Author Archives: gracienumber1

GOWNS AND MOVING RUNWAYS

Sixteen metres of tulle. A creation by Megan Canning Designs. Image: Martin Ollman.

You could feel their hearts beat. The hearts, that is, of the models wearing voluminous, long gowns at FASHFEST last Friday night (19 Oct). They weren’t just wearing magnificent pieces, they were wearing them while on the long, moving escalators in the foyer of the National Gallery that formed part of the overall runway.

How tricky was it? Consider this. One gown was created with a whopping 150 metres of tulle.

Would the fabric get caught? It didn’t and the show was nothing short of majestic.

Model: Kahu Kapea from HAUS Models.

‘The nature of this event meant we simply couldn’t go out for a broad model casting as we have in some other years,’ said Andrea Hutchinson who co-founded FASHFEST and who is also the event’s Model Director. ‘We needed experienced models who could not just walk in such large gowns, but handle them gracefully on moving escalators, first going down and then going up. It was tricky, especially entering and exiting the escalators. The models had to maneouvre them without interrupting the flow of the show or getting the garments caught.’

Another graceful gown by Megan Canning Designs. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita

FASHFEST is ‘changing it up’ and this was its first full show at a cultural institution. The event sold out, with VIP seats going first. Even the standing room upstairs at the top of the escalator was packed with guests staring down over the models for a very different perspective indeed.

The event started with Megan Canning Designs, with the showstopper, 16-metre tulle gown. It was breathtaking watching model Kahu Kapea, from HAUS Models, manage the gown while walking to the cool tunes of zares, Canberra DJ and electronic dance producer. And it wasn’t just Kahu who had to manage massive mounds of fabric. Many other models did too.

Super model Anneliese Seubert (l) with young designer Charly Thorn, walking the finale.

Next up was the evening luxe collection by young designer Charly Thorn, with legendary model Anneliese Seubert modelling an elegant long silk dress which Charly has fondly called the ‘Anneliese Dress’. Charly designed the bold black and white pattern, called ‘stargaze’, and had it printed in Sydney. Some solid pieces in the collection were made from wool and they all popped—pinks, yellows, greens and blues.

Charly Thorn’s new collection pops with colour.

Last, but not least, appeared the collection by Hajar Gala Couture, each piece exquisitely detailed. This is true couture. It takes ages for Hajar to design, fit and make each of her luxury gowns.

Hajar Gala Couture. Image: Martin Ollman.

Pre-show, guests gathered upstairs for a ‘Quandong Paint Cocktail’, created by Archie Rose for FASHFEST and inspired by Lichtenstein’s brushstrokes. As soon as the drink is swirled, the Quandong Paint leeches into it, changing the flavor from a simple gin old fashioned into a native peachy delight.

Models gracing moving escalators–a tricky business indeed, says FASHFEST’s Andrea Hutchinson. Image: Jack Mohr.

Pre and post-show, guests were entertained by Simon Anau while getting up close to a small exhibition of gowns by the three designers, to see just how much work goes into each one.

The National Gallery of Australia was a magnificent backdrop for the first ‘change it up’ event for FASHFEST. So what’s next? Clint Hutchinson says planning is well underway for the next major FASHFEST event in December and Canberrans might just see FASHFEST pop up in-between.

For exclusive updates and special offers, sign up to FASHFEST’s newsletter: www.fashfest.com.au

The Quandong Paint Cocktail created for FASHFEST by Archie Rose. Image: Martin Ollman.

Models from Devojka Models, Victoria’s Models and HAUS Models. Hair for the event led by Craig Rhodes using Sachajuan. MUA was led by Katie Saarikko, using Harlotte Cosmetics. The FASHFEST photography team is led by Leighton Hutchinson Photography.

Advertisements

Couture on the catwalk

Hajar Gala Couture. Image taken by Leighton Hutchinson Photography for FASHFEST at the NGA. Models (from left): Hellena from Devojka Models, and Emma from HAUS Models.

Ever since she was young, Hajar Gala has adored glorious gowns—elegant, beautifully designed and wonderfully crafted gowns. Today, the fashion designer is one of Australia’s most creative couturiers, running two busy ateliers for discerning women, one here in Canberra (Griffith shops) and one recently opened in Melbourne.

