Monthly Archives: September 2016


Amazing opening night and opening show at FASHFEST on 29 September. We were entertained by some great local Canberra designers, hip-hop singer and performer Kirklandd, music director Magnifik, and film clip by Micael Ortiz a local writer and director of short films. But, the main theme was the fashion—and here’s a quick runway rundown (with heaps of pics) of the opening show!beleza-2

Beleza Designs—creating intricate and stunning costumes for Latin dance productions with a focus on Brazilian Samba and including amazing headdresses, back pieces, and wings. This is their first time at FASHFEST.elley-lane-1

elley-lane-2Elley Lane—a luxury look on cocktail and evening wear for women aged 17 – 30. Designed to wear multiple ways and made to suit body shape and personal style, the items drape beautifully and are gorgeous to wear. This is Elly Lane’s FASHFEST debut.cit-2-copy

cit-students-1-copyCIT Showcase—streetwear for the younger generation, designed by a group of students from Canberra Institute of Technology.

AliceMcCall and Asilio—presented by Rebel Muse these designs are for women with passion, strength and style, and according to Rebel Muse, while having fun and kicking ASS! alicemcall-and-asilio-1

Red Segment—FASHFEST has a heart for fashion and this year is supporting the Heart Australia with the ‘Red Segment’. Designers include A’au, Eder by Anna, Edition, Elle Hoopwood, Karen Lee, Red Corner Boxing, SZN, VFP, and Zilpah

Hunter The Label—more casual streetwear style for the younger female generation. Quality fabrics, and easy wearable designs give Hunter the edge! Hunter is available from CARDIF Collective in Kingston, and is their second year at FASHFEST.hunter-3

Sovata—classic wear for the classy lady; Sovata brings colour and beautiful shape and style. Inspired by the full skirts and high-cut drape pants of the 50s, there’s a hint of vintage in this collection which is styled for women aged 25 – 65 who love to be noticed. Sovata is bold and confident, and this is her fourth year at FASHFEST.sovata-2


FASHFEST Night 2 with two more shows is on Friday 30 September.

Still not too late to get your tickets! 

Dress Me Up!

Dress Me Up—Embrace your Style is a Canberra charity fashion and style event organised by creator and founder of Sash & Belle, Kristy McPhillips, and supports the Olivia Lambert Foundation for kids with aggressive forms of cancer.


The first Dress Me Up event was held in September 2014 and was extremely successful; raising over $2,500 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, and all proceeds from this year’s event will go to the Olivia Lambert Foundation. Olivia Lambert was a gorgeous 8 year old who, in 2012, was sadly taken too by neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer. The Olivia Lambert Foundation was established to help lessen the financial burden on families with children who are suffering neuroblastoma or other aggressive forms of childhood cancer.

Carly Backpack

Carly Backpack

The event kicks off at 3pm at CARDIF Collective with canapes and bubbles, and time to view the new Sash & Belle Spring collection of handbags, backpacks, clutches, and totes. You will also get a first preview of Sash & Belle’s launch of the Timeless Collection available for wholesale clients, and be able to browse other local and regional designer products at CARDIF Collective. Next up is a styling session from Style Liberation who will take you through the maze of how to choose looks, colours, and styles that suit your position, personality, and lifestyle. Learn how to enhance your appearance and boost your confidence.

Kendal Clutch

Kendal Clutch

Life consultant Leanne Shea Langdown will also be on hand to show you how you can achieve your goals and live happy and healthy lives—learn to make changes, and do the things you always wanted to do! The session winds down around 5pm with more canapes, bubbles, mingling and shopping! Who doesn’t love that?

Dress Me Up—Embrace your Style fashion event is on Saturday 8 October at the CARDIF Collective in Kingston from 3pm – 6pm. Book your tickets here, have some fun, and help raise money for the Olivia Lambert Foundation.

Riley Tote

Riley Tote

All bags from Sash & Belle. Images courtesy Sash & Belle.

Top 10 Reasons to Visit FASHFEST!

It’s only a few sleeps away. Canberra’s biggest red-carpet fashion event hosts opening night this Thursday at 6.30pm at the National Convention Centre Canberra.


Fashion not really your thing? Think again. FASHFEST definitely focuses on new designer collections, but it’s also so much more. It’s about celebrating the creations of many capital creatives, across many disciplines.

Here are our top 10 reasons to get together a group of friends and head to FASHFEST.

