Melbourne style on parade …

It is hard to believe that another year has come to pass with the VAMFF here in marvellous Melbourne, and no matter how prepared I am it nevertheless seems to creep up on me almost unexpectedly. But each year it also promises a new season of sartorial styles to contemplate as the weather cools and this year it did not disappoint.

My VAMFF adventure began with an Australian premiere screening of Christian Dior: The Refinement of a Lost Paradise (L’élégance du Paradis Perdu) at ACMI As a nod to the House of Dior’s seventieth anniversary, and knowing that the National Gallery of Victoria NGV will be hosting a premiere exhibition later this year to commemorate this milestone, the documentary was a lovely prelude focusing on Christian’s early upbringing in Granville. An insightful piece, it showcased how his family and childhood home influenced and forged his path as a designer. This documentary is must see viewing for any one that has an appreciation for the iconic design house that single-handedly revolutionised fashion through the New Look, and managed to endure successfully as a brand long after its founders sudden passing sixty years ago. It was a lovely tribute to say the least, and an unexpected but welcomed gesture bestowed upon patrons after the screening by our hosts, ACMI,  included a few samples of Dior perfumes to enjoy. A nice touch indeed.

The next stop on my VAMFF to do list was the Royal Exhibition Building to attend the premiere David Jones Gala runway in order to get a firsthand account of what to expect this season. I had never attended this runway event previously and unlike the other runway shows this was a little longer in terms of duration. Featuring the largest designer lineup of the festival, the showcase was rich in content, perfectly setting the tone of what we can expect to find in stores this Autumn-Winter for consumption.

Highlighting the talents of both local and international designers such as Thurley, Camilla and Marc, Alexander McQueen, Valentino and Scanlan and Theodore to name but a few, the show itself was a pulsating, visual treat set to the live performance by Paul Mac. Personal highlights and looks to steal for me this season included the gorgeous lace ensembles from Lover , Thurley, Alice McCall, Manning Cartell and Nicholas. I was also partial to the beautiful winter inspired florals from Camilla and Marc and the vibrancy of the Russian Doll inspired garments from Carla Zampatti. And to cap off the evening a new issue of Jones (David Jones in house magazine) was duly handed out to patrons for further inspection that would no doubt assist in sales.

Next on my must see was e-tailer Next UK’s Australian launch runway, featuring the lovely Rebecca Judd and Samantha Harris. Next Australia’s lineup was fun, affordable, on trend but most importantly totally wearable. Featuring mens, womens and kids wear my favourite featured items again would have to be their lace offerings which I found to be easy to wear for everyday and would no doubt be kinder on my purse.

In a similar vein as Next Australia, Myer’s in store runway was also good value. The second floor walk ways of the Bourke Street store were converted into a runway, giving all patrons both seated for the event and those who were actually shopping, a delightful peek into what is currently in store for purchase. Joining Myer ambassadors Jennifer Hawkins and Kris Smith on this merry go round parade was also Tim Robards, he of the Bachelor Australia fame which delighted many of the patrons in the crowd. And to add to the fun we were also gifted with a deluxe sample bag of goodies to road test which is always a bonus.

Concluding the spectacle of all the runway events I, along with my sister who was my partner in crime for the duration of the festival, also spent some time taking a leisurely wander about the VAMFF Plaza enjoying all the food and live entertainment on offer, as well as popping into the Priceline beauty salon where we were both treated to a wonderful makeup and hair styling session by the generous ladies at Priceline. A perfectly lovely way to end this adventure, until next time. ​

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The Dressmaker

On the back of the success of Jocelyn Moorhouse’s cinematic adaptation of The Dressmaker, dear husband and I ventured off this past weekend to see the National Trust of Victoria’s tribute exhibition to the film at Winchelsea’s Barwon Park Mansion.

I had never visited Barwon Park Mansion before and I must say it was the ideal location to host the exhibition. Situated in the rural surrounds of Winchelsea it perfectly evoked the atmosphere of Rosalie Ham’s ‘Dungatar’ as featured in the novel and film and consequently was the perfect back drop to tell the story of local girl turned couturier, Tilly Dunnage … played in the film to perfection by the wonderful Kate Winslet.

