Looking Back On 2019

Posted by LeeAnn Dussault on

Here we are saying goodbye to 2019, about to welcome in 2020. I can't believe another year has passed already, and so much has happened for East Coast Couture. :D

From collaborations with crazy talented artists, to runways both in Canada and the U.S., this year has been very memorable for our brand. I've had lots of learning experiences throughout 2019. Mostly amazing, only 1-2 'sketchy' moments. By 'sketchy' I just mean hard lessons were learned, and I moved on from it a much better person. :)

I am holding nothing back in the blog. :D

Let dive right in to the beginning of 2019! :D

I LOVE collaborating with other artists. :) From photographers, to stylists, to models, there's no shortage of talent in our province of New Brunswick. :) I am truly blessed to be able to have such amazing contacts I can call upon for collabs.

Earlier in the Spring, I got a shoutout from my go-to hairstylist whom I book whenever I need a stylist to glam up my model(s) for a collab. :) I was asked if I would be interested in planning a fashion show during a Ladies Diamond Evening in Bouctouche. I gladly said yes, and began organizing a collection, and started on model calls/fittings.

I met with the ladies who ran the event, and was pleased with the overall organization of the event. My only comment/advice for any future Ladies Diamond shows would be to either sell tickets online, or allow guests to purchase tickets at the doors. :)

My models and their families came from all over NB, as well as NS and were denied entry to just watch their loved ones on the stage. So, I did what I had to do. I 'snuck' in those family members backstage. :P There was no way I was going to allow a 80+ year old grandmother to just sit and wait in a car until the fashion show was over.

I usually stick my husband in the audience to take video of my shows, but since they weren't selling tickets at the door, I was only able to get photos from backstage. Regardless of the circumstances, my models did great. Both on stage and backstage helping new models by building up their confidence. :)

 Here's a few taken backstage. 


Throughout Spring and Summer, I scheduled many creative editorial sets. :D These are the types of shoots that I love doing. Letting my creativity let loose, and producing not only fabulous designs for these shoots, but seeing the end results. I'm being happy that some of these editorials even made it to print in 2019. :D 

Here are a just a few of my favorites that I shot myself throughout 2019. <3

Model: Morghan McCormack


Model: Alison Nelson


Model: Emilia Tupy


Here are a few published pieces that made it to print magazine. :) 


Photographer: Creative Supply Productions
Model: Melanie Robichaud
Hair: Corey Saulnier
Makeup: Madii Leslie 


A interview for Miraj Magazine :) 

And a few more. :)


Now, jumping forward to late summer. 

I was feeling inspired from the movie Assassin's Creed, and began planning a new design. I went to my 'vault' of fabrics collected over the years, and picked up this dark Jacquard brocade with gold shimmers. I decided to do a upgraded version of the play dress, but with more of a flow to the skirt. To keep with my inspiration from the movie, I sketched out and made a oversized hood and attached it to the new dress.

Earlier in the Spring I did a fashion collab, and met makeup artist Anick Dadson. I loved the work she did on the clients and I've been following her work on social media for a while. I knew I wanted to book her for my editorial. :D

My model for this shoot was Leigha Eldridge of Saint John. I've worked with Leigha on several projects in the past, and she's even modeled for me at the last 2 seasons at Atlantic Fashion Week. Leigha is also agency trained as a model, so I knew she would be able to perform in front of the camera without a problem.

Here's a few behind the scenes shots from getting the makeup applied to the final shots of that shoot. :)

Massive props to Leigha for working through the swarms of mosquitoes from our first location in the park. 

I was going for a dark elegant vibe, and I think we got it with this collaboration. 


Returning to Atlantic Fashion Week.

I was given the opportunity to showcase again at Atlantic Fashion Week in Halifax for their season 13. :) It was a great evening filled with so many local talents. I was thrilled to be their opening designer to kick off AFW 2019! :D 

You can ready my full blog, and view all photos/videos of that evening here. :) 


In early Summer I got a email from a pageant director asking if I would be interested in putting together a fashion show for their upcoming pageant in October. I was quite hesitant at first after my experience with Diamond Night, but I agreed after a few details were discussed/agreed on. I asked for tickets to be available for any family/friends of my models who may be attending. After receiving a number of tickets that would be held for East Coast Couture, I started my model selection. I was asked to have 2 shows during the pageant, each 10 looks. That was no problem. :) I decided on a casual/everyday collection for the first show, and a more elegant/glam collection for the final show. I had booked 10 models, each 2 outfits for a total of 20 designs.

I reached out to L Models in Saint John, and Lorraine Peters, agency owner, gladly sent me some of her models. I also hand picked a few local ladies from Moncton, and completed my fittings right after AFW in September. 

Over the Summer, early Fall, I was in correspondence with the pageant director. I was told that my models were required to arrive by 4pm for their rehearsal at 4:30pm. Doors would open at 5pm, with the show starting at 6pm. I was then told that my first collection would need to be runway ready for 7pm, and the last at 9pm. 