Hajar Gala Couture will present glorious gowns tomorrow night at the National Gallery of Australia as FASHFEST rolls out the first in a series of ‘change-it-up’ fashion events.

‘I believe that no matter how many times one redefines style, classical simplicity and charm can never be outdated,’ says Hajar, whose bespoke creations are carefully thought through from the first sketch, to the final fitting and then finishing touches.

Couturier Hajar Gala

Hajar formally trained in the French couture method at the International Fashion Academy in Europe, learning to meticulously place every stitch. ‘The traditional couture techniques emphasise design but also quality of construction,’ says Hajar. ‘The end result is a timeless treasure that holds its place in the world of luxury.’

At FASHFEST, Hajar will showcase 10 pieces, including some bridal and evening wear designs that first appeared in a collection at Paris Fashion Week (never before seen in Canberra). Models will bring the gowns to life, as they work their way down one of the massive escalators in the foyer of the NGA, and then along the runway and back up the opposite escalator.

Hajar’s gowns have also graced runways in other prestigious fashion shows internationally, including at Milan Fashion Week. Models are from Canberra’s top three agencies—Victoria’s Models, Devojka Models and HAUS Models.

One of Hajar’s creations. On location at Lake George. Image: Leighton Hutchinson Photography. Model: Courtney from HAUS Models.

‘I love the romance of the fine lines and beaded silhouettes of the 1920’s Jazz Age through to Old Hollywood glamour of the glorious 1950s,’ says Hajar, ‘and often reflect these in gowns, using only the best fabrics, all carefully sourced.’

Guests will also get up close to four other Hajar Gala Couture gowns in an exhibition FASHFEST will present tomorrow night and they can do so while sipping on special Quandong paint stroke’ cocktail, created by Archie Rose for FASHFEST and the NGA. Pieces by the two other designers in the show—Megan Cannings Designs and Charly Thorn—will also form part of the exhibition.

Hajar’s work has been extensively covered internationally, including in prestigious publications such as Collezioni Haute Couture. A shoot she did with Canberra’s Leighton Hutchinson, of Leighton Hutchinson Photography, and Courtney, from HAUS, appeared in the magazine. The shoot took place at Lake George.

Only a few seats are left for tomorrow night’s shows so snap one up if you’re keen. Standing room tickets are also available at only $35. The first show is 6.30 for a 7pm start and the second show (repeated) is 8 for an 8.30 start. http://www.fashfest.com.au/tickets

 

Feminine, elegant design

Designer Megan Cannings (l) at the finale of her 2017 FASHFEST show. Image: Anthony Caffery.

When she was little, Megan Cannings fell in love with fashion. She dreamed of Princess Diana and how stylish she always looked. She dreamed of designing feminine and elegant pieces that would be worn on runways by models.

Megan’s dreams have come true. She’s participated in many fashion events in the past few years showcasing ‘Megan Cannings Designs’ in places like Sydney, Brisbane and Townsville. And she’s back in Canberra on 19 October to present her latest collection at FASHFEST.

Megan is no ordinary designer. She’s been sewing since she was in sixth grade but struggles to read patterns and openly admits she failed home economics. That hasn’t stopped her from creating stunning pieces, including intricate gowns that float across the catwalk.

Feminine, floaty designs. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita.

‘My inspiration behind this collection was spring in the country, which is always so beautiful and fresh,’ says Megan. ‘I’ve always adored flowers and so have designed these gowns in different styles, fabrics and colours to look like a spring bouquet.’

This is Megan’s third appearance at FASHFEST. Social media snaps of her debut show, taken by the event’s photography team, were spotted by organisers of Milan’s mega fashion event. At first, Megan couldn’t believe the invitation was genuine. When it sunk in she jumped for joy. The timing wasn’t right, but the invitation itself was a real boost. Megan is hoping to make it to Milan one day.

Megan pinched herself again when the invitation came to showcase at New York Fashion Week. She has just returned from the Big Apple and will be putting some of her pieces from that show into FASHFEST 2018. Next up, the designer is keeping her eye on Paris Fashion Week.

Megan Cannings Designs: FASHFEST 2016. Image: Heidi Flaherty.

At FASHFEST, being held at the National Gallery of Australia, Megan will kick off the evening—the first of three designers. Models will use the towering escalators in the foyer of the NGA as part of the runway.

‘I want my gowns to be something that women desire to wear,’ says Megan. ‘I want them to smile when they see them and be delighted when wearing them.’

