Tag Archives: Canberra Fashion

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.

 

 

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.

Zilpah tart goes Corporate

She’s known for her bright, colourful prints created digitally from photos she takes in Canberra and surrounds. So what’s the deal behind the corporate range in solid blacks, navy blues and royal blues just launched by local fashion designer Yumi Morrissey?

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Zilpah tart’s new corporate line in black, navy, and royal blue.

“A friend asked me to make her favourite Zilpah tart print dress in plain navy for work,” says Yumi. “She loves the style, shape and ease-of-wear of the Balloons dress she bought from me but works in a conservative office and thought a solid colour would be more appropriate. She discussed it with other female friends who agreed so I seized the opportunity to design a new corporate range for professional women.” And the range began attracting attention the moment it popped up on Zilpah tart’s website and social media platforms.

Yumi is staying true to her aesthetic—dresses that look fabulous; are flattering to the female silhouette and are comfortable. She’s also using the quality polyester jersey fabric so popular in her other collections because it doesn’t crease or crinkle or need ironing. It washes easily, dries quickly and is fabulous for those who travel.

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Heidi in royal blue

This isn’t the first time Yumi has made the smart move of responding direct to customer suggestions. She took a limited number of orders for the black diamond dress she made to wear to FASHFEST 2017, when launching her spring/summer Garden Paradise collection on the catwalk. When she ran out of that fabric, she sourced a sparkly forest green fabric in Sydney. “The runs were limited but customers thought they were perfect for Christmas and the party season,” says Yumi.

The initial line-up of Zilpah tart’s new corporate range features four styles, each named after one of the women who encouraged Yumi to ‘go for it’—Ash, Heidi, Penne and Sarah. “They also modelled the dresses for me in the photo shoot, which was really fun,” says Yumi. “I chose the four styles because they’re best sellers for Zilpah tart, and all four are made specifically for work, but they can easily take you to after-work drinks or events or special occasions.”

Each style is available in black, navy and royal blue. Yumi has designed two V-neck lines, shapes she knows her customers like, and has included two variations for the bottom of the dresses; a full skirt and a more A-line shape.

She plans to monitor sales of the new corporate range and add additional styles over time. She’ll also change the colours to reflect the change of seasons.

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Yumi in Zilpah tart black diamond dress at Fashfest 2017. Photo by Doug Hall Studio Vitae

The corporate range is sold through the Gungahlin Collective and Zilpah tart’s website. Yumi is also hoping to also sell it out of the Design A Space, Manchester Lane, Melbourne, where she already stocks many of her colourful prints. “Let’s face it, Melbourne loves a bit of black,” she says, “and with my colourful patterns, I’ll be looking to sell in Sydney and Queensland starting this year.”

While sales of the corporate range continue, Yumi has been busy. She’s just come back from a fabric buying trip and is now busy designing her autumn/winter 2018 collection, which will feature coats made from black wool (with her bright prints as lining for added interest), dresses out of wool jersey and skirts out of a cotton satin.

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V-neck styles in navy blue

The new corporate range starts at $160, with four part-payments available through Afterpay on www.zilpahtart.com.au

Kids’ First at FASHFEST!

For the first time kids featured in two shows at FASHFEST this year, and boy did they enjoy themselves! Both Tip You’re It! and NOMIKO made first appearances at FASHFEST, and considering the kids walked the full length of the runway to huge audiences, they exuded the style and confidence that any model would.

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Tip You’re It! Photo by LFW

First up was Tip You’re It! a fashion store with a difference. Opening in 2015 Tip You’re It! sells a huge range of gorgeous kids’ fashion brands, gifts and accessories, furniture and décor—you can find everything you need from cool casual to party style, for babies and up to 6 years. Tip You’re It! is located at 5/18 Lonsdale Street, Braddon—open 7 days a week—or check out their website or Facebook page.

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NOMIKO – photo courtesy FASHFEST

NOMIKO is the brainchild of Andrea and Clint Hutchinson, founders of FASHFEST, and was established, together with co-founder and partner Sophia Petersen, after the birth of Andrea and Clint’s two gorgeous children. NOMIKO is quality and fun fashion for kids from 4 to 10 years and includes boys, girls, and unisex designs. Running around, playing in the dirt, getting messy—that’s what kids are meant to do, and NOMIKO’s comfy leggings, hoodies, dresses, pants, and tops allows them to just get on with being kids. In fact, the clothing is so fabulous you will wish it came in your size! All garments are designed and made in Canberra. NOMIKO is available by order, and you can find them on Facebook.

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NOMIKO – photo courtesy FASHFEST

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Tip You’re It! Photo by LFW

FASHFEST 2017 in Review

There’s been a lot of ‘firsts’ this year for FASHFEST, but from all the stunning gowns, gorgeous bridal wear, and everything in between we’ve chosen to review those that are a little bit different. The standard of wearable items this year was amazing, but we eventually went with labels we could, and would, wear ourselves, and perhaps more importantly, those with a community background to their fashion. By the LFW team.

