Fashfest Daily Outfit: Opening Night

It is finally here! Opening night for the largest fashion event in Canberra’s social calendar, Fashfest 2014.

As this blog post goes live I am at Canberra International Airport, Fashfest HQ, and I am snapping my way through the collections of eight designers, all under the common theme of the night “The Artist”.

I think what I am wearing is appropriate for the theme of the first night of Fashfest, “The Artist”. We’ll see how others feel in turn I guess.  I’m wearing:

Blue and silver sequined hoodie –
Blue oxford cloth button-down shirt – Polo Ralph Lauren, thrifted
Black satin cheats bow-tie – Tie Rack
Black leather belt – Raphael Steffens
Black resin coated 3D dimension tapered jeans – G-Star
Black distressed leather shoes – Raphael Steffens
Black leather clutch – Trendsetter Handbags Sydney, thrifted

I wore most of this outfit to work today, but I swapped out the bowtie for a necktie, and I left my sequins and clutch for the fashion crowd. I wanted to kick the event off with a bang, and nothing quite says bang like this audacious hoodie from Slickitup, a NYC based fetish and street wear label. The sequins are reversible, blue on one side and silver on the other, making it quite an interactive garment. 

Fashfest 2014: It’s finally time


It’s finally time Canberra!
70 models
70 makeup artists, led by M:Artistry
30 hair artists from various salons, led by Form Hair
More than 40 individual designers (some participating in collaborations)
850 guests a night
More than 15 Fashfest photographers on deck for all four nights, each with their own assignments
Up to 60 media (including local bloggers: Closet Voyage, Heat Storm, Happy Schnapper, Men Style ManifestHer Canberra and more) a night covering the event
An army of volunteers—front of house, back stage etc.
40 event partners, making this the biggest joint business venture in the Canberra fashion world
In case it isn’t immediadtely apparent – I am pretty excited for Fashfest!
I’m attending all four nights, and I’ll be blogging about them mere hours after the shows have finished.
I’ll also be posting my Fashfest outfits daily at 7:00 PM, the time that the doors open.
Finally, I’ll be doing in-depth reviews of each of the Menswear designers’ collections in the week after Fashfest.
A red-carpet fashion event like you’ve never experienced before, Welcome to FASHFEST 2014, promising to be the largest fashion event on the capital’s social calendar.
Hopefully I’ll see you there!

FashFest 2014: Tickets are now on sale

Face of Fashfest: Belinda Riding  Designer: Sovata  On location at Canberra Airport  Hair: Form Haircutters  MUA: M:Artistry  Photographer: Leighton Hutchinson
I’m thrilled to share that the tickets for FASHFEST 2014—the biggest fashion event to be held this year in Canberra—are now on sale. 
FASHFEST will once again be held at the award-winning Canberra Airport. Each event will commence at 7:00 PM for an 8.30 PM start. It will be held in a raw, but magnificent industrial space, and offer guests a brand new experience—a new show each night. We have been advised to dress warmly – and I’ll be sharing the outfits I plan to wear each night a little closer to the even to road-test them with you all.

Last year FASHFEST was bursting at the seams, with more than 3,350 guests attending (far exceeding the initial target of 1,200). Pre-assigned seating and the success of last year’s event mean FashFest 2014 will sell out fast, so if you are thinking of attending – get in NOW!
What tickets are available in 2014?
VIP experience package ($150)—Includes a front row seat for the fashion show, guided backstage tour, gift bag, two complimentary drinks at the Moet et Chandon-sponsored VIP bar (pre and post event).
VIP ticket($110)—same as above but without the guided backstage tour. (I am buying these myself, because I want a clear view of the runway.)
Platinum ($95), gold ($75) and general admission ($65) tickets are for also sale, as is a four-day package (general admission). 
If you’re going to attend FashFest 2014 let me know in the comments below, as I’d love to see you there!

Daily Outfit: Work to dinner outfit change

I had to make a quick outfit change between work and dinner tonight, which got me thinking about just how versatile my wardrobe is or isn’t.

