My Watercolour Girls

This is my favourite medium after fabric. Can you tell that I like pink? 


Senior Photoshoot!

A few people asked about my senior photo shoot, so I thought okay, I’ll just go ahead and inundate all of you guys with yet more pictures of my senior collection. My apologies to those who have already seen various permutations of my senior collection via Facebook.

My photographer friend Melinda found this beautiful Victorian home that was just so interesting to shoot in, with that gorgeous dark leather couch and wooden inset wall and MY FAVOURITE: faded robin’s egg blue on the outside of the house, the paint ever so perfectly peeling. I wanted everything to look romantic and delicate and soft, but just that slight bit moody. So happy with how everything turned out! The first few pictures are behind the scenes shots taken by yours truly, because I have this incorrigible need to document everything, even things that are already being documented. The later images (you know, the ones that look way more professional) are the final edited shots from the shoot. Enjoy.

Designer & Styling: Jasmine Chong
Photographer: Melinda Jane Myers
Hair & Makeup: Kristen Mussari
Model: Nicole Baker

My Senior Collection at SAIC Fashion 2012

Funny how you get sentimental about things you never thought you’d get sentimental about. My zipper on my purple dress actually broke between shows, causing my stress levels to sky rocket, but after sprinting to the art supply store for hooks and eyes with the dress looped in the crook of my elbow… it all worked out. I guess I will miss all of this. The fittings, the critiques, the work. It was an amazing show, can you believe Cynthia Rowley and Mickey Boardman of Papermag were in attendance? Ahh! It’s humbling and inspiring to be graduating with such talented classmates. We did it.

So, here are pictures of my senior thesis collection from SAIC Fashion 2012 in Millennium Park. It was surreal, strange, wonderful seeing my name projected on the screen. And a whole minute and a half dedicated to my collection! Feels big. Those of you who know me will know that this collection is one that is close to me, it is by far the most “me” out of everything I have ever produced. This is a good feeling. It came from a place where I was exploring nostalgia, food, tastes and textures. I twisted and manipulated silk in the same way I would with dumplings skins. I chose colours that reminded me of pink guavas and mangosteens and all that wonderful Malaysian stuff I miss so much. It’s so easy to get lost in the deep concept behind one’s work. I just wanted to make things I felt were pretty, I think this is enough.

Now to the real world. Portfolios and packing up the past four years into boxes and moving to the East Coast.

Thank you to Elaine Li, Quinn Keaveney, and Chloe Akari for the beautiful pictures. I have a few shots from backstage but I cannot for the life of me find my memory card reader right now, so these pictures and Instagrams are saving me right now.

Of Tea Eggs and Vegemite Soldiers

Last Friday, I somehow managed to contract a nasty little strain of flu, and boy, was it nasty! I had a high grade fever for several days, and then it evolved into this painful monster of a flu. Everything hurt. The school nurse suspected pneumonia at first, but a visit to the doctor’s office told me otherwise. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case! I was beginning to have nightmares about pulling out of the show due to all the time I spent in bed feeling sorry for myself. Life can be so mean sometimes.

Anyway, this is about eggs and how being sick rekindled my love for them. Now, when I am sick, I pretty much have close to no appetite, so mild comforting foods are the only way for me to eat anything. So I decided to make tea eggs! Hardboiled some eggs, cracked the shells with the back of a spoon, then simmered them for ~3 hours in a bath of soy sauce, black tea, star anise, cinnamon, pepper, and an array of ginseng herbs that I found in my pantry. I would say these were definitely a success, they were beautiful on the outside and the eggs were infused with the herbal soy flavour. Also, I just love the marbled dye patterns that formed on each egg and the insides of the eggshell. So gorgeous. Makes peeling eggs seem like less of a chore.

It’s been a busy weekend of finishing up garments, recovering from the flu and cleaning up the apartment for my parents’ arrival on Wednesday, so I’ve been mostly staying in. I’ve been lamenting to anyone who will listen about how I miss being sick at home in KL or in my boarding house in Australia. There was a sick bay with beds where we would rest ourselves to recovery, and the nurse would even make me Vegemite toast! It’s truly a luxury to be cared for when you’re unwell. When you live alone, these are things you have to do for yourself. So I decided to make an easy brunch of Vegemite soldiers with soft boiled eggs to dip the “soldiers” (just strips of toast with Vegemite!). I wish I had egg cups for the eggs, but my little Chinese soup bowl was just perfect for my dipping needs. I am in love with Vegemite on toast and a good gooey runny yolk, it’s a wonder I don’t have this for breakfast more often!

