Tag Archives: Megan Cannings Designs

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‘I believe that no matter how many times one redefines style, classical simplicity and charm can never be outdated,’ says Hajar, whose bespoke creations are carefully thought through from the first sketch, to the final fitting and then finishing touches.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

 

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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 Manuka to Milan

It’s a dream come true for any designer. Showcasing the garments they’ve poured their heart and soul into on the catwalk during the most prestigious fashion week in the world—Milan! And two FASHFEST designers have been selected to showcase their designs this year.

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Naomi Peris Bridal – FASHFEST 2016. Photo by wearefoundau

So it’s no wonder that Naomi Hogie, the designer behind Naomi Peris Bridal, is still pinching herself that she’ll soon be jetting off to Italy, as nervous as can be, to present her 2017 collection—Fairy Tale Princesses in the Amazon Jungle—to the international community. Then it’s back on the plane and straight into fittings for FASHFEST 2017, with Naomi’s stunning and unique designs sure to wow guests on closing night.

So how did it all happen?

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Naomi Peris. Photo by Sparkling Weddings Photography

Naomi has been designing for years, thrilling brides of all types and styles. Last year, she unveiled a full collection at her inaugural appearance at FASHFEST, with official event and media photographers going wild over her non-traditional bridal designs and how beautiful they looked on the models who graced the catwalk. Many of those images were pushed out through social media and some caught the eye of organisers of Milan Fashion Week.

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Naomi Peris Bridal – FASHFEST 2016. Photo by wearefoundau

Ryadal Chapman, of Oxford Fashion Studio, one of the organisers of Milan Fashion Week, was impressed. “All of our events are by invitation only. A team of five curators review 8,000 designers a year looking for original concepts who we feel press will respond to and people will love,” Ryadal said.

Naomi’s super excited about her latest collection. “I’ve really pushed my design aesthetic,” says the designer. “I decided that I didn’t want rules to restrict what I design. I’m using unconventional fabrics that are normally not used in bridal as well as garments that push the boundary of bridal design. It takes about six months to prepare for a new collection.”

 

Also approached to participate in Milan Fashion Week, after her 2016 FASHFEST appearance, was Megan Cannings of Megan Cannings Designs. Like Naomi, Megan wasn’t initially sure if the invite was a scam. It was real.

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Megan Cannings Designs – FASHFEST 2016. Image by LFWMagazine

Megan will be writing organisers about possibilities for 2018. This year would have been challenging given the designer had lost her home, sewing machine, sewing equipment, patterns and thousands of dollars of fabric, during Cyclone Debbie in March when her small miner’s cottage in the Whitsundays was destroyed.

Megan’s life seemed impossible to piece back together, but after weeks of cleaning up and backed by sheer determination, the designer got new equipment and moved to Sydney where she’s working on her latest collection. At FASHFEST, she’ll present feminine gowns, chiffon kimonos, dressers and other stunning work.

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Megan Cannings Designs – FASHFEST 2016. Photo by LFWMagazine

“I can’t wait to come back to Canberra,” says Megan. “The FASHFEST team is so professional and supportive and that includes hair, makeup and all the other organisers. My collection last year was so well received. It was so rewarding.”

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Megan Cannings (r) at FASHFEST 2016. Photo by Studio Vitae Doug Hall

Tickets for FASHFEST 2017, to be held again at the National Convention Centre Canberra, are on sale now through www.fashfest.com.au  The event runs from 28 September to 30 September, with two shows a night.

Naomi Peris Bridal will showcase on closing night, Show 1.

Megan Cannings Designs will showcase on closing night, Show 2.