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Tiwi dress by Magpie Goose – photo by LFW

Our chosen designers include one label working with remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, another that brings a range of artists from across Australia to work together in a visually exciting collection, and the third showcasing what you can do with someone else’s unloved clothing.

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Magpie Goose Collection – photo by LFW

Magpie Goose is a new label founded in 2016 by Maggie McGowan and Laura Egan and named after a bird native to the Northern Territory. Based in Katherine, Magpie Goose works with four Aboriginal communities across the Top End including Palngun Wurnangat Aboriginal Corporation in Wadeye; Tiwi Design in Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island; Injalak Arts in Gunbalanya; and Bábbarra Women’s Centre, Maningrida. Through its clothing, the label aims to tell the story of people, place, and culture through fashion.. Magpie Goose is incubated by Enterprise Learning Projects, an organisation dedicated to fostering and supporting grassroots business development in partnership with remote Aboriginal communities. This was Magpie Goose’s first time at FASHFEST.

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RAW Australia – photo by LFW

RAW Australia is part of an international community that brings together a range of artists including photographers, designers, visual and performing artists and musicians, film makers, and much more. For FASHFEST, RAW Australia brought together four fashion designers to show an exciting range of clothing including exotics from Bird Skin in Melbourne, gorgeous gowns from Bianca Pavlic The Label from Canberra, couture garments and jewellery from Ellavanna in Perth, and Adelaide’s Kiira showcasing a bohemian twist to their fashions. This was RAW Australia first showing at FASHFEST.

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RAW Australia – image by LFW

SALVOS Stores. It’s fashion reinvention and serious eco chic. That’s what this unique FASHFEST 2017 show, presented by Salvos Stores, is all about. Salvaged is sustainable style at its best and this collection illustrates how fashionable high-end discarded and donated clothing can be. Curated by Salvos Stores stylist Fay De Lanty, this ingenious upcycling, dare we say even couture, transforms your perception of second-hand. It’s op-shop—but not as you know it! This is Salvos Stores first appearance at FASHFEST.

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Upcycled fashion by Salvos Stores – photo courtesy Fashfest 2017

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Salvos Stores Salvage Collection – photo courtesy Fashfest 2017

FASHFEST versus HYPER REAL

The two escalators in the National Gallery of Australia foyer were transformed into towering runways as FASHFEST presented a fashion pop-up to build hype around the 2017 event with opening night this week, 28 September. One by one last Saturday, models posed at the top of an escalator and slowly glided down to the main foyer before walking before guests and stopping before the photographer’s scrum. Then it was slowly back up the second escalator.

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Megan Cannings Designs (black dress), Model: Mariè Strazdins, MUA: Lydia Curtis, Photo: Jack Mohr

By design, the fashion at the pop-up was eclectic. The first and last models appeared in showstopper gowns by De Challie Haute Couture—gowns never seen in public and soon to be sent to Paris Fashion Week. Exquisite beading and detailing is De Challie’s signature. These are hand-made gowns that dreams are made of. Award winning De Challie will showcase sophisticated, exquisite gowns made of the finest fabrics and meticulous detail on the FASHFEST catwalk on Friday night.

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De Challie Haute Couture, Model: Sarah O’Neill, MUA Alexandra Watson, Photo: Sparking Weddings

Other gowns were created by Megan Cannings Designs, a full electric blue layered skirt paired with a silver glittery top and a black ruffled outfit with sexy see-through elements. Megan’s designs embody the feminine form using soft, easy wearing fabrics. Megan is based in Sydney and this will be her second appearance at FASHFEST.

Two pieces of innovative bridal wear by Gabrielle Spencer Bridal popped up at the National Gallery of Australia, showing how the designer casts aside traditional ball gowns for pieces that are modern and refreshingly elegant. This is Gabrielle Spencer Bridal’s debut appearance at FASHFEST. Her aesthetic is influenced by bridal fashion of the 1920s to 1950s and Gabrielle uses luxurious fabrics, including pure silks, cashmere and French lace. At FASHFEST, she will collaborate with Christine Waring Milliner.

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Thunder Thighs, Model: Lamishi Dauda, MUA: Mikaela Thompson, Photo: Sparkling Weddings

Three pieces were presented at the pop-up by Bianca Pavlic The Label who makes a debut appearance at FASHFEST this year. She will appear on the catwalk twice, once in her own show and also in a segment curated by Raw Australia. Bianca’s creates unique, beautiful and feminine garments, all hand made in her Canberra home studio.

