Top Couturier Launches Casual Range At Fashion Festival Return

Leading couturier Paul Hunt will launch his first casual and lifestyle range at this year’s 10th anniversary Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane at the John Reid Pavilion, Brisbane Showgrounds, from August 23-28.

RELATED: Emerging Swimwear Label Makes Fashion Festival Debut

Paul, 44, who splits his time between Brisbane and Paris, is renowned for his exquisite bridal gowns, finished by hand and created using the finest materials, intricate embroidery and embellishments. His breathtaking, luxurious Parisian-esque evening wear also makes him one of Brisbane’s, if not Australia’s, most prestigious, talented and in-demand couturiers.

Now, after one-year festival break, Paul’s fresh back from Paris to showcase his bold, new direction in a triumphant return at this year’s milestone Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane.

Paul Hunt, Paris style, fashion, Australian fashion designers, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane

“It’s really exciting to be back to showcase this new casual and lifestyle collection,” Paul says. “It’s a more accessible component – there are casual sets of clothing together, yet it’s still limited-edition. And there are no dresses at this stage, so it’s a complete turnaround from what I’ve done in the past – a complete new approach.

“It’s a different price point, but it was also created to give people a bit more of the Paul Hunt brand rather than just me being associated with bridal and special occasion and evening wear.

“Of course, I still get a kick out of bridal. It’s just so good to be a part of people’s most loving day.”

Armed with “fresh eyes, a fresh mind and a fresh heart” after his Parisienne jaunt with his partner, who’s based there, Paul says he’s got a brand new lust for life – and fashion.

Paul Hunt, Paris style, fashion, Australian fashion designers, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane

“I’m also really currently loving looking at how outfits and gowns from fabrics that are ordinary can be used in different ways!” he enthuses. “And then the evening gowns I’m doing are a little more refined. Oh and there is lots of lovely fabrics from Paris and London!

“My life is all about travelling at present; I’m heading back to Paris again soon. The benefits of having a partner living there include me having the opportunity to work in both Paris and Australia so I have the best of both worlds. It’s great for me work-wise – I do a lot of sourcing for fabrics when I’m in Paris. My partner loves Australia and will be coming out for this year’s fashion festival.”

An avid fashion designer since he was 16, Paul initially thought he’d become a costume designer. Now, after turning professional for more than 20 years, he’s still as passionate as ever about his craft and absolutely adores designing his bridal and couture ranges.

“My passion changes from time-to-time. Like all things in life, it depends on what’s happening around you. Sometimes it’s a dress style that gets me motivated, but more often or not it’s the fabric. I’m a textiles man. I love a great fabric – whether it’s a beautiful silk or lace or a stunning print,” he says.

“Being in Paris has given me a rest! After 10 years in a shop-front business, working almost seven days a week for a large part, it was nice to take a breath and take a look around; to look at the world with freshness. It was great! I approach fashion with a calmer feel.

“I loved Paris for Paris. It’s just beautiful and gritty and fun. Learning more of the language was great too. Now, I look at fashion with a different eye. French is different to Anglo-Saxon culture; there is a refined feel to the everyday Parisian. Yes, it’s the capital of fashion couture and one of the leaders of world style, but the everyday Parisians don’t walk around in couture gowns, yet they do have a refined look. I think I’ve taken some of that with me. A lot of the new collection was worked on in Paris this spring (their spring) so that has had a huge influence.”

Paul Hunt, Paris style, fashion, Australian fashion designers, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane

Paul’s other major muse is his new jewellery collaboration with fellow Brisbane-based costume jewellery designer Chelsea de Luca. “Look out on the runway for that and there will be limited-edition jewellery on sale too,” he says. “One of my closest friends whom I’ve known since I was a child, who has a keen interest for sparkly things, also gave me an old jewellery piece of hers. I’m currently using that as inspiration along with my collaboration with Chelsea.”

And Paul’s greatest personal indulgence in the busy lead-up to the fashion festival? For him now, it’s the simple joys. “Just the smile stuff,” he says, “Being on the sofa, next to the other half, with a scotch and soda, then a pizza. Oh and a chocolate is a must!”