Full on manufacturing is the next business priority on Megan’s agenda. And she’s working with a fashion boutique on the Gold Coast getting ready to stock some pieces there.

On 19 October, Megan’s collection will be followed by Charly Thorn’s evening luxe collection and then magnificent pieces by Hajar Gala Couture.

Snapped at FASHFEST 2016 by Wearefound.

This year, FASHFEST is changing it up, hosting a series of rolling shows in cultural institutions and buildings of historic significance. On 19 October, the same show will repeat twice. Other shows will be held in December and February and FASHFEST may even pop up in-between.

Clint Hutchinson, who co-founded the event with his wife Andrea, says the event will always evolve to hold interest. ‘Our strategy has always been to change it up every couple of years, partly to stretch ourselves in the creative space and partly to celebrate what makes Canberra such a special place,’ says Clint.

Tickets: www.fashfest.com.au/tickets

 

Think pre-loved

Pela’Studio will sell a gorgeous range of hats by Mich Dulce

Some people shudder at the thought of shopping at second-hand markets or in op shops. They truly do shudder.

If you fall into that category, consider a shift in the way you think. Instead of ‘second hand’, think ‘pre-loved’ and see markets as an opportunity to explore, have a bit of fun and be part of the circular economy.

Cathie Wall, who runs several markets under the ‘Canberra Markets’ banner, says it’s amazing what quality items and big brand labels pop up, including Coach, Kate Spade, Anne Klein, MIMCO, Gucci and more.

‘We regularly see high fashion, and some new items even have the original tags  attached to them,’ says Cathie. ‘Many stallholders focus on selling new or quality pre-loved pieces they no longer want or wear because they’ve changed shape, style of lifestyle. It’s not about getting rid of junk.

Tomorrow, the 360 Fashion Market is a chance to see what you can uncover.

Dinu Bodiciu hats have been worn by Lady Gaga. Visit Pela’Studio for a selection

Pela’Studio will be at 360 selling new hats perfect for racing season, and at great prices. Pieces designed by two well-known milliners will be for sale, including Mich Dulce whose creations have been worn by Lady Gaga and Georgia May Jagger. Each is made from ethical Philippine raw materials with traditional European millinery techniques. Pela’Studio will also sell pieces by milliner Dinu Bodiciu. Bodiciu, from Singapore, who is listed along the top milliners in the world. Pela’Studio will also sell super stylish shoes from the likes of T&F Slack Shoemakers from London and WXY from Taiwan.

‘Some stallholders are one-time sellers at our markets,’ says Cathie. ‘They’ve decluttered and are selling fashion items to make a bit of money. Others sell as a regular hobby and some sell clothing, jewellery, shoes, bags and accessories for a living.’

Chic to Chic Boutique with a chic jacket

While many stallholders are from Canberra, others come from interstate, including Chic to Chic Boutique from Albury, who returns to the 360 Fashion Market for the second time with some super stylish pieces across many styles.

For the first time, Canberra’s That Old Dog will be at the market, having sniffed out some quality high-fashion men’s wear that doesn’t cost the Earth, including brands like Ralph Lauren and Dolce and Gabbana.

That Old Dog sniffs out the good stuff

360 Fashion Market always has  great retro and vintage fashion for men and women. Ducky Shincracker returns with  fabulous finds. Recycology returns with amazing vintage, all carefully curated. Romance Revisited has a stall for the first time.

360 Fashion Market is on this Sunday, 10 am to 3pm, The Fitters Workshop, Kingston. Free entry. Plenty of parking.

Other pre-loved markets operated by Cathie include the Canberra Fashion Market (24 Nov) and the Canberra Kids Market (17 Nov).

Meet the Murrumbateman Makers!

The annual Murrumbateman Moving Feast is on again this weekend! From 29 – 30 September a number of Murrumbateman and Yass wineries will be serving up mains and desserts with a matching glass of their vino. You can tantalise your taste buds with this roving degustation of fine local wines and delicious tasting plates, and if it’s anything like last year, it will be fantastic—and crowded, so book now! Here’s a sample of what you can expect.

Eden Road Winery are offering a trio of Arancini with goat cheese and pesto, braised beef cheek with chilli jam, and wild mushrooms with feta, matched with 2015 Syrah or 2017 Pinot Noir. Indulge your senses with a triple choc brownie with home-made Baileys Ice Cream served with an East Lake sparkling or 2017 Canberra Riesling.

