David Jones Opening Runway at VAMFF

Michael Lo Sordo

It’s fashion week time again, and while we’ve seen our favourite high street designers take to the runways in New York, Milan, London and Paris over the past month, there really is nothing better than seeing the action right on our front lawn.

Correct, VAMFF has hit Melbourne again (finally), and the line up of amazing designers couldn’t be better.

The festival kicked off at Central Pier, Docklands on Saturday night with the Opening Runway presented by David Jones.

As the lights went down the sea of Australia’s most elite fashionista’s fell quiet as they stared down the runway to where the David Jones signs were illuminated.

Patiently awaiting one of the most anticipated shows of the week, bloggers, editors and influencers alike took to their phones, positioning them to get the best Instagram photo that was streamed to their feed instantly.

And then it began. David Jones ambassador Jessica Gomes routinely took to the runway in a signature floating Camilla dress, followed by fellow ambassador Montana Cox in another Camilla number.

A strong 70’s theme was central to most of the AW/15 collections, with breathtaking floor length silk dresses in moody hues, detailed fringing and wide-legged flares.

Running with the 70’s theme, Australian fashion industry legend Carla Zampatti showcased a pant flare similar to her collection last year, although with a softly tailored approach, as well as bold prints, cuts and black fur vests.

Christopher Esber executed the minimalist approach, with a collection that featured a gorgeous black silk wrap-front dress which fell to the floor with ease.

Kym Ellery did her signature fresh, clean structured suit, but the piece that stood out most was a lace jumpsuit in a midnight blue hue, that took everyone by surprise (good surprise that is), as it was loud in comparison to her regular aesthetic.

Ginger and Smart featured soft, tailored pieces and floating florals, as did Jac and Jack with a less structured version of the trench coat that was prominent in many of the collections.

70’s feather fringing featured at Maje and Scanlan Theodore, who got serious front row attention with their striped shimmer dresses and black floor length dress with a feathered halter donned by Montana Cox.

Michael Lo Sordo really stole the show however, when the last four models to appear on the runway emerged in 70’s style silk numbers, lead by a model in a floor length red silk dress that embodied elegance.

Take a look at my favourite looks from the runway below (click images to enlarge) and stay tuned to The Melbourne Look this week for all the latest VAMFF coverage.

All images via Lucas Dawson Photography.

Back to Basics with TheTwentyTwo

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Here in Melbourne it’s no lie that no matter what time of year it is, a few layers never went astray and a basic tee never hurt anyone.

In fact, while basics have always been a staple in the wardrobe it’s apparent this season, a crisp white shirt paired with designer can do wonders for your high street rep.

Lets face it girls, basics are here to stay and if you’re looking for a quality tee this season sisters Vicki and Jenny Lee from TheTwentyTwo have the perfect line for you.

If you’re an interior minimalist, you may already know the stripped-back, bare and beautiful quality TheTwentyTwo is synonymous with in the living room, dining room and kitchen. The girls are all about beauty in understatement, and this passion for all that’s simple has (finally) lead them to develop their first fashion basics range.

Designed and created from the highest quality cotton there are five styles for women in various understated colours and even three styles for the boys (ehem, men look great in basics).

Have a look through my favourites from the new collection and tell me what you think in the comments. All items featured can be ordered online at www.thetwentytwo.com.au.

MSFW Day 3 kicks off with David Jones Runway

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW) kicked off it’s runway series yesterday at the official hub on Swanston Street in the city.

The David Jones Runway saw the retail giant pull Spring racing wear looks from some of Australia’s key designers under a temporary marquee.

And although the skies were a typical Melbourne grey, the pops of colour on the runway made Spring Fashion Week all the brighter.

So what does David Jones tell us we should be wearing this coming racing season? Apparently it’s all about flirty  pastels, stand-out pencil skirts, boxy silhouettes and quirky takes on traditional race wear accessories.

I’ve pulled one of my favourite looks from the runway to create a flat lay that will inspire your Spring racing look. I feel like this modern Ellery dress with bell sleeves paired with a simple Gregory Ladner headband encompasses elegance and femininity and will set you apart from the traditional brights that are synonymous with the Melbourne races. The black socks paired with a cute pair of patent leather stillettos (these ones are Gucci), is the perfect quirky twist to add to that modernity; add some plain white Miu Miu sunglasses and you’ve got yourself a killer look.

Check out the rest of the looks from the DJ’s runway in the slideshow below, and stay tuned to The Melbourne Look this week for all the runway coverage of MSFW x



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Dyspnea: Paralysis

If there was ever a time to dig into your dress up drawer it’s now and Dyspnea is a label that’s bringing back princesses, mermaids and vampires with a crazy twist. Think The Little Mermaid decked out in diamonds, sparkles and fluffy pom poms.

Established in 2012 by Perth designers Jameen Zalfen, Rachel Motteram and Aimee Cherie-Kendall, Dyspnea has gathered a large fan base already, with over 12,000 followers on Instagram. After showcasing their line ‘Reptilia’ at Perth Fashion Festival in 2013, the girls were quick to develop an SS14/15 line for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia this year. Showcasing ‘Paralysis’ in the New Generation show, Dyspnea was a definite crowd pleaser; gaining significant media attention after the week.