The shimmery silver number at the pop-up was designed by Yumi Morrissey of Zilpah tart. Yumi’s spring-summer 2017 collection features new necklines, some special occasion pieces and more. After FASHFEST, Yumi will sell her new collection at Floriade.

 

One of the most intriguing creations at the NGA was by Bronwynne Jones of Thunder Thighs, a new independent Canberra label who will debut at FASHFEST on opening night. Bringing back the bustle, Bronwynne’s hand-made garment was created with a recovered jacket and embellished with waste and recovered fabric. Ties and tie linings left over from the Infinity scarves Bronwynne makes were folded and twisted with other fabric scraps for a modern take on the bustle.

Karen Lee is a veteran of the FASHFEST catwalk. Her creation at the pop-up was used for pre-event publicity. It featured a black jacket she made from a garment that appeared at FASHFEST several years ago and a brilliant red oversized tulle skirt.

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L-R: Lamishi Dauda (Thunder Thighs); Sarah O’Neill (Bianca Pavlic The Label); Kelsi-Jane Hedges (De Challie Haute Couture); Mariè Strazdins (Zilpah tart); Toya Bakoles (Gabrielle Spencer Bridal); Samara Purnell (Bianca Pavlic The Label). Photo: Sparkling Weddings

The pop-up was also a prelude to the NGA’s upcoming summer blockbuster Hyper Real. The hair and makeup was as inspirational as the wonderful artworks in Hyper Real. Led by FASHFEST’s Director of Makeup, Diana Cheetham, the artists were given free rein to make masterpieces. Looks ranged from a princess look made of gold leaf and glitter, a Japanese inspired look and bold black line work.

FASHFEST opens this Thursday 28 September with Show 1 at 7am. The full program and tickets are available on their website. Opening 20 October, Hyper Real charts the evolution of hyperrealism since the early 1970s through a jaw-dropping display of renderings of the human form in sculpture, video, digital art, virtual reality and bio-art.

Beating the Drum for Fashion

If fashion doesn’t make you want to roll out of bed every morning, but music does, then think about immersing yourself in the FASHFEST experience this long weekend. More than 20 musicians and DJs bring their own sense of style to the stage, expressing and magnifying the garments designers have worked so hard to create. FASHFEST 2017 presents a top line-up with many highlights across many genres, including pop, hip hop, house, soul and more.

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Tony Rich – The Tony Rich Project

Let’s start with mega start The Tony Rich Project. Remember the hit single Nobody Knows? Well it’s that Tony Rich. Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, musician Tony Rich will hit the stage on Friday September 29, show 2, 9pm. Tony, born in Detroit, now calls Canberra home. He’s released six albums, authored hits for artists like Elton John and Michael Bolton, and toured with Prince, Sting, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Sheryl Crow and others. Tony bolted out of the gates, winning a Grammy for his debut album Words.  His forthcoming album project, mixed here in Canberra, will be released at the end of October.

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Raio De Sol – photo by Adam Thomas

Ashley Feraude, FASHFEST’s Music Director, says another first for FASHFEST is Raio de Sol, a percussion ensemble that will play on closing night. “The band first rehearsed on a re-purposed drum kit cobbled together from pots, pans and other bits and pieces uncovered at the tip,’ says Ashley. ‘They’re an amazing community samba drumming band.”

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Soulitude – photo by Art Artelier

Also making a debut appearance is Canberra’s premier four-piece live soul, R&B and urban groove band, Soulitude, whose vocalists and musicians have performed with the likes Deltra Goodman.

Female musos are strong again this year. Happy Axe (AKA Emma Kelly) is making a debut appearance. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Music (Hons) from the ANU, Emma has performed at major festivals like Woodford. She uses violin, musical saw and vocals to create beautiful sounds. At FASHFEST, she’ll play violin alongside DJ Hamish Lardi (no stranger to FASHFEST fans).

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FASHFEST 2016 – photo by wearefoundau

Other new acts include DJ Andrea Corazzon, known for mixing smooth house music and nu-disco. Amy Ferreira will be on stage incorporating old classic house with disco. Seasoned and award-winning DJ Sandman will be on deck to ramp things up.

Favourites return, including the lively Kirklandd, who is on a roll after his debut performance at FASHFEST last year. He’ll perform his upcoming single, Faded, live at the event. And Ashley himself will play, under his alias Magnifik Feat NeonHoney. Ashley has produced two albums and recently received Best House Producer at the Music ACT Music Awards.

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FASHFEST 2016 – photo by Doug Hall Studio Vitae

Click here to see the full music line up for FASHFEST 2017. FASHFEST is only a few sleeps away. Tickets, starting from $49, are on sale now. FASHFEST will be held at the National Convention Centre Canberra from 28 to 30 September (two shows per night), with lively after parties at QT Canberra.

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FASHFEST Music Director – Ashley Feraude