Tag Archives: National Convention Centre Canberra

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.

JackMohr-ARIVALS-N2-S2 - _mg_3975

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.


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.


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.

FASHFEST 2017 dates announced!

It’s hard to fathom that it’s time to start filling up our 2017 calendars, with the New Year just around the corner, but FASHFEST has got out early with its 2017 dates—28 to 30 September. So if you’re keen to be seen at Canberra’s biggest, annual red-carpet fashion event, pop these dates in your diary.

Assemblage Project on the catwalk - photo by Samantha Taylor

Assemblage Project on the catwalk – photo by Samantha Taylor

“We chose September again because it aligns FASHFEST with Australia’s overall fashion calendar,” says Andrea Hutchinson, Managing Director. “It’s perfect for spring fashion season and the kick start of Canberra’s major tourist season.”

True to its beginnings, FASHFEST—now in its fifth year—will showcase the talent of local and independent designers. It will also continue to push out the work of many other creatives who make the show a gold-star event, including film, music, art, photography, makeup, hair and more. Organisers are also already on the hunt for new labels from interstate and overseas, to keep the event growing and growing, says Andrea, so guests can expect new designers on the catwalks.

Sovata - photo by Doug Hall

Sovata – photo by Doug Hall

Here at LFW, we love how FASHFEST is unique each year and look forward to new talent. But we also hope our faves from 2016 will be on show including Zilpah tart whose gorgeous Canberra themed prints turn fashion into art, and Sovata who makes the most stunning headwear that complements every outfit. Pure Pod designs beautiful and wearable eco-friendly clothing, and who can forget the stunning designs from 17 year old Charly Thorn from Cooma—we would love to see her back next year. Another of our favourites is Assemblage Project which is a collective of designers including Karen Lee, SZN, Wendy Voon, and High Tea with Mrs Woo. You can find out more about our local favourites on their website or Facebook page.

Pure Pod at FASHFEST 2016 - photo by wearefoundau

Pure Pod at FASHFEST 2016 – photo by wearefoundau

And didn’t we just love the foyer action this year. Fletcher Lovell shoes, Harlotte hair and make-up, Pialligo Farm—with their delish smokehouse goods, and our very own fast FASHFEST illustrator. Who will we see in the foyer next year?

Harlotte - photo by anitaentriken

Harlotte in the foyer – photo by Anita Entriken

Heavy duty planning is already underway for next year’s event, which will again be held at the National Convention Centre Canberra.

Amazing designs from 17 year old Charly Thorn - photo by Samantha Taylor

Amazing designs from 17 year old Charly Thorn – photo by Samantha Taylor

FASHFEST is here to stay, with CEO Clint Hutchinson is leaving his full-time job as Managing Director of Zoo Group in the next week or so to dedicate even more time and energy to the event. “FASHFEST has grown rapidly over the past five years and now demands more attention to refine and expand it,” says Clint. “Stepping down from my full-time role will help me and Andrea take FASHFEST 2017 to the next level. We’ll also roll out exciting pop-ups and activations throughout the city.”

Zilpah tart - photo by Samantha Taylor

Zilpah tart – photo by Samantha Taylor

In 2016, for the first time, FASHFEST curated a special segment on the runway to show support for the work of a selected charity and The Red Segment featured the work of 12 designers all in red or featuring red, in support of the Heart Foundation. The 2017 charity has not yet been selected.

Andrea and Clint Hutchinson

Andrea and Clint Hutchinson

Follow FASHFEST on: www.fashfest.com.au https://www.instagram.com/fashfest/

https://www.facebook.com/fashfestcanberra/  https://twitter.com/Fashfest

Top 10 Reasons to Visit FASHFEST!

It’s only a few sleeps away. Canberra’s biggest red-carpet fashion event hosts opening night this Thursday at 6.30pm at the National Convention Centre Canberra.


Fashion not really your thing? Think again. FASHFEST definitely focuses on new designer collections, but it’s also so much more. It’s about celebrating the creations of many capital creatives, across many disciplines.

Here are our top 10 reasons to get together a group of friends and head to FASHFEST.

