Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced …

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Collette Dinnigan would have to be one of my favourite Australian designers. I’ve always been drawn to her take on the feminine form, using lace and intricate embellishments to create pieces that evoke a sense of ethereal beauty to not only wear but admire. So late last year, when I heard that the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney was exhibiting, for the first time, a complete time capsule of Collette’s designs I hopped on a flight there to experience the spectacle that was Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced … and the following pictorial is just small peek into this internationally acclaimed designers treasures that were on show.

 

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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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Dark Wonderland …

Bendigo is fast becoming one of my favourite go to places in regional Victoria; with its country charm, old world architecture and lovely cuisine it’s hard not to love this town. Adding to this richness is the Bendigo Art Gallery which seems to be hosting a wonderful selection of art and fashion exhibitions of late that has made it a cultural destination not to be missed. So, having said this, back in January (apologies for the lateness of this post!) my dear sister and I were drawn back to this beautiful town to witness the spectacle that was Dark Wonderland.

A retrospective of sorts illustrating the creative evolution of renowned designer Toni Maticevski, Dark Wonderland was a beautiful nod to a true architect of design. After wandering about this rich collection of garments and other wares, it became quite clear that there was very little wonder as to why he has achieved such international acclaim. The man has skills. His approach to manipulating traditional fashion forms as well as his innovative use of fabrics and unexpected materials in garments highlight his masterful ability to push the boundaries of fashion. Truly sublime. But I’ll let the garments speak for themselves … enjoy!

The Flying Dutchmen …

img_1262 Where has the time gone? It has been quite a while since I last posted, life kind of gets in the way and before you know it a year has passed. But, alas here we are and what better way to start off the year than with a wonderful pictorial celebrating the creative artists that are Viktor and Rolf.

Flowerbomb without doubt is my signature scent and I feel that the gentlemen responsible for such a defining fragrance, for me, are indeed worthy of an exhibition. So, when I heard that the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) would be working in collaboration with the designers to curate an exhibition celebrating their work I could not contain my excitement. The moment it opened I was there with bells on and it truly did not disappoint.

Avant-garde, innovative, cerebral, these are just a few terms that spring to mind when taking in their creations. And with over 40 works on show from the Houses’ archives, Viktor and Rolf: Fashion Artists is the perfect nod to celebrate the duo’s 25th anniversary.

Wandering about I couldn’t help but liken their pieces to a work of art, they seemed to just leap out of the frame and come to life. It’s wonderful. Adding to this wonder were the beautifully crafted Victorian dolls that are dotted throughout the exhibition. These dolls have become synonymous with Viktor and Rolf, all handcrafted by a Belgian doll maker with each doll wearing an intricately crafted miniaturised version of a key collection piece. It’s incredible. Consequently, Viktor and Rolf have carried on this tradition for each of their major collections adding a new doll dressed in an emblematic design. It’s quite symbolic really, the perfect capsule piece that represents the essence of the times through their designs for posterity.

One of the personal highlights for me in this showcase would have to be the Timepiece installation that was specially commissioned for the exhibition … a Victorian doll walking the runway. Performance art at its finest and simply marvellous, it was a lovely way to complete the experience.

But, I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves and hope that you will be inspired by these fantastical creations, just as I have. And if you are in Melbourne and adore fashion then this is an experience you do not want to miss, but you will have to hurry as there are only a few weeks to go until it all comes to an end.

So with that I say happy anniversary V&R … here’s to a delightful design duo that truly are originals.


 

Shoes glorious shoes

As I ventured into town over the weekend I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit giddy. I was about to have a behind the scenes tour of the National Gallery of Victoria, but more specifically a behind the scenes tour and talk of their shoe collection. 

The talk was a part of the VAMFF cultural program and although the festival is less than a month away it was the perfect prelude to it. Lead by our ever so knowledgeable host, senior fashion and textile curator, Katie Somerville, the points of discussion centred around the meaning and cultural significance of the shoe and why they are considered an important element within the realm of fashion and textiles. 

Since the talk was slated for only an hour the shoes open for discussion was a small but carefully selected sample that the gallery has amassed over the decades. Some of the footwear presented I had seen before at previous exhibitions the NGV hosted over the years but others I had not, and felt very privileged to witness some amazing shoes that were not only so fragile, but so delicately constructed. It was a visual feast to say the least, and since I appreciate anything to do with the history of fashion this talk was right on point.

