Monthly Archives: August 2017

From Manuka to Milan

It’s a dream come true for any designer. Showcasing the garments they’ve poured their heart and soul into on the catwalk during the most prestigious fashion week in the world—Milan! And two FASHFEST designers have been selected to showcase their designs this year.

thumbnail__27A5374_Peris Bridal wearefoundau (15)

Naomi Peris Bridal – FASHFEST 2016. Photo by wearefoundau

So it’s no wonder that Naomi Hogie, the designer behind Naomi Peris Bridal, is still pinching herself that she’ll soon be jetting off to Italy, as nervous as can be, to present her 2017 collection—Fairy Tale Princesses in the Amazon Jungle—to the international community. Then it’s back on the plane and straight into fittings for FASHFEST 2017, with Naomi’s stunning and unique designs sure to wow guests on closing night.

So how did it all happen?

thumbnail_Peris Bridal Avon_Dissanayake

Naomi Peris. Photo by Sparkling Weddings Photography

Naomi has been designing for years, thrilling brides of all types and styles. Last year, she unveiled a full collection at her inaugural appearance at FASHFEST, with official event and media photographers going wild over her non-traditional bridal designs and how beautiful they looked on the models who graced the catwalk. Many of those images were pushed out through social media and some caught the eye of organisers of Milan Fashion Week.

thumbnail__27A5374_Peris bridal wearefoundau (18)

Naomi Peris Bridal – FASHFEST 2016. Photo by wearefoundau

Ryadal Chapman, of Oxford Fashion Studio, one of the organisers of Milan Fashion Week, was impressed. “All of our events are by invitation only. A team of five curators review 8,000 designers a year looking for original concepts who we feel press will respond to and people will love,” Ryadal said.

Naomi’s super excited about her latest collection. “I’ve really pushed my design aesthetic,” says the designer. “I decided that I didn’t want rules to restrict what I design. I’m using unconventional fabrics that are normally not used in bridal as well as garments that push the boundary of bridal design. It takes about six months to prepare for a new collection.”


Also approached to participate in Milan Fashion Week, after her 2016 FASHFEST appearance, was Megan Cannings of Megan Cannings Designs. Like Naomi, Megan wasn’t initially sure if the invite was a scam. It was real.

Megan Cannings 1 - image by LFW

Megan Cannings Designs – FASHFEST 2016. Image by LFWMagazine

Megan will be writing organisers about possibilities for 2018. This year would have been challenging given the designer had lost her home, sewing machine, sewing equipment, patterns and thousands of dollars of fabric, during Cyclone Debbie in March when her small miner’s cottage in the Whitsundays was destroyed.

Megan’s life seemed impossible to piece back together, but after weeks of cleaning up and backed by sheer determination, the designer got new equipment and moved to Sydney where she’s working on her latest collection. At FASHFEST, she’ll present feminine gowns, chiffon kimonos, dressers and other stunning work.

Megan Cannings 2 image by LFW

Megan Cannings Designs – FASHFEST 2016. Photo by LFWMagazine

“I can’t wait to come back to Canberra,” says Megan. “The FASHFEST team is so professional and supportive and that includes hair, makeup and all the other organisers. My collection last year was so well received. It was so rewarding.”

thumbnail_Megan Canning Design_Sudio Vitae DougHall

Megan Cannings (r) at FASHFEST 2016. Photo by Studio Vitae Doug Hall

Tickets for FASHFEST 2017, to be held again at the National Convention Centre Canberra, are on sale now through  The event runs from 28 September to 30 September, with two shows a night.

Naomi Peris Bridal will showcase on closing night, Show 1.

Megan Cannings Designs will showcase on closing night, Show 2.

‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’

So sang Marilyn Monroe, and nothing has changed since then!

I absolutely adore diamonds—especially big ones—so there was no way I was about to miss the launch of Canberra’s first luxury and bespoke jewellery concierge, Plumery, and the opportunity to view some beautiful, and rare, pink Argyle diamonds was just too good to pass up.

Plumery was founded in 2015 by Canberran Danielle Klar, a gemmologist and a GP (more of that connection later), and has now opened its doors in Deakin with the official launch on 12 August at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra together with one of the Hyatt’s fabulous morning teas—another reason not to miss the event.

Plumery Hyatt tea-JPG

Plumery themed Hyatt morning tea

Plumery provides bespoke custom designed pieces using superior gems, such as the Argyle diamond, and set in 18ct gold. And its concierge service assists people in discovering jewellery for engagements, birthdays, life milestones, or other special occasions, that is designed specifically for the buyer and their purpose, and meant to be worn on a regular basis—not just brought out occasionally to be looked at.

Creator and designer, Danielle Klar, is inspirational. Her story is incredible to say the least. Initially and armed forces medical doctor, she also studied business and management, and on leaving the military gradually moved into executive roles. But in 2014 Danielle suffered a significant health scare and was forced to slow down, take stock, and look at what truly made her happy. “I have always loved diamonds,” said Danielle. “The way they look, the way they sparkle, their versatility—I love everything about them really.” And so part of Danielle’s recovery was her first steps into the world of gemmology.

plumery ring to rule them all

‘the ring to rule them all’ – image Plumery

Another significant occurrence that brought Danielle into gems was the purchase of a ring, now known simply as the ring to rule them all. On holiday in France, Danielle wandered into an antique/vintage shop for a browse, and fell in love with a sparkling vintage Ceylon sapphire and diamond ring. “In my terrible French, and his broken English, we managed to strike a deal,” says Danielle, “and I walked out having spent the last of our Euros on this amazing ring … but then it occurred to me that it could be fake and I’d been had. So I had the most incredible buyers’ remorse until I got back to Australia to have it checked. It wasn’t fake.” And she now says; ‘that entire journey brought me to Plumery’.