  1. Great social night out. FASHFEST is a great chance to get out with friends, meet new people, enjoy some bubbles and do something out-of-the-ordinary.
  2. Live music. FASHFEST doesn’t do piped-in music. This year 25 musicians will play across the event’s six shows, with more female artists playing than ever before. Think jazz, soul, pop, hip-hop and more.

    Fashfest Music Director Magnifik - Ashley Feraude

    Fashfest Music Director Magnifik – Ashley Feraude

  3. Original films. FASHFEST incorporates an original film by a Canberra filmmaker into each show, supporting the theme of that show. Each film promises to make you see the capital in a new light.
  4. Local designer fashion. FASHFEST will always play local designers front and centre. Around 14 independent labels will present new collections on the catwalk—supported by amazing hair and makeup. The line-up includes some of Canberra’s all-time faves such as Karen Lee, Zilpah Tart, Sovata, Edition and Pure Pod.

    Sovata collection 2015 - photo by LFW

    Sovata collection 2015 – photo by LFW

  5. New labels. FASHFEST gives you a chance to see collections from designers you might not know about, including new local labels to the event this year, including VFP and Beleza Designs from Canberra, and regional labels like Charly Thorn, Elle Hopwood and Rasa Mauragis.
  6. Amazing people watching. Some guests get totally glammed up for FASHFEST and others less so. Regardless, you’ll find the people watching fascinating. Keep your eye out for the details. Jewellery. Hats. Shoes. Bags.

    Fashfest Media Board - photo by Martin Ollman

    Fashfest Media Wall – photo by Martin Ollman

  7. Fun in front of the media wall. FASHFEST has several media walls, including the biggest one ever this year. It’s a hoot to get yourself snapped.
  8. Foyer exhibitions and more. FASHFEST’s main foyer is full of fun. The event’s fashion illustrator, Johanna Dziadkiewicz, will have an exhibition and be drawing live in the floyer. Canberra’s fletcherLovell will host an exhibition of amazing flat shoes, and Sovata will conduct a live photo shoot after her show.

    Don't forget the shoes! - photo by David Burke

    Don’t forget the shoes! – photo by David Burke

  9. Inexpensive. Tickets start at just $49 (including GST) and with the event’s tiered seating there’s not a bad seat in the house.
  10. Support local event. FASHFEST is brought to Canberra by Clint and Andrea Hutchinson, two locals who decided it wasn’t good enough that we were the only capital in Australia to not have its own annual red-carpet fashion event. They’re supported by a massive team of dedicated experts and volunteers who all need our support.

    Fashfest co-founders Clint and Andrea Hutchinson with the Governor-General - photo by Red Photography

    Fashfest co-founders Clint and Andrea Hutchinson with the Governor-General – photo by Red Photography

FASHFEST is on 29 September to 1 October. Three nights. Six distinct shows (one starting at 6.30pm and one at 8.30pm). One total fashion experience. Tickets on sale now @ tickets now

Bowers of Flowers at FASHFEST

Flowers. Bursts of colours. Wonderful fragrances. The season has shifted and Floriade, Australia’s biggest celebration of spring, is in full bloom. By the LFW Team.

floriade-flower-bannerFlowers often inspire fashion designers, including several who will soon wow guests with new collections at FASHFEST. The capital’s red-carpet fashion event has shifted its timing on the annual social calendar and, for the first time, is being held during Floriade (29 September to 1 October). We thought it would be fun to ask designers about flowers and their work. A surprising number are incorporating flowers into their shows—some as a main feature and some as an accent.

Pure Pod’s designer, Kelli Donovan, is collaborating with Canberra-based botanical design studio, Field & Coppice. The studio is owned by Lauren Anderson whose design aesthetic is underpinned by a love of Australian native flora. Another collaboration is between designer Yumi Morrissey, from Zilpah tart, and Peony N’ Pearl. We can’t give the details away but promise a creative approach.

by Kirri Pizzingrilli

by Kirri Pizzingrilli

Eucalyptus leaves feature on the latest print by Kira Pizzingrilli, who appears at FASHFEST for the first time this year. Kira is an emerging Central Coast-based women’s clothing and textile print label. Her ‘Unearth’ collection pays homage to the 90s Aussie beach style and celebrates the raw beauty of our bushland.