This year’s 10th anniversary Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane will showcase the best spring/summer collections by big names such as Nicola Finetti, Jayson Brunsdon, Alex Perry, sass & bide and Easton Pearson. In addition, cult celebrity favourite Aje will make its Queensland catwalk debut in the Myer Spring/Summer 16 Fashion Show also starring The Face of Myer Jennifer Hawkins in her festival debut.

Paul Hunt, Paris style, fashion, Australian fashion designers, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane

Paul, who’s long been an avid supporter of the festival, makes his long-awaited return alongside some of these biggest names in Queensland and Australian fashion in the Group Show 2, says Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival director Lindsay Bennett.

“Paul Hunt has been a fabulous addition to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival, participating every year bar one. He’s made a name for himself as a Brisbane fashion favourite, with his couture and ready-to-wear collections always creating an amazing show,” Lindsay says.

“We never know quite what to expect from Paul each year except that we’re guaranteed a beautiful collection and plenty of ‘wow’ moments. He certainly knows what women dream of wearing and I think everyone waits with equal excitement for the ‘show-stopper’ that always closes his runway! We’re really proud to have him in the fashion festival again this year.”

For full details and tickets, visit www.mbff.com.au.

Images via theurbanlist.com, theblondesilhouette.com.au

Alice McCall Spring 2015 Lookbook

Alice McCall’s Spring 2015 collection is here and it delivers a fresh and flirty selection of dresses, skirts, tops and pants for the warmer season to come. The new line – And She Was, There She Goes – continues to mix bohemian roots with modern refinement for yet another beautiful collection.

RELATED: Ryder The Label A/W Lookbook

Some key pieces which are sure to catch your eye include subtle 1970’s inspired mid-rise flares, Halstonesque maxi’s and wide-leg jumpsuits with a modern twist.

Alice McCall Spring 2015 Lookbook

As for swimwear, it’s all about the high-neckline which is super-flattering for all body types. The dropped back one piece is also a stunning piece from the entire collection.

And She Was, There She Goes encapsulates the modern bohemian woman, offering an array of silhouettes from sheer shirts to signature jumpsuits. Playsuits build from last season, with covetable black lace and dreamy off the shoulder ruffles.

If McCall’s new collection is anything to go by, it seems the boho trend (made famous by Nicole Richie in previous years) will be back bigger than ever this Spring. Watch this space!

Will you be wearing bohemian threads this year?

MATICEVSKI Wows At Fashion Week Australia

MATICEVSKI has become a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia highlight over recent years – and 2015 was no exception. Designer Toni Maticevski presented his highly anticipated collection to a full house, attracting global VIPs, local and international press and buyers along with a strong front row celebrity attendance including Nicole Trunfio, Rachael Finch, Lindy Klim, Jessica Mauboy, Gemma Ward and Miroslava Duma.

The MATICEVSKI Fall 2015 preview boasted a stark white, acrylic runway spanning 30m long and 9m wide. Backed by a graphic, geometric white wall spanning 6m high, sound bites of atmospheric sounds reflecting a speed shutter of memories and nostalgia played over a overwhelming set which featured a hand-picked selection of top models who unveiled thirty-four looks which moved gracefully with the body via skillfully tailored tucks and pleats.

Jayne Wild for GHD created sleek hair to compliment the voluminous designs seen throughout the collection. The hair styling played on the idea of bringing in elements of technical moulding and working with artificial fibre against a natural beauty. Hence the bun encased latex layers, which twist and contort against the finely polished hair.

Nigel Stanislaus for MAYBELLINE, celebrated natural beauty enhancing the tone, skin texture and complexion of every girl. Instead of covering up the face each look was customised to the individual girl’s skin tone, texture and face shape ensuring a clean and refined look.

Similarly, Dinosaur Designs teamed up with MATICEVSKI creating custom jewellery created with spherical forms at the forefront. Contrasting delicate light-coloured spheres paired with a mix of precious metals enhanced the way the spheres captured light against the wearer’s skin and clothes.

Maticevski’s collection of Asylum-clean whites pave the way for dispersion into nostalgic florals and playful polka dots allowing a woman to gracefully fall into a deep, dark sky – a sky that greets the ocean on a horizon of arctic blue.

Check out the collection below:

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Understated Luxury Lovingly Made in Australia

You know you must be doing something right as a fashion designer when the likes of A-list celebrities such as Cate Blanchett, Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Hawkins, Jessica Mauboy and Delta Goodrem (pictured) wear your clothes.

