Category Archives: LFW Style

Renovating 101! Tips and tricks for renovating style.

Having spent the last three years moonlighting as—in the words of Billy Joel—‘a real-estate novelist’, plus the last two years renovating my own home, I learnt very quickly what sells and what doesn’t, and what many buyers look for when they’re buying their first, or second, home.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on major renovations, but if you are planning to sell—and most people, at some point, will sell their current home—you need to put in some time to spruce the place up a bit. If you’re not selling, but thinking about updating that tired 1980s kitchen or bathroom, you still need to know what’s on trend. However, trends come—and then, they go … I know builders who can walk into a kitchen and tell you when it was built or upgraded simply by the colour and use of materials. Colour, materials, and flooring will set the date of your renovation or makeover, so choose carefully!

Check out our 10 top tips for that big, or small, upgrade.

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Updated reno – before and after

1: Take your time! Don’t try to do everything at once. Work out what you need, or want/can afford well before you start; be it a full renovation (complete pull-out and re-build) or makeover (paint, soft furnishings, upgrade appliances etc.). Work out where to start first, do your research, and stick to the plan!

2: Street appeal. If your house looks crap from the outside, drive-by potential buyers will assume it’s crap on the inside. You don’t have to go to great lengths or spend a fortune rendering, or replacing your gutters or roofing, but a coat of paint, a nice new mailbox, and a garden tidy up can make a huge difference to those doing the ‘drive past’.

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Glass hall table with shelf space

3: First steps. As well as street appeal, don’t forget your entrance and hallway—even a small front porch will look welcoming with a bistro setting and a couple of cushions. A small hallway will really open up if it’s light and bright. Go for a hall table with a glass top, and mirror to reflect the light, and open containers if you have room.

4: Kitchen. Don’t mix too many materials. I’ve seen kitchens that have a combination of timber cupboards, stone and laminate tops, and feature splashbacks—overwhelming is an understatement. Decide on a feature—what you want to stand out; either splashback, benchtops, an island or whatever, choose the feature colour and material—stone, glass, timber, stainless steel, etc., and keep the rest plain and simple.

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Monochrome kitchen with glass fronted cabinet and feature subway tiles

5: Shelving versus cupboards. Open shelves, exposed beams, and cabinetry that stops below the ceiling (popular in the 70s) are dust gatherers—plain and simple, and unless you like dusting every day, and washing pots and pans even when they haven’t been used; then fine, go with open everything—otherwise forget it. And if you really want your gorgeous glassware on display go for a glass-fronted cupboard with fitted downlights. In the bathroom, if you must have shelves, go for glass—they have clean lines, and will open up a small area.

6: Appliances. Get them off the kitchen bench! An appliance cupboard doesn’t have to include power, nor does it have to be in the kitchen. For appliances you use every day, such as your toaster and kettle—fine, but for others create large cupboards that will take your blender, juicer, slow cooker, food processor etc., and keep them out of sight. A separate microwave space, over or under the oven or bench or in a split pantry, is also a great idea. If you have a large cupboard close to the kitchen—in the hallway or laundry, you can utilise that for plastic containers, bowls, hand mixers, casserole and baking dishes etc. If you have a monochrome kitchen, pop some colour with your appliances.

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7: Colour. That lovely bright red wall in the lounge room may look terrific with your off-white leather lounge; but if the prospective purchaser has a red, pink (or even blue) lounge—colours may clash. If you’re renovating to sell keep to monochrome and neutral colours such as white, pale grey, or off-white. Even if you’re not selling—stick with neutral and pop the colour in your soft furnishings.

8: Floors. Think about the usage your floors get. Do you have lots of visitors, young children or pets? Some areas are very heavy traffic and need flooring that can sustain the use. Soft boards or light porcelain tiles should be kept to lightweight areas. Hard timbers and heavier weight tiles or stone are ideal in entrances, main living areas, and kitchen and family rooms, and many people still prefer carpet in bedrooms.

Pops of colour with soft furnishings

Bright yellow and greens pop some colour into this monochrome lounge

9: Lighting. Downlights have become popular of late, but beware, they cast no shadow and can make a room appear clinical and without texture. Simple pendants are still good for living areas and bedrooms and won’t break the bank, while moveable spots work well in kitchens as you can move them along the bar to light specific areas. Get TASTICs for the bathrooms. Trust me—you, and your prospective purchaser will love them.