  1. Great social night out. FASHFEST is a great chance to get out with friends, meet new people, enjoy some bubbles and do something out-of-the-ordinary.
  2. Live music. FASHFEST doesn’t do piped-in music. This year 25 musicians will play across the event’s six shows, with more female artists playing than ever before. Think jazz, soul, pop, hip-hop and more.

    Fashfest Music Director Magnifik - Ashley Feraude

    Fashfest Music Director Magnifik – Ashley Feraude

  3. Original films. FASHFEST incorporates an original film by a Canberra filmmaker into each show, supporting the theme of that show. Each film promises to make you see the capital in a new light.
  4. Local designer fashion. FASHFEST will always play local designers front and centre. Around 14 independent labels will present new collections on the catwalk—supported by amazing hair and makeup. The line-up includes some of Canberra’s all-time faves such as Karen Lee, Zilpah Tart, Sovata, Edition and Pure Pod.

    Sovata collection 2015 - photo by LFW

    Sovata collection 2015 – photo by LFW

  5. New labels. FASHFEST gives you a chance to see collections from designers you might not know about, including new local labels to the event this year, including VFP and Beleza Designs from Canberra, and regional labels like Charly Thorn, Elle Hopwood and Rasa Mauragis.
  6. Amazing people watching. Some guests get totally glammed up for FASHFEST and others less so. Regardless, you’ll find the people watching fascinating. Keep your eye out for the details. Jewellery. Hats. Shoes. Bags.

    Fashfest Media Board - photo by Martin Ollman

    Fashfest Media Wall – photo by Martin Ollman

  7. Fun in front of the media wall. FASHFEST has several media walls, including the biggest one ever this year. It’s a hoot to get yourself snapped.
  8. Foyer exhibitions and more. FASHFEST’s main foyer is full of fun. The event’s fashion illustrator, Johanna Dziadkiewicz, will have an exhibition and be drawing live in the floyer. Canberra’s fletcherLovell will host an exhibition of amazing flat shoes, and Sovata will conduct a live photo shoot after her show.

    Don't forget the shoes! - photo by David Burke

    Don’t forget the shoes! – photo by David Burke

  9. Inexpensive. Tickets start at just $49 (including GST) and with the event’s tiered seating there’s not a bad seat in the house.
  10. Support local event. FASHFEST is brought to Canberra by Clint and Andrea Hutchinson, two locals who decided it wasn’t good enough that we were the only capital in Australia to not have its own annual red-carpet fashion event. They’re supported by a massive team of dedicated experts and volunteers who all need our support.

    Fashfest co-founders Clint and Andrea Hutchinson with the Governor-General - photo by Red Photography

    Fashfest co-founders Clint and Andrea Hutchinson with the Governor-General – photo by Red Photography

FASHFEST is on 29 September to 1 October. Three nights. Six distinct shows (one starting at 6.30pm and one at 8.30pm). One total fashion experience. Tickets on sale now @ www.fashfest.com.auBuy tickets now

FASHFEST—Mentor of Fashion

Although we still have to wait a couple of weeks before we get to the shows, FASHFEST is formally off and running with its launch at the Canberra Centre on Wednesday 14 September. As we sipped on our champagne and mingled with the beautiful people, it occurred to us that FASHFEST is not just about fashion.

FASHFEST launch 2016

FASHFEST launch 2016 (photo LFW)

FASHFEST is a different experience for everyone. It focusses on local Canberrans including designers, photographers, speakers, models, hairdressers, make-up artists, media, communication, and yes, even bloggers! FASHFEST gives many people an opportunity to showcase their talents and participate in a highly professional and organised event. And, this year, FASHFEST is turning its attention to the business side of fashion with an innovative mentorship program together with Bradley Allen Love Lawyers (B.A.L.).

Andrea Hutchinson (Co-founder FASHFEST) with Sarah Kelly (Canberra Centre)

Andrea Hutchinson (Co-founder FASHFEST) with Sarah Kelly (Canberra Centre) (photo Avon Dissanayake)

Now you might think that having a lawyer on board—regardless of what you do—is always a useful asset. But this mentorship program provides more than just Law 101 by combining business and creativity to encourage and assist artistic entrepreneurs to go out into the world of business with some understanding and knowledge of what they want, and what they need to know to achieve it.