Joining Katie for this lively presentation was bespoke shoemaker Claire Best who also shared her insights into the design and creation of footwear. Here she shared her history as a shoemaker and presented some of her own shoe designs in various states so we could gain an appreciation of the process. This side of shoe making is something I know very well since my father was also in the shoe trade for over 50 years as both a designer and production manager for Footrest shoes here in Australia, when shoe manufacturing was certainly at its height and on a larger scale. But it was lovely to hear how passionate this young designer was going back to basics and making custom wears for her clients, one shoe at a time. 

Below are a couple of images I was permitted to snap and hope that you, like me, appreciate these rare and beautiful creations. So on that note, all I can say is all hail the shoe!

  

  

The creative collective at Thousand Pound Bend

Wandering about town, I poppimageed into Thousand Pound Bend for a coffee this morning only to be greeted by some home-grown design. Gracing the gallery space of the venue for the duration of MSFW is a showcase of about twenty-three independent designers including the likes of Limedrop, Habbot, Pageant … all displaying their unique blend of creations. An interesting mix of media to say the least it was an unexpected but delightful distraction while I waited for my coffee. Here are a few snaps of the installations in the meantime …

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Orry Kelly – Dressing Hollywood

imageSpring fashion week has arrived in Melbourne and although the weather hasn’t been behaving as it should, it nevertheless has not deterred this avid fashion admirer from getting out and about and enjoying the events the festival has to offer. So to begin my adventure I decided to start with a visit to ACMI to take in a little bit of old Hollywood glamour.

ACMI’s latest offering, coinciding with the release of Gillian Armstrong’s documentary Women I’ve Undressed, is a wonderful nod to Hollywood’s unsung Australian hero, Orry Kelly. The exhibition showcases the style master’s prolific creative designs that spanned over thirty years, graced 285 films, and garnered him three Oscars for An American In Paris (1951), Les Girls (1957) and Some Like it Hot (1959).

Growing up on a healthy diet of old Hollywood films, this exhibition was never going to disappoint me. It justimage couldn’t. The long list of films associated with Kelly, which are present on a running reel, are among my favourites and I would have to say that the reason for this was because of the costumes … so, so glamorous. I knew I would love it, and I did.

Dressing Hollywood beauties such as Ingrid Bergman, Natalie Wood, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Mitzi Gaynor, Kay Kendall, Shirley MacLaine as well as his most famous muse the amazing Bette Davis, the exhibition celebrates his beautiful creations in their cinematic glory and laments his stature as one of the best costume designers the cinema has seen.

So for those who have a love and appreciation for vintage Hollywood this small but cleverly curated exhibition is a visual treat that will speak to you through its mix of sparkly costumes, movie clips, Oscars, sketches, fabric samples, paintings and more. And as you wander through the open space of the exhibit and take in this amazing talent it will give you a better appreciation of the man who came from Kiama, New South Wales who had aspirations to be an actor and dancer but turned his talent of fine arts and tailoring into a career that would elevate him to become one of the most unfamous Australians to conquer Hollywood in an era that truly was golden.

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Campaign for Wool…

I love Melbourne. There is always something going on in this town and last Friday was a perfect example of  just that. As I was stepping out of the Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square, I literally stumbled across sheep. Livestock that is, and what a sight it was in this urban setting. The installation was a part of a two-day exhibition at Federation Square that was promoting  Wool Week Australia and the global movement known as the Campaign for Wool.

What I saw was just one of the installations that were presented to help promote and educate consumers on the benefits of wool as an economical and sustainable commodity. I already had an awareness of its benefits and viability in the fashion and design industries but wasn’t fully versed in the Campaign itself. However, after milling around the displays and observing the variety of products that were manufactured with the natural fibre that is wool,  I found it was a rather educational distraction to say the least.

So on that note, if you are genuinely interested and wish to gain a more comprehensive understanding of this campaign I recommend you visit the Campaign for Wool website. It has a wealth of information that can shed a lot of light on this very relevant and worthy movement.

educating the next generation of designers about the benefits of using wool. – See more at: http://www.campaignforwool.org/the-campaign/the-campaign-so-far/#sthash.fE07V4m7.dpu
The Campaign for Wool.
The Campaign for Wool.
A giant ball of wool...
A giant ball of wool…
Campaign for Wool installation at Federation Square.
Under the atrium….the installation.
Babes in arms...beautiful lambs on display.
Babes in arms…beautiful lambs on display.
Garments, homewares and furnishings...
Garments, homewares and furnishings…