Category Archives: LFW Your Canberra

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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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).

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

From City to Beach …

Yumi’s fashion is a Shore thing!

Magical, pretty and feminine are three words that reflect the mood of this gorgeous Shoreline collection by fashion designer Yumi Morrissey. Yumi is well known for creating her own fabric patterns with photos she’s taken in Canberra and the region, including cultural institutions, parks and scenery, and popular tourist events including Floriade and Enlighten. But for her 2018 spring-summer collection, Yumi has soared high flying a drone to capture stunning shots of the ocean.

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Drone image Mossy Point, NSW

Purchasing the drone proved to be a wise investment and Yumi is ecstatic about the results. She’s settled on three breathtaking images taken off clifftops near Broulee, South Coast, and at Forrester’s Beach, Central Coast.

“I love photography as much as I do fashion and thought about the endless possibilities of using a drone when planning this new season’s collection,” says Yumi. “It was challenging and time consuming to get the right shots that would work to form each pattern, but I love the results. The turquoise blues and emerald greens are beautiful spring-summer colours, and the shapes of the rocks, shoreline and sandy beaches are intriguing.”

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Shoreline Loop Scarf. Model: Talea Hasko-Stewart, MUA: Steph Church, Photography: Yumi Morrissey, Zilpah tart

Because there is so much detail in each image, Yumi used each as a full picture, repeating it three times to form the prints. Yumi incorporated sheer fabrics into the collection because it reminds her of sea foam. The ruffles on other pieces remind her of waves. “I’ve also incorporated solid colours conscious that some customers don’t feel comfortable wearing a busy pattern from top to bottom,” says Yumi. “With the solids, I’ve used print fabric to form interesting accents, such as a delicate frill at the top or bottom.”

It took a great deal of time and effort to create the collection, but Yumi says the results are well worth the travel to locate where to fly, the willingness to wait for the weather to cooperate, and the patience to get the best shots.

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Mossy Point drone image ready for print

Shoreline includes Yumi’s best-selling designs—which is no surprise since Zilpah tart fans would be in an uproar with anything less. Yumi has a close relationship with many of her loyal customers who are keen to buy local. The last 12 months or so have been huge for Yumi. In addition to selling online through the label’s website, Zilpah tart is now retailing in The Collective Store, Wynnum, Queensland, and Design a Space, Manchester Lane, Melbourne.

Yumi also sells a small selection of garments in the Tienda Canberra Collective, Fyshwick Markets, loop scarves and bags at The Parliament Shop and loop scarves at the Canberra Visitors Centre. Her main retail outlet in Canberra is Cardif Collective, Westfield Woden.

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Mist skirt from Shoreline collection. Model: Talea Hasko-Stewart, MUA: Steph Church, Photography: Yumi Morrissey, Zilpah tart

 

Shoreline will launch at Westfield Woden, CARDIF Collective, Friday 7 September, 6pm to 8pm (with champagne and nibbles), and Yumi will be on hand to answer questions about the new collection, and images of the coast and a look book will be displayed.

To see more of Yumi’s designs visit her website at Zilpah tart.

Feature image (top): Yumi wearing Shoreline collection dress. Image by Sarah Hill.

Vodka—tick. Coffee—tick …

I’m not a vodka drinker, but when it comes in a coffee blend, and with tasting notes of nuts, chocolate, and red fruits, I think I could be converted! And why hasn’t someone come up with this sooner … and, just in time for the perfect Father’s Day gift!

In another first for Underground Spirits, Canberra’s unique distillery in Kambah, they recently launched their first Vodka with Cold Brew Coffee. In collaboration with Bellerophon Coffee, a speciality cold brew coffee house, this is a unique and original recipe, and uses ethically sourced coffee beans and has no added sugar.

Underground Spirits - vodka coffee 1

“Ross, Andy and I had always spoken about doing a coffee vodka and as soon as we met Alex from Bellerophon we knew we had to collaborate to create something truly unique. We wanted to make a vodka for coffee purists, and not as sweet as other products, and the end result is a wonderful marriage between two artisans, one making coffee and one making spirits,” says Toby Angstmann from Underground Spirits.

