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MBFWA 2016 Highlights

Camaraderie, creativity, entertainment, good beats, innovation, champagne and excitement! This year I was invited to cover Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) for this blog and for next month’s (June) issue of Citizen Magazine. A first for me.  Opportunities are opportunities and I’m always game for new challenges. And so I attended what turned out to be a big week of Australian talent being showcased and a week of fun at Sydney’s Carriageworks.  Here’s my recap and highlights.

All photos courtesy of my pal Enrico Becker unless otherwise stated.

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From the Maticevski opening show.

Prior to attending the shows, I gave a lot of thought about how I wanted to report on MBFWA. What do people really want to know? I asked my friends who don’t work in the industry and also those who do. What would be interesting to read about? Does anyone actually care what the latest “trend” is or do we only care because mainstream media tells us to?… Is it perhaps more interesting to dispel the myths about an industry so frequently criticised and stereotyped… What really goes on backstage?…

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The hair and makeup from Maticevski.

Not sure I wanted to take any of those angles, I kept an open mind throughout the week and chatted to as many stylists/models/designers/PR people/makeup artists/hairstylists/photographers and guests as possible, hoping somewhere along the way an idea would come to me. And it did. Because I had a really fun week. For so many reasons… And that is what I would love to share.  In 7 points…

1) CELEBRATION

It felt great to be able to celebrate with and support all the hard work of my peers. From watching a childhood friend debut her jewellery label on the Zhivago Runway…

“The best part of Fashion Week was seeing El Minara on the runway. To think that one year ago I was learning jewellery making in the grand bazaar in Istanbul and now it is in Australia’s most prestigious fashion event… It was a real moment to see how far I have come.”
-Reema from El Minara

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(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

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(Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

To seeing models I’ve worked with in the past lighting up the runway and having fun backstage…

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Backstage at Emma Mulholland, Vivien’s model Woan Ni (right) told me her fashion week highlights included the “mega makeover at Emma Mulholland, being blinged up with Swarovski at Tome and working with old and new friends”.

And watching friends star in fashion films…

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Five Twenty Management’s Kirsty (left) starring in Marie Schuller’s ‘Three Women Arrive’ fashion film which screened at Fashion Week and showcased three Australian designers.

Kirsty said her fondest memory was the vibe at Carriageworks.

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“There were so many different styles and trends happening that there was always something to see. I could have people watched for an eternity!”

2) THE BEATS

I often say if I wasn’t a makeup artist I’d be a DJ and boy was the music phenomenal this year! Something for everyone-  LL Cool J sampled with Vanilla Ice(!), Salt-N-Pepa, Stormzy, What So Not, The White Lamp, Gesaffelstein and even Marilyn Manson made an appearance.   Thanks DJ Sveta and DJ Sam Francisco for keeping my Shazam app very active during shows!

And then there was my personal favourite, so catchy it became my theme song of the week, Riton & Kah-Lo’s Rinse & Repeat. You know the one…

“Time to make the club go up, time to shut the club down

This is not how I woke up, but it’s how I look now”…

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Some of the artists on my playlist courtesy of MBFW 2016! Images courtesy of Soundcloud.

3) BACKSTAGE BUZZ

Backstage is where the magic happens before it happens some more on the runway. Hanging backstage and watching the final touches come together was fun, nothing like the adrenalin rush of backstage.

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4) LEARNING SOMETHING NEW

Attending shows with my good friend and Creative Director of Elevate Styling, Orla Molloy, I loved cross-checking our highlights from each show because obviously we both approach fashion from different perspectives. Molloy is all about the clothes, I’m all about the highlight. Jokes aside, it was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Australian designers and their collections. I now have a shopping list the size of my arm.

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Creative Director of Elevate Styling, Orla Molloy and Fashion Week buddy.

 5) PHENOMENAL PRODUCTION VALUE

The production value on some of the shows was enough to rival London’s West End.

My personal favourite was at Zhivago where they breathed life into cult classic 1992 film Death Becomes Her. Creative Director Matt Jordan (Mother Father PR) enlisted choreographer Porter James to open the show with a riveting cabaret act (performed by theatre starlet Christie Whelan-Browne), who backed by a troupe of male dancers, performed a modernised arrangement of “I See Me” from the film.

Touted as a subversive adaptation, set in the digital age, ZHIVAGO’s Death Becomes Her has been labelled as “examination of fashion and beauty through the fractured lens of social media”. – Zhivago, 2016

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6) THE INNOVATORS

The new faces of Australian Fashion. So fresh and too cool. Known as The Innovators, the six graduates from prestigious Fashion Design Studio showcased their collections and I can’t thank them enough for daring to be different and for giving me so many WOW moments.

My top four designers…

Kakopierosa collection designed to create an immaterial reaction/emotion within the subject.   

Take a moment to admire these works of art.

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

And the facial adornments- designed by Demetra Kakopieros and brought to life by German jewellery designer Lisa KW.  Models had to have numbing cream applied prior to the attachments.  Now that’s dedication to your craft.

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

Oxblood- the “Revolt” collection was based on the concept of a “second movement”, a second punk movement (yes please!). Dreaming into the future of what this second uprising, mutiny or riot would look like, how the young “hooligans” would dress in defiance and what technologies they would use. 

This collection had me dying to go back to London, tame my mane into a mohawk and get amongst it!

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

Jessica Vanoffered quirky womenswear, with transitional evening pieces and focused on natural textiles and textures. Her collection “Experiment 1” showcased the exploration of the Australian desert and native bushland using hand painted print work.

Draping to die for!

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

IpsenPain and constriction disguised by beauty is the inspiration for this collection. The concept was explored throughout the collection within the textures and techniques of the garments.

Adore and admire.

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

7) PARTY TIME!

And finally, Fashion Week was a great opportunity to see so many people I had worked with. When you’re a freelancer, you don’t go to an office or designated workspace every day and you don’t see the same people 9-5pm. Every day is different. So from a social aspect, this was like a week-long Christmas party. No one needs to ask me twice!

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And that’s a wrap! If you want to know more about the fashion and beauty from the runway, keep your eye out for next month’s issue of Citizen Mag where I’ll be recapping all the key looks.  As always, feel free to leave and comments or questions below.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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