Textiles by Rasa Mauragis, Snowy Textiles

Textiles by Rasa Mauragis, Snowy Textiles

Rasa Mauragis, also making her debut, will feature ecoprints of local plants found in the Snowy Region, where she lives. Some fabrics showcase the foliage print and have also been dyed using plant pigments. Rasa shares the catwalk with two Cooma designers—Charly Thorn and Elle Hopwood. Elle can’t wait to present a dress she’s designed with flowers stitched to the bottom.

Eder by Anna (image below), a tres chic label from Sydney, has a few pieces in her collection that are tulle with embroiled flowers. Can’t wait to see the results!  Designer Anna Smith is going to be a fav with her mix of sophisticated, sport lux, tailored pieces in bold and sophisticated colours with a decidedly French aesthetic.



We also have a sneak peek of a piece that will make an appearance in Megan Cannings Designs’ collection. Megan is fast building a reputation for her extravagant custom-made gowns, which appeared at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival (Brisbane), emerging category. One garment she’ll showcase features large fabric flowers. She’s also using large lace flowers and her tiaras feature flowers.

Naomi Peris Bridal will launch a blue silk floral print cape on one of the wedding gowns she’ll present on the catwalk. This label encapsulates the modern, sexy bride with gowns handmade using French laces, intricate beading and fine tailoring. Jade Sargent, from one of Canberra’s most loved and well-known labels—Sovata—isn’t giving too much away, not wanting to ruin the surprise element, but she will be using white roses as a catwalk accessory.

Eder by Anna

Eder by Anna

Abstract flowers feature on bright, colourful shoes by local designer Penny Lovell, who owns fletcherLovell. Their spring collection is a conversation starter. Penny’s Spanish-made flats pop colour into life. They’re wearable art for the foot. Penny will host an exhibition of her shoes throughout FASHFEST, and you can catch her in the foyer.

FASHFEST 2016 is being held at the National Convention Centre Canberra 29 September to 1 October. Tickets, which start this year at $49, are on sale now:

FASHFEST—Mentor of Fashion

Although we still have to wait a couple of weeks before we get to the shows, FASHFEST is formally off and running with its launch at the Canberra Centre on Wednesday 14 September. As we sipped on our champagne and mingled with the beautiful people, it occurred to us that FASHFEST is not just about fashion.

FASHFEST launch 2016

FASHFEST launch 2016 (photo LFW)

FASHFEST is a different experience for everyone. It focusses on local Canberrans including designers, photographers, speakers, models, hairdressers, make-up artists, media, communication, and yes, even bloggers! FASHFEST gives many people an opportunity to showcase their talents and participate in a highly professional and organised event. And, this year, FASHFEST is turning its attention to the business side of fashion with an innovative mentorship program together with Bradley Allen Love Lawyers (B.A.L.).

Andrea Hutchinson (Co-founder FASHFEST) with Sarah Kelly (Canberra Centre)

Andrea Hutchinson (Co-founder FASHFEST) with Sarah Kelly (Canberra Centre) (photo Avon Dissanayake)

Now you might think that having a lawyer on board—regardless of what you do—is always a useful asset. But this mentorship program provides more than just Law 101 by combining business and creativity to encourage and assist artistic entrepreneurs to go out into the world of business with some understanding and knowledge of what they want, and what they need to know to achieve it.

Susan Proctor (B.A.L. Lawyers) with Andrea Hutchinson

Susan Proctor (B.A.L. Lawyers) with Andrea Hutchinson (photo LFW)

Susan Proctor (Legal Director, B.A.L. Lawyers) explains. “We’ll take six intakes (one from each of the creative fields) connected to the world of fashion, and give them a chance to build their business acumen. We were attracted to FASHFEST not just because it puts on a stunning, three-day fashion experience, but because of the event’s aspirations—putting modern, emerging fashion, design, and creative talent on Australia’s capital stage for the world to see.

“Our relationship with FASHFEST will strengthen the opportunities and success of the talent that passes through. The intern will be able to kick-start their careers by getting some business fundamentals right; whether that’s company structure, contract terms, copyright, or supply agreements, and we’re incredibly excited about our new collaboration and looking forward to meeting our first six interns.”