Susan Proctor (B.A.L. Lawyers) with Andrea Hutchinson

Susan Proctor (B.A.L. Lawyers) with Andrea Hutchinson (photo LFW)

Susan Proctor (Legal Director, B.A.L. Lawyers) explains. “We’ll take six intakes (one from each of the creative fields) connected to the world of fashion, and give them a chance to build their business acumen. We were attracted to FASHFEST not just because it puts on a stunning, three-day fashion experience, but because of the event’s aspirations—putting modern, emerging fashion, design, and creative talent on Australia’s capital stage for the world to see.

“Our relationship with FASHFEST will strengthen the opportunities and success of the talent that passes through. The intern will be able to kick-start their careers by getting some business fundamentals right; whether that’s company structure, contract terms, copyright, or supply agreements, and we’re incredibly excited about our new collaboration and looking forward to meeting our first six interns.”

Clint Hutchinson (FASHFEST Co-founder) chats with designer Rasa Mauragis

Clint Hutchinson (FASHFEST Co-founder) chats with designer Rasa Mauragis (photo Avon Dissanayake)

FASHFEST is now in its fourth year and is providing more opportunities for Canberra creatives to become involved in the world of fashion and business. This ground-breaking mentorship program will enable many aspiring designers to follow their dream, and who knows … we may just have another Versace or Chanel hiding in the wings.

Modelling FASHFEST 2016

Models Modelling FASHFEST 2016 (photo Avon Dissanayake)

FASHFEST 29 September – 1 October – two shows a night at 6.30 and 8.30pm, National Convention Centre. Tickets on sale now!

Photography by Avon Dissanayake, Sparking Weddings Photography  Facebook

FASHFEST Designers in Profile—KAREN LEE

By the LFW team

Each designer’s fashion collection starts with inspiration. Where the inspiration comes from is not always clear. However, it’s mostly (always) a combination of research and thinking, as it is with Karen Lee, who will launch a new collection this year at FASHFEST 2016.

Karen Lee (centre) - Assemblage Project

Karen Lee (centre) – Assemblage Project

“I’ve been exploring the work of various artists that take a minimalistic approach and use minimal palettes,” says the designer, who owns and runs Assemblage Project in Braddon. “The artists catching my attention incorporate structure with asymmetrical shapes and include uneven details. The collection is still evolving so I haven’t yet settled on a name.”

Karenn Lee 2Those who know Karen Lee’s work, recognise the designer has always created contemporary and sophisticated garments that enhance changing body shapes. This collection is no exception. Karen wants women to feel comfortable and confident in her garments, and she wants them to express their individual style when wearing them and take on the garments as their own.

Karen’s collections always look fabulous on the catwalk. She’s appeared at FASHFEST every year since the event took Canberra by storm in 2013.  Indeed, her label is a strong draw card for the three-day fashion event. In 2016, the designer promises a dominant, strong, bold collection, concentrating on shape and form. “I’m playing with some avant-garde pieces that bring in sculptural elements, and soft, flowing pieces,” says Karen. “I’m also exploring the idea of contradictions.”

Karen wants to evoke a sense of involvement in her 2016 collection. “I want the wearer to embrace the garments; love what is on the catwalk and say ‘I want that outfit’.”

thumbnail_thumbnail_Karen Lee_Leighton Hutchinson_FF2013Karen’s new collection is in tune with the signature restrained colour palette she’s known for. As is always the case with this seasoned designer, the new outfits won’t follow here-today-gone-tomorrow fads or trends. “I design garments that can be worn for years,” says Karen. “Because of their design, quality of fabric, and the way they’re made, my designs celebrate slow fashion and all the term embraces.”

Slow fashion and ethical fashion are at the heart of Assemblage Project. “While the mainstream fashion industry relies on globalised, mass production, where garments go from the design stage to the retail floor in a few, short weeks, the labels I carry do not,” she says. “They’re not just a label. They’re slow. They’re ethical and in many ways sustainable.”

