Tag Archives: FASHFEST 2015

Local Fashion at Parliament House!

By Wendy Johnson

It all began when fashion designer Yumi Morrissey decided to make her own fabric prints for the collection she would launch at Fashfest 2015. That took her to the location of Australia’s most famous landmark and the meeting place of a nation—Parliament House—armed with her camera.

Scarf Parliament House

Scarf Parliament House


Yumi, who owns and operates the independent, local fashion label Zilpah Tart, captured ‘the shot’ she wanted while on Capital Hill and then headed to her computer to see what would happen if she manipulated it through Photoshop. After trying this and trying that she ended up with an intriguing kaleidoscope pattern and had it made into fabric for her new collection.

The exclusive Parliament Kaleidoscope print was a big hit on the catwalk at Fashfest, attracting several high-profile politicians and overseas customers to order garments created with it. Then it caught the attention of the Parliament Shop, inspiring Yumi to use the fabric to create a range of new products with the new print, including scarves, bags and cushions.





“You can’t really recognise Parliament House on the fabric from a distance but it all becomes clear when you get up close and study the pattern,” says Yumi. “That’s when it clicks that you’re looking at the building itself.” The print is a perfect fit for the shop at Parliament House and the items are great gifts for locals and the national and international tourists who make Canberra a destination. It’s unique. It’s designed here and made here, and the bags come in a range of styles ($65 to $120), some with accents of black, red and blue vinyl.

Papillon_parliament kaleidoscope red vinyl

Papillon_parliament kaleidoscope red vinyl

The Papillon design, for example, features blue vinyl corners, to protect the bag when it’s resting on a surface. The lining is a fun black and white polka dot cotton and the bag has an internal pocket and closes with a tab and magnetic fastener. The envelope clutch is simple and elegant, with a hand strap for easy carrying, and the large tote is a popular design.

Yumi is also producing scarves, made out of a super soft, 100 per cent cotton. They’re 190 cm long and so can be worn in several ways. They make a fabulous Christmas gift (super easy to pack up and mail also). Cushions come with the Parliament Kaleidoscope print on the front (canvas) and a solid black at the back.Zilpah Tart studio

Yumi is thrilled to be selling through Parliament Shop. “Parliament is such a significant institution and visitors to the shop include tourists from interstate and all over the worlds, so it’s giving my label exposure to new markets,” says the designer. Garments made out of the print are available through www.zilpahtart.com.au or you can visit Yumi at some of Canberra’s best markets, including those coming up in time for the ho-ho-ho season.

Lily_parliament kaleidoscope

Lily_parliament kaleidoscope


Fashion lovers are buzzing with the new collections launched at FASHFEST this year, and although bump out had already begun yesterday for Canberra’s biggest fashion show ever, 18 designers were still at it on DAY FIVE. While the catwalk experience is the pinnacle in the fashion world, many Canberra designers are inspired by the direct experience with customers that DAY FIVE offers.

By Wendy Johnson

Corr Blimey night 4

Louisa de Smet, from Corr Blimey, says it’s integral to what she does as a designer. “We love meeting customers direct,” says Louisa. “It gives us an opportunity to understand their needs, refine our designs, and push boundaries with them. Canberra is a sophisticated market in many ways, which makes it all the more rewarding.”

The designers set up in ‘market style’ for DAY FIVE. For customers this was a valuable chance to meet designers to advise on style, colour and fabric, try on garments, get measured up, place orders if stock is not available in your size and, overall, indulge in the wonderful world of fashion.

BMdesigns headwear

BMdesigns headwear

Barb Mickelson, from BMDesigns, for example, spoke about her new Heaven and Earth collection, including how she hand-dyed fabrics, including with rust. And she can help customers experiment with her amazing hats. So too can Jade Sargent, the designer behind Sovata, who specialises in a total hatted look. Jade’s collection popped with colour on the catwalk.



