Friday, 22 May 2015

Fashfest Special: The Greatest Show on Earth

Photo: Warwick Leigh

I have a huge secret: To those poor people who missed out on Fashfest 2015, you missed out on the greatest show on earth.
Was it a typical Canberra runway show? Hell no. Is the massive almost 50 metre runway comparable to what you would see at Paris Fashion Week? Hell yes. Have you seen the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove sit front row of a fashion show anywhere else? Nope. So again, did you miss out? Sorry but you did.

It started when we walked into the Convention Centre. Being a Canberran, most of us at one time or another have attended a concert, a seminar or wedding reception here, but I was literally shocked to see what this place looked like after the crew at Fashfest took over the ENTIRE place. We had red carpet, roaming models and the city's most fashionable people all here to celebrate fashion in it's glory. 

We were welcomed by the wonderful people at the media desk, who took very good care of us and also walked us into what I described to Fashfest creators, Andrea and Clint as reminiscent to a Paris runway.

Every night we were met with music by Jack Biilmann; freelance saxophonist, Julian Fung; hip hop artist Tak-un-da; Mel Jade; Chanel Cole; Kayo Marbilus and more. The mini movies directed by the likes of Jimmy Ennett - Inventor; Nicky Tyndale-Biscoe - Activist; Hew Anderson - Carographer and Laura and Hanna White each night gave us a taste of how edgy and different Canberra fashion is and how each element were represented in a divine and artistic way.  

Four nights had me hyped and wrecked with tiredness at the same time, but it's totally worth it. Live music and runway work so well together, it was a feast. 

This is Clint and Andrea Hutchinson's other baby, but there are heaps of people involved in making this Canberra's only premier runway show. Here are a few names:

Producer: Steven Wright
Co-Producer: Nick Ellis 
Director of PR and Media: Wendy Johnson 
Director of Photography: Leighton Hutchinson
Director of Music: Ashley Feraude
Director of Hair: Darren Jones
Creative Director of Hair: Craig Rhodes
Director of makeup: Diana Cheetham
Creative Director of Makeup: Katie Saarikko
Runway Manager and Choreographer: Susanna Ellis
Technical Director of Sound & Lighting: Darren Russell
Executive Video Director: Michael Fardel
Director of Digital: Angelo Paonne
AND the many, many false eyelashes used. 

Before my top 10, I wanted to say a big thanks to Grant Heino from for graciously letting me use some of his runway pics and to the father of my children, Warwick Leigh for being my photographer (we'll get a new camera soon, I promise). My very special fashion soul sister, Sarah Kelly for just being her and giving us the experience of front row. Not to forget Wendy Johnson, who again welcomed me back after having a year off. 

Photo: Warwick Leigh

The Top Ten Fashfest Moments! 

10. Les Femmes
CIT Graduates - Photo: Grant Heino of Ink and Leathers

The amount of female designers showcased here over the four days shows how immensely talented theses ladies are. Mainly a male driven industry, with many women being under represented in the fashion world, I'm so proud that Fashfest has included so many. The talent flowing through CIT and this city is astounding, with originality and spunk, I am so proud to call myself a woman. 

9. The Artist 
 Photo: Warwick Leigh

Artist, Luke Chiswell gave us raw post apocalyptic look on his first foray onto the runway with his ultra modern collection, 'New Day'. Using raw materials, Luke created flowing, clean lines and layered silk in what was a thought provoking show. The floral masks on their faces were reminiscent of Margiela's Fall/Winter 2o13 collection.

Photo: Grant Heino of Ink and Leathers
This set of photos: Warwick Leigh

8. The Rebel

 Photo: Elle Boudoir

I was so excited when I got to interview this talented designer. There was so many questions I wanted to ask that my next interview will have to be in person. 
Diversity is the one thing missing in the fashion industry and again with women's design voices not being heard, Iranian designer, Neda Alemohammad has made her voice heard with this collection. Moving from her home country to Australia as early as 2014, she has brought life to her Persian culture with her label Hana Apparel Designs. Mixing western and middle eastern influences, her collection featured mysterious Persian prints and rebellious cut outs, fringing and luxurious colours making this show one of my highlights. I hope her dream of Iranian women being equal will be a reality. 

