When I was asked to attend Adelaide Fashion Festival I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t visited the state since I was a child and had heard various things about the scene and fashion industry, mostly good things, but what I really didn’t expect was how great it would actually be! Thanks to a referral from Perth PR, David Gardiner – AFF, Brand South Australia and Adelaide’s Empire PR, myself and a few other interstate bloggers were flown over for their closing night show. We were put up at the Hotel Richmond on Rundle Mall which was so central and perfect but you wouldn’t want to be old or boring – or have an early flight home because come Friday and Saturday night it is as if your hotel room turns into a nightclub from the music at their bar on Level 1. The true highlight of the exercise for me though, while very unexpected and obviously aside from the fashion fabulousness, was meeting our Adelaide host, Biela McMillan of Empire PR. It’s really not often that you meet someone and instantly adore them! Well that is what happened with Biela McMillan and above all I am so grateful to have met a new friend I felt I truly connected with.
Empire PR’s Biela McMillan and I below. We ended up wearing matching outfits I brought over from Perth label, Empire Rose – different but the same. Awwww.
I arrived on Friday, the first of us to check-in a day before the closing night show. I was told by hotel staff that the rest of us would be arriving Saturday, what a privilege to be a day early and get to view the TAFE students grad show. The others invited were TV fashion critic and publicist, Josh Flinn, Gemma Watts of couturing.com and Patty Huntongton of Frockwriter who unfortunately had to cancel her trip due to illness.
First up was TAFE and I was so impressed with the hard work of the 24 student designers who’ve studied long and hard for 3 years to present their final collections to a massive audience at the Adelaide showgrounds. I have been to many of these such graduate shows and what these designers were aiming to do with their mini collections was achieved so well – not an easy feat, nor typical of student designers. The quality was there.
I always find it funny that as a backstage blogger, no matter where I am, it requires some serious wrangling to get a prime position backstage as people are not used to my role. There are always so many people working on these shows that it is almost impossible to technically be ‘allowed’ to take photos right next to the runway exit between model changes, even if you were flown interstate to be there – but like always, I made my presence known and stuck to my guns to secure a great spot backstage. I managed to get some awesome shots – check out the post here or below – thanks to the organisers for not moving me, even though I was really a complete unknown to everyone around me. The models were so generous and mostly the collections were finished beautifully.
The following day, Biela and I had breakfast at Central Market, the most incredible fresh produce destination I have ever seen. Later, Adelaide born – turned Sydney style icon, Josh Flinn of Australia’s Next Top Model fame joined us as we attended the Westfield Marion spring show. I had the best macaroons I’ve ever eaten at that show, followed by so much champagne I needed to take a bath in my hotel room in the afternoon to unwind before the evening’s proceedings. It was go go go and my feet were killing already by this point!
We were later joined by blogger and Melbourne Fashion Editor, Gemma Watts to attend the closing night show which was incredible! The venue was so beautiful and timeless and I absolutely loved the hair by Kevin Murphy. I was told that Kevin Murphy himself called from New York to say the hair done at Adelaide Fashion Festival was the BEST he’d ever seen in history done under his name. A very high coup indeed! The cloudy sky backdrop backstage was such a great fixture for me, I don’t actually know what it was doing there but I wish there were more awesome backdrops like this for me to shoot in front of backstage.
That scene mixed with the hair and the outfits by eight Emerging Designer Award Finalists including casper&pearl, Willow & Grace, Thembekile, Georgia Guy, Morning Theft, Namoi, Orbin and Designer Duchess and South Australia’s leading designers Cameo, Finders Keepers, Keepsake, Jagger, Yvonne Faye, Necia, Liza Emanuele and George Gross & Harry Who, Malachi Empire and couture+love+madness really popped for the pictures!
When you spend most of your life with this view, trust me it is gym inspo
All models were from Finesse – there are some seriously stunning models in Adelaide! This model, MJ had just come back from New York walking for the runways internationally and was one of my fave posers to work with, with clearly some experience in front of the lens
Here she is again, beauty!
It was the 40 year Anniversary of George Gross + Harry Who
A model watches the screen projected onto the back wall. Above & below models wearing George Gross + Harry Who
THINGS I LEARNT ABOUT ADELAIDE
- Emma Hack who hails from Adelaide is the famed body painter of Kimbra and Gotye for the million, trillion viewed video, Somebody I Used to Know. I met her at a bar called Miss Miami that Biela took me to (awesome place) and she told me she had just come back from Perth for a commission with the WA ballet. She showed me some images on her phone that were faces created out of naked bodies, shot at the ABC studios. Her work is incredible! I will definitely be following up with her for a post coming soon!
- Vogue Fashion Editor, Christine Centenera’s sister looks almost identical to her and they both also come from Adelaide.
- Central Market has the most incredible fresh produce all in the one place out of anywhere in Australia. The individual markets even have their own PR companies and Central Market itself has a CEO, full staff, PR and is a highly profitable business.
- Biela’s brother in law is James Dugian, the long-time trainer of Elle Macpherson and personal trainer to stars such as Hugh Grant and Victoria Secrets models including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. He has a highly successful wellness business called Bodyism that Bulgari own a stake in.
- There are very ‘kewl’ places to eat, drink and shop everywhere in Australia – including Adelaide. I mean actually rad, hip and chic – I knew Adelaide would have niche hubs but I didn’t realise how actually awesome it would be. DEFINITELY worth a visit for shopping, restaurants and night life!
- Once again this trip reaffirmed the fact that Fashion is the ONLY industry where it is completely acceptable to be an alcoholic. Not only is drinking whilst working accepted, it is almost mandatory. Luckily I am not a die hard lover of alcohol but after a booze fuelled weekend, I was still in the spirit of enjoying my last hurrah before returning to Perth and had some wine on the plane on my way home on Sunday. As I attempted my second airplane sized bottle, I thought to myself how official I looked whilst editing photos, laptop on tray table, when in fact I was rather tipsy – I later regretted it. That high altitude theory of getting more drunk really is true. As I sat there on my flight while everyone else slept and watched movies- without realising it – I was working and drinking yet again! I hasten to add here that I actually take better photos when under the influence of alcohol for some reason – I think being brash and sassy works backstage and after 6 years of editing my photos, I could almost do it blind by now. The moral of the story I suppose is the irony of drinking and a career in fashion. If you were into alcohol and I mean really INTO it, fashion seems like the PERFECT career for you, however the classic thing is you would NEVER survive. I value my professionalism too much to really test this theory of how well I work under the influence and I ended up crashing at 10:30pm on Saturday night of the closing show and didn’t even attend the after party because 2.5 hours of backstage photography in heels and three long shows in 2 days is enough to exhaust an Olympic athlete.
- Working in fashion is so much fun, it is supposed to be fun and by golly is it ever! Thanks Adelaide, it was a BLAST!
For more behind the scenes of Adelaide Fashion Festival, follow me on instagram @stylevoyeur
’til next time,
xxx SV xxx