DAY FIVE was also the only chance customers had to speak with New Zealand’s Melanie Child, who was at FASHFEST for the first time this year. Melanie specialises in producing high-end, upcycled clothing, reusing one item to create another or higher quality or value than the original.

Upcycled by Melanie Child

Upcycled by Melanie Child

And it’s was a great opportunity to talk to contemporary jeweller Tanja von Behrens, who collaborated with two fashion designers on the runway. Tanja has designed her new line of graphic jewellery around Canberra’s streets and some of the capital’s icons. She uses 100 per cent recycled sterling silver, copper and brass to create her works, manufacturing by hand as much as possible.TanjaVonBehrens_1

The Design Institute of Australia also attended Day Five to award The Graduate Designer of the Year. The prize is a membership in the Institute, which represents all design disciplines, and a mentorship by the ACT Chapter.

DAY FIVE was held at the National Convention Centre and with free entry and live music by the Director of Music for FASHFEST, Ashley Feraude, has become an integral part of the FASHFEST experience.

Designers participating in DAY Five are all featured on the FASHFEST website. They are, in alphabetical order:


Corr Blimey


Illusory Cog

Little Jane Lane

Luke Chiswell


Melanie Child




More information: http://fashfest.com.au/day-five/

FASHFEST Finale—What a Night!

Night 4 at FASHFEST was a true finale in every sense—with not only individual designers and their collections on display, but a final parade of all designers over the four nights. Spectacular! Lots more monochrome with a touch of bohemia thrown in from Boho Bird, and some interesting men’s wear from Cameron & James, and Corr Blimey.

By Aine Dowling. Photos by LFW.

Boho Bird night 4

Boho Bird is part of Birdsnest in Cooma and includes our fave label Belle Bird as well as That Bird Label and Birdkeepers. All garments are easy to wear, comfortable and perfect for the Australian lifestyle, and we’ve certainly got our eye on a couple of pieces for our next tropical trip! This is Boho Bird’s debut appearance at FASHFEST.

Cameron & James2Menswear by Cameron & James of Melbourne focusses on trendy, cutting edge clothing for young men who appreciate comfort and are not afraid to take it to the edge with style. The label is also 100 per cent accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia, so you can also take pride in the fact that you’re helping the environment. This is their debut appearance at FASHFEST.

CIT All Stars2                          CIT All Stars1

CIT All Stars features six graduates from the Canberra Institute of Technology who showcased their designs this year. The All Stars show demonstrates the diversity and innovation, and not to mention talent, of the individual graduates. CIT is FASHFEST’s official education partner.

Karen Lee - Assemblage Project night 4This is Assemblage Project—Karen Lee’s third year at FASHFEST and is famous for her easy to wear, no zips, no darts, garments. Karen’s simple yet sophisticated lines are for women of all ages, shapes, sizes and culture who can transform the garment to suit their personal style. All garments are designed and cut in Canberra with manufacture in Canberra, Melbourne, and Albury.

Corr Blimey night 4Corr Blimey is one of Canberra’s most well-known and independent labels and is ‘street sculpture’ at its best! Corr Blimey is a sustainable (minimum waste) designer for both men and women who look to take the lead in life and fashion. All garments are designed and made in Canberra and this is their third year at FASHFEST.

Music on the night from Chanel Cole, Cris Lucas, Kayo Marbulis, and Mondecreen all under the direction of amazingly talented FASHFEST Director of Music, Ashley Feraude (Magnifik).

Ashley Feraude (Magnifik) FASHFEST Musical Director

Ashley Feraude (Magnifik) FASHFEST Musical Director

Designers from previous nights who also put in appearance at the finale, and added more colour to the monochrome, included Sovata, and The Prodigal Daughter.

