Big-hit Fashfest – bigger, better next year

IT was a whirlwind of designers, leggy models, champagne and glitterati – and it’s hard to believe it’s already over.

Fashfest, Canberra’s inaugural fashion festival, certainly whet the capital’s appetite for fashion, boasting huge crowds and a plethora of talented designers.fashfestSATURDAY-28

More than 2000 people flocked to watch more than 30 designers showcase their creations across four nights, in the industrial space of number 3 Molongolo Drive, Brindabella Park.

Fashionistas sipped more than 180 bottles of bubbly and 360 bottles of wine, while 100 pairs of false eyelashes, 160 mascara wands and 155 cans of hair product were used on models.

The festival’s opening night saw a 560-strong crowd of Canberra’s most stylish turn up, with a sprinkling of celebrities and high-profile locals including Brumbies star David Pocock and Deputy Opposition Leader Alistair Coe.

Champagne and conversation flowed as designers showcased diverse looks, from sexy swimwear label Baku to the edgy bridal wear of Rockstars and Royalty. A standout was menswear label Perpetually Five, whose grim models were a perfect contrast to the playfully printed suits they were wearing.

Night two catered to the girls, with a hefty serving of flowing couture gowns and feminine pieces. Phone cameras were out for Jenifer Aniela’s colourful and feminine gowns while Sofia Polak’s dramatic dresses stunned. Everyone was talking about Sarah Joseph Couture’s daring gowns the next day.

Night three blurred the line between fashion and wearable art, with spider-web netting, man-shrugs and trilbys all featuring on the runway. Most of the anticipation was reserved for winner of Project Runway Anthony Capon with his collection A.Concept. Moody yet feminine, the multi-layered ensembles, stunning gowns, billowy shapes and breathtaking sheet cut-outs wowed the crowd.

Pure Pod

Pure Pod



Closing night saw things moving away from the traditional: label Materialbyproduct included violinists and one model dancing along the runway while other models were plucked from the audience. Temperatures plummeted but models were in high spirits, high fiving and winking. The show ended with a gathering of designers from the previous four nights, as well as models and behind-the-scenes crew together on the runway: a visual display of just how much effort, collaboration and creativity had gone into Fashfest.



The brainchild of Clinton Hutchinson and his wife Andrea, Fashfest “more than exceeded expectations,” says Andrea.

“When we first thought of the idea we thought we would aim high and see if we could get 400 guests seated a night,” Andrea says.

“We thought it was a risk and weren’t sure if we could draw in that size a crowd for each of the four nights. In the end, demand was so great, we added another 100 seats a night and sold out each night, bringing us to 500 seated a night. The pressure continued so we released standing room only tickets… they sold out taking us to absolute full capacity. It has blown us away and blown away the hundreds of others involved.”

As for next year: “It’s going to be bigger and even better,” says Andrea. We’re already counting down.


Photos by Andrew Campbell and Brent McDonald

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