunate jacket design with what looked like dandruff on the shoulders rendered me so distracted that I forgot to take any pictures.

Right after, a presentation of emerging young designers (all students from local fashion schools) who used recycled materials to create unexpected designs.

Tan Chun Yong's creation, 2nd Runner-Up of Mercedes-Benz STYLO Emerging Designer of the Year 2013.

This was my favourite, by Kelvin Raw Yi Shuen. I wanted so badly for it to wing (haha) but it came first runner up of of Mercedes-Benz STYLO Emerging Designer of the Year 2013. Still a huge achievement though! And look, there's Kai Schlickum looking dapper even without his jacket.

Arisa and her creation. I once shot Arisa for Kiss Me's Facebook competition, I had no idea she was a designer as well, I only thought she was a model. So many talents, so little time!

Melinda Looi's fashion presentation put the show back on track to the gothic theme of the night.

Then the lights went out for Jovian Mandagie's collection.

A booming voiceover. Hooded figures in black bearing lanterns and music instruments glided down the catwalk. An orchestra and choir of hooded musicians accompanying the dramatic soundtrack with the violin, cello, chants, and choruses. 

A singer dressed in Jovian Mandagie pierced the deep, rumbling music with her high, clear soprano as models took slow steps down the catwalk, pausing ever so often, all the better to show off Mandagie's elaborate gowns and headpieces festooned in lace, spikes, feathers, and snakes.

I recognized a few similiar elements in this collection to the one he did for the Magnum Chocolatier Collection earlier this month. The fringing in the dresses, the colour scheme, the way the silk trains of the gowns billowed as the models walked.

The only way Jovian Mandagie could top this is with real snakes in the headdresses.

Of course he won Mercedes-Benz Stylo 'Designer of The Year 2013'. It's the year of the snake, and clearly the serpent boded well for Jovian Mandagie. His lucky animal this year.

He led his models out to the catwalk for the grand parade. The other designers and the competing design students followed suit with their models and designs.

Everyone stands with bated breath as the winner of the award 'Emerging Designer of the Year 2013' is announced...

...and it goes to Phuna Boon Yi...! 

I'm loving the height difference, it's so adorable & endearing, like an elder sibling protecting their younger!

The grand exit.

While the designers were being interviewed we made our way to the dessert table...

...and encountered living, flesh-and-blood table props! This lady with skewers of cake in her hair kept so still, that in the red light she almost looked like a mannequin. "What a realistic-looking decapitated head" I thought, then she turned and made me jump. She laughed, and when I reached to the plate for a cake she said "Take one from my hair!" Anything to lighten her load...!

We headed to the afterparty upstairs and were greeted by yet another infinity pool with a view of the city skyline. Is this a recurring theme in my life? Is the universe telling me something? Certainly. Time to build an infinity pool.

Michiekins looking gothic, for once...! I like. (Dark) soul sisters.



  1. WOW Jasiminne! Looking everybit the diva. Loveeee the dress and the curves on you!

    One word: AMAZING


    1. nananana diva is a female version of a hustlaaaa.... *wags finger*

  2. Hi, Thanks for loving my dress :)
    I just started to be involved in this industry 2 mths ago after leaving my job as a pilot with MAS.
    Though I wanted so much to be the winner, I guess it's still worth the hardwork being first runner up at least. It's a motivation to do better next time :) do add me in fb to see more future creations at Kelvin Raw.

    Kelvin Raw

    1. Hi Kelvin! I had no idea you were a pilot, that explains the winged theme of your dress!
      Your story is so inspiring, not many people have the courage to quit a good job and step into an uncertain new world!
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. And congratulations on winning, it's a huge achievement especially given how new you are to the fashion industry.