10: The backyard. Often neglected, and often overdone, the backyard needs the following essentials. Good secure fencing on all sides. Tidy trees and shrubs, outdoor living/dining furniture (if you have the space) and an outdoor clothes line—yes, there are people who still like to hang out their washing. That’s it!

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Small courtyard garden with all the essential elements

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When is Organic not Organic?

They say ‘you are what you eat’, and I know so many people who are passionate about eating organic. They scour local markets, and their pantry and fridge is full of organic fruit, veggies and meats. But what about other organics? If you’re passionate about what you put in your body, shouldn’t you also be looking at what you put on your body? By Aine Dowling

Do you know what’s in your skin care products?

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Divine Hand and Body Lotion with promotional Wellness Soak offer and sample day cream

In 2016 I attended the Divine Rawspirations High Tea where speaker Therese Kerr was talking about her company and products. I’ve never really considered whether the skin care products I use are fully certified organic or not, but after listening to Therese I thought maybe we should all be looking at what we put on our skin as well as in our mouth.

20170530_110919-1Do you know that skin care products and cosmetics that are labelled organic are not necessarily Certified Organic? Certified Organic, as oppose to organic, conventional, or natural products, is a fully regulated industry and has to have full traceability of each and every ingredient contained in the product. So if you already use organic products, make sure they’re certified.

The Canberra winter is now well and upon us, and indoor heating and cold winds are a killer on the skin, and can trigger and exacerbate some skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis—so it’s important to continue a daily moisturising regime, and not just on your face.

I’ve been using the Divine Hand and Body Moisturiser for about 12 months now (and yes, one pump bottle did last that long!) and it’s brilliant. So brilliant that it’s one of the very few products I’m happy to recommend. The moisturiser is certified organic and made with all natural ingredients including Rosehip and Aloe Vera combined with a variety of essential oils—so it smells divine too! You can also add to your moisturising program with the Divine Lip Balm which contains vitamin E, jojoba oil, and cocoa seed butter.

The Divine Company was founded in 2013 by Therese Kerr, and launched in 2014. It’s 100 per cent Australian owned and all products are manufactured in Australia. All products are certified not to contain any of the following: sulfates, parabens, synthetic or natural fragrances or colours, silicones, and formaldehyde or formaldehyde derivatives.

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All orders arrive beautifully boxed and packed

The company is passionate about their products and produces an entire range of skincare and personal care—for women and men, and a special range for babies and new mums. They also offer gift packs and cosmetic bags—perfect for a special occasion gift. Orders arrive beautifully packed and boxed, and include a free sample-size product. But, if you’re lucky enough to order when there’s a promotion on offer, they will also include a gorgeous gift with your package, and not a teeny trial or sample size either, but a full size promotional product for you to try.

Click here to shop the Divine Company website, or follow them on Facebook.

LFW did not receive any free gifts or products by way of endorsement, other than the promotional offer available at the time of ordering.

Getting Down and Dirty …

For some, coal is a dirty word. For others, it’s an incredibly refined ancient rock that can be used to create stunning pieces of jewellery.

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Sophia Emmett – Workshop 85

Sophia Emmett hand makes jewellery out of chunks of pitch black coal she finds while walking the beaches of Newcastle. She does so out of Workshop 85, which she formed in 2012. “Exploitation as a fossil fuel has given coal a bad name,” says Sophia. “Appreciating coal as a finite and precious mineral is a different perspective and my pieces highlight its raw and natural beauty.”

Sophia’s professional artistic career began with the world of glass, and has included an artist-in-residency program at the Canberra School of Art, studies overseas, and many opportunities to work with master glass blowers. For years Sophia worked with black glass and wasn’t at all surprised that she was naturally drawn to the intense black of coal once she made the ‘sea change’ from Canberra to Newcastle.

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From this …

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… to this – coal stud ear-rings by Sophia Emmett

Dealing with coal is a messy business; it’s oily and dirty. Sophia must also be careful that she doesn’t breathe in any coal dust. She uses a respirator, lots of water to control the dust and works in batches of about three days to cope with the realities of dealing with the raw material. “It takes me ages to scrub down so there’s no point in working with coal for just an hour or two, even though what I find on the beach has been weathered and worn in the water and can be quite smooth to begin with,” says Sophia. And the first step back in Workshop 85 is sorting the coal into sizes.