Sovata (R) - showcased her collection on Night 3

Sovata (R) – showcased her full collection on Night 3

The Prodigal Daughter from Night 2

The Prodigal Daughter from Night 2

And finally, we had to include this from BM Designs on Night 2 because it’s just so bloody awesome! Next Melbourne Cup anyone?BM Designs4

LFW loves monochrome at FASHFEST!

Monochrome or colour? What’s your take? For our fave selections we asked ourselves ‘would we wear it?’—after all, that’s what it’s all about. Here are our fave monochrome labels from Day 2 at FASHFEST 2015.

by Aine Dowling. Photos by LFW

Belle Bird

We have got to get to Cooma—this is our absolute favourite so far! We are totally loving this cool, professional look—clean and crisp, and so good to have an affordable label that caters for girls with curves. Belle Bird is part of Cooma shop Birdsnest and includes That Bird Label, Belle Bird, Birdkeepers, and Boho Bird. Birdsnest caters for sizes 12 – 22 and also includes gorgeous classic function/cocktail wear, and an entire raft of shapes and styles from dresses and tops to pants and leggings. And lots of Australian wool!Belle Bird3

Belle Bird4

Belle Bird2

The Label

Designed for professional women who want to stand out from the crowd—the leader, not the follower. Monochrome with edge! And lots of different pieces to mix and match. Excellent!The Label1

The Label5

The Label4


The capsule wardrobe for professional women on the move with superb mix and match pieces to go from meetings to merrymaking … and all in a 7kg carry-on—fantastic!Mimitec1



Last night at FASHFEST tonight! Have you got your ticket?




ff tickets




FASHFEST 2015—Day 2 Runway

Giving you a look at the entire collections and designers from Day 2 (strictly night 2) at FASHFEST. Who was our favourite? Too many to choose, but we did have a couple—check out our follow-up post for that one!

by Aine Dowling. Photos by LFW


First up Recollection by designer Philippa Soutberg. This collection is inspired by the Australia’s birdlife and landscape and include classic, timeless pieces designed for women aged 25 – 45. All garments are designed and manufactured in Canberra. This is Recollection‘s second year at FASHFEST.

BM Designs

BM Designs creates headwear also inspired by Australian birdlife and the Aussie bush. Designer Barbara Mickelson has won several awards and her entire collection includes outfits, dresses and accessories. Barb has also taught creative headwear and textiles, and this is her second year at FASHFEST.

Simone Perele from Stephanie's Boutique Lingerie

Simone Perele from Stephanie’s Boutique Lingerie. See LFW Style Opening Night Runway review for more information.

Hana Apparel Designs

Hana Apparel Designs is owned by Neda Alemohammad who creates beautiful pieces inspired by Persian designs that celebrate the culture and splendour of Iran, and is designed for women of all ages. All garments are designed and made in Australia, and this is Hana’s debut appearance at FASHFEST. You can read more about Hana at LFW Style Who’s Who at FASHFEST.

Belle Bird

At last—so nice to see ‘curvy couture’ on the runway! Belle Bird is about confidence and celebrating those awesome curves! Designed by Peige Eber, Hannah Knight and Emilie White this clothing label caters for women size 12 – 22 and is part of the Birdsnest brand in Cooma, NSW, and includes That Bird Label, Belle Bird, Bird Keepers, and Boho Bird.

Bronwen Stead was a former bikini model and is passionate about sport and millinery—put the two together and you get the amazing collection Angel Wings. All wings are made exclusively in Bronwen's Canberra studio and this collection is in collaboration with fashion by Dana Carmont.

Bronwen Stead was a former bikini model and is passionate about sport and millinery—put the two together and you get the amazing collection Angel Wings. All wings are made exclusively in Bronwen’s Canberra studio and this collection is in collaboration with fashion by Dana Carmont.


The Label

Graduate CIT designer, Emma O’Rourke makes her debut appearance at FASHFEST with The Label offering signature pieces for modern and professional women. Emma also designs her own prints and has a sustainable and ethical approach to her work, mixing traditional fabrics with techo-materials.