The Past Week, Instagrammed

I have been in and out of Fishman Fabrics as try-ons for the show are next week. It has been pretty hectic in my life, given that I’ve had a cacophony of projects in other classes to attend to in addition to getting ready for the looming fashion show. Soooo, I’ve been trying to stay sane by doing fun things like painting my nails, eating frozen yogurt, and spending the Anthropologie gift cards I received from my boyfriend and Irem. Doing little fun things that I enjoy (that aren’t too time consuming!) in between the overwhelming amount of work, this is my secret to staying sane. I somehow also managed to organise an outdoor photoshoot for last year’s collection, which I know I will be thoroughly happy with. More on that later.

For now, I am going to wait for 4 pairs of tights to arrive so my one-woman sweatshop can resume. These sequins are not going to sew themselves on! Also waiting for 5 pairs of black platform Mary Janes to come my way. My heart hurts when I think of how much I’ve spent on this collection. Dressing 5 models in 5 (mostly silk) looks paired with 5 pairs of shoes and 5 pairs of tights = a lot of money that could have gone elsewhere! Sigh! Let’s hope it’ll be worth it. No one said being a fashion student would be cheap.

Also, did I mention that I’ve somehow contracted a horrible wheezing dry cough AND that someone nicked my iPhone a few days ago? I am willing to bet that both of these things happened on the luxurious Red line. I got it back, but that’s a long story I’ll have to tell you if you ask. What a week. Thank goodness for pretty nail polish colours, tulips, and spring weather in Chicago.

Behind The Scenes

Nearly lost myself there in a crazy flurry of deadlines, a very random road trip, and MORE deadlines. Sigh. When will it end?! Oh, that’s right. The fashion show, which just happens to be a little over 2 weeks away. I’m just trying to stay sane at this point. I have garments to make, tights to embroider, and accessories to work on. Yup. Just trying to stay sane.

As I mentioned before, my school arranged for a senior photo shoot for our first looks. In my case, my first look consists of a pink silk two-ply dress with sweet little gathers forming a low back neckline. Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots from earlier this month. There’s something really unrehearsed and natural about these shots, and I’m happy I decided to lug around my DSLR to the shoot. The last image is the final shot by Jack Perno. Sublime. I could not have asked for a better model than Maddy McMullen. Nothing quite like seeing your work come alive.

Sugar Rush Chicago

My boyfriend and I attended a fundraiser organised by Spark, held at the beautiful Hotel Allegro. Spark is a national nonprofit with a goal of providing life-changing apprenticeships to youth from disadvantaged communities. They are focused on combating the high school dropout crisis, and they do this by connecting volunteer professionals with underserved young people in apprenticeships that “spark” their potential. What a brilliant cause. We had tickets to the VIP hour, which was a relief because the line at check-in got a bit crazy towards the later part of the evening. Quite a number of young professionals and some of Chicago’s most talented chefs were in attendance, and it was wonderful to see such heavy-handed support!

Pastry chefs whipped up some of the most decadent and delicate desserts ever, and I only wish I was able to sample one from every table! There was also complimentary wine-pairing, but I could only manage to share a glass of wine with my boyfriend. Here are the ones I did sample, and I have to say, these were almost too gorgeous to eat. I couldn’t help but gaze at each dessert admiringly for five seconds or so before demolishing it.

I also got to meet Heather Terhune from Top Chef, at her table topped with the most DIVINE orange vanilla-bean panna cotta. Enjoy the pictures of our indulgences from that evening…

Orange and Vanilla-bean Panna Cotta from Top Chef Contestant Heather Terhune at Sable.

University Club of Chicago’s Barolo prepared by Jimmy MacMillan. One of my absolute favourites of the night. Each little shell was filled with wine-based gelato, and topped with berries. Sigh!

Blackbird and Avec‘s Bryce Caron prepared Bittersweet Chocolate Cremeux. Incredibly rich and smooth.

Guanaja Chocolate Bombe by Tony Galzin of MK. How beautiful is that sculptural piece of sesame brittle?

Carrot Cake of Hub 51. I did not try these as my sugar consumption was already through the roof, but my boyfriend will tell you that these were sublime.

Cafe Des Architectes’ Rhubarb Buttermilk Verrine prepared by Patrick Fahy. I’m hoping this is on the regular menu, because this dessert blew my mind. Rhubarb and dairy is a clear winner in my books, always.

Irish Rush from Roger Waysok of South Water Kitchen.

Raspberry and Almond Tart from Tim Graham of Paris Club.

I loved the event and of course, the array of sweet works of art. I was 1 of 3 lucky people to receive tickets from Yelp, so thank you for that!