Fashfest 2014: Night 1

THIS year’s Fashfest brought with it high expectations: the local fashion festival’s 2013 premiere drew huge crowds, made national headlines and put previously unheard of designers on the map.

For months, beneath the extensive media coverage it felt as though there was a collectively held breath – could the sequel outdo its predecessor?

Luckily, its opening night didn’t fail to impress. Despite temperatures plummeting to just 8 degrees, hundreds of guests poured into the raw, unheated space at Brindabella Business Park in fashionable (faux) furs, sequins and leather.

As guests sipped champagne in the VIP area and the DJ spun hip hop tunes, a few recognisable faces were spotted amongst the crowd – an interesting mix of football players, media identities and politicians.

First off the runway was Mimi Fairall’s swimwear range, as brave models with teased hair and spray tans strutted out in colourful, high-cut bikinis with geometric prints, some with seatbelts attached, almost acting as suspenders.

WND LND tantalised with a dessert theme, as models sported candy floss wigs and wore colourful cones as headpieces. There were plenty of cute-as-pie pastel pinks and baby blues, crop tops and rara skirts.

Reneira got down to business, with work-ready outfits such as structured blazers, high cut pants and ladylike lace accessorized with pearls. A pair of baby blue high-cut shorts worn with sky high heels broke up the office vibe and gave a hint of off-duty cocktails.

CIT showed plenty of promise, with its young designers creating outfits ranging from leather cropped tops and leopard hot pants to white flared suits that had a 1970s air. A ‘Moulin Rouge’-esque black and red dress wowed the crowd.

The Darling Sisters brought a sense of fun as grinning models almost skipped down the runway in 1950s-style full dresses, retro jumpsuits and flared, high-cut pants that wouldn’t look out of place on the “Mad Men” set. The Darling Sisters’ range of swimsuits followed with plenty of flattering, high cut pieces with thick straps – a too-cute bright pink polka dot bikini was one of the highlights.

Bringing some drama to the runway was StageLabel. Their versatile collection featured heavy black gowns with studded bodices, puffy-sleeved full-length dresses (a nod to the 1980s) and even sequined crop tops. Pretty faced male models with plenty of black eyeliner strutted out in Russian-style hats and heavily textured, grey jackets accessorised with suspenders and boots.

Then came the final designer of the night, which certainly didn’t disappoint. Rockstars and Royalty’s collection, which was a crowd favourite last year, had more glamour than ever as a group of statuesque models gracefully walked the runway in black, glam goth dresses with sequined bodices and dramatic trains. Another group of models wore white, candy-floss wigs with snow-white and sequined dresses, a mix of short and full-length. Then came the glamorous face of Fashfest, supermodel Belinda Riding, in a structured, frothy sequined gown. Hues of pink also featured in the collection, with plenty of bling and texture in the bodices.

As the cold really began to sink in, on came the lights and there came a collective sigh of relief – the opening night was a success and has set the pace for what should be an exhilarating Fashfest 2014.

[Photos by Gary Schafer]

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