By Wendy Johnson
WHERE do fashion designers get their inspiration? The answer, for young designer Charly Thorn and her new spring-summer collection, is lazy summer days in the Whitsundays sailing with her family.
Charly is just 17 and has already showcased her first full collection – on the catwalk at Fashfest last year – which included a spectacular gown worn by supermodel Anneliese Seubert. She’s now in Canada showcasing her latest tropical-inspired designs at Vancouver Fashion Week. Then it’s Fashfest 2017 and then LA Fashion Week.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” says Charly, who describes her latest collection as “modern, romantic and strong”.
“It’s high-end resort wear that will look fabulous worn by a confident woman lounging on a superyacht,” says the young designer.
“The colour scheme is aqua, teal green and white, with gold accessories. And the shoes are amazing. I’m so thrilled about the shoes, but won’t say anything before they’re seen on the catwalk.”
The fabrics are just as inspirational to the designer. Charly, who grew up in the Snowy Mountains and now lives in Cooma, naturally loves Merino wool.
“Even though this is a summer collection, I’ve used wool. It’s so breathable,” she says. “And I want people to say ‘wow, I never thought of fine wool as a fabric for resort wear’.”
Charly is also using a transparent, light silk chiffon and a 100 per cent linen.
“I adapted a tropical image to make an original design and then had it printed on linen in Sydney,” says Charly.
“It’s super exciting to see it all come together.”
This new collection mixes many separates – skirts, tops, dresses, pants, culottes, undergarments and a couple of amazing gowns. It’s working hard for the designer with the Vancouver, Canberra and LA fashion shows.
“Vancouver discovered me after Fashfest 2016,” says Charly. “They spotted the media coverage and images of my garments online. I was also approached by Milan Fashion Week after Fashfest, too, but can’t fit it all in this year. But I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw the words ‘Milan Fashion Week’ on my email.’
Inspiration is everywhere on the catwalk at any red-carpet fashion event. For the first time, Canberra’s “Bianca Pavlic The Label” will showcase a collection at Fashfest. Just like Charly, Bianca handmakes all garments in her own studio, including design, pattern making and production.
Bianca strives to be sustainable, using off cuts for bralettes and smaller pieces. She’s inspired by embellishment, using intricate embroidery and beading on most of her fashion.
“Each piece tells a story, just like the wearer,” says Bianca, who designed ready-to-wear and custom garments for women aged 16 to 35. “I create unique, beautiful and feminine garments. It’s what I love to do.”
More than 50 designers are showcasing work at Fashfest 2017, either in solo segments or curated group shows. This is the event’s fifth year.
Fashfest, September 28-30, National Convention Centre. Six shows, with live musician and DJs helping. The full program and tickets (starting at $49) are available at fashfest.com.au