Mimetic is the famous ‘fit in a carry-on’ designed capsule wardrobe from George McWilliam and Melissa Pompeani who create classic clothes for women on the go. Both off-the-rack and made-to-measure garments are designed and made in Canberra. This is Mimetic’s debut appearance at FASHFEST. Read more about this brand at LFW Style Minimise with Mimetic!

Rockstars and Royalty in collaboration with PeonynPearl

And the evening closed with the amazing Rockstars and Royalty showcasing Vicky Kidd-Gallichan’s latest collection Cherries in the Snow. One of the leading Canberra designers, Vicky collaborated on this collection with Fionna Tamin from PeonynPearl to produce the most stunning and gorgeous gowns. This is Vicky’s third appearance at FASHFEST and Fionna’s first. You can read much more about both brands at LFW Style This is the Flora Dress, and Rockstars and Royalty’s Reign of the Forest.

ff tickets

FASHFEST 2015—Opening Night Runway

Little Jane Lane models with designer Rachel Jane Eager

Little Jane Lane models with designer Rachel Jane Eager (centre)

The National Convention Centre was buzzing last night with hundreds of people attending the opening night of FASHFEST 2015. Without further ado—here’s who was who, and what was what on the runway.

By Aine Dowling

Ziyah was first off with its lovely resort and beach wear—these designs would suit any age, and any shape. Made mostly from neoprene, the fabric holds the body beautifully and keeps its shape when wet and dry. This was one of our faves on the night. Designer Erin Spain graduated from CIT in 2014 and is already making her mark in the fashion stakes.Ziyah FF1A

Like a tea party? Join Little Jane Lane in feminine and whimsical tea party style complete with buttons and bows, and a little bit of sparkle. Rachel Jane Eager is also a CIT graduate from 2014 and this is her debut appearance at FASHFEST.LJL FF 1

Luke Chiswell is a visual artist whose collection takes it to the edge. Influenced by his experience in New York and Los Angeles, Luke’s work explores decoration, texture and silhouette using silk, canvas, linen, lace and flowers.

Love the sun and the sea but hate the boring protective surfwear? Solar Bare has a gorgeous range of protective wear for the Aussie beaches. Inspired by natural marine patterns in beautiful blues, greens and aqua these garments ‘look hot and feel cool, while you look cool and feel hot!’ All garments are designed in Canberra.Solar Bare FF2

That Bird Label hails from Cooma and is designed for women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Designers Peige Eber, Hannah Knight and Emilie White work in collaboration with local artists and their clients to create new prints and looks for each season. The label has a strong following in the Monaro and Snowy Mountains.That bird FF1

Bold colours of Africa combined with the muted hues of the Australian landscape merges to make stunning creative garments from The Prodigal Daughter and another LFW fave. Designer Phoebe Mwanza unites her two worlds and colours for those who want to stand out from the crowd. This is Phoebe’s debut appearance at FASHFEST and you can read more about her at LFW Style Who’s Who at Fashfest.Prodigal FF6

Prodigal FF1AThe gorgeous feminine and sexy French lingerie from Simone Pérèle is brought to Canberra by Stephanie’s Boutique Lingerie in Kingston. Simon Pérèle opened in 1948 and is famous for fit, comfort, style, and just a little bit of ‘cheek’.Steph FF2

The Professor’s Daughter had its debut appearance on opening night and provided corporate and business attire with a twist. Designer Mariska Thynne has shoved the basic black suit out of her Peranakan Windows to create colourful and bold pieces while holding true to classic business style. We have to admit that this label is one of our faves, and one we would happily wear to work or a function. Sizes are available in 6 – 24. Read more about The Professor’s Daughter at LFW Style Canberra’s Inspirational Design.Prof FF5

Rounding off the night was Perpetually Five plus Clare with a somewhat unusual ‘nightmarish’ design that somehow required their models to make a rather unique catwalk strut. Always the showman, Mitch Thompson manages to outdo himself every year. Last year it was roller skates, this year a Roman Chariot! By his own admission, Mitch designs are ‘fun’ to look at and wear, and combined with Clare’s surrealism the outcome does not pass un-noticed. This collaboration, titled The Haunted Mask, is aimed at consumers aged 18 – 35. This is Mitch’s third year at FASHFEST and Clare’s first.PF_Clare FF1

Fantastic music on the night from Jack Billman, Hudak, and Suavess.