And so it is for English-born, Sydney-based designer Rebecca Powell (pictured at bottom) who founded the Tluxe label in 2006. Here, she shares her design inspiration and highs and lows of running her own label with SHE SAID readers (see below).

Related: Juli Grbac’s Fashionable Life in New York

But first, some more about the label: effortlessly understated and elegant, Tluxe is an Australian lifestyle brand whose philosophy stems from the idea that garments should transcend fashion and become a lifestyle identity.

With a flagship store at Sydney’s upmarket Paddington (pictured), the label derives its name from a fusion of the words “deluxe” and “Tee”. It’s all about luxury, sophisticated basics designed for stylish layering and refined comfort.

Tluxe, basics, celebrity style
Rebecca strives to ensure each limited-edition collection showcases both immaculate craftsmanship and innovative design. Handcrafted by highly skilled artisans in Australia, Tluxe’s collections are created using the finest organic and sustainable yarns including bamboo, cotton, cashmere silk and Merino wool, ethically sourced from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Japan and Turkey.

With a Diploma in Fine Arts and Design and an Honours Degree in Textiles and Fashion, Rebecca was inspired to create an Australian-made label dedicated to luxurious basics, having previously designed for Selfridges, Topshop and Stirling Cooper in the UK as well as quintessential Australian brands Bonds and Mambo.

Inspired by the ambience of balmy summers spent by the beach eating gelato and taking in the vivid hues of the surroundings, Tluxe’s Spring/Summer 2014/15 collection “Horizon” (pictured) is in-store now.

Tluxe, basics, celebrity style

Tluxe, basics, celebrity style
It showcases effortless wardrobe staples in knitted, pigment and metallic linen, silk crepe de chine, silk georgette, jersey, organic cotton and tencel denim.
Tluxe’s collections are available online, as well as at selected stockists in Australia and internationally. Visit www.tluxe.com for more information.

Q and A with Tluxe founder, fashion designer Rebecca Powell

Tluxe, basics, celebrity style

Is there a kind of unique luxury associated with good-quality basics? The brand was born from a desire to simplify my wardrobe and the lack of locally made, perfect-fitting, well-made basics available. Everyone needs that perfect white T-shirt, the versatile white shirt, the comfortable lounge pant and that silky top in their wardrobe. There is beauty in simplicity! The luxury comes from the fabrics I work with. We source top quality fabrics internationally and work with local mills to develop fine merino wools, cotton and cashmere mixes and organic cotton jersey.

How does it feel to have so many celebrity fans wearing your clothes? Very flattering.

Who would you most like to dress? Kylie Minogue, when she is having an off-duty moment!

What are your favourite Australian and international brands? I really admire Akira Isagowa, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Martin Margiela and Rick Owens.

Who is your core customer? The busy career woman, the yummy mummy, the ecologist, the yoga devotee; our customers are very diverse. We often have mothers and daughters at the shop who both purchase. One thing they all have in common is a love of quality fabrics, great fits and the knowledge that style transcends fashion. They are also proud to wear an Australian-made product.

Do you have any burning, unfulfilled fashion ambitions? No, after years in the industry working with big brands and travelling extensively, I am happy to have a work-life balance, manage my business close to home and have time with my family and friends.

What’s best and worst about having your own label? The best: Being your own boss which allows flexibility and is perfect when you have young children. Oh, and lots of new clothes! The worst: Having to constantly check in, even when on holiday.

Who or what inspires you? Nature, art, objects, history and people. To quote Paul Smith: “You can find inspiration everywhere.”

Image of Rebecca Powell via www.dailyimprint.net.

Fashion With A Conscience: Ray-Ban Special Edition

Ray-Ban has released a Special Edition Indigenous Wayfarer in collaboration with the OneSight Foundation, as part of an initiative to improve the eye health of those in remote Australian communities.

The initiative specifically targets Indigenous Australians for whom blindness is six times more likely than other Australians.

The sunglasses feature the artwork of an upcoming Indigenous artist, Saretta Fielding, whose design was selected from a number of artists who submitted their designs as part of a competition held by Luxottica.

