via the Meraki Instagram
Natural light spilled from the windows of the Fitters Workshop. Two rows of white chairs were arranged in the centre of the room, a minimalist floral photo wall stood against the wall and stalls of clothing and accessories lined the side of the space. A table groaned under the weight of perfectly arranged food, the angelic voice of Danny Pratt cut through the air and a pop-up nail bar waited it to be enjoyed.
Everything was picture-perfect. But that’s not such a surprise for Meraki, an event that was born from Instagram.
An hour after arrival (plenty of time to enjoy food, drinks, designer stalls and nails) the runway presentation began featuring the work of four designers: Gerhardus Harmannus, Claudia the Label, Venus Blooms, and Bianca Pavlic the Label. Hair and makeup were designed by Katie Saarikko using products from Beaudazzle Beauty.
Gerhardus Harmannus presented pieces that were androgynous, dark and edgy, while Claudia the Lable offered lingerie that was light and feminine. Both Venus Blooms and Bianca Pavlic presented festival wear, loud and clashing for the former, bohemian and textured for the latter. Models hair and faces were natural.
When we spoke with Maryanne before the event she mentioned diversity being a key part of what she and Bianca were trying to achieve with Meraki. While there was diversity in the size, shape and ethnicity of the models, there was little in terms of age. The models that roamed the runway did reflect the majority of the audience as well as the intended age demographic of the labels presented but this made for a narrow focus on youth which may have hindered ticket sales.
Watching guests interact with the space, largely through their phones, got us thinking a lot about events in the age of social media. Birthdays, engagements, hens, weddings, pregnancy, baby showers births: social media has changed the way that we celebrate. When ten years ago we might have just had our friends over, shared a meal, perhaps taken a group shot at the end, we now have dress codes, aesthetically considered food and props, photo walls.
But that’s just the personal, social media has undeniably changed the way that we experience external events as well. Today, documentation is of equal if not greater importance than the real life experience. Meraki looked beautiful on instagram as it was designed to do. The sound issues, dead time — every new event has teething troubles — of course don’t make the supercut.
The whole point of filmic documentation is to curate, to edit, to give all the best parts of an experience tangibility and permanence. It’s natural. But does that mean that an experience is only authentic right up until the point it is documented or can the act of documentation itself also have authenticity? What is more important and what do we value more?
The time, effort and expense of putting on an event of such scale, should not be overlooked and the importance of such events in our fashion landscape can not be understated. Maryanne and Bianca have curated a beautiful event that brought together and showcased the work of many local creatives and that offered an insight to our youth culture.
We enjoyed our time with Meraki and look forward to seeing what comes next.