Yarrh Wines are serving up wood roasted butterflied leg of lamb with leeks in wine and walnut aillade, with a vegetarian option of roast sweet potato with chilli lemon sauce and mushrooms, paired with a 2017 Shiraz. For dessert taste test their famous pear and almond tart with a 2018 late harvest.

Dionysus Winery Who doesn’t love sliders followed by a salted caramel mousse! Dionysus have slow roasted pork belly with sriracha (hot chilli sauce) and slaw; and grilled haloumi, pickle, lettuce and Kewpie mayo, matched with their own Reisling. Followed by a rich salted caramel mousse made with Lindt chocolate and served with a dollop of salted caramel and cream—that’s got to be a winner! And comes beautifully matched with a Cab Sav.

Kerralee Vineyard was our favourite last year, and although much smaller than most of the others, family owned Kerralee is well worth a visit. Offering a Pot pie of beef slow cooked in Kerralee Merlot, topped with puff pastry, served with salad garnish, and comes with a wine of your choice. Their house-made cheesecake on a gluten free nut base topped with fresh seasonal fruit is totally yum! Matched with pinot noir rosé or my personal fave, their merlot rosé.

Delish slow-cooked beef pie 

But that’s not all … a total of 19 wineries are participating in the Moving Feast event, and you don’t have to just stick with one. You can choose your favourite main from one winery, and pop over to another for dessert. Savoury dishes are $25 and desserts are $20 and all come with the vino, and you get to keep your lovely Riedel wine glass worth $20. What are you waiting for?

Go to Murrumbateman Moving Feast to check out full details and book your tickets.

The new style of FASHFEST

The FASHFEST folks have been quiet for a while but definitely not idle. It’s taken months of careful planning, but Canberra’s largest annual red-carpet event has just released its new style for 2018.

‘Change. It. Up.’ sums up what FASHFEST will roll out starting 19 October, with a prestigious launch show at the National Gallery of Australia. It’s a perfect fit. Beautiful fashion—gowns and glam cocktail attire to be precise—in a beautiful building surrounded by beautiful art. Does it get any better than that?

So what do the new ‘Change. It. Up.’ plans involve?

‘This year we’re hosting specialised shows in new venues, including iconic institutions and buildings of cultural and historic significance,’ says Clint Hutchinson, who co-founded FASHFEST with his wife Andrea, ‘These places are unique to Canberra and make the capital so special. We want guests to experience them in a new light.’

At the NGA, guests will view fashion never before seen in Canberra, by three designers selected for how their aesthetic fits with the NGA’s architecture. Models will grace the catwalk with bring to life collections by Hajar Gala Couture, Megan Cannings Designs and Charly Thorn Designs.

JackMohr-ARIVALS-N2-S2 - _mg_3975

Hajar Gala Couture, on the catwalk at FASHFEST 2017. Image: Jack Mohr

The same show will repeat twice at the NGA (same evening) and then the FASHFEST team will bunker down to finalise exciting plans for shows in December and February.

Hajar Gala, the principal designer behind Hajar Gala Couture, will present exquisitely detailed bridal and evening gowns, some of which she showed at Paris Fashion Week.  Hajar trained formally in the French couture method at the International Fashion Academy. In addition to her Canberra atelier, she has recently opened in Melbourne.

DougHall-FOH-N3S2-0159

Frills and more frills. Gown by Megan Cannings Design at FASHFEST 2017, National Convention Centre Canberra. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita

Fashion designer Megan Cannings, who has just returned from New York Fashion Week, will present pieces she put on the runway in the US. This is Megan’s third year at FASHFEST. Official event photography pushed out through social media was spotted by those behind NYFW and other major shows, and Megan was subsequently invited to showcase nationally and internationally.

‘FASHFEST is my favorite fashion show to participate in,’ says Megan. ‘The models are on the catwalk longer and the team behind the event is so professional and easy to work with.’

The youngest designer to ever participate in FASHFEST is Charly Thorn from Cooma, who was just 17 when she presented her first collection at the event. The collection included a stunning piece worn by super model Anneliese Seubert. The audience stood and gave Charly a massive round of applause.