SHESAID attended the launch at the Australian Museum, where the Special Edition Wayfarers will be displayed as part of the Indigenous collection. The launch coincided with World Sight Day – the international event dedicated to raising awareness of avoidable blindness and vision loss.

It featured the entertainment of former Australian Idol winner, Casey Donovan, and was attended by an intimate crowd including the famous face of the new Wayfarers, supermodel, Samantha Harris.

The sunglasses will be available at OPSM stores from late October, with $50 from each sale to be donated to OneSight.


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Casey Donovan (Left); Samantha Harris (Right)

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Saretta Fielding – artist

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The Fine Art of Swimwear Design With Sara Winfield

From whimsical paintings and large-scale drawings to swimwear design, Perth’s Sara Winfield is one to watch. Here, the emerging artist-turned-swimwear-designer (pictured below), who founded her eponymous swimwear label this year, shares her design inspiration and summer swimwear tips with SHESAID readers, see below.

summer, swimwear, swimwear designer, australian fashion designers

But first, some background: modern and sophisticated with illustrative prints as its signature, the Sara Winfield label is aimed at striking a balance between creative art and classical and considered design and minimalism.

Entranced with line and colour in her art works, and renowned for her pastel-hued, fantastical beings, Sara is a young gun Australian fashion designer who’s been fortunate and talented enough to combine her two great loves of art and fashion design.

Related: Check out 6 UP-AND-COMING AUSTRALIAN DESIGNERS here or Julie Grbac’s Fashionable Life in New York

Since founding her art label in 2012, Sara’s held two solo exhibitions, a joint show with artist Anya Brock, received a commission at 140Perth and created artwork for model and interiors blogger Rebecca Judd.

Sara Winfield’s swimwear is available via the label’s e-boutique and select stockists nationally. Visit www.sarawinfield.com for more information.
In addition, Sara’s artworks and prints are available through commission or her online store – www.sarawinfield.bigcartel.com – with exhibitions planned for late 2014.

What’s your greatest love: art or fashion? Easy answer: art!

Who is your core customer? My core customer for both art and swimwear are generally people interested in design-based products who want something that makes a statement and is current.

What sets your swimwear apart? From first impressions, definitely the original, placement printing on my swimwear. But the process of creating those prints comes from a design process which I feel some labels avoid. I prefer to create a story of prints rather than just using stripes because they sell.

What should a customer look for in a good swimwear fit? A well-fitted swimsuit or bikini should make you want to ask someone for their opinion, not hide behind the change room door! It should make you feel confident, sexy and accentuate your assets.

Which body shapes are best suited to your latest swimwear styles? A small-busted girl! Being my debut collection (pictured below), I didn’t delve too far into swimwear that doubles as a booster, sucker, lose-10kg-underwear set! So, the tops are more suited to those with an A-C cup. I am definitely looking into styles that suit more shapes next season.

What’s best about designing swimwear? Definitely, getting your samples back. Working away on a laptop for hours upon end is so worthwhile when you get a physical product back in your hands. It just makes you think: “I made this!” – which is an awesome feeling.

What’s hardest? This first year has been hard because I’ve had to learn so much by myself. The actual designing of swimwear I find very simple! I could do four collections a year if it weren’t for all the “business” side of things!

What inspires you? My biggest inspiration is the outdoors. Natural things like plants, animals and landscapes. My mum always said that “nature always gets it right.”  Other than that, I create a lot of mood boards – colour is very important to me!

What other swimwear brands or designers do you admire? Obviously, Zimmermann, because both their swimwear and ready-to-wear are just incredible! I love Isabel Marant too, because who doesn’t? And ACACIA Swimwear because they’re so humble and sweet, yet amazing businesswomen!

What’s your burning ambition? I have given up trying to work out what “the end goal is.” I already know my mind is a busy place and I move on from projects or ideas quickly.

What are you currently working on? My spring/summer 2015 swim collection! Also, an exhibition of 20 or so paintings and dealing with a 10-week-old kelpie puppy.

summer, swimwear, swimwear designer, australian fashion designers

Michael Lo Sordo Thrust Onto The Global Catwalk

Michael Lo Sordo has been named the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship recipient for 2014, which will see him and his label given the tools to help take the label onto the global stage. 

