Fashfest 2015, Night Two

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NIGHT two of Fashfest again showcased the strength and style of the capital’s diverse fashion designers. One by one, designers launched new collections that had the bloggers going bonkers and the audience making mental notes of what they want to buy post-event.

Recollection, by designer Philippa Soutberg, started the show with a line-up of runway garments celebrating the stunning beauty of Australian native parrots, with their unique markings and vibrant colours. Philippa, in a first for her label, collaborated with emerging artist Jayenna Dall on the ‘Budyan’ collection, designing her own fabrics that she mixed and matched with solid blocks of colours that popped. The fabrics flowed. The garments were graceful.

The start to the next collection, by BMdesigns, was at the opposite end of the colour spectrum, but still celebrating the beauty of this great land—in this case, the bush. Fashion designer Barb Mickelson delighted the crowd with her head-to-toe looks, featuring garments made of silks and cottons she had naturally dyed, including some using rust, in subtle browns and greens. Her headwear was again sensational, which is no surprise given that Barb is an award-winning milliner with true flair.

Celebrating cultural diversity is the inspiration behind designer Neda Alemohammad’s new collection. The aesthetic of Hana Apparel Design is a beautiful blend of Western designs with Persian motifs with many pieces launched last night featuring interesting cut outs, shapes and rich prints and colours. This is an elegant collection through and through.

Belle Bird, from Cooma, was all about garments that work exceptionally well on women with curves. Belle Bird is not a plus-size label, but a label that recognises the reality of the body shapes of the average Australian woman.

In a first for Fashfest was a collection of wings, the style used by dancers, entertainers and body building competitors. Designer Bronwen Stead, who has been involved in the fitness community for years, makes the flamboyant wings in her Canberra studio. For the event she showcased them with Australian-made competition and swimwear made by Dana Carmont. Lots of shine, glitter and diamantes.

Mimetic’s collection was memorable, illustrating once more that the recent line-up of graduates from the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) are well prepared to hold their own in the ruthless industry that is fashion. Delightful designers Melissa Pompeani and Georgina McWilliam create biannual capsule collections that provide female travellers with a professional and durable wardrobe that is practical, stylish and fashionable. The collection contains six garments that can be styled to form 14 plus total looks. And it all fits in a 7-kilogram capacity suitcase.

The last designer to grace the catwalk was Vicky Kidd-Gallichan from Rockstars and Royalty. This is Vicky’s third time at Fashfest and she just goes from strength-to-strength. Her Cherries in the Snow collection, inspired by the lipstick by the same name launched by Revlon in the 1950s and still made today, absolutely stunned guests. The exquisite, couture cocktail dresses and glam princess gowns were made all the more special by Vicky’s collaboration this year with floral designer Fionna Tamin, from Canberra’s Peony n Pearl. The show was made all the more special by Vicky’s five-year-old daughter Lily who came onstage at the end in her own special dress and handed out roses to VIP guests.

Fashfest celebrates local creatives in all industries, including music. Canberra’s hip hop visionary TaKunDa delivered two original pieces, one opening the show and one closing it, representing invention and innovation in lyrics and style. Ced Nada was up next presenting a rich history in DJ sounds like only he can, with Julian Fung adding a funk-fuelled element on sax. It was a true auditory experience.

Tonight’s theme is The Cartographer, the mapper inspired by location and place. Ten designers, including Melanie Child from New Zealand will launch collections on the runway. So too will contemporary jeweller Tanja von Behrens from Tasmania, and fashion icon Miranda Seakgosing, from Melbourne’s Miranda Sakhino—both of whom have lived in the capital and have strong connections here.

Fashfest is also busy organising Day Five, a trade show to be held at the National Convention Centre this Sunday. It’s a unique chance to meet the designers and see their new collections up close.

[Photos by Dan Cummins]

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.


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