DougHall-FOH-N3S1-0059

Charly Thorn’s resort wear collection, FASHFEST 2017. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita

Last year, Charly focused on resort wear at FASHFEST and this year it’s cocktail glam. Charly has also showcased internationally since her initial involvement in FASHFEST.

‘FASHFEST’s model has always been to change things up periodically to keep fashion fans coming back for more,’ says Andrea. ‘We loved being at the Canberra Airport all rugged up in winter in a small industrial space and we loved the glamour and magic of being at the National Convention Centre Canberra. Now it’s time to change it up once more.’

For exclusive updates and special offers, sign up to FASHFEST’s newsletter: www.fashfest.com.au Tickets on sale soon.

Credit top image: Co-founders of FASHFEST, Clint and Andrea Hutchinson.

Eco luxe with ease

Who would have thought fashion would be a fit for a business sustainability expo?

It’s actually perfect.

FASHFEST is hitting the stage at the free Actsmart Business Sustainability Expo on 13 September with local fashion designer Bronwynne Jones, of label Thunder Thighs, and eco-stylist Faye De Lanty, from Salvos, to present an eco-chic fashion segment of recycled, reused and reimagined garments.

At the Expo, Bronwynne will show many ways to wear her Infinities scarves, which she creates by sewing together four men’s silk ties she uncovers trawling through op shops.

‘Each is unique and they’re fabulous because men’s ties can have amazing colours and patterns which inspire each Infinite,’ says the designer. Bronwynne, who works out of her studio at M16 Gallery, will also demonstrate other garments she has created from pre-loved ties and other op shop finds, including an elegant skirt and a dress made entirely from tie waste.

Salvos will reimagine and upcycle individual pieces into new garments, demonstrating eco luxe with ease. They’ll also host a short fashion show, including two green looks—in colour and kind to the environment—they put on the catwalk at their inaugural appearance at FASHFEST last year.

‘Fashion is the second most toxic industry in the world,’ says Faye. ‘I don’t love what it does to our planet and so decided to spend my life reusing and reducing our fashion footprint. Second hand never has to mean second best.’

Thunder Thighs also hit the FASHFEST catwalk for the first time in 2017. Bronwynne showcased a new collection but teased the audience by accessorising garments with a steampunk bent, using items sourced from op-shops to create hats and jewellery. Bronwynne also makes custom-made bespoke bustle jackets, designed with second-hand garments and waste fabric from her studio floor.

‘It’s much easier than you think to get imaginative with individual pieces,’ says Bronwynne. ‘People shouldn’t shy away from giving it a go.’

Faye works with Salvos to promote the value (to people’s hip pockets and the planet) of op shopping. ‘I regularly find big brand names and some quality and interesting vintage pieces,’ says Faye. ‘It’s the best way to shop. I’m truly obsessed.’

At the Actsmart Business Sustainability Expo, Salvos will showcase other items made from pre-loved garments, including lamp shades, a seat and a stool.

‘This is FASHFEST’s second year at the Expo,’ says co-founder Andrea Hutchinson. ‘While not all designers in the fashion industry practice sustainability, we’ve always showcased some who do, either through upcycling pre-loved garments or by practising sustainable design.’

The Actsmart Business Sustainability Expo is Canberra’s largest of its kind. The 2018 OzHarvest Celebrity Chef Cook-off will see Darren Perryman from Pialligo Estate take on David Young from Temporada to see who can make the most delish dish with surplus food rescued from cafes and restaurants.

Thirty-seven exhibitors will be at the Expo to talk all things sustainable, including the latest technologies in waste, water and energy with experts.

The free Actsmart Business Sustainability Expo runs from 10am to 5pm, Thursday 13 September, at Southern Cross Club, Woden.

What you need to know:

FASHFEST, Thunder Thighs and Salvos event        10.00am to 10.45am

OzHarvest celebrity cookoff                                        2.30pm to 3.15pm

Faye De Lanty

Eco-stylist Faye De Lanty from Salvos

Faye-De-Lanty-3

Faye De Lanty’s philosophy: ‘Second hand never has to mean second best.’

IMG_2140_edited

Bronwynne Jones of Thunder Thighs creates using new and pre-loved materials.

Avon_Dissanayake-FF_NGA_0124

Fashion designer Bronwynne Jones created this outfit in part using pre-loved men’s ties. Credit: Sparkling Weddings, NGA