Fashion student dresses staff for Parade of Lost Souls

November 1, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Above & below: Fourth-year Kwantlen fashion student Rachel Zaharik, at work on the costumes for staff at the La Rocca Italian dining lounge for the annual Commercial Drive Parade of Lost Souls. (Alicia-Rae Light photos)


La Rocca Italian dining lounge staff in their Moulin Rouge-inspired finery. (Alicia-Rae Light photo)

Tens of thousands of Vancouverite’s dressed as ghouls and gremlins and ghosts paraded along Vancouver’s Commercial Drive in the spirit of Halloween for the annual Parade of Lost souls on Oct. 25, amid conga drummers, Hare Krishna chanters, Morris dancers, fire dancers and costumed wanderers.

“The parade of lost souls is one of Vancouver’s best entertaining parades,” said Stuart Ritchie, one of the Bowen Black Sheep Morris dancers. “It’s our third year in a row performing here and it’s is always full of music and costumes. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of bad stuff happening here, it seems to be actually an event that works well in Vancouver.”

The parade derives from the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead and is organized by the Public Dreams Society. Over the years it has become an event with all sorts of artistic expression, combining music, costumes, fire, dance, performers and art, creating a fantastic evening for people of all ages.

Not everything happens on the street, though.

At 1565 Commercial Dr., there’s a line-up outside the door of La Rocca Italian dining lounge. Inside, the customers aren’t the usual sorts: there’s a table full of skeletons, one full of clowns and another with witches and warlocks. All the diners are being served by characters from Baez Luhrmanns’s movie, Moulin Rouge, created by 24-year-old Rachel Zaharik, a fourth-year Fashion Design and Marketing student at Kwantlen.

She came up with the idea after recently watching Moulin Rouge. “It was easy to figure out costumes for, and I love the movie so I thought it would be perfect,” said Zaharik.

“I bought the patterns. I didn’t design these patterns as I usually would have, I was in a rush,” said Zaharik, as she explained how she created six women’s costumes, a bartender’s costume and the general manager’s costume, all as a favour to the restaurant, and al in a very short period of time between schoolwork and classes.

She used broad cloth and leftovers for most of the costumes, as well as sequined fabric for the bartender’s vest. The general manager’s costume consists of a black suit jacket with tails and a red vest underneath. Servers wore v-neck sleeveless tops in their choice of colour, with lace trimming, and black skirts with gathered fabric at the back, creating a burlesque look.

“Kwantlen’s fashion program is one of the best in Canada. It’s recognized within the fashion industry, but not so much within the general community, which is too bad,” said Zaharick. “Students come out of this program much more prepared than (those in) the shorter programs.”