Assemblage Project has carried up to 10 independent fashion labels at a time. Currently, Karen stocks seven labels, four of which will launch collections at FASHFEST 2016—Edition, SZN, Pure Pod and her own label, Karen Lee. For the first time, Assemblage Project itself will also be doing a show at FASHFEST. Stay tuned for details.

Karen Lee

FASHFEST 2016 is on 29 September to 1 October at the award-winning National Convention Centre Canberra. Three nights. Six distinct shows. One total fashion experience!

Tickets on sale soon.


By Wendy Johnson

It’s a place where the nation meets. It’s held 229 events, meetings and conferences in the past 12 months. Its kitchen team dishes up gala dinners for up to 1,400 guests. And in a year, it’s contributed more than $60.6 million into the Canberra economy. It’s no wonder that the National Convention Centre Canberra picked up two top awards at the 2016 Australian Hotels Association (AHA) ACT Hospitality Awards held earlier last week.

The awards were for Best Meeting and Events Venue and Best Restaurant Cookery Employee (both General Division). They’re the latest in the growing list of awards being regularly won by the Centre, which also include a prestigious Australian Tourism Award.thumbnail_Moody tables

If the National Convention Centre Canberra has done anything over the past few years, it has worked hard to boost its position in the highly competitive national and international convention centre market, bringing as much business to the capital as it can. The ripple effects are impressive for Canberra, with guests of injecting funds into the accommodations, hospitality, tourism and retail markets while here.

The AHA Best Meeting and Events Venue Award—the second year the National Convention Centre Canberra has won this category—celebrated the Centre’s services and facilities, which include an auditorium with 2,460 seating capacity, four tiered-seat theatres, an exhibition hall, ballroom, and workshop rooms.

It also celebrated the major renovations that have brought a new look and feel to the Centre and provide a stylish backdrop that suits the caliber of events it holds, including, in 2016, FASHFEST for the second year in a row.thumbnail_P1060277

“The $5.4 million in funding over two years from the ACT Government to improve customer experience has created tremendous opportunities for us,” says Stephen Wood, General Manager. “It also provides great opportunities for Canberra as a whole.”

The renovation project has delivered new carpet, upgraded the star dressing room, reception, foyer and conference office, and other projects to be completed by the end of 2016 include upgrading digital signage and other technical and security components.

Nikhil Jain, Executive Chef

Nikhil Jain, Executive Chef

Best Restaurant Cookery Employee Award went to Nikhil Jain, Executive Chef, who has worked in Australia, India and the UK for some of the best hotels in the world. Nikhil’s team of 10 designs creative culinary experiences showcasing all Canberra has to offer, including award-winning produce and wines. He team scored 90 per cent on guest satisfaction in 2015.

Mouth-watering mains

Mouth-watering mains

The Centre also runs a sustainable kitchen, processing organic waste, using certified sustainable fish, recycling fryer oil, managing food wastage (including through vermicomposting) and providing rescued food to OzHarvest. The kitchen has been recognised five years running by the ACT Government for Actively Recycling.

“The strength of team members was integral to the Centre winning two top awards, as was the Centre’s commitment to being very much a part of the Canberra community,” says Stephen. “We don’t operate in isolation here. We support the local community in a myriad of ways and are proud to be part of the capital’s innovation and growth.”

This thinking holds true of the Crowne Plaza Canberra, which along with the Centre, is part of global Intercontinental Hotels Group. The Crowne Plaza was also a multiple winner at this year’s AHA awards, taking out four awards—Outstanding Community Service and Achievement, Best Restaurant Service Employee (Accommodation), Best Front of House Employee and Best Environmental Practice.

Other 2016 AHA ACT Hospitality Award winners include:

Best Hotel Restaurant: Monster Kitchen & Bar, Hotel Hotel

Best Wine List: Mezzalira

Best Restaurant: Pomegranate

Best Meetings and Events Hotel (Accommodation): Hyatt Hotel Canberra

Best Local: The George Harcourt Inn

Best Mid-Range Accommodation (3-3.5*): The Brassey Hotel

Best First Class Accommodation (4*): Little National Hotel

Best Superior Accommodation (4.5*): QT Canberra

Best Deluxe Accommodation (5*): Hotel Hotel and Jamala Wildlife Lodge

So you want to be a Model …

By Wendy Johnson

FF Model casting 2016Keen to model at the largest and most stylish fashion event on the capital’s social calendar?