After attending a few shows together and talking about collaboration, Underground Spirits and Bellerophon came up with a recipe for a vodka coffee. “It’s a fine balance between art and science in both the coffee and distilling industries,” says Alex Leech of Bellerophon Coffee, “and we both walk this line every day as part of our core values.” Bellerophon was founded in Canberra and is committed to sustainability in its processing by using only the highest grade, ethically sourced beans, and implementing a three-stage filtering process more often seen in the wine and beer industry.

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Image courtesy Bellerophon Coffee

Underground Spirits is Canberra’s very own 100 per cent Australian made and owned distiller of award-winning premium vodka and gin, and is committed to creating the best spirits in the world. They have won several major international spirits competitions, making them Canberra’s most awarded spirits brand.

Coffee vodka is best served simply with a good quality tonic and garnished with a slice of orange. Its complex flavours and no added sugars however make it a very versatile product for pushing the boundaries of how coffee vodkas can be used.

 

 

 

So now you’ve got your bottle of coffee vodka, here’s a recipe for the perfect Espresso Martini courtesy Underground Spirits.Underground Spirits - vodka coffee 3

Espresso Martini

20ml Fresh Espresso, 30ml Underground Coffee Vodka, 30ml Underground Caramel Vodka, 10ml Sugar Syrup

Measure everything into a cocktail shaker. Shake hard with ice and double strain into a martini glass, garnish with three coffee beans. Add sugar syrup to taste if you prefer some sweetness.

Underground Spirits in Canberra

No it’s not about the Yowie Man’s ghost and poltergeist tours. Did you know Canberra has own award-winning distillery? Underground Spirits, located in Kambah, makes gin and vodka, and has recently revealed a completely new look. James Bond would love it!

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Although it’s had a rebrand, it’s still the same premium quality and taste which has just seen them knock out the competition and scoop major awards at two highly acclaimed international spirits awards, making them Canberra’s most awarded spirits brand.

Underground Spirits was awarded Silver for gin and vodka, Silver in the Vodka & Tonic category, and Bronze in the Gin & Tonic category, at the 2018 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). Announced on 24 July in London, the IWSC is the world’s oldest and most highly-regarded wine and spirits tasting competition, with entries received from nearly 90 countries worldwide. The distillery also received a Double Gold for its vodka, and a Silver medal for its gin at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, regarded as one of the most competitive and influential and competitions in the spirit world.

Underground Spirits 2

Underground Spirits’ founder, Dr Toby Angstmann commented. “These recent award wins have seen Underground Spirits become Canberra’s most awarded spirits brand. We have now won eleven awards for our gin and seven awards for our vodka both here in Australia and internationally which is just phenomenal”.

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These awards have come at an exciting time for Underground Spirits which has recently undergone a complete rebrand. Underground Spirits’ vodkas and gins are now presented in modern bottles with bold new labels with a colour palette that reflects the Canberran landscape, and feature a stylised map of Canberra, and is designed to reflect the brands personality—modern, innovative, and a reflection of the true Australian character. The map is a symbol of place and process and signifies the use of regional ingredients.

Underground Spirits

“Our new brand will help launch and expand Underground Spirits globally, while firmly cementing our Canberra roots through the design and brand identity,” concluded Toby.

US Gettin figgyAnd to cap it off … here’s a recipe from Underground Spirits for their cocktail Getting’ Figgy with It.

40ml Underground Spirits Vodka
30ml Cider
2 fresh figs
A dash of lemon juice
Thyme syrup (optional)
Mix the figs & lemon juice into a cocktail shaker adding a scoop of ice & a dash of Thyme syrup.
Add our Signature Vodka shaking until well chilled, then strain into your glass of choice.
Finish off with the cider & a sprig of Thyme.

To celebrate the launch of their new brand, Underground Spirits is offering free shipping on all its orders within Australia for the month of August 2018.

Images courtesy Threesides Marketing and Underground Spirits.