Michael Lo Sordo, known for his timeless and luxurious designs, has been growing his label in leaps and bounds over the last 6 years, recently securing Net-A-Porter as an exclusive international stockist to launch in September 2014. His designs have been spotted on celebrities such as Jessica Mauboy, Montana Cox, and Kendall Jenner of Kardashian family fame, as well as being the go-to-man for big name fashion bloggers including Margaret Zhang (Shine By Three), Nicole Warne (Gary Pepper Girl), and Alexandra Spencer (4th and Bleeker).

Lo Sordo receives AU $10,000 worth of international freight, a DHL Express mentorship to supercharge his export strategy and, for the first time, mentoring from IMG Fashion in the US. Following on from the launch of the DHL Exported competition earlier this year, he will also be flown to New York for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week where he will meet with an international buyer.

MICHAEL LO SORDO, DHL, fashion scholarship, winner, Australian fashion, fashion designer, Australian fashion designer

Lo Sordo said he was overwhelmed by the honour and what this means for his business: “My brand philosophy has always been about understanding our market, and who the Michael Lo Sordo customer is, as I believe this is the key idea to achieving our future goals.

“Since the label began, I knew it was important to cement our foundation strongly within the Australian market before branching out overseas. Over the years we have built a reputation for our designs with strong support from celebrities as well as local and international media and buyers.

As part of his ongoing business strategy, Lo Sordo and his team are currently working on developing their online marketing and social media efforts, building a brand new website which will allow them to have a regularly updated blog and e-boutique. 

The job of reviewing this year’s entrants’ look books and credentials fell to an esteemed panel of judges, including Elle Turner, Director, Strategy and Brand Development, IMG Fashion; Alice McCall, acclaimed Australian fashion designer; Prue Lewington, Sunday Telegraph Fashion Editor; and Michael McManus, Sales Manager at DHL Express.

Alice McCall said Michael Lo Sordo was an obvious choice due to his understanding of range planning, ability to appeal to a range of demographics and styles, successful export strategy and huge potential for international growth: “Michael has that subtle gift in that he can make collections stand out, but not shout. You can imagine his collections fitting in seamlessly at Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman.

“Finding this balance is critical for international success. But taking a brand to the global market is about more than just the aesthetic, it is about delivering on time; understand the fit of the garments; and having a great quality product. Michael has all this and more. He shows a real balance between commercial appeal and having a unique twist – I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.”

The DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship is about helping to support up and coming Australian designers. Previous winners include KAHLO, Haryono Setiadi, We Are Handsome and Bec & Bridge, who have each successfully utilised the Scholarship prize to help catapult their business overseas. 

Ginger + Smart ‘Dualism’ Collection SS14

Genevieve and Alexandra were drawn to double exposure photography that captures multilayered images. They explored the beauty of contrasting elements and drew strong parallels to the woman of contrasts they are inspired by. Fluidity combined with structure and movement imbue silhouettes with strength and purpose. Long silhouettes and extended body-con shapes with fluid hems move with substance.

Prints are multi-layered and multi-dimensional such as the Rosy Rapture print that is layered with the strength of parallel lines within the flowers, evoking a shadowy double vision. In Precious Venom we see multiple exposures of rich, jade snake-skin morph into an aqueous waterscape, and the reptilian motif is cut out to create negative space and textured simplicity. The quartz print sees images of jagged rose-gold and black marble appear transversely on supple silks.

We see this double vision explored further in texture; the Delicate Predator French lace at closer inspection is a crocodile skin texture; Swiss mountaineering fabric is cut effortlessly into chic evening dresses, merging strength and femininity; linear French lace is poppy-red and layered with ease and transparency to create a new dimension… and then worn with sporty white flats. The Resolution white suiting features the whisper of a camouflage Jacquard while the giraffe-like Broken Beauty oversized metallic-cotton Jacquard is overlayed with fine mesh and frayed edges.

Accessories reflect the duality expressed in the RTW line and feature layers of texture in tones of rich blues, neutrals and white, trimmed with rose gold on ankles and heels. The covetable bags feature rich, navy croc and neutral reptilian textures in angular shapes that compliment the lines of collection. Dualism SS 14 is completed with rose-gold ear and neck cuffs and graphic sunglasses in complementing shades of rose pink, poppy red, navy and nude with luxe leather trim Dualism SS14 has a clear message: the Ginger & Smart woman is multilayered and spirited.