FASHFEST is gearing up for the 2016 model casting, to be held 22 May at the National Convention Centre. And already the number of model hopefuls applying has smashed last year’s record of 300.

The casting is ‘open’ which means models don’t have to belong to an agency. Indeed, since FASHFEST is big on training, applicants don’t even have to have previous modelling experience. If they have what it takes, they’ll cross the line and get to be in Canberra’s red-carpet fashion event. The only restriction is that models have to be 16 years of age on the day of the casting.

But what does it take to be a model? Internationally renowned photographer Robert Coppa—one of the five-member judging panel for the casting—says fluidity of motion is paramount as is the ability to exude confidence.

Robert Coppa

Robert Coppa

“You have to ‘own’ what you’re doing as a model. Coming in and out of poses confidently and smoothly, as though you’ve done it 100 times is the key,” says Robert. “With catwalk modelling you’re meant to look aloof and slightly disengaged because it’s all about showing off the designer fashion.”

The models are each assigned a number and have to glide up and down the makeshift catwalk before the judges. They’ll walk to music by Hamish Lardi, NeonHoney and FASHFEST’s official music director, Ashley Feraude. Keeping nerves calm is a challenge for some, even those with experience.

Other members of this year’s judging panel are Hayley O’Neill, Sydney-based fashion stylist and Fashion Office Coordinator at Marie Claire Australia, who originally hails from Canberra, and the owners of Canberra’s top modelling agencies Victoria Schnabl, Victoria’s Models, Andrea Hutchinson, HAUS Models, and Tina Nikolovski, Devojka Models.

FashFest Judging Panel 2015

FashFest Judging Panel 2015

As with previous years, FASHFEST is looking for diversity in its models, in part to meet the aesthetics of the different fashion designers who launch new collections on the catwalk. For example, with FASHFEST 2015, Red Corner Boxing required that ‘healthy, clean sports’ look. Other designers, like Karen Lee (who has launched a collection every year since FASHFEST began) require a mature, sophisticated look. Still others, like Hana Apparel Design and The Prodigal Daughter, require a look that celebrates their ethnicity.

While it’s serious stuff, Clint Hutchinson, co-founder of FASHFEST, says the model casting is a relaxed day and heaps of fun.

Nick Ellis (producer) directing operations at 2015 model casting

Nick Ellis (producer) directing operations at 2015 model casting

So if you think you’d like to give it a go, register for the 22 May model casting. If nothing else, you’ll have a great day and gain some great experience. Registration a must before the day of the casting, and you can register at www.fashfest.com.au

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

Who wears the Pants at Braddon Tailors?

Braddon Tailors are suiting women

by Wendy Johnson

Women have been wearing pants for years. But it was in 1966, when the famous Yves St Laurent launched the Le Smoking tuxedo suit for women that matters changed forever. Power suits and elegant pant suits were in and there was simply no turning back. But here’s the deal with wearing a suit. It has to fit and fit exceptionally well for it to look smashing.

Le Smoking - image courtesy ysl.com

Le Smoking – image courtesy ysl.com

Think of men in a bad, frumpy looking suit, with sleeve lengths too long, an untidy fit across the shoulders and embarrassing tailoring. Well, the same applies to women, says Pip Morgan of Braddon Tailors. Pip is busy putting the finishing touches on the 2015 collection he’ll launch at FASHFEST, with opening night just two weeks from today (13 May).

Suits for women at Braddon Tailors

Braddon Tailors ‘smoking hot’ suit

His collection comprises 12 outfits—four for women. “We have women-specific designs to ensure a top-quality fit,” says Pip. “We don’t use the same patterns or even some of the same techniques as we do for men. We use darts and pleats in different places for a more feminine look.”  Continue reading