I was feeling pretty good on how everything sounded, and how everything was coming together. :) 

The day of the show came, my models arrived on time, and our rehearsal time was behind as pageant delegates were still on stage for their practice at 4:30pm. We had maybe 10 minutes of rehearsal time before doors opened. I've dealt with quick rehearsals in the past, so this was nothing new to me. 

After rehearsals, we all headed to the rooms backstage to wait for our first walk at 7pm. As people started filling in the theatre. It quickly became a full house.

I decided to take a quick walk to the front doors and pick up a itinerary of the pageant. I like to collect these forms as a little piece of a souvenir from each show I do. :) 

I was shocked to see that my name and brand East Coast Couture wasn't listed anywhere in the booklet...! 0_o The pageant director informed me that I would have a 'shout-out' from the MC during the show.... Alrighty. 

6:30pm came and a lady with a walkie-talkie announced that my first collection now wouldn't be hitting the stage until 9pm-ish. Just as I was about to get my models ready, we've been pushed several hours behind. 

9pm was suppose to be our final collection to hit the runway. I had models come from all over NB, and didn't want them to have to drive home at like 11pm at night. 0_0 

I have to say, everytime I went to find this lady with the walkie-talkie, she would literally turn and run in the other direction when she saw me. I had questions that needed answers, and she just took off running. I totally understand backstage can be hectic during any kind of events, but she was giving me a off vibe and I was getting upset.


Legit photo taken of me right after seeing the lady with the walkie run away again.... Unimpressive.... I think the look on my face says it all. lol

After discussions with my models, and their agency, I decided to do both collections at once at 9pm. The models would do a quick change backstage and they would be free to leave after it was done. 

I didn't get a chance to relay this to the lady with the walkie-talkie... I could never find her. But another member from the team backstage did for me, and was responded with vulgarity. 

I'm not sure what I or any of my team did to upset this lady, but I was over it. 

Never in the history of East Coast Couture have I been treated with such disrespect! I was clearly upset backstage, but did my best to keep it together. I was going to walk away from this evening as being  professional! 

I was disrespected as a person, but felt used as a brand. 

By the time my models hit the stage, the theatre had emptied by 50%.

I felt terrible after the models finished on the stage. Models who took the time to travel for a show, and it ended the way it did. This was definitely a lesson learned for sure on my part.

Would I work with this company again in the future? I can't say that I would. 

Would I put together another fashion show for a local event in the future? Hard to answer at this moment. I would need so much confirmed details if I ever were to do something like this again.

If I am given a time for being on the runway/stage, then that time would need to be honored... Not scheduled several hours behind, then completely ignored backstage. 


*Breaths deep...!!!* lol


Moving on! :D

In November I travelled to Saint John to participate in the annual Fashion Feeds hosted by L Models and Personal Development Academy (formerly NWH Models).

I was excited to be a part of this show as the funds raised were going to support the New Brunswick Breast Cancer Network. A wonderful cause. :) It was their first official show in their new location in Saint John, and the turnout was amazing throughout the day. :D

The show began at 11am on November 17th, and I took a front row seat the end of the runway. :) I brought my camera with me and offered to take photos throughout the day for as many shows as I could.  :)

What I love about working with L Models is the high level of professionalism, and how everyone is treated with fairness and respect. 

East Coast Couture will always continue to support L Models whenever we can. :) 

Here's a few from my collection on the runway. :D

Photos by Dwight Earle Reimer


You can view the video from the show here. :) 

2 of my favorite ladies. :) 

Owner of L Models, Lorraine Peters

Mary Lawton, Blue Butterfly Photography


Travelling to Florida for my first fashion show outside of Canada was incredible. :) It was an intense/fabulous evening filled with many designers, celebrities and models. :) 

You can read my entire experience on Deck the Runway here. :) It goes into full details the events that led to the show, and my real feelings on the event. There's also photos and videos to view from the show, and my sharing the stage with fellow designer Lainy Gold. <3 

After returning to our hotel in Orlando to change, we (my husband, myself, and bestie) all agreed on IHop for a celebratory LATE supper. :D I hadn't eaten all day for fear of being sick from nerves, and I wanted pancakes. lol

Sporting my new t-shirt from Deck the Runway. :) 


Well, I guess that wraps up 2019! :D 

I can only imagine what 2020 is going to bring ECC. :) We already have new designs in the works, as well as new photoshoots planned in March/April. New collaborations with models and photographers is something I'm very much looking forward to. :D 

2019 was a rollercoaster of emotions, and I'm so ready for the journey 2020 will bring.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Year, and East Coast Couture will see you all in 2020!!! 


~To be continued :) 

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  • Such an interesting read..wishing you all the best shows and shoots for 2020!

    Lainy Gold on

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