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TPFF 2016: Opening Night

21 September 2016

I’m first to declare that I’m not a fashion writer. I’m a kind-of fashion spectator, with a background in art and design, who likes to write from a very personal point of view.

Yes, I love theatre and visual art productions, which is why I love going to fashion shows – but let’s be honest, I’m really a fashion consumer who loves personal style and a shit load of shopping!

So I was very humbled to discover that I was invited to the Opening Launch of this year’s Telstra Perth Fashion Festival.

(The festival has been growing by leaps and bounds over the years, and I heard that tickets were quite hard to get!)

Thus I’m determined to draw out a slightly different view of the fashion festival for those who are interested.

Teltra Perth Fashion Festival 2016 - Opening Night

Firstly, let’s step aside from all the glitz, glamour and cray-cray pea-cocking… let’s talk about the production.

Very rarely do I get swept up and immersed into a fashion show. Virtual reality is all the buzz right now, and while we didn’t exactly see 3D projections and Tron landscapes… there was a very strong, visual nod towards it.

It was the combination of dark, DARK lighting, the delicious head thumping music, the blackened mirrored catwalk, the dramatic spotlights, and a mesmerising, floor-to-ceiling display of kaleidoscope ariel video… of the Australian outback reflecting off the catwalk.

It was superb!

The audience was treated to collections by a selection of Australian designers making waves in the international and national scene – Dion Lee, Bianca Spender, Flannel, Romance Was Born and Zhivago.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2016 - Dion Lee

Just last week, Dion Lee showed his SS 17 Ready to Wear Collection at New York Fashion Week. He wasn’t here in Perth, but we did get to see beautiful pieces from his Resort 2017 Collection, (which was also shown at New York in June) with some new permutations.

(Holy crap, that sounded way too much like fashion writer speak!)

Basically, Dion Lee started his label at the age of 23 and he’s a pretty much a genius with his tailoring, structural pattern-making, traditional craftsmanship and experimentation with new technologies.

I’ve read countless interviews of him (is that stalking?) and he’s one talented, hardworking and humble guy. I love his work, and I felt so honoured to be able to see his creations come down a catwalk.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2016 - Bianca Spender

Bianca Spender is also a big name in the Australian fashion scene. Her clothes are polished, elegant, sophisticated, alluring, discreet, and lady-like with a masculine edge. Again here’s another designer who focuses on classic tailoring and structural forms.

I don’t know much else about Bianca (except that she is the daughter of iconic Aussie designer Carla Zampatti) but I do own a lovely knitted top of hers.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2016 - Flannel

Kristy Lawrence started her label Flannel back in 2006; since then, she has won a few national awards, has 10 stores around Australia and the US, and an online store too. This year she’s celebrating her 10 years with a standalone runway event to showcase her Summer 2016 Collection (which I’ll be attending!).

Her clothes are very wearable. They are all about luxurious, effortless, natural beauty, while encompassing the beachy, Australian lifestyle. They are full of gorgeous feminine details, pleats, ruffles and lace, yet her simple pieces are still very elegant.

I did have the pleasure of meeting Kristy a few years back, she was really lovely. I even own a dress from her SS12 collection I think.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2016 - Romance Was Born

Romance Was Born is always a runway crowd pleaser! With their collections being shown at Paris Fashion Week next week, we were so fortunate to see them on the runway!

Loud, techno-coloured sequins, pictures of parrots and cocktail drinks, swaying pom poms, tasseled head pieces, furry shoes, rainbow embellished boots… it all put a smile on everyone’s face.

Fun, bold, colourful… if you’re looking for a cool statement piece for your next event, hit these guys up before they become uber-famous on the international set.

Telstra Perth Fashion Festival 2016 - Zhivago

Lastly Zhivago is a label most popular for their bold (provocative!), sexy, glamourous, red carpet gowns. Thigh-high splits, plunging necklines, deliciously dark blue sequins, sheer lace panels… these gowns are not for the faint hearted.

I’ve heard that their dresses are popular with celebrities, and have been worn by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kendall and Kylie Jenner and more.

Me on the other hand, I’m not so daring and I only own a peek-a-boo top.

So there you have it.

I have 3 of the 5 labels from this line up in my wardrobe!

I think this means… I’m definitely a fashion consumer who loves her Australian labels :)