Next is cutting the coal with diamond tools, which have high grinding efficiency but low grinding force, meaning more pieces survive the process. “I’m getting to the stage where I can pick up a chunk of coal and tell if it will survive,” says Sophia. “Coal is not a uniform material. Some pieces have fractures and I know they won’t work. I have to be careful when drilling since even at the last stage a piece can crack.

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Working with coal

“The piece of coal I find dictates the form and shape of what I make. No two pieces are the same, not even two earrings that form a pair,” says the artist. “They aren’t identical. There are so many variables I can’t control.”

The last step sees Sophia carefully polishing each piece of jewellery. The length of time required depends on the type of coal, with some pieces harder than others. Sophia uses reclaimed silver and stainless silver wire to form pieces, and her range includes cufflinks, pins, hook earrings, stud earrings and necklaces.

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Elegant coal necklace by Sophia Emmett

Karen Lee, who owns Assemblage Project in the Ori Building, Braddon, was instantly attracted to Sophia’s work and now stocks a selection of her women’s jewellery. “I liked the story behind it,” says Karen. “When people see it in the shop and it clicks that it’s coal, they touch it and then look at their hands wondering if there will be dust on their fingers. They’re fascinated.”

The coal jewellery also works well with the aesthetics of the fashion designers who sell out of Assemblage Project, including Karen’s own label—Karen Lee. “It’s not just the colour that works well, since black goes with everything,” says Karen. “It’s the design. It’s unique, well made and I love its simplicity.”

Sophia also sells her coal jewellery The Curatoreum, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.

Diana Cheetham at Fiji Fashion Week!

Diana Cheetham knows a thing or two about makeup. She’s been the Director of Makeup for FASHFEST, Canberra’s annual red-carpet fashion show, for three years. She teaches makeup at CMA Training Group and is a professional makeup artist who owns a freelance makeup and hair business.

Diana has now added another string to her bow. She’s been selected to travel to Fiji Fashion Week, to be part of the Harlotte Cosmetics official makeup team.

Carlotte 1_Doug Hall

Michelle Crofts, owner of Harlotte Cosmetics, has selected Diana for her skill, creativity and flexible approach when working in the hustle, bustle and pressure of backstage at major fashion events. Makeup artists must be skilled at interpreting creative briefs quickly and working with precision to bring fashion design to life on the catwalk. Diana’s talents also saw her work with the Harlotte team at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia.

Harlotte is the official sponsor of Fiji Fashion Week, celebrating 10 years of fashion in paradise. Diana leaves at the crack of dawn on 24 May for the 11 hour journey to Suva and returns on 28 May. It’s Diana’s first international event and she hopes it’s not the last.

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FASHFEST – photo by Doug Hall Photographer

“There are no words to describe the feeling of being selected,” says Diana. “I’m so excited to be working in such an extraordinary location and to experience how another major fashion show works. And I’m looking forward to working with other skin tones.”

At FASHFEST, Diana is in charge of a team of up to 45 makeup stylists who produce high-glamour looks for up to 150 models wearing new collections by 50 fashion designers. This year’s event is 28 to 30 September.

“Make-up is a fashion accessory with the power to complete, perfect and refine an outfit,” says Diana. “Backstage has such a vibe but there’s never a minute to spare during show time. The pressure is non-stop.”

Away from formal fashion events, Diana is busy as a new mum and with her business—Diana Cheetham Hair and Makeup Artist. She services the ACT, Goulburn, and the Southern Highlands.

So what tips does Diana have for makeup this winter? “A hot trend is peach,” says Diana. “Adding peach tones to any skin colour gives a lovely, soft glow. Simply place a dewy blush to the apple of your cheeks and blend up and out toward your hairline.”

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Harlotte behind the scenes at FASHFEST – photo by Sparkling Weddings

Another winter tip is the half lash, which Diana says has an uplifting effect that will make you look refreshed. “Cut full band lashes in half and use them on the outer edges of your eyes, with the longer ends at the outer corners. The effect will be amazing,” says the makeup pro.

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Photo by Doug Hall Photography

Diana also recommends knowing your makeup products and learning how to use them properly. “Don’t hesitate to have a lesson from a professional so you know how to apply products in a way that suits your age, skin type and eye shape.”

You can follow Diana on her Facebook page, and check out Harlotte Cosmetics on their website or Facebook.

Illuminating Canberra!