Night 2 tonight! National Convention Centre—doors open 7pm



It’s a FASHFEST Bump In!

FASHFEST bump in has started!

By Aine Dowling

I spent a fair bit of time in amateur theatre productions in a past life, and I thought I knew what a ‘bump in’ was all about. ‘Can you spare a couple of hours this weekend to help unload the van at bump in?’ Yeah, sure; no problem. But when three semi-trailers—each as big as a house—turn up on your doorstep (and that’s just with the seating) you know it’s going to take a tad longer than a couple of hours. With only three days to go—it’s a FASHFEST bump in.FF 3 days to go

The National Convention Centre is undergoing a complete transformation, including aforementioned three semi-trailer loads of tiered seating from Melbourne; the likes of which has never been used in Canberra before. The catwalk is installed—the longest Canberra has ever seen at 45 metres, and together with 20 tonnes (yes, you read it right!) of sound and lighting equipment from Elite Sound and Lighting, and LED screens at 2 – 3 times bigger than previous years; you are going to get the FASHFEST experience of a lifetime!

Getting the seating installed in the National Convention Centre

Getting the seating installed in the National Convention Centre

At 45 metres long, the catwalk is the biggest Canberra has ever seen

At 45 metres long, the catwalk is the biggest Canberra has ever seen

The Centre foyer will include layout design by Capezio Copeland and Walter Knoll furniture installed by Walter Knoll and Designcraft. A super special VIP area will cater for those who support, sponsor, or have purchased VIP packages to view this amazing extravaganza, and there are three media walls—two in the main area, and one in the VIP.

Walter Knoll chair (with Corr Blimey model in Scaffold Dress)

Walter Knoll chair (with Corr Blimey model in Scaffold Dress)

Then there’s the backstage. At the last count there were:

  • 85 models
  • 16 official photographers
  • Hair stylists from 23 Canberra salons, all working under Director of Hair, Darren Jones, and Creative Director of Hair, Craig Rhodes—with over 70 stylists all up including teachers and graduates from CIT
  • Around 50 makeup artists (not including students from CMA Training Group, and Studio A) working under Director of Makeup, Diana Cheetham, and Creative Director, Katie Saarikko.

Then there’s the florists, bar and bar staff, ushers, musicians and entertainers, and we haven’t even started on the designers and their teams. And, of course, not forgetting the FASHFEST team, PR, and media who pull the whole shebang together!FF Day5

And (but wait, there’s more) it’s not just the four days either. FASHFEST Day 5 is a special event where you have the opportunity to meet and chat with the designers, and get up close and personal with their collections. You can try on the garments, get measured up, place orders, and indulge. You can literally Shop ‘til you Drop and it’s free!

FASHFEST 13 – 16 May         FASHFEST Day 5 17 Mayff tickets

Minimise with Mimetic!

