We have told you all about Fashionation (if you missed the memo, you better catch up here), we told you what happened at the event (read our event wrap up here), and now we will tell you about, or rather, show you the star of the show. I know what you are thinking, this article is dedicated to Angus the Merino Ram who made his runway debut on the night, but no, it’s all about the fashion.
The evening was broken into two halves, the first featuring wool collections, and the second featuring open collections where designers used a variety of fabrics. A highlight of the evening was a catwalk display which rounded out the first half of the show with challenge items showcasing the diversity of Australian wool. Despite the wide-ranging technical applications of wool in the fashion industry, both overseas and here at home, the fibre is still most commonly associated with chunky knitwear and cooler seasons.
Designers participating in the challenge sought to recontextualise the use of wool, many of them presenting the fibre in more lightweight designs. Designer Tracy Lundgren explained, ‘I am interested in making wool pieces that are appropriate for the Australian weather. It can be worn in both winter and summer.’ Designer Charly Thorn who also designed a look for the wool challenge, echoed a similar sentiment, ‘I am trying to reinvent the way people see wool with my piece. It is not just heavy and bulky but can be light and flowing.’
Eleven designers took part in Fashionation, each of varying age, background, experience and creative interests. Rather than a more traditional fashion show where designs are aimed at the young and thin, Fashionation showcased wearable options for a wider demographic thanks largely to the diversity in designers who participated. The broad appeal of the outfits showcased contributed to the success and enjoyment of the evening.
We will take you through each designer featured in Fashionation accompanied by photographs taken by Leiden photographer Lauren McKay and sketches done live on the night by Leiden illustrator Judy Kuo.
The Community Chest Collection
A range of hand knitted pieces created by ladies of the local area from wool sourced from Bellevue Park Wool, kicked the evening off. Patterns were selected by members of The Community Chest and were made up beautifully.
Princesses and Punks
A wool collection from Princesses and Punks officially opened the Fashionation show. Designed by Talia Odone, the collection featured quality pieces for children. Knitted jumpers, dresses, hats, and scarves were presented on kids who appeared to be having the time of their lives posing on the runway. Pieces were simple and timeless, made up in a natural, earthen colour palette with hints of pink, grey and mustards.
Flora Elliot, a designer known for her use of fur, participated in all three sections of the show: wool, challenge and open. The wool section saw Flora showcase a collection of wool scarves and wraps trimmed with her signature fox fur. Her challenge item, a plaid shawl trimmed with fur was a particular stand out, as were fur-trimmed boots in the open collection. Pieces were showcased on more mature models and were useful, warm and fun.
Tracy Lundgren also showed in all three sections of the evening. Tracey focused on shirting, asymmetrical cuts and loose, flowing shapes in the designs she showed. She describes her target audience as ‘anyone who is not afraid of making a statement with their clothes’ and fittingly featured brightly coloured pieces. The influence of Asian designers was evident in her aesthetic.
Elle Hopwood owns a boutique in Berridale, where she creates custom pieces for her clientele. The pieces shown across all three sections of the evening were elegant and refined, mixing a predominantly black and white colour palette with green and blue. Skirt and dress lengths were long with some pieces almost Grecian in style. Elle’s challenge piece was strong, consisting of a flowing black dress fitted through the waist with a caplet.
Tonya Evans showcased a broad range of millinery across all three sections. Pieces ranged from decorative and sculptural to more modest, and were made up from a variety of materials including wool. Headpieces were worn by models ranging in age, hinting at the broad appeal of her designs. Tonya was inspired by the landscape of the Blue Mountains and snowflakes and celebrated individuality.
The scarves, shawls and wraps shown by Rasa Mauragis were inspired by the natural materials she foraged to hand dye them. Leaves and other botanicals were used to create intricate patterns on the fabrics including wool, silks and linens. The colour palette was natural with earthen base colours set off with accents of red, orange and green. Each collection featured wearable statement pieces on male and female models.
One of the more conceptual collections of the evening was designed by Erin Louise, under her label Lady Albert. Models strode down the runway barefoot, shoulders bare and hair piled up loosely on top of their heads. Erin contrasted natural fibres with modern cuts, exploring the texture and seasonality of wool. Pieces were long in length, defined at the waist and made up in bold reds, oranges and blacks contrasted with creams and camels. Erin’s challenge entry of light, tailored separates all made up in white was a standout.
The open and wool collections presented by the Birdsnest Boutique’s design team brought the most fun and personality to the evening in terms of their runway choreography. The spectacle of bubbles and canes did not detract from the clothes themselves, ponchos, ribbed knits, and outerwear were all on display. Pieces were wearable, functional and largely timeless and should appeal to a wide audience.
The Flower Pantry
The clothing worn by models in this collection, which opened the second half of Fashionation, was intentionally minimal and feminine to allow the floral bouquets and crowns to remain the centre of attention. Flower arrangements, designed by Gabrielle Merrigan of The Flower Pantry, were refined yet lush. Gabrielle used native flowers to create her designs, which were worn and carried by both girls and women.
Designer Lynlee O’Keefe participated in both the challenge and open sections of the evening, showing a mix of long dresses and separates in bold block colours. Her interest in costuming was evident, with a number of dresses, including her challenge piece, heavily referencing historical silhouettes. While Lynlee’s designs were not as wearable as other collections on the night, they were well executed and dramatic and would be perfect for special occasion wear.
Charly Thorn, the youngest designer featured in Fashionation at just seventeen years of age, showed an open collection sophisticated beyond her years. Charly’s designs had a 60s mod feel, with the colour blocking and geometric detail reminiscent of the decade contrasting with a more 70s colour palette and modern tailored cuts. Her challenge piece modeled on the runway by 90s supermodel and Cooma girl, Anneliese Suebert, was strong yet sensual, redefining the use of wool in evening wear.
Photography: Lauren Mckay
Illustrations: Judy Kuo
Words: Emma Batchelor assisted by Miriam Walsh