When you buy a piece from Illuminate, you’re buying a piece of Canberra. Not just because the fashion designer behind local label Zilpah tart creates all her pieces here, but because the patterns are based around photos of three of our much-loved national institutions.

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Radiance Dress – National Film and Sound Archive print

You must look closely at the patterns before it clicks, but that’s all part of the fun, says Yumi Morrissey, and Illuminate reflects what happens to the capital after dark.

The inspiration for Zilpah tart’s new autumn/winter 2017 collection came from an image Yumi took of the Torsional Wave at Questacon at Enlighten a few years back. She immediately saw a pattern in her head, using the electric blue coloured light that was projected onto the sculpture.

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Cross-front Dress in Questacon Lucent Blue print

Yumi manipulates her images on the computer to create a pattern, which is then digitally printed onto fabric. Patterns resulting from two other national institutions—the National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archives—are also part of Illuminate, with Yumi loving the bright orange entry wall at the museum and the vibrant rainbow colours projected onto the archives.

The garments Yumi has designed with her exclusive new patterns include her top sellers such as the T-shirt Dress and Cross Front Dress, but this time she has also introduced a line-up of skirts, tops and a spunky steel jacket made from metallic silver double knit stretch fabric. Her highly popular and easy-to-wear loop scarves are also available.

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Steel jacket with dress in National Museum of Australia print

Illuminate isn’t the first collection to celebrate Canberra’s national icons. Yumi made waves in 2015 when she launched the Warrior collection at FASHFEST, with patterns based around Parliament House. She’s also launched collections around images she’s captured of other aspects of our beautiful capital, including Civic Fountain, Balloon Spectacular, glorious sunsets, vibrant autumn leaves, cherry blossoms and more. Have some fun and check out the fabric prints section of Yumi’s website, which displays all original photos, resulting patterns and garments made with the patterns. It’s fascinating!

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Loop scarf in Coloured Light print

Zilpah tart has showcased at FASHFEST three times and is already thinking well ahead to 2017 where she’ll launch her spring/summer collection.

She’s also super busy getting ready to showcase Illuminate on the catwalk at the CARDIF Collective Fashion Alley show, to be held 8 April, Highgate Lane, Kingston. This charity event will also showcase autumn/winter collections by Hunter the Label, Fujinella, Hoon and Thunder Thighs.  For more information, including on tickets: www.cardifcollective.com.au

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National Film and Sound Archive image

Photo Credits: Model @tiza590, MUA @katiesaarikko, Photography Yumi Morrissey, Zilpah tart

Fashion in the Alley @ CARDIF

Autumn has graced us with its presence. This change of season is exciting for the way the leaves change to brilliant oranges, reds and yellows, but also because it’s a chance to layer up and change the way we dress.

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Zilpah Tart 2016 Collection

 

The first-ever CARDIF Collective Fashion Alley, to be held 8 April in Highgate Lane, Kingston, will celebrate the autumn/winter collections of five designers. The fashion show will style the service laneway into something magical, with the help of event experts Show Pony. Guests will be introduced to a new Canberra label by Bronwynne Jones, who designs for women who are perfectly pear shaped and proud of it. “Thunder Thighs is about fitting and flattering. If you love your shape, then focus on fit and flaunt it,” says Bronwynne, who has created a foundation wardrobe and pieces that add flair.

A new collection by Hoon will jazz up the runway with kid’s clothing. This up-cycled fashion label by artist Hanna Hoyne is delightful, colourful and unique. Hanna creates these special pieces from her design studio in CARDIF Collective.

While the fashion show focuses primarily on local designers, it also showcases the latest collection by Melbourne-based Fujinella, available in Canberra solely through CARDIF Collective. Fujinella focuses on monotones, making pieces easy to mix and match. They fit into any woman’s wardrobe and are delightful to wear.

CARDIF ZT Cross front dress in Museum

Zilpah Tart new 2017 collection: Illuminate, using National Museum of Australia print

Two favourite designers showcased at FASHFEST 2016, Zilpah Tart and Hunter the Label, are launching new and exciting season collections. Armed with her camera, Yumi Morrissey has over time captured images of three of our cultural icons, manipulating them on her computer and then producing fabric. The pieces in Zilpah Tart’s Illuminate collection feature the National Museum of Australia, National Film and Sound Archives and Torsional Wave at Questacon.

Local fashion designer, Sara Wurker, was inspired to create her new season collection by a trip to Japan. Sara’s Hunter the Label focuses on quality fabrics and wearable designs that embody unassuming elegance. The Norwegian Wood collection promises to make a true statement on the catwalk.

