I was excited to be able to attend one of the Hyatt Canberra’s famous afternoon teas this Saturday past, for the launch of a very special event hosted by the Hyatt; fashionXhyatt
As someone who has lived in Canberra for over a decade now, I have heard of and attended afternoon teas at the Hyatt multiple times. It is the benchmark, or the golden standard if you will, for what an afternoon tea should be. Held in the impeccably styled Tea Lounge, afternoon teas are a decadent affair with sweet and savoury options beyond your wildest dreams, and of course a glass of bubbly here and there.
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…)
Spring always means rain here in Canberra, and I’m counting my lucky stars I’ve found the perfect jacket to see me through the wet weeks ahead. Today I’m wearing: khaki hooded canvas jacket – German army surplus | white cotton v-neck t-shirt – H&M | obsidian magnatama necklace – Narita, Japan | brown leather belt – Sportscraft | moto embroidered skinny jeans – Loyalty & Faith | tobacco brown suede boots – The Ball & Chain, Catch of the Day
While it might technically be Spring here in Canberra, we’re currently living through a last hurrah for the Winter season that was. The air is still freezing, and rains have set in for the time being, which is doing wonders for my whole “let’s get fit and healthy in time for summer (for the 900th time)” thing. Spring in Canberra always means rain, and two weekends ago while the skies opened up, my parents and I set about rearranging my garage and conducting a bit of Spring-cleaning around my place. The main goal was to neatly pack-up and store the remnant’s of my ex’s belongings wile he’s living abroad. In the process of this, I found a coat.
I had never seen the coat before, but I knew that it belonged to my ex. It’s a khaki or olive-drab military coat with a huge hood and a detachable faux-fur lining. The tags inside the jacket are in German, so I can only assume that this is a surplus German military piece that he collected from somewhere, and which has been sitting in the garage unloved for the past five years. Obviously, waiting for me to discover it and to fall in love with it. (more…)
Karen Lee Fashfest 2015 collection Photography: Red Photography Models: FASHFEST and HAUS Models Hair & Makeup: FASHFEST 2015
Karen Lee’s reputation within Canberra is testament to the quality and individuality of her work as both a designer and as a style shepherd through her boutique Assemblage Project.
As a designer Karen Lee creates beautiful clothing pieces with refined, effortless lines and classic shapes. The use of unusual twists of fabric and pattern produce a contemporary sophistication which draws you in with a need to take a closer look. Lee creates clothing for women wanting to be comfortable and confident in expressing their individual style while making garments inherently their own. Her focus is on designing quality clothing that enhances changing body shapes, which she makes to an exact and rigorous standard of the highest quality.
Karen Lee garments do not follow current trends. These are designs which transcend age, body shape and culture, designed to last for many years and growing and aging with the wearer as time moves forward.
I’ve said multiple times that Karen’s designs remind me of Japanese labels like Comme des Garçons and Junya Wantanabe. There’s a stark elegance and reality to the designs that evokes a dedication to form and structure that surpasses trend, and which is almost timeless.
And with her boutique Assemblage Project, housed in the glorious Ori building in Braddon, Lee provides Canberra with an upmarket haven of carefully curated labels from a select number of Australian and New Zealand designers. With an eye for beautiful fashion with wide appeal, lee has carefully handpicked designers for the store with different visions which work together as a collective.
An example of this is that many of the labels share the same ethos, designing and producing in ways that celebrate slow fashion and sustainability. Their garments are not only thoughtfully and skilfully designed, they are masterfully crafted with fabrics that are a pleasure to wear over many years.
Returning to the Fashfest runways in 2016, I was eager to get in touch with Karen to find out what she has been up to since her last collection, what her customers are looking for in a label, and of course, what we can expect from both of her 2016 Fashfest shows.(more…)
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 launched today at the beautiful new Eden space in the Canberra Centre.
Today I made a mad dash from the office to the Canberra Centre for the launch of Fashfest 2016. Hosted by the gorgeous Sarah Kelly in the Canberra Centre’s beautiful new Eden space, the event gave founders Clint and Andrea Hutchinson the opportunity to share thougts on where Fashfest came from, how it has grown, and exciting news about what we can expect from the future.
With regard to the origins of the event, Clint recounted a story of travelling to Milan and he and Andrea asking the question of one another “Why hasn’t Canberra had its own event fashion event?” This lead to other questions about how you would run a fashion event in Canberra, and soon after much discussion and some scribbling on napkins, they had designed the very first Fahsfest event.
When they returned to Canberra the first person that the spoke to Steven Wright, who has been (and remains) a huge part of the Fashfest experience. Clint first pitched the idea of a five-night fashion experience, to which Steven’s response was “You’re crazy, you might be able to make one-night happen.” Clint’s rebuttal was to compromise on a four-night event, and the rest is history. (more…)
My first experience of Australian menswear sensation M.J. Bale was when I received a necktie and a copy of their in-store magazine Manual in a gift bag from an event hosted by Q.T. Canberra last year.
The necktie that I received is a gorgeous pale blue wool affair in a very interesting shade and texture, and I was instantly captivated. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worn it since I received it, but I am always complimented when I do, and to this day it remains looking brand new.
I was naturally intrigued then to learn more about M.J. Bale, and subsequently purchased two pairs of the best-fitting chinos I have ever owned in my life from their Sydney store. These chinos are sadly out of commission at the moment (break-up kilos, let’s not talk about it); but their design and the quality of the fabric used in their construction is really something else. I find it a little hard to believe that pieces of such high quality are from an off-the-rack chain, but that’s sort of the whole point of M.J. Bale really. (more…)