HOT: Spirit of the Black Dress, Georges, 195 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

You think Melbourne fashion, you think black. So it’s only natural that the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week program includes the inaugural exhibition The Spirit of the Black Dress, a collection of ten interpretations of the wardrobe essential from various up-and-coming Australian designers.

The final ten dresses, selected by designer Joe Saba, trend forecaster and creative strategist Robert Buckingham and FASHIONTREND’s Nikita Papas, interpreted the classic black dress in a variety of beautiful designs. My favourite was Andy Tsang’s creation, a combination of a 50s full-skirted silhouette with Japanese-inspired origami folds at the neckline and an unexpected, subversive tail at the hem – just to give the perfection some rawness. Second up was another structural creation, a tailored dress by Sonya Kraan consisting of folded, flipped out circles which seemed to be held together only by buttons.

Spirit of the Black Dress Georges 195 Little Collins St Melbourne

Spirit of the Black Dress Georges 195 Little Collins St Melbourne

Other designs included Rachael Cassar‘s sleek black and flecked gold gown, made entirely of post consumer textiles, which will be going to London as part of London Fashion Week 2009 Estethica. The fantasy tulle swing dress was a commissioned piece by ex-Project Runway Australia runner up Leigh Alexander Buchanan. Alyana Eau’s exaggerated shoulder-embellished dress has been earmarked by the NGV’s curator for International Fashion and Textiles for her personal wardrobe.

Spirit of the Black Dress Georges 195 Little Collins St Melbourne

In an inspired move, to ensure that the exhibition didn’t just look like a shop window, each mannequin was accompanied by a dramatic, smokey photograph of a red-lipped model with wild teased hair, each of whom brought an edgy angularity to the gowns.

While the clothes were beautiful, what impressed me even more was hearing about the genesis of the project from the young founder. Tullia Jack studied fashion production at Moreton TAFE and merchandising at RMIT. She’s been constantly amazed and inspired by the creative talent surrounding her – but she was aware that of her friends and classmates were working as waitresses and shop assistants to pay the rent. She believed passionately that these exceptional talents should be given a chance to show the world what they could do.

So she gathered together a group of likeminded people who kindly donated their services, such as photographer Christian Blanchard and stylist Jordan Moore, and then with funds from her own pocket she worked on the showcase while keeping down her day job.

We all want to support young Australian talent, but I think it takes a lot of gumption to do something practical about it. I left feeling so impressed by Tullia’s vision, her initiative and her skill in developing such a professionally produced event. She’s hoping that The Spirit of the Black Dress will become an annual fixture and I think she deserves all the support we can give.

HOT: Fashion at Altitude, GPO, cnr Elizabeth and Bourke St, Melbourne

From Fashion at Altitude – Melbourne’s GPO

Despite being a go-getter and jet-setter, believe it or not I don’t get to be a VIP very often (haha). A SLR camera and Moleskine notebook doesn’t generally equal red carpet fabulous, so I was thrilled when I was able to attend the VIP show of Fashion at Altitude S/S 09/10 runway parade at Melbourne’s GPO as part of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. So I was able to do my serious blogging work at the afternoon show and enjoy the limo ride (wee!), champagne and canapes at the evening show with just a sparkly clutch purse in hand.

The first floor of the elegant heritage listed building was turned into a U-shaped catwalk with a single row of chairs lined up on the side – probably the only time I’m ever going to be sitting in front row a la Anna Wintour. The red-lit catwalk gave a beautiful glow to the clothes and the models as they strolled languidly down the red carpet in beautiful dresses from GPO retailers and fabulous headpieces (by Paris Kyne).

It would become a long rambling post if I described the many gorgeous outfits, so I think I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

Fashion at Altitude, Melbourne’s GPO, cnr Elizabeth and Bourke St, Melbourne

HOT: Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton, ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne

For a thrilling moment I thought that the door prize for the screening of Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton was a Marc Jacobs handbag. That would have been a great way to dive into Melbourne Spring Fashion Week!

The movie is part of a season of films curated by ACMI called Marc Jacobs on Film, which includes several documentaries about this famous New York designer as well as other ‘inspired by Marc Jacobs’ films. The screening was introduced by the black-clad snake-hipped and camp-tastic Bryanboy, a fashion blogger and friend of Marc who has a Marc Jacobs handbag named after him.

