Category Archives: LFW Style

A story of a pear-shaped woman

Lovin’ thunder thighs. Designer Bronwynne Jones with model Swan Ricco at FASHFEST 2017. Image: Avon Dissanayake.

For years, Brownynne Jones was frustrated with fashion, so much so that she started her own label. We all have different shapes—hour glass, watermelon, banana, apple and pear. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, says Bronwynne, the reality is that it’s easier to shop fashion for some shapes than others.

Bronwynne is pear shaped and proud of it.

‘I used to think there was something wrong with my shape because I could never find lovely clothes that fitted just so,’ says the designer. ‘Then it dawned on me that it wasn’t my problem, it was the fashion industry’s problem and so I began making my own clothes. That’s when I started to feel great and stopped worrying about how I looked.’

Image of Tiahna taken at FASHFEST 2017 by Naimat Ahmed.

Thunder Thighs is a label for the perfectly pear shaped, although Bronwynne now knows her designs fit a range of shapes, even the tall and thin. ‘It was fabulous to discover this, although the pear-shaped is still my main aesthetic,’ says the designer.

This Thursday, at M16 Artspace, Brownynne is launching an exhibition as part of Design Canberra Festival. ‘Curvature Couture: Design and the pear-shaped woman’ officially opens at 6 and runs until 25 November. M16 is where Bronwynne has her studio.

The exhibition showcases what Bronwynne does best—focus on shape as a feature not as a flaw. She’ll host a short fashion event using a combination of models with interesting shapes, such as Bec and Trish from HAUS Models. She’ll also use women who aren’t professional models. The common thread is that every woman who appears in the show is in love with their body shape and fashion.

Bec from HAUS Models. Image: Naimat Ahmed.

Thunder Thighs is still a young independent label and Brownynne has learned heaps since presenting her first full collection on the catwalk at FASHFEST in 2017. ‘FASHFEST is a real platform for local designers and an important one,’ says the designer. ‘I was so nervous, but the collection looked amazing on the catwalk and the feedback was  fabulous. The team members behind FASHFEST are so willing to share knowledge and encourage you.’

Sustainability is important to Bronwynne and she’s committed to using new and natural fabrics as much as possible and sourcing interesting roll ends and remnants. She also uses pre-loved garments, deconstructing them and using elements in her designs. A classic example is Bronwynne’s hugely popular ‘Shirt Front Back Top’, which she’ll present at ‘Curvature Couture’.

Bronwynne’s famous ‘Shirt Front Back Top’. Image: Naimat Ahmed.

This shirt is fitted at the top and has a swing back to skim over the thighs, but women who have a tummy love it too. ‘To enhance interest, I include an insert using men’s shirts and, more recently, women’s scarves,’ say Bronwynne. ‘Customers even bring in their own shirts and scarves, ones that hold memories, so the garments I make for them are highly personal and a major talking point.’

At the opening of Curvature Couture, and throughout the exhibition, guests can check out their shape against life-sized panels by String, local artist Paul Martin. The garments on the catwalk will be put on mannequins after the show and form part of the exhibition.

Brownynne presented her first full collection on the catwalk at FASHFEST in 2017. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita.

You can also hear Bronwynne talk about her designs at M16 on 15 November at 1pm. She’ll also present a short workshop on dressing thunder thighs on 25 November at 2pm.

In the meantime, join Bronwynne at ‘Curvature couture: Design and the pear-shaped woman’ for the official opening this Thursday, 8 November, at 6pm. The fashion show starts around 6.30.

 

 

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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.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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.

colour kitchen appliances 2

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

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.