Business travel can be so weary. Pack, pack, pack, and pack again. Drag your heavy suitcase from pillar to post. Unpack to only realise your wardrobe is so uncoordinated it will be nothing short of a laughing stock in the boardroom. Well here’s a hot tip…

By Wendy Johnson

Invest in a capsule wardrobe that is practical, stylish, fashionable, and fits in a 7-kilogram capacity suitcase. Yes—a 7-kilogram capacity suitcase. This is no ordinary wardrobe either. It’s one that will take you from work to social situations in a flash.Mimetic_FF15_lo_141110_03

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Flowers and fashion are front and centre this year at FASHFEST with a truly unique collaboration between Rockstars and Royalty and Peony n Pearl.

by Wendy Johnson

And the fun started with The Flora Dress that fashion designer Vicky Kidd-Gallichan and floral designer Fionna Tamin created as a teaser to the red-carpet event—now only five nights away. It was fussy work involving hours of meticulous planning and execution but the end result was worth every second for these two talented Canberrans.RR Flora2

It all began with Vicky creating the garment, a corset (the type she is so famous for) and a mini hoop cage skirt. Once made, matters moved into high gear on how to ‘decorate’ the skirt with silk and real flowers. “We wanted a 1920s look so shooting at Lucky’s Speakeasy at QT Hotel was perfect because it has an amazing vibe and suited the look we were going for,” says Vicky. “We even managed to restyle their hotdog cart as a flower seller’s cart.”

To create the dress, Fionna worked primarily in her floral shop and then carted fresh flowers to the shoot location to finish things off on site. More than five types of fresh flowers, including Cymbidum orchids and Spider chrysanthemums, as were Privot berries, Peppercorn berries and Gumnuts. Luscious purples and greens formed the main colour pallet.RRFlora3

The shoot was made possible, as all amazing shoots are, by a team of strong creatives, this time all from the FASHFEST team. Model Hannah Miners will be on the catwalk this year, hair was by Tanya Lancaster who works at THE Hairdressing and is a Team Leader, and makeup was by Katie Saarikko, Creative Director of MUA for FASHFEST 2015 who used creamy foundation by major sponsor Harlotte Cosmetics. The end result was captured by Leighton Hutchinson, Director of Photography for FASHFEST. “I’ve done shoots with Leighton for the previous two FASHFESTs”, says Vicky. “I love his style and the way he uses colour.”

Creating The Flora Dress was a great pilot for what Vicky and Fionna are planning for Rockstars and Royalty’s Cherries in the Snow collection that will appear for the first time on the runway at FASHFEST 2015. “I was inspired by the name of the red lipstick Revlon launched in the 1950s and still makes today,” says Vicky. “I wear it and love it.”RRFlora1

Cherries in the Snow will feature fresh flowers which adds to the complexity of planning, says Fionna, who has been working in floristry since 2007 and who opened her own shop in March last year. “You need to select the right flowers to work with—flowers that will last as long as you need them to. Some flowers simply won’t work since they die if out of water for more than an hour. It’s my first time being part of a major collection and taking part in an event on the scale of FASHFEST. It’s thrilling.”

The collaboration is possible this year because FASHFEST has moved to a new venue, the National Convention Centre, which has massive refrigeration units in its kitchen that can be used to keep the flowers fresh.


ff ticketsFASHFEST is on 13 to 16 May. Don’t dillydally. It’s time to get ready to glam up for FASHFEST, and remember the venue this year is heated, so don’t hold back. Buy your tickets today: www.fashfest.com.au

Credits for Flora dress—Designer: Vicky Kidd-Gallichan, Rockstars and Royalty; Floral designer: Fionna Tamin, Peony n Pearl; Model: Hannah Miners; Makeup: Katie Saarikko; Hair: Tanya Lancaster and THEhairdressing; Photographer: Leighton Hutchinson—taken on location at Lucky’s Speakeasy at QT; Behind the scenes photographer: Samuel Broomby

It’s Time! for Sovata

It’s Time for Jade Sargent to take control; of her life, her work, and her deep love of fashion.

By Wendy Johnson

And so this year, Jade has wound back on the number of days she works and has built into the rest of her life some serious, dedicated time to Sovata, her independent fashion label. The timing couldn’t be better with FASHFEST 2015 just six days away. Jade will showcase her new Taking control collection on the red carpet on Friday 15 May.

Image from Sovata X Libris collection

Image from Sovata X Libris collection

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