For example, the burnt-orange chinos I wore today. Statistically speaking, I think you would find that most people view chinos as a fairly casual garment. As I have mentioned before I have a sort of mullet aesthetic to dressing myself: business up top (shirt and tie) party below (jeans, chinos or shorts).
As such, I figured that the chinos would transfer rather seamlessly between the business settings of work, to the casual setting of dinner with friends, meaning that all I’d have to do is swap out my shirt and tie for a t-shirt.

The first incarnation of today’s outfit included:

Navy silk necktie with pheasant motif – Paul Stuart, thrifted
Navy cotton tailored dress shirt – Euromerican Tailors, Hong Kong
Gold-tone tie-bar with alligator leather – vintage, Etsy
Black leather belt – repurposed from wedding ensemble
Burnt-orange chinos – FUCK
Black canvas espadrilles – ASOS

The second incarnation of today’s outfit included:

Navy 50/50 T-shirt with Doberman print – Slickitup
Black leather belt – repurposed from wedding ensemble
Burnt-orange chinos – FUCK
Black leather envelope clutch – Trendsetter Handbags, vintage
Navy blue thongs – Havaianas

To be honest, I’m not convinced. I know that the trendy look of the day is skinny chinos and some giant baggy t-shirt, but there is no-way I am ever going to try that look. My closest approximation, as you can see, looks altogether too casual, too relaxed. Frankly, too sloppy.

I think for me, personally, I’m only going to feel comfortable in chinos if they’re paired with a collared shirt.

Dining Out: Penny University, Kingston, Canberra

There have been a raft of new restaurants opening up across Canberra in the past twelve-months; and living as I do now in the wilds of Belconnen, I wasn’t even aware that half of them existed.

This was the case with Penny University. I discovered it through reviews on Tara and Rachi’s Blogs, and then fatefully a dear friend visited this weekend and the opportunity to check it out presented. I did not, however, foresee that I would be at Penny University twice in under 24-hours!

The first meal was on Saturday evening. When we arrived at Penny University it was fairly busy, even with the the Multicultural Festival in town. The fit-out is quirky and modern, if a little too Etsy for my tastes, and the staff are all well presented and clearly happy to be working. There’s a holistic sort of start-up vibe that a cantankerous old coot like me could find unappealing; but it is a genuinely nice place to eat, with a fun fit-out, strong meals, and a solid aesthetic.

The dishes that I selected were (in order of consumption):

House Cordial – served with mineral water, citrus and passionfruit, not too sweet, divine
Roast pork belly – palm sugar caramel, Vietnamese mint, coriander
Quack quack – five-spiced duck stirfry with flat rice noodles and Asian greens
Gingerbread ice cream sandwich – white chocolate, hazelnut and sour cherry icecream, fresh herb praline, mint sauce

These were all nice. The cordial was actually the stand-out for me, it was delicious and refreshing and a great non-alcoholic suggestion from our lovely waitress. The pork belly was expertly done, sticky and delicious, however the accompanying salad was a little over-dressed with oil. I loved the name Quack Quack, which was tasty, though again a little oily. The Ice cream sandwich was nice, but not as sublime as the tapioca pearls my friend ordered. 

Our waitress for the evening was really lovely and attentive, and it was really awesome to see the owners of the business working on the floor with the rest of their staff. It is a contemporary trend, especially in Canberra, which I whole-heartedly endorse.

When we got back to the car, my friend mentioned that the Cronuts, a specialty of Penny University and a melding of Croissant and Doughnut, had been in the pastry case at the front of the store. Cursing, we resolved to return the following day to partake of this new pastry treat.

Sadly, when we arrived at 3:00 PM for our second meal of the weekend this afternoon, all of the Cronuts had been sold :”( This was our own fault for leaving it so late, and so we sat down for some drinks regardless. I had an Earl Grey and blue flower iced tea which was pleasant.

Over all I really enjoyed both dining experiences at Penny University this weekend, and I already know I will be a return customer. In fact, I’ve made a note of the opening times for next weekend, and on Sunday I am getting up at 7:00 AM to be at the doors by 8:00 AM to buy the first Cronuts of the day!


