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…)
Nomi Kids stole the evening and the hearts of the audience with a surprise showing of their debut collection on closing night of Fashfest 2016. Photo Credit – wearefoundau
Nomi Kids (pronounced know-me) was a surprise to round-out to the final show of Fashfest 2016. It was not billed in any of the Fashfest media, it was completely unannounced, and the first audiences at the National Convention Centre knew of the collection was a cryptic note in the programme announcing that the final designer would be replaced with a heart warming surprise.
And heart warming it was.
I mean, how could your heart not melt at the sight of first-time models being escorted down the runway by Fashfest models to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk? The kids walked in a collection of incredibly modern pieces in a very unexpected colour palette of grey, beige, black and white. There were asymmetrical cuts, perfectly matched accessories and a distinct lack of cutesy characters or messaging. All in all, this was a collection that I would happily peruse for my own wardrobe, just much, much smaller. (more…)
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.
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)