Tag Archives: FashFest

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.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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.

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