Dining Out: 86, Braddon, Canberra

As you’ve no doubt gauged from my Rubenesque figure; I freaking love food.

A key passion of mine is fine dining, not just having dinner at a restaurant, but the whole palaver of silver service, crisply presented wait-staff, and food that could easily be mistaken for some sort of post-modern floral arrangement.
I love it all. I have eaten at most (if not all) of the long-standing Canberran fine dining establishments, and so it is with great pleasure that I noticed that my fair city seems to be in the midst of a boom in new restaurants, and chief amongst these in my humble opinion is Braddon’s 86.

The dishes that we selected on last Thursday evening were (in order of consumption):

Carpaccio of salmon – Seville orange segments, chives, pickled ginger, radish
Bream Ceviche – sweet potato crisps, caraway biscuit
Figs and Jamon – nectarine, goats curd, super-fancy balsamic whose name I forgot…
Steak Tartare – wasabi, horseradish, egg yolk, prawn crackers
Black chicken – buttermilk slaw, two full legs and thighs
Popcorn Sundae – salted caramel, peanut brittle, popcorn, waffle cone

I’ve actually eaten at 86 in Braddon before, and in all honesty I fell in love straight away. From the fit-out to the fancy bathrooms, from the service to the featuring of my favourite Canberran street artist in the space: 86 is absolutely my new favourite place to eat in Canberra. Others have discussed the different style of dining (here and here), so all I’ll say is that after my first meal at 86, I was so smitten I wrote the owner an email gushing about how much I loved it!

I went into the meal thinking that the Popcorn Sundae was a thing of the past, so you can imagine my excitement when I noticed it sitting up on the board. I went so far as to inquire if I would need to reserve one to ensure I wouldn’t miss out. The stand out dish for me, however, was the Steak Tartare; it was magical. The flavours were perfectly blended, the steak prepared perfectly, and the prawn crackers a novel way to serve the dish. We discovered, however, that the dish tasted incredibly different without the cracker! Both delicious, but two entirely different mouth-experiences. 

I could wank on about each dish individually, but really I just think you should drop what you’re doing and get yourself to 86 ASAP. And maybe you’ll catch me there, trying to snap picture of the Luke Chiswell Stickers, or asking the waiter to reserve a sundae for me?

Competition: Cocktails and Dressing Well

Creating a good cocktail and creating a good ensemble are a very similar process when you think about it. In each instance the basic idea is to take a collection of separate parts in different quantities, blend together and present artfully, in order to create an appealing, unified whole. And, in both instances, those that are able to do so are lauded socially as possessing a marvellous talent. Think about it. Bar Tenders and Stylists – who doesn’t want either of those as a friend? Or cocktails and great style – who is turning down either of those?

My best friend and I love a good cocktail and any opportunity to dress up, and we have been planning a trip to Melbourne for a little while now to indulge in both.

So when Lady Smaggle announced that Crown Metropol and NuffNang Australia were running a competition where the prize was to fly two people to Melbourne to stay at the Crown Metropol, sample the delights of their newly opened West End, including cocktails from Lumia Bar… Well, I could barely contain my excitement.

The emphasis on cocktails in this post is because to enter the competition I have to choose which of these ten amazing cocktails available from Lumia Bar in the West End I would most like to try. After some discussion with Mags, I’ve decided that the cocktail I would most like to try woule have to be the Strawberry Shiraz Cobbler!

The Strawberry Shiraz Cobbler is composed of: Maker’s Mark shaken with orange chunks, red wine, ‘burnt orange and pink peppercorn shrub’ and strawberry liqueur. There are so many things RIGHT about this flavour combination for me personally I can hardly believe that such a drink exists.
As I’ve never actually seen or sampled these cocktails I didn’t have any images to post, so I decided I would use my mad Microsoft Paint skillz to ‘Paint’ all ten of the Lumia Shrub cocktails in the way that I imagine the will look. I’ve also started thinking of what ensembles I’ll ‘mix’ for myself, should I be lucky enough to win the competition and fly to Melbourne to try them. One directly inspired by the Strawberry Shiraz Cobbler is already in the works…