A New Direction for Fashfest founder

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It’s no secret that Canberra’s fashion scene has been changed for the better with the influence of power couple Clint and Andrea Hutchinson. It would be hard to argue that there was much of a visible fashion scene at all before Fashfest, and as someone who remembers attending thrown-together independent shows in creepy warehouse spaces or soulless corporate events in malls, I’m personally very thankful for what this has meant for Canberra.

It is tremendously exciting then to be able to announce that Clint Hutchinson will be leaving his full-time position as Managing Director of ZOO Group to kick start a new chapter in his life, which will include dedicating more time to building Fashfest as Canberra’s pre-eminent red-carpet fashion event.

After co-founding Fashfest four years ago with his wife Andrea, now Managing Director, the couple has decided it’s time to devote more energy to the event, as well as a range of other exciting initiatives they’re developing in the fashion and broader creative space in Canberra. (more…)

Sumptuous Silks – A New Season Feast from Casa Pavone

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Mid-way as we are now through Spring, it probably seems a little late to the party to be discussing the new spring/summer offerings from Canberra-based accessories label Casa Pavone. But with Fashfest over for another year, and the men of Canberra and the surrounding area faced with a whole slew of new seasonal occasions to dress for (Spring races, Spring weddings, Christmas and New Years…) I cannot think of a better time to talk through some of the stunning new pieces on offer to get us looking our best.

Created as a complimentary label to the designs they were creating with Braddon Tailors. Pip Morgan and Johnathon McFeat identified that there was a hole in the Australian market for men’s accessories of a really high quality; and knew that they were the ones to offer a solution with Casa Pavone.

Offering a well designed, high quality product is the key to the label, which prides itself on sourcing only the best English and Italian silks, searching through merchants pattern archives – in some cases back over 200 years, to source the materials used in their collections.

Quality is ensured in the final product through a partnership with a small family owned manufacturing company in Italy who create all the pieces for Casa Pavone by hand. With each piece being lovingly created by artisans, in very small quantities, we’re talking about bespoke menswear accessories which are filling a needy niche in the menswear marketplace. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Review – Braddon Tailors

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A show that I have looked forward to every year that I have attended Fashfest is Braddon Tailors. Theirs was one of my favourite collections from Fashfest 2015, and knowing how strong a focus designer and CEO Pip Morgan places on the little details such as the selection of fabrics and the emphasis on perfect tailoring I was eager to see what the 2016 show would have for us.

This year Braddon Tailors showed looks in a wash of black and blue. Honestly, for someone who tries to wear 90% blue at any given moment it was sartorial heaven, and very difficult to pick which shade or pattern of blue that I liked best.

Hint: It was all of them. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Profile – SZN

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I was incredibly excited to see that Suzan Dlouhy would be returning her label SZN to the Fashfest runway this year. As a label SZN is known to many as avant garde styling and a foundation of sustainable design principals, with a focus on simplicity and craftsmanship. SZN produces beautiful, intelligent pieces for a contemporary audience.

Closing out the first show of Saturday night, Spectra, SZN showed a concise collection of unisex looks for Spring/Summer.

The collection utilised almost origami-like construction, with each garment made from a 150cm square piece of fabric. This obviously poses the designer with a variety of challenges, and as a result stimulates the creation of new and interesting tailoring and draping. Constraint has often been utilised by designers in order to stimulate inspiration, and it was clearly successful in this collection. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Review – The Canberra Centre

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Sleek styling from Saba during the Praxis showcase on Friday night

 

The Canberra Centre is arguably the biggest and best retail space in Canberra, and at the forefront of contemporary fashion, dinging and lifestyle. Since it’s refurbishment in 2006 it has become the premier destination for Canberran’s to indulge in a bit of retail therapy, sporting a number of stores not seen in any other malls across Canberra.

In recent years it has also lead a change in how customers interact with and experience it’s retailers. The Canberra Centre hosts seasonal events based around the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections of its retailers, and has brought a host of talented individuals like Maragret Zhang, Luc Wiseman, and Elle Ferguson and Tash Sefton to present talks to eager patrons. There’s also been a number of local interstate artists who have been invited to produce installations for the space.

It makes sense then that the Canberra Centre would take a partnership with Fashfest in 2016, and showcase the current collections of their retailers on the runway. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Designer Profile – Cadia Belante

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Cadia Belante is a Melbourne based designer and eponymous fashion label with a focus on sustainable clothing production who showed at Fashfest for the very first time this year.

As a label Cadia Belante proposes to develop ways to re-circulate those consumable items that can be re-worked into textiles and garments, and as a result reduce waste. A quick trip through Belante’s website and social media showcase an array of boldly colured and patterned fashions in unisex designs, which blur the lines between art and fashion and ask us to question what makes a garment?

This year’s Fashfest collection was an interesting mix of pieces with a very sporty feel to them. As a big fan of quilting generally, I was delighted to see the ways in which Belante applied this technique to her garments. It moved between being functional and decorative seamlessly while never seeming over-used. Using contrasting stitching for some of the quilted garments was a very nice touch too. (more…)

Fashfest 2016 Runway Review – Cameron & James

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Going into Fashfest there were already a few designers who’s collections I was particularly excited about, and one of these was the latest offerings from Melbourne based Cameron Dixon and his label  Cameron & James.

After the success of his collection for Fashfest 2015 I’m not embarrassed to say that I have become something of a fan-boy of Cameron’s work, and I had fairly high expectations for what I was looking to see from him this year. My mind had painted a picture of the same strong understanding of the importance of a garment’s cut, paired with his unwavering dedication to black and white.

And on the first night of Fashfest 2016, during the second show for the evening Furore, what we got from Cameron & James this year was beautifully aligned with the label’s history, but a clear and determined step forward. (more…)