Tag Archives: National Convention Centre

FASHFEST versus HYPER REAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Steal the Thunder!

Let’s start with the facts. Women come in all shapes and sizes. All shapes and sizes. The pear shape is just as beautiful as any other and no one knows this better than Bronwynne Jones, who founded her own label catering to this target market last year.

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Bronwynne Jones – owner and designer Thunder Thighs

Thunder Thighs is about the shape, not about the size”, says Bronwynne. “I design from size 8 up, but in a way that complements women who are naturally smaller at the top and curvier at the bottom.”

Bronwynne is currently full steam ahead, cutting, sewing, fitting and fussing with models to get her first full collection on the catwalk at FASHFEST 2017. She’s excited but admits it hasn’t been entirely easy. “The FASHFEST model casting was an open one, but the fashion industry tends not to focus on true pear-shaped women,” says Bronwynne. “Not many modelling agencies have pear-shaped models on their books either.”

 

And the name? Doesn’t it just draw unfair attention to the unique body shape Bronwynne designs for? “I’m actually calling it for what it is and am proud of it,” says Bronwynne. “My clients don’t necessarily have a problem with their shape. They have a problem with not being able to find attractive clothing that works well on their bodies. It’s frustrating, and I know because I have thunder thighs. I want to design for this group of women and who they are, not what the fashion industry says they should be.”

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Thunder Thighs at CARDIF Collective Fashion in the Alley in April 2017

A self-taught designer, Bronwynne focuses on fitting, flattering and the body positive. She designs foundation (essential) pieces and pieces that add flair and sells through CARDIF Collective in Kingston. “My tops fit the bust line well and swing or float over the bottom,” says Bronwynne. “Cigarette pants and skirts fit at the waist and hips, and fall from the thighs. Short tailored jackets with a swing, not straight, work a treat too.” Since opening her label, Bronwynne has been thrilled to sell to women of other shapes who are attracted to her designs. “Many women can wear swing tops, for example,” says Bronwynne. “It’s a fabulous style that stands the test of time.”

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Thunder Thighs at Fashion in the Alley

For the FASHFEST catwalk, Bronwynne has designed pants, tops and jackets, some with sculptural elements. She’ll also present her popular ‘shirt front back top’ which features the front and optional collar from a recovered men’s shirt. Customers can help design their own top by selecting from Bronwynne’s impressive collection of quality men’s shirts or by bringing in a shirt owned by a loved one. Bronwynne will also feature her attractive infinity scarves created out of men’s vintage silk ties on the catwalk.

The designer is showcasing solid black and white, mono prints, and shades of pinks and purples. Sheer fabric will also make a grand entrance as will hand-crafted headpieces with colour and flair.

“It’s been a steep learning curve getting ready for FASHFEST,” says Bronwynne. “There’s so much to consider beside the garments. Hair, makeup, props, shoes, and with only a couple of weeks to go—it’s full on.”

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Model Swan Ricco (size 8 – 10) wears Thunder Thighs at Fashion in the Alley

FASHFEST is on from 28 to 30 September, at the National Convention Centre Canberra, with after parties at QT Canberra. Thunder Thighs proudly makes its appearance at FASHFEST on opening night, 28 September show 2, 9pm. FASHFEST tickets are available from the FASHFEST website and start at $49.

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Getting ready to walk-the-walk at Fashion in the Alley

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.

FASHFEST 2017—a sneak peek at what’s new!

In a blink of an eye, FASHFEST will roll out the red carpet and present new fashion, new music and new film for its 2017 show, with tickets on sale now. What’s hot for the runaway this year? Where do we begin …

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Gehrich – photo by Christopher Thomas

Let’s start with the ‘firsts’. New labels include luxury label Gehrich, from Melbourne, which favours quality and sustainability over quantity. Queensland’s Naudic, a bold, brave and playful label, will showcase colourful day, evening and loungewear for women of all ages. From Canberra, and making debut appearances at FASHFEST, are designers such as De Challie Haute Couture, presenting elegant gowns made from the finest materials and Bianca Pavlic The Label, presenting feminine garments embellished with embroidery and beading.

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Bianca Pavlic The Label – photo by Tina Nikolvski

For the first time, the New Zealand High Commission is sponsoring seven labels, showcasing the incredibly diverse fashion coming out of New Zealand, including Nyne (presented by Department of the Exterior), Sabatini, Trelise Cooper, Curate, Coop and Cooper (presented by Momento Dezigns), Kowtow (presented by Assemblage Project, which will also host its own segment) and independent designer Melanie Child, who returns to FASHFEST for the third year.