Marc Jacobs has been called the most influential American fashion designer of his generation. When he’s at the helm of his eponymous label in New York he’s at the epicentre of the city’s social whirlwind (his decadent end-of-year parties are legendary). In addition, this fashion workaholic has been the creative director of Louis Vuitton since 1989. At the time, the appointment of the unpredictable inventor of grunge to the venerable fashion house made headlines, but it’s proven to be success. Louis Vuitton has maintained consistent growth over the years and is about twice the size of its nearest competitor. The label contributes to about 50% of the profits of the LVMH conglomerate.

In the film we are allowed previously unattainable access to Marc’s creative process as he flits between New York, Paris, Tokyo and London. Inside his studio are mood boards taped with snippets of random inspiration, tired models standing on 15 inch heels for hours of fittings and a sense of family, as many of his faithful staff have been working with him for years.

The camera follows his life closely – we gain an insight into his sometimes serendipitous creative process, his style mantra for trashing beauty and we watch him cutting fabric on the floor, paste leather circles onto a handbag design and rub shoulders with models, editors, businessmen, artists and celebrities. After years of abuse he’s given up alcohol and drugs although he continues to smoke constantly. Mostly he treads around in a uniform of t-shirts, cargo pants and trainers while fabulously pretty creations materialise around him. He likes to collect modern art and views artists with awe, as he believes that fashion design is the lowest rung in the creative hierarchy.

The heart of the film is the extensive preparations, tension and sleepless nights just before the Louis Vuitton Spring 2007 show.  The day before, the staff work all through the night, stitching and matching accessories in organised chaos. On the day the clock counts down to backstage as outfits arrive from the atelier literally one minute before the show’s about to start. When those outfits appear on the catwalk, I just want to own every single piece.

HOT OR NOT? Valentino giveaway


Here’s a great Melbourne Spring Fashion Week event for fashionistas – a film and fashion event at Lygon Court with fashion parades and a preview screening of the new fashion documentary Valentino The Last Emperor at Cinema Nova.

I  have 3 tickets to give away for this great event at 6:30pm on Wednesday 2 September. The ticket includes a fashion parade, movie, a light meal and beverage (sorry no Lygon Court voucher). If you’d like to go, just pop me an email at with your name and phone number.  Winners will be drawn at midday tomorrow and ticket pickup will be from the CBD. Good luck!

Update 1 September 2009: Thanks for everyone’s responses! If you missed out this time, you may want to get your hands on a ticket to Fashion at Altitude S/S 09/10 12:15pm runway parade at Melbourne’s GPO tomorrow, Wednesday 2 September. There are no tickets left and they’re in high demand! If you’d like to go, just pop me an email at with your name and phone number.  The winner will be notified at 10am tomorrow and ticket pickup will be from the steps of the GPO. Good luck!

HOT ALERT: Week of 31 August 2009

Another week, another festival. This time it’s Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (1 – 6 September) and despite the fact that it’ll be my first week in my new job, my diary is packed with events:

There are many more events on during Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, two of of which I’m going to mention:

  • A shout out to my beautiful and ever-stylish friend Alex, who is the brains behind Eco Fashionista, a new online boutique for luxury eco fashion from Australia and around the world. She’s a fashionista who likes to live green, so she’ll be at Eco Luxe Fashion Expose (ELFE) on Wednesday 2 September, one of the people bringing eco, sustainable fashion beyond dreadlocks and tie-dyed hemp.  During ELFE there will a special prize draw to win a beautiful Cylk dress from her boutique (valued $500) and the first 250 visitors will receive an Eco Fashionista discount voucher in their goodie bag. Tickets for ELFE are available via 0421 411 114, and Eco Fashionista opens it doors on Wednesday! For MEL: HOT OR NOT readers, you can receive 15% off your first order if you enter the discount code ELFE at checkout before 14 October 2009.

ELFE Melbourne Spring Fashion Week

  • You’ve heard me rave about Thread Den before and on Friday 4 September and Saturday 5 September, the Thread Den ladies are hosting the Killer Queen catwalk parade. Tickets are $12 (plus booking fee) at the Thread Den shop plus you go into the draw to win a pre-show makeover and dinner at Sosta Cucina, bar tab at the after party and accommodation for two. I hope they’re showing a new range from Oh Bluebird, as lots of people have been admiring my Lucy in the Sky dress.

Killer Queen Thread Den Melbourne Spring Fashion Week