Insta pic

“My aim is to offer exquisite jewellery that can be worn every day,” says Danielle. “Plumery can source the perfect gems, and guide a client through the process from the design to finished beautiful hand-crafted pieces. Bespoke jewellery creation is an artisanal craft, and depending on the style of the design I will either make the piece myself or call upon a selection of highly skilled crafts people. It is the perfect combination of design, gold, diamonds and precious gems, together with the skillsets of jewellers, diamond setting, polishing and engraving, which results in custom-made exquisite jewellery.

“And a plumery is a collection of plumes; the beauty of adorning oneself in finery and defining itself as the keeper of many plumes, and everyone needs more than one plume in their plumage.”

plume ring

Plume ring

But let’s get back to the diamonds. These diamonds are … OMG diamonds! Two pieces that caught my eye was a gorgeous subtle pink Argyle with a double halo of diamonds and a diamond set shank; priced just over $5,000, and later, when some rarer Argyles appeared, I honed in on a tiny little heart shaped diamond, sitting cutely in its padded box, with a tag of $21,000. Wishing and hoping springs to mind …

As well as the Argyle pinks, there was also a collection of blush diamonds, white diamonds, and diamonds of almost any colour you can name, plus sapphires, rubies (did you know rubies are actually red sapphires?), and other superior quality gems including beautiful pearls from the South Pacific.20170812_104437_1502507849642

Plumery is located in the Equinox Business Park, Deakin, and is currently open by appointment only. To see some of Plumery’s launch pieces, and to find out about group educational gem nights, visit their website, Facebook page, or Instagram.


FASHFEST 2017—a sneak peek at what’s new!

In a blink of an eye, FASHFEST will roll out the red carpet and present new fashion, new music and new film for its 2017 show, with tickets on sale now. What’s hot for the runaway this year? Where do we begin …

thumbnail_Gehrich_Christopher Thomas (7)

Gehrich – photo by Christopher Thomas

Let’s start with the ‘firsts’. New labels include luxury label Gehrich, from Melbourne, which favours quality and sustainability over quantity. Queensland’s Naudic, a bold, brave and playful label, will showcase colourful day, evening and loungewear for women of all ages. From Canberra, and making debut appearances at FASHFEST, are designers such as De Challie Haute Couture, presenting elegant gowns made from the finest materials and Bianca Pavlic The Label, presenting feminine garments embellished with embroidery and beading.

thumbnail_5_Bianca Pavlic The Lablel_Tina Nikolvski

Bianca Pavlic The Label – photo by Tina Nikolvski

For the first time, the New Zealand High Commission is sponsoring seven labels, showcasing the incredibly diverse fashion coming out of New Zealand, including Nyne (presented by Department of the Exterior), Sabatini, Trelise Cooper, Curate, Coop and Cooper (presented by Momento Dezigns), Kowtow (presented by Assemblage Project, which will also host its own segment) and independent designer Melanie Child, who returns to FASHFEST for the third year.

thumbnail_2_trelise cooper_bg

Trelise Cooper

Another first is the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation show, with high-end creations by 12 Indigenous designers who have worked with textile designs and textile art from 12 art centres (eight from the Northern Territory). Recently, the fashion industry, nationally and internationally, has embraced Indigenous textiles as a new and exciting trend. In a separate segment, Magpie Goose will showcase fabric designed and hand screen-printed in remote Aboriginal communities.

thumbnail_DAAFF_Shane Eecen (10)

Darwin Aboriginal Arts Fair Foundation – photo by Shane Eecen

Also new is Gabrielle Spencer Bridal, whose work is inspired by the texture, balance and colour of fibres found in nature, and several lingerie labels presented by Canberra’s Miss Winks.

Fashion zeroing in on niche markets include Thunder Thighs, a new label celebrating perfectly pear-sharped women of all sizes with edgy designs that fit and flatter. Stok Denim Kids and NOMI (know me) Kids are taking care of the young ones, and Summer Paradise Seekers, by young emerging designer Ashleigh Bujaroski, will present surf clothing celebrating Australia’s beautiful coastline and beaches. Those who love op shopping will be amazed by the segment being presented by Salvo’s Stores, curated by their eco stylist Faye De Lanty. This is serious eco chic.



All-time favourite Canberra independent designers are re-appearing, including Karen Lee with her simple, sophisticated lines and classic shapes. Zilpah tart’s new line of prints celebrating spring, once more celebrate scenes from the nation’s capital. CIT fashion students return with two shows this year. BT (Braddon Tailors) will showcase men’s and women’s wear. And from Cooma, Charly Thorn arrives for the second time to wow guests once more.

thumbnail_DreamscapeCrew_dusty pink

Kowtow – Dreamscape Crew

FASHFEST is so much more than fashion. It’s about live music and new film. This year 15 live musicians and DJs will rock the house down at the National Convention Centre Canberra. Just like the fashion itself, the sounds of FASHFEST are truly memorable.

Tickets are on sale now, starting at $49. FASHFEST 2017 presents six shows over three nights—28 to 30 September. For full programs and to buy your tickets, head to


Kowtow – Auteur Coat Dreamscape