Clint Hutchinson (FASHFEST Co-founder) chats with designer Rasa Mauragis

Clint Hutchinson (FASHFEST Co-founder) chats with designer Rasa Mauragis (photo Avon Dissanayake)

FASHFEST is now in its fourth year and is providing more opportunities for Canberra creatives to become involved in the world of fashion and business. This ground-breaking mentorship program will enable many aspiring designers to follow their dream, and who knows … we may just have another Versace or Chanel hiding in the wings.

Modelling FASHFEST 2016

Models Modelling FASHFEST 2016 (photo Avon Dissanayake)

FASHFEST 29 September – 1 October – two shows a night at 6.30 and 8.30pm, National Convention Centre. Tickets on sale now!

Photography by Avon Dissanayake, Sparking Weddings Photography  Facebook

FASHFEST Designers in Profile—Zilpah tart

By Aine Dowling.

Over the last three years Zilpah tart has established itself as a well-known label in the Canberra region, and is recognised for its unusual and colourful prints that represent Canberra’s unique environment. Designer Yumi Morrissey uses Canberra themed fabrics which include the famous Parliament House dress, through to Canberra’s spring blossoms, and the bright and bold autumn colours of Vivid. Her latest collection, based on a slightly different Canberra theme, will be showcased at FASHFEST 2016.

Federal Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, wearing Zilpah tart Parliament House panel dress

Federal Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, wearing Zilpah tart Parliament House panel dress


Zilpah tart fashion is easily wearable, and recognisable! It’s designed for women who like to stand out in a crowd but be comfortable at the same time. Her designs have been worn by high-profile Canberra women including Federal Member MP Gai Brodtmann, and Senator Katie Gallagher, both of whom embraced the originality of the Canberra themed garments.




Yumi designs her own fabrics for her collections. She takes photographs around the Canberra region and manipulates the images using Photoshop to repeat the pattern, creating beautiful and intricate prints onto the soft feminine fabrics. “For my latest collection I had to travel a little further afield as I couldn’t get close enough to the images in Canberra,” says Yumi, “so I had to make a side trip to Crookwell and use images from there.” The images from Crookwell are only a part of the collection which also includes beautiful Canberra sunsets over the Brindabella ranges, and stunning images from a particularly well-known annual Spectacular event!

Vivid—autumn/winter collection 2016

Vivid red print - original photograph

Vivid red print – original photograph

Vivid red print fabric and dress

Vivid red print fabric and dress

Bloom—spring/summer collection 2015

Canberra spring blossoms in Bloom collection

Canberra spring blossoms in Bloom collection

Parliament Kaleidoscope—autumn collection 2015

Parliament Kaleidoscope print panel dress

Parliament Kaleidoscope print panel dress

And what’s in store for spring 2016? Here’s a sneak peek—can you guess what Spectacular event this is?

One of Zilpah tart's new print fabrics for FASHFEST 2016

One of Zilpah tart’s new print fabrics for FASHFEST 2016

Zilpah tart is available online at their website or from CARDIF Collective, The Parliament Shop, and Canberra Handmade Market.

Zilpah tart collection FASHFEST 2015

Zilpah tart collection FASHFEST 2015 – photo by LFW

Zilpah tart will be showcasing her latest collection at FASHFEST 2016 on Friday 30 September Show Two at 8.30pm at the National Convention Centre. Tickets on sale now!

Images courtesy Zilpah tart except where indicated.

Buy tickets now

Twenty-Five Years with Poachers!

Poachers Pantry, and its winery, the Wily Trout, has been an icon in the Canberra region for over 25 years, and on Friday 2 September it celebrated its silver anniversary by launching a new Poachers Pantry and Smokehouse Restaurant and Wily Trout Cellar Door with a delicious degustation and wine tasting. By Aine Dowling.

Owned by Rob and Susan Bruce, Poachers Pantry is renowned for its mouth-watering home smoked meats and veggies. “We’ve been creating delicious stories in the Canberra region for 25 years now,” says Susan, “and we’re thrilled to officially launch the restored, renovated, reinvigorated and re-energised Poachers Pantry Smokehouse Restaurant and Wily Trout Cellar Door.PP Logo

“For our family, it’s always been about welcoming visitors into our lives. Inviting them to experience the way we live, as the restaurant is part of our home. We love sharing our food, wine and our table, and we can’t wait to share the new Poachers.”