Inside the stately homestead, littered throughout every room, garments and accessories harking back to the 1950s was like music to my ears. Vintage at its finest, with cinched and polished creations, everywhere you looked it was a visual treat highlighting the power of the ‘makeover’, a common theme in the story.

To add to the wonder of the exhibition, an in conversation event was also unfolding featuring the author herself and the amazingly talented Marion Boyce, costumer designer extraordinaire who is also responsible for all of the divine costumes of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries fame. While dear husband and I did not get a chance to listen in on the discussion, I did however by sheer chance bump into Marion Boyce whilst waiting for access to the ladies and offered a few words of praise to her. A lovely surprise indeed, she was ever so gracious towards me in our interaction and it was a moment that made my trip to Barwon Park and the exhibition that much more special.

Here are just a few snaps of the exhibition that will no doubt delight. Enjoy as you step into the world of The Dressmaker.

  
  
  
  
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Jean Paul Gaultier Works

Having thoroughly enjoyed the NGV’s exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier last year (I saw it twice…and even then that wasn’t enough) I returned to ACMI again this past week to view Loïc Prigent’s documentary Jean Paul Gaultier at work.

As a part of the curated culture program for MSFW, the hour long documentary is a retrospective of sorts as Gaultier revisits and recreates twelve of his most iconic works including his infamous cone bras and embellished denim. I never tire of listening to Mr Gaultier as he passionately speaks about his art and how he is constantly inspired and I must say that Prigent presents a lovely and relaxed behind the scenes take on this very prolific artist who is a champion of repurposing garments to only breathe new life into them in his own unique manner.

An added bonus to the screening was also Alison Chernick’s short focusing on the very camera-shy Belgian designer Martin Margiela titled The Artist is Absent (2014). A nice touch combining the two together as Margiela began as a protégé of Jean Paul Gaultier’s and like Gaultier, Margiela is a deconstructionist by nature.

The short highlights how this shy talent has become one of the most admired and successful deconstructionists in contemporary fashion with commentary about him provided by the likes of fashion historian Olivier Saillard, International Vogue editor Suzy Menkes and Christian Dior’s creative director Raf Simons. Praise from the likes of these fashion luminaries is no mean feat. And although I didn’t know that much about Margiela until seeing this, I do appreciate the insight into his talent … a most enjoyable way to spend an hour of my time without doubt.

Fashion on film …

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Mademoiselle Agnès in action …

Adding another dimension to the MSFW line up I popped into ACMI this afternoon to preview the documentary Dressed Up for Winter 2015 (Habillé(e)s pour l’hiver 2014-2015). Although its theme focus’ on the current Paris winter runway shows and we, here in the Southern Hemisphere, are in the midst of the Spring Fashion festival, the documentary was a treat nevertheless … the perfect prelude to highlight what trends I can expect to see next autumn-winter.

From the very unique and often hilarious perspective of fashion maven Mademoiselle Agnès, the documentary highlights all the latest news and trends from the front line of fashion. Stand outs for me would have to be the premiere of Nicholas Ghesquière’s first collection for Louis Vuitton which was a lovely nod to sixties silhouettes, and Lagerfeld’s theatrical shopping experience at the Chanel supermarket … this documentary is a lighthearted marvel to watch as the drama of the runway shows unfold.

One designer that stood out purely from a performance art perspective was Iris Van Herpen. Models were suspended mid-air  and cryovaced, serving as a living centre piece, whilst the remaining models took to the runway around them. It was certainly unusual to say the least and would have really been something to see in the flesh.  In addition, a bonus to this presentation included Loïc Prigent’s short documentary Fendi: Inside the Mothership. With celebrities and fashion alum peppered throughout the short it was an enlightening behind the scenes glimpse into the Italian powerhouse’s Spring 2014 shows. Highly entertaining all round.

Thank you Michi Girl

Thank you to the wonderful Michi Girl for selecting me as one of the winners of the double pass to see the previewing screening of Yves Saint Laurent next Wednesday. So excited and cannot wait to see this film adaptation chronicling the life of one of my all time favourite designers. Thank you again …

Yves Saint Laurent