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Hunter the Label

Guests will also see shared segments showcasing pieces by many more designers who retail through CARDIF Collective.

The CARDIF Collective Fashion Alley is a charity event with proceeds from a live charity auction (Richard Luton of Luton Properties the auctioneer) going to the Heart Foundation. Proceeds from the silent auction will support domestic violence through the Lost and Found initiative by boyandgirlco.

A free art exhibition will also be held, with works by artists who create out of M16 Artspace.

 

Tickets for the CARDIF Collective Fashion Alley are on sale now. General entry tickets are $35. Gallery tickets are $50, VIP singles $70 and VIP tables are $250 for four and $350 for six. www.cardifcollective.com.au

Hands across the Water: Australia—New Zealand Collaboration

In many ways, Australia and New Zealand are two of the most ‘connected’ countries on the planet, and both are keen on exporting their fashion prowess to overseas markets. This year two New Zealand designers—with remarkably different aesthetics—launched collections at FASHFEST 2016, both supported by the New Zealand High Commission to be in the show.

Designer Melanie Child; photo by Leighton Hutchinson

Designer Melanie Child; photo by Leighton Hutchinson

Melanie Child, a boutique, independent womenswear label from Dunedin, appeared on the FASHFEST runway for the second time, with her thought-provoking aesthetic and garments made through upcycling and sustainable fabric choices. Making a debut appearance was A’au Elei. The three brothers behind the label, Junior, Matthew and Jerry Chan Sau, focus on design inspired by their Pacific Island heritage. They have just moved to Sydney to be closer to sales agents but will never forget home.

While here, Melanie met New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Australia, Chris Seed, at the High Commissioner’s residence in Canberra. Melanie also worked with Leighton Hutchinson, Director of Photography for FASHFEST, on a photo shoot at the High Commissioner’s residence. “I’m a big fan of his work,” says Melanie, “and it was inspiring and a huge opportunity, especially since we got to do the shoot at the residence, which is such a unique location and a special one for me as a New Zealand designer.”

FASHFEST Co-Founder Cling Hutchinson, Melanie Child, and NZ High Commissioner Chris Seed. Photo by Leighton Hutchinson

FASHFEST Co-Founder Clint Hutchinson, Melanie Child, and NZ High Commissioner Chris Seed. Photo by Leighton Hutchinson

Melanie was drawn back to FASHFEST in part because the event continues to attract so many ethical and sustainable fashion designers. “I’m motivated to create beauty from the unwanted and wasted—timeless garments that transcend seasons,” says Melanie, who redesigns preloved denim, reducing post-consumer textile waste into landfill in the process. “I’m also drawn to FASHFEST’s commitment to provide a platform for emerging designers, and the opportunity to collaborate with designers, photographers and other creatives. As a small label from New Zealand, showcasing my work on an international stage is a huge opportunity to present to a wider audience. I also had a viewing with a women’s retail shop while in Canberra.”

Melanie and Matthew also met the Deputy High Commissioner, Llewellyn Roberts, at FASHFEST, providing a personal tour of the bustle backstage. A’au Elei says they were inspired by FASHFEST. “We’re predominantly a textile design company but our experience with such a professionally run show, and the interest we attracted, has inspired us to expand our range of men’s clothing,” says Matthew.

A’Au Elei’s new collection on the catwalk. Photo by Holly Williams

A’Au Elei’s new collection on the catwalk. Photo by Holly Williams

High Commissioner Chris Seed says New Zealand’s fashion industry is growing internationally. “Recent figures show 25 per cent of our production is off-shore with 70 per cent of manufacturers involved in exporting, and Australia is the biggest market,” says the High Commissioner. “New Zealand’s participation in FASHFEST reinforces a view of both countries as nations of contemporary innovation and creativity. Our determination and our independence, and our Māori and Pasifika heritage, enables creativity, innovation and often ingenious solutions.”

Designer Melanie Child. Photo by Martin Ollman

Designer Melanie Child. Photo by Martin Ollman

The benefit of attracting international labels to FASHFEST is a win-win for both countries says Clint Hutchinson, CEO of FASHFEST. “Designers from Canberra and interstate gain new insights from New Zealand and designers from New Zealand gain new insights from Australia.”

You can learn more about Melanie Child and A’au Elei on the FASHFEST website.