Melbourne

Viktor & Rolf – An uncomfortable morning with Fashion Artists

Viktor & Rolf jute and lace dress from the Russian Doll collection - Melbourne, Australia

 

Viktor & Rolf, the Dutch design duo behind some of the most elaborate and awe-inspiring couture pieces of our time, currently have a retrospective of their 25-year collaboration hosted at the National Gallery of Victoria. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? I mean, by now every Australian fashion blogger and their dog have commented or reported on the exhibition. Most of my go-to fashionistas had already been, seen and posted about the exhibition before I got the chance to go this weekend past, and so I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for.

What I didn’t anticipate, however, was just how much I wouldn’t enjoy the exhibition.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is no debating that the creations are breathtaking in their vision and construction. The genius of the design duo cannot be understated, and the way in which the garments are pieced together shows a real mastery of craftsmanship. I cracked a huge smile seeing the red carpet gown in person (a beautifully sculptural piece crafted from actual carpet), and I was honestly moved seeing pieces in person that I had viewed in magazines and being able to dissect them with my own eyes rather than through someone else’s lens.

However, as someone now in his thirty-first year on this planet, and as someone who is (reluctantly) being drawn into the minimalism movement, I had to stop and ask myself what the cost of these garments (and more over the cost of couture generally) actually is. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Profile – Cadia Belante

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With the increase in size and scope of Fashfest as a celebration of fashion, design and creativity – it makes sense that it’s audience grows as well. Audience doesn’t refer to just those who attend Fashfest, but also to those who take part. With each year that passes we see the number of interstate (and international) designers, models and musicians increase.

One such interstate designer who is showing at Fashfest for the very first time in 2016 is Cadia Belante, a Melbourne based designer and eponymous fashion label with a focus on sustainable clothing production.

Belante created her label in response to her concerns with the increasing volume of materials that we create and the rate at which these materials become landfill.

As a label Cadia Belante proposes to develop ways to re-circulate these consumable items, and as a result reduce waste. The original catalyst of this undertaking was the discovery of large quantities of surplus sleeping bags in second hand stores, leading Belante to explore the possibilities of re-purposing within fashion design. Cadia began to collect interesting but obsolete items to experiment with, and she now uses items that would remain unused or otherwise be tossed away to create her signature garments.

Belante’s website and social media showcase an array of boldly colured and patterned fashions in mens, womens and unisex designs, which blur the lines between art and fashion. The label is inspired by Belante’s  vision of the future possibilities of challenging boundaries within fashion design.

This is the first year that Cadia Belante will show at Fashfest, and I wanted to get an inside scoop on the label and the future-cool styling before the big night. Of course I have also sought a little bit of a sneak peek as to what we can expect from her 2016 collection. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Profile – Cameron & James

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Cameron Dixon wowed Canberran audiences with the launch of the Dark Paradise collection for his label Cameron & James at Fashfest 2015, and paved the way for a host of new talent from outside of our nation’s capital to showcase their designs on a national stage.

His collection was bold, punchy and stark: and army of models in simply tailored and draped menswear and unisex cuts in an achromatic pallet of black and white marble print cottons (before marble was cool). And while I don’t tend to wear much of anything that isn’t a shade of blue, I was instantly smitten with the genius of the collection, the post-apocalyptic chic styling, and Dixon’s design sensibility.

You can imagine my delight then to find that Cameron and his label Cameron & James would be returning to the Fashfest 2016 runway with a new collection.

After the success of his collection at Fashfest 2015 Cameron went on to further develop the Dark Paradise collection, and to showcase his style on the Undressed runways in multiple cities, at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival and in Stell and Pump Magazines.

It is very easy to see the appeal of Cameron & James clothing. Accredited since 2012 with Ethical Clothing Australia, Cameron strives to create a label that meticulously adheres to his belief that fashion and sustainability can coexist together. The Cameron & James label achieves this through the pairing of careful fabric selection and ethical production techniques, with designs made-to-order rather than being mass-produced.

Returning to the Fashfest runways for 2016 (second show on Thursday evening – buy tickets here); I was eager to get in touch with Cameron to find out what he had been up to since we saw him in May last year, what he’s learned for his business in this time, and of course, what we can expect from his 2016 collection. (more…)

Fashfest 2015: Cameron & James

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In the week of Fashfest 2015 designer Cameron Dixon expressed that he was a little nervous that he had not pushed enough with his debut collection for his label Cameron & James.

He really had no reason for concern.

The Cameron & James collection presented on the closing night of Fashfest was a fantastic achievement of achromatic, unisex pieces in draped forms and cool cuts. There was something for everyone in the line up, with dropped-crotch pants, oversized t-shirts with exaggerated necklines, flowing tank tops and much more. The use of only black and white, accentuated by the addition of incredibly realistic looking marble patterning, kept the focus on the unique designs and clever construction.

My favourite pieces of the collection were the white long-line tank top worn by face of Fashfest Ken Scruton, and the white marble-fronted t-shirt with the exaggerated neckline. However my favourite piece overall wasn’t even officially in the collection, but was actually worn by Cameron on the night: a sleeveless collared vest with studded details. I am desperate to add it to my wardrobe.

All in all the Cameron & James collection was a great introduction to Canberra for Dixon, and I cannot wait to see what we can expect to see from him in 2016. Not only has he reignited my love of white, but he has also proven to me once and for all that designers can be environmentally conscious without forsaking the aesthetic appeal of their garments; and I’ll be forever thankful for that.
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Designer Profile: Cameron & James

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I am really not a fan of ‘green’ or ‘Eco’ fashion myself, because almost every example I have ever seen ultimately sacrifices style for the sake of being environmental, much like any member of the Greens I could name.

There are a few examples of labels who successfully manage to adopt and maintain a holistic or ethical ethos to their garments; but these are few and far between.

You can imagine my delight then to find that there is a menswear label at Fashfest this year, who not only has a strong ethical focus on which they have built their label; but who also makes clothes that I would willingly wear!

Meet Cameron Dixon and his label Cameron & James(more…)

MaterialByproduct Performace/presentation of Clover by Susan Dimasi

20150209_aOn Tuesday evening last week I joined a handful of Canberra’s dedicated to the pursuit of luxury for a very special presentation of the MaterialByproduct collection ‘Clover’ at the Department of the Exterior boutique in Manuka Plaza.

Owner and self-described luxury-enabler Susan Taylor invited designer Susan Dimasi to the store to present her current collection to her Canberra customers; a rare opportunity for patrons to hear the details and journey of a collection straight from the designer’s mouth. (more…)