Poachers Pantry Smokehouse opened in 1991, the vineyard in 1998, and the café in 2002. The new restaurant now seats 100 people inside in a brand new layout, and the outdoor deck and terrace accommodates a further 100 and offers a beautiful rural outlook over the 1890s woolshed, kitchen garden, and the rolling country hills. And the next generation, daughter Katie and son Will, are now entrenched in the smokehouse, weddings and conferences, and the vineyard.Wily Trout Wines

As part of the makeover, the Wily Trout Cellar Door has undergone extensive renovations and Will has taken over as vigneron of the 100 per cent estate grown brand including natural fermentation, and limited release cool climate wines using a ceramic egg rather than traditional oak barrels. The winery produces delicate whites including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and the reds include a soft Shiraz and delicate Pinot Noir.

Poachers Pantry 1But Poachers Pantry is more than a restaurant and winery. Poachers Pantry products are made using traditional curing and smoking methods, and the meat, poultry and herbs are all sourced from Australian suppliers. The smokehouse operates seven days a week and produces a wide range of smoked meats and poultry, plus, a range of ‘slow foods’ together with simple recipes means you can make your own delicious menus as home including antipasto platters, salads and canapes, and yummy hot dishes. The smoked meats are also available at selected quality grocers and delis in Canberra—and I can personally vouch for the bacon! The smokehouse also produces hams and turkeys for special occasions. The smokehouse range is also available for tasting at the cellar door.

Launch of the new Poachers Pantry Smokehouse and Wily Trout Cellar Door

Launch of the new Poachers Pantry Smokehouse and Wily Trout Cellar Door

The Poachers Pantry is located on Nanima Road, Springrange (Hall), NSW, and is available for weddings, conferences, and functions. For more information, or to make a booking, visit their website or check out their Facebook page.

Australian Winemaker Creates World-first in Wine Making

By Aine Dowling.

Winemaker Liz Barnes, of Star Lane Winery in Beechworth, Victoria, has created the world’s first wine matured in red gum hardwood barrels. Elements Shiraz is a ground-breaking wine matured in salvaged native Australian red gum, which creates a wine that tastes fuller and more mature than its actual vintage due the superior breathability of the red gum to that of traditional French oak.

Winemaker and vigneron Liz and Brett Barnes

Winemaker and vigneron Liz and Brett Barnes

Star Lane Winery is renowned for its outstanding boutique red wines and is the achievement of Liz and Brett Barnes (winemaker and vigneron respectively), who together have combined their experience and expertise to see the winery achieve the very highest levels and reputation for elegance, finesse, and distinction, being lauded five-star rating in the James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2015.

The decision to use red gum barrels was not exactly spur-of-the-moment, but has been in the planning for the last 10 years with Liz’s family involved in the red gum timber industry for four generations, and now set to continue the tradition through her winemaking.

Red gum barrels

Red gum barrels

“We always knew we wanted to try the red gum barrel but we also knew we needed to building a name for ourselves first that people could trust and respect,” says Liz. “Having earned that respect over the last decade we’re now ready to push the boundaries and show that it’s OK to try something that’s different from everyone else is doing.”

Elements 2012 Shiraz, also matured in red gum barrels, was released in 2015 to great acclaim within the industry, with the limited 300 bottle run almost sold out, and the winery is now set to release its Elements 2013 Shiraz vintage which has attracted an even higher demand both within Australia and internationally.

Contrary to its reputation as a hardwood, red gum actually has a higher porosity and breathability that traditional French oak, which allows more oxygen to be drawn and in turn enhances the intensity of the wine. This also means a shorter cellaring time to deliver optimum drinkability. Aptly dubbed ‘The Taste of Australia’ the red gum aged wine captures the true essence of the Australian timber to produce a unique premium boutique wine.

Elements 2012 Shiraz - six pack box

Elements Shiraz – six pack box

That said, this wine is not for quaffing and does not come cheap. In keeping with the exceptional high quality and standards of the winery; the red gum matured Elements Shiraz will set you back $400 per bottle. Each bottle comes in its own Elements Shiraz box—made from the same salvaged red gum as the barrels—and nestles gently in pure Merino wool packing. Tasting notes include ‘slightly wild’ and ‘contemporary with a unique Australian personality’. What more could you want in a wine?

Star Lane Winery was opened in 2005 and has established itself as a leader in the Australian wine industry, earning multiple five-star reviews and praise from winemakers and critics across Australia. Wines are available online or at the cellar door.

Star Lane Winery, Beechworth Victoria

Star Lane Winery, Beechworth Victoria