VAMFF struts its stuff at the Fashion Capital

A striking look by Dotti. Image: Claire de Freitas

A striking look by Dotti. Image: Claire de Freitas

Self-proclaimed fashion capital, Chadstone Shopping Centre in East Malvern, recently established a partnership with the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival(VAMFF), marking the beginning of a new era for its in-house fashion presentations.

Three Runway shows were held over the 20th and 21st March in the centre’s fashion precinct, presenting the Autumn/Winter 2015 trends.  The stores of well known designers serve as a border to the pop-up VIP lounge and runway.

The fast-paced Saturday morning runway show is held on an oval-shaped runway with a mezzanine level in the middle, adorned with the furniture one would expect in a retro Parisian café.

Unlike the majority of fashion shows which divide their collection into categories by designer, Chadstone’s fashion show was organised by new season trend: New Romantic, Soft Military, Lady Grey, Retro Perspective, Boys Club, Embellished Truth and Bohemian Rhapsody.  This format created the space for over 40 designers to be included.

The garments on show are as diverse as the trends.  Traditional chunky knits and trench coats are paired with light-weight shift dresses.  Bright prints and bold accents, which one would expect in to only see trending in warmer months, are shamelessly teamed with suit pants.

The womenswear cuts vary from 1960s inspired a-line mini skirts to fitted dresses. Necklines are mostly high with flirty cut-outs and skirt lengths varied from just above the knee to full-length.

With daring options such as plaid suits, velvet jackets and printed pants on show, men are encouraged to think beyond the safe Melbourne uniform of a black or grey suit this season.

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It is great to see a variety of well-known Australian designers featured including: Carla Zampatti, Arthur Galan and Gorman.  In a refreshing twist, inexpensive chain stores such as Dotti and Witchery are also included.

Garments featured in the show are available at Chadstone, ensuring that shopaholics can promptly get their hands on their favourite pieces.  Fashion aficionados may suggest that this move makes the show more advertisement than art, but I think it was clever choice.

Runway shows in shopping centres can make even the most niche designs feel accessible.  Fashion Shows such as the Chadstone Runway entices shoppers to try Australian brands and help local fashion houses to survive.

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