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Trelise Cooper

Another first is the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation show, with high-end creations by 12 Indigenous designers who have worked with textile designs and textile art from 12 art centres (eight from the Northern Territory). Recently, the fashion industry, nationally and internationally, has embraced Indigenous textiles as a new and exciting trend. In a separate segment, Magpie Goose will showcase fabric designed and hand screen-printed in remote Aboriginal communities.

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Darwin Aboriginal Arts Fair Foundation – photo by Shane Eecen

Also new is Gabrielle Spencer Bridal, whose work is inspired by the texture, balance and colour of fibres found in nature, and several lingerie labels presented by Canberra’s Miss Winks.

Fashion zeroing in on niche markets include Thunder Thighs, a new label celebrating perfectly pear-sharped women of all sizes with edgy designs that fit and flatter. Stok Denim Kids and NOMI (know me) Kids are taking care of the young ones, and Summer Paradise Seekers, by young emerging designer Ashleigh Bujaroski, will present surf clothing celebrating Australia’s beautiful coastline and beaches. Those who love op shopping will be amazed by the segment being presented by Salvo’s Stores, curated by their eco stylist Faye De Lanty. This is serious eco chic.

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Coop

All-time favourite Canberra independent designers are re-appearing, including Karen Lee with her simple, sophisticated lines and classic shapes. Zilpah tart’s new line of prints celebrating spring, once more celebrate scenes from the nation’s capital. CIT fashion students return with two shows this year. BT (Braddon Tailors) will showcase men’s and women’s wear. And from Cooma, Charly Thorn arrives for the second time to wow guests once more.

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Kowtow – Dreamscape Crew

FASHFEST is so much more than fashion. It’s about live music and new film. This year 15 live musicians and DJs will rock the house down at the National Convention Centre Canberra. Just like the fashion itself, the sounds of FASHFEST are truly memorable.

Tickets are on sale now, starting at $49. FASHFEST 2017 presents six shows over three nights—28 to 30 September. For full programs and to buy your tickets, head to www.fashfest.com.au

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Kowtow – Auteur Coat Dreamscape

Walking the Walk at FASHFEST 2017 Model Casting

It’s the shoes that fascinate me. I’m impressed (and not to say envious) by the towering, tapering heels, and the fact that the female models manage to stay upright let alone walk a catwalk in front of four judges! That’s got to get them brownie points!

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Image LFW

FASHFEST model casting got underway at the National Convention Centre on Sunday 4 June with over 400 registrations and over 250 hopefuls on the catwalk. Judging panel Victoria’s Models, Haus Models, Leighton Hutchinson Photography, and Devojka Models had their work cut out to select around 100 models to showcase designer brands and new collections at FASHFEST 2017 in September.

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The great thing about FASHFEST is that models of all sizes, shapes, genders, and ethnicity are welcome—not just your sixers … female, size 6, 6 feet tall, and to that end there is usually a good choice for designers to choose who they think can best wear their outfits.

The judging panel were looking for confidence in the walk, creativity and style, and diversity, as the models walked to a thumping beat designed to keep everyone energised. And, strangely enough, when I get up to move to the back of the room I too found myself walking to the beat.

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FASHFEST is now in its fifth year and co-founder, Clint Hutchinson, says it’s going to be bigger and better this year with more live music, art, film and multimedia, and FASHFEST is also on the hunt for new labels from both interstate and overseas—so maybe lots of new designers too. FASHFEST is also expanding its publicity wagon with up-coming pop-ups and activations throughout the city. Stay tuned!

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Learning to walk-the-walk

Back to the model casting they learn to walk-the-walk in groups, pairs, and solo, under the tutelage of Susie Ellis, Director of Choreography; get head shots by the FASHFEST crew, and measured up by Braddon Tailors. Those chosen will have a few months to practise and perfect their walk and poses, and then be assigned to a designer. Good luck to all those who tried out!

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Selfie time!

FASHFEST 2017 will be held at the National Convention Centre from 28 – 30 September with two shows each night. Tickets on sale soon.

Many thanks to Sparkling Weddings Photography for images.

FASHFEST 2017 MODEL CASTING—On the Hunt!

FASHFEST 2017 is on the hunt for models of all ages, personality types and sizes to bring designer fashion to life at the red-carpet event on 28 to 30 September.

