Canberra’s annual fashion festival, now in its fifth year, has kicked off at the National Convention Centre in the heart of the city. As always, the red carpet was rolled out and the photo wall was in high demand as show goers jostled for a position, eager to document and share their outfit choices.
After getting caught up in the thrill of the event itself: the champagne, the people-watching and the music, the lights dimmed and our focus turned to the runway.
This Melbourne based label, established in 2013, is built on a philosophy of quality over quantity, ethical trade and sustainability. Designer Samantha Gehrich presented a refined collection of languid separates, flowing dresses and loose jumpsuits made up in a palette of rust, cream, navy, kahki and black. Ruffled hems and sleeves featured alongside, sensual slits, open backs and button details.
Beauty Note: Minimal, natural makeup with pulled back hair into a bun with messily braided details.
Part fashion label, part social enterprise, Magpie Goose features textiles designed and hand screen printed in remote Aboriginal communities. Like its namesake, the Magpie Goose, a bird native to the top end, this label is unapologetically bold. The collection was joyous, featuring playful prints splashed across bright coloured textiles made up in simple shorts, pants and tops. The red yabby print on a pink background was a particular highlight as were the matching acrylic earrings.
Beauty Note: Brushed out waves and bold lips.
Launched this year and making its FASHFEST debut is Summer Paradise Seekers, an online surfwear brand designed by Ashleigh Bujaroski. The label, which celebrates Australia’s beautiful coastline and beaches, is digitally and ethically printed in Canberra. A boy dressed in the simple combination of a tee and shorts opened the show while holding a surfboard which elicited an audible ‘oooo’ from the audience. Bold graphics including a dolphin, seahorse, peace symbol and skull, took centre stage on black and white tees, with the exception of one mottled mint green number which appeared on a very disinterested male model.
Beauty Note: Bodies were tanned, makeup was heavily bonzed and hair was natural.
This Braddon based children’s boutique presented a collection of childrenswear. The audience lost it over the cuteness of the kids who walked down the runway in pairs.
RAW presents ‘I am Woman Hear Me Raw’
This group show presented by Raw Australia, brought together four labels from four different cities: KIIRA from Adelaide, Bianca Pavlic the Label from Canberra, Ellavanna from Perth, and Bird Skin from Melbourne. Their first onto the runway was a collection of white garments replete with floaty sleeves, fringing and cutouts. This was followed by lady-like separates featuring ruffles, open backs and subtle prints. Next out was a collection that spliced together denim and lace with a rockabilly turned grunge vibe. The group presentation was then rounded out with a collection of subversive designs featuring sequins, beads and even the image of a cat. We especially enjoyed the judicious application of googly eyes to the models hair.
Beauty Note: Dewy makeup with bold eyes were paired with elaborate hair featuring braids, coloured string, googly eyes and cascading waves.
Luxury boutique Momento Dezigns presented a curated selection of labels, some exclusive to the store in Canberra, for their FASHFEST debut. Attention grabbing occassionwear was the order of the day with dresses from Camilla, Bec & Bridge, Stevie May, We Are Kindred, Shona Joy, C/MEO Collective, Ginger & Smart, KITX, and Alex Perry. As the collection progressed, the glamour of each piece presented escalated before culminating in three show-stopping gowns by Alex Perry.
Beauty Note: Hair was parted at the centre, makeup featured winged liner, heavy blush and lots of highlighter.
Team Leiden on the night consisted of Emma Batchelor, Jenna Maurer, Hannah Wallace, Jesse Petrie and Johanna Dziadkiewicz who is also the offical FASHFEST illustrator.