This set of photos: Elle Boudoir

7. Cornered Red
Photo: Elle Boudoir

This is an interesting story. Designer, Michelle Walton saw a huge gap in women's boxing. A market not really tapped, unless you consider a boxing glove done in pink (because it's for girls), innovative, Michelle wanted to change that gap in the market by making boxing gear for women, by women. Men are not excluded, but that being said her Canberra born label, Red Corner is devoted to giving women the power of choice, which we love. Brand ambassadors, Jenna Douras and Adriana Smith strutted out better than any supermodel on the runway, rocking mitts and pads and strong bodies, continuing with some more fit bodies, which I think made a few us feel unfit. But my highlight were the guys. Enough said. If you feel like getting fit -

This set of Photos: Elle Boudoir

6. Was Kanye here?
 Photo: Warwick Leigh

Rapper and visionary, Tak-un-da opened Day 2 with a performance that brought extra excitement to Fashfest. With Kanye like moves, the man started rapping, quickly realising he is definitely no Kanye. With his innovative lyrics and fast paced opening and closing of the show, he was a big reason he is on my list. 

This set of photos: Warwick Leigh

5. Sweet Child O' Mine

New Zealand designer, Melanie Child gave us an eclectic collection on the runway with garments made from discarded fabrics on Day 3. The use of different fabrics for each design was wearable and eco. The edgy dresses made from cuts of different denim were showstoppers and soft looks made from cotton made this a fun show and gives you an idea of what designers are doing to create garments with no environmental footprint. 

 Photo: Grant Heino of Ink and Leathers
Photo: Grant Heino of Ink and Leathers

4. Perpetually Achromatic
 Photo: Warwick Leigh

This was an extremely exciting show on opening night of Fashfest - The Activist. What was I expecting from Perpetually Five + Clare? Exactly what I saw. An achromatic wonder of blacks and whites and some very high fashion houndstooth masks made me think the collaboration between designers Mitch Thompson and Clare Read is truly special. Inspired by children's nightmares, 'The Haunted Mask' was haunting and made you sit up and pay attention. Like my partner said, 'Very Tim Burtonesque'. 

Photo: Grant Heino of Ink and Leathers
Photo: Warwick Leigh 

3. Couture Garden 
Photo: Grant Heino of Ink and Leathers

Rockstars and Royalty has been showing at Fashfest from the start. Normally creating pieces for clients, designer Vicki Kidd-Gallichan has literally outdone herself with couture pieces inspired by flowers. Collaborating with flower designer Fionna Tamin from Peony and Pearl, her 'Cherries in the Snow' collection featured reds and pinks and everything spring, that I almost forgot it was cold in Canberra. The collection, shown at Fashfest Day 2 - Inventor, was a fusion of Dior Haute Couture and Gone With The Wind. The final dress with real floral appliqués brought literally tears to my eyes and made my partner say, "geez, I'm in trouble". Thank you Rockstars and Royalty for showing us Canberra can be very couture.

Photo: Grant Heino of Ink and Leathers
5 Photos taken by: Warwick Leigh

Before I give you the final two, I was distraught trying to pick who would be number one. So I flipped for it...five times. So I do believe they're both equally amazing. 

 2. World War 'Z'
Photo: Warwick Leigh

The Engineer was the final night of Fashfest and Corr Blimey's Louisa de Smet gave us what I think is one of their greatest collections with the second half of the Propaganda Z collection, the first half we got to see at Designcraft's Who is...Walter Knoll earlier in March. On closing night of Fashfest, we were lucky enough to sit front row and you could really see the influences from the collaboration with German furniture designer Walter Knoll in the aesthetic of this collection. Sculptural designs and their addition of jewellery by Silver Atom made this a very special collection. The use of industrial felt on the Lantern skirt is magical. Oh and that make up. I have a slight obsession with the white shirt dress and the trousers with white detail down the leg. 

This set of photos: Warwick Leigh

1. The Minimalist
Photo: Warwick Leigh

What would you get if Dion Lee and Céline had a baby? You would get this divine collection by The Label. With a minimal palette, The Label gave us expensive on the runway, wearable pieces that spoke volumes and skin baring cuts that gave me chills. I would take every piece for my wardrobe. The little white dress (below) had me almost falling off my chair and gave me a "Carrie Bradshaw" moment, which the designer, explained to me was zero waste which wasn't easy to achieve until a 2am wake up call. Just see the pics below because I can't justify it with words.

Photo: Grant Heino of Ink and Leathers
Photo: Grant Heino of Ink and Leathers
 Photo: Warwick Leigh
 Photo: Warwick Leigh
 Photo: Warwick Leigh
 Photo: Warwick Leigh
Photo: Warwick Leigh 

until next year...

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