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Model crowds at FASHFEST 2016 model casting – photo by cumminsphoto.com.au

The annual model casting is being held Sunday 4 June at the National Convention Centre Canberra and only time will tell if FASHFEST smashes its 2016 record, with more 550 models registering to strut their stuff. While it’s serious business, it’s also a fun day, packed with wannabe models meeting new friends, snapping selfies, getting measured up, and—with butterflies in their tummies—walking the makeshift catwalk, alone and in pairs.

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Walking the walk at FASHFEST 2016 Model Casting – photo by cumminsphoto.com

“We look for different ages, body profiles and nationalities since our designers are so diverse,” says Andrea Hutchinson, from HAUS Models and one of the four judges on this year’s panel. “Depending on the final cut of designers, we might need mature models, athletic models, models with a sophisticated look or models from various ethnic backgrounds. And we need a mix of male and female.”

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 need 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 must be 16 years of age by the time FASHFEST rolls out that red carpet.

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FASHFEST 2017 Model Casting Pane l-r: Victoria from Victoria’s Models, Tina from Devojka Models, and Andrea from HAUS Models

Joining Andrea is Victoria Schnabl, Victoria’s Models, and Tina Nikolovski, Devojka Models, meaning that all three of Canberra’s top modelling agencies are represented on the judging panel. And for a different perspective, FASHFEST’s Director of Photography, Leighton Hutchinson, will also judge.

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FASHFEST 2016 Model Casting – photo by Sparkling Weddings

The models will walk to music organised by FASHFEST’s official music director, Ashley Feraude. The music creates a unique vibe for the day and helps keep nerves calm.

If you want to give it a go, register on www.fashfest.com.au.The form only takes a minute or two to complete and registration closes late on 3 June.

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In pairs at FASHFEST 2016 Model Casting – photo by cumminsphoto.com.au

 

National Convention Centre—the Best of the Best!

It’s always fab to pop a cork and sip on a glass of bubbles while celebrating cool Canberra. And that’s just what guests did at this year’s Canberra Region Tourism Awards.

Tourism is big business and the winners of the 2016 awards are all about bringing people to the capital and, while here, support the local economy. Tourism is a highly competitive and tough industry reserved only for those who are creative, motivated and dedicated—those who excel and operate at best practice.

National Convention Centre Canberra

National Convention Centre Canberra

Some winners of this year’s awards are no surprise. They’ve been making a major mark on the tourism landscape for yonks. Think the Royal Australian Mint (which picked up three awards this year), Questacon, and the National Museum of Australia. It’s wonderful to see some of our unique hotels win on the accommodation side, including the newer East Hotel, Little National Hotel, and the charming Hyatt Hotel Canberra, and we can all be proud of the Canberra Airport for its many accomplishments. Jamala Wildlife Lodge, at the National Zoo and Aquarium, also picked up an award; here you can get up close and personal with giraffes, zebras, monkeys, bears, and big cats!

And, for the third time, the National Convention Centre Canberra picked up the Business Event Venues Award, with more than 215 events, concerts, expos, conferences, meetings, gala dinners and venue experiences during the awards period. Whew. The Centre is home to FASHFEST, with the space being transformed for the red-carpet fashion event by Canberra’s Elite Technology. It’s also home to our beloved Royal Theatre and offers 15 flexible spaces over two floors.

FASHFEST at the National Convention Centre

FASHFEST at the National Convention Centre

Many Canberrans may not be aware of the Centre’s unique points of difference, but it has many in the world of conference centres. All its spaces are pillar free, offering free line of sight. Most are flooded with natural light and generous ceiling heights, providing a sense of openness and connection to the outdoors, instead of the closed-in feeling experienced in so many conference centres. And it’s big enough to host events for thousands, but small enough to be comfortable and easy to manoeuvre.

On the food side, the Centre’s kitchen is headed by Executive Chef, Nikhil Jain, who holds the Chef of the Year title, which he picked up at this year’s Australian Hotel Association National Awards for Excellence.

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Canberra International Airport – photo by Ginette Snow

The Centre won in part for the quality of and inspiration behind its $5.4million renovation, which includes a major facelift and many improvements to its functionality. Australian timber and the rich colours of autumn, which Canberra enjoys, are front and centre. Most of the work involved local designers and operators, again supporting the local economy. The renovation is much more about making the Centre look pretty, however. “An economic impact study reported that the two-year refurbishment would result in $31.5million in extra economic activity for the ACT over a five-year period,” says General Manager Stephen Wood. “The timing is perfect with the arrival of international flights linking the capital with Singapore and New Zealand.”

The winners now move on to the National Award, to be held in Darwin in February. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for each one of them. The list of winners include:

For a complete list of Canberra winners visit http://canberratourismawards.com.au/winners/