I had a chat to Zameen, one half of the newly turned duo about fairies, sparkles and making the world a fluffier place, one crop top at a time.


Launched in 2012, Dyspnea has already gained an amazing response, what was it like showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in April?

It was an adrenaline ride – such an incredible experience. Watching the models out on the runway in our clothes was an out of body experience. We would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

How did the label begin?

We started out making outfits for ourselves to go out in, it then lead to stylists requesting loans and before we knew it we were making a collection for Perth Fashion Festival.

Dyspnea is Greek for ‘shortness of breath’, is that what you were getting at with the name?

We accidentally stumbled across the name and once we discovered the meaning it was just too perfect!


What inspired your SS14-15 line ‘Paralysis’? 

Rach has these pretty crazy visions, she was telling us pink and red are our staple colours at least a year ago – we also had a pretty mad obsession with fairies, mermaids and vampires. It’s just a big Walt Disney milkshake!

What three words sum up Paralysis? 

Enchanting, psychedelic and coma-inducing.

The flosstart crops have received an overwhelming response, how long does it take to handcraft one of your crops? 

We liked the idea of making a pretty piece of Dyspnea available to all of our customers. There are a few steps involved in completing the crop – we allow 2 days.


You’re an incredible team; do you have different roles within the production process? 

At the moment we are based in Sydney and Perth. One of us takes care of meetings, emails and our customers in Sydney while our studio is based in Perth where all sampling and pattern making is done. We communicate 24/7 and both have the same brain and thought pattern, which makes it easier but we’re regularly flying back and forth during the design process.

What’s the best part about working in a team? 

We build on each other’s strengths; one of us will have an idea and the other one will just snowball on from that. It’s great working with your best friend. You have tiffs and disagreements but at the end of the day we are all about Dyspnea.

Who’s the Dyspnea girl?

Everyone and anyone, any crazy little weirdo beautiful out there. We love our dyspets.


Instagram has been integral in the launch of your label, why do you think social media is so important? 

We couldn’t live without it! Instagram has been a platform to expose our label internationally. Social media reaches out to every human on this planet.

Do you have any plans for the next line? 

Bigger and fluffier!

If you could deck any celebrity in Dyspnea who would it be?

We have always had a crush on Rihanna….and seeing Iggy Azalea in our pieces would be unreal!

Where do you see Dyspnea in the next 5 years? 

All over the globe.


Images shot by Ben Sowry.

Follow Dyspnea on Instagram @dyspnea_ for fluffy inspirations or visit www.dyspnea.com.au for stock enquiries.


Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Bianca Spender

You could say the Bianca Spender show was one of the highlights of a fabulous week at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, and can we really be surprised? She is Carla Zampatti’s daughter after all.

In dimmed lighting, models were sent around an enormous, dark warehouse space where in which an old, wind-torn house was centred. Full of theatrics and even better fashion, the show featured a collection full of structured pieces and unanticipated detail.

Midriffs, slight cut outs and thigh slits highlighted the fact that Bianca knows what we want and need in our wardrobes. Unforeseen sexiness was entwined in each piece, with garments clinging perfectly to the body and falling low at the back.

Soft lilac was the key colour, thrown in among a mix of slim-fitting pant suits and a darker palette of sequins.

Images by: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.

Q&A with Kitty Scott


Picture a day lazing on the banks of Lake Como, Italy. The sun is beating down on your bare legs, you’re surrounded by picturesque mountains and laughing locals. As you cruise down the lake you admire the jaw-dropping natural beauty and old, elegant villas. This is CLEONIE. This is VOLARE.

CLEONIE is the child of creative Kitty Scott, who naturally gravitated toward swimwear designing after years of working for labels such as Zimmerman, We Are Handsome and Seventh Wonderland. Kitty’s Bachelor of Fashion Design she obtained from RMIT paired with her creative flair create the perfect label.

I had a chat to the designer about all things fashion, sunny and VOLARE.

What inspired you to create CLEONIE?

I have always dreamt of a beach life and always loved swimwear, fashion and retro style clothing.  After graduating from RMIT and working for other swimwear labels, there was no other choice than to chase the dream.

Your new collection is called ‘VOLARE’ which is Italian for flight. Why flight?

It’s a one word summary of the collection – really meaning to lose yourself and fly.

Your label has proved to be a great success, gaining significant media attention after it debuted at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia last month. What does a normal day in the office entail?

Every single day is a new chapter with new goals for us at CLEONIE.  You could find me working in the studio, pattern making – cutting and sewing samples, designing pieces for the upcoming collection, in and out of meetings, running to and from our local manufacturers… it’s constantly changing.

Tell us about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. What was running through your mind before and during the Group SWIM show?

I was fairly chilled out, trying to take it all in one breath at a time.  All the work had been done up to that point – it was time to just showcase the collection and sit back and hope it was received well. I had my little sister and best friend backstage with me, as well as the rest of my best friends and family watching from the runway. It made it all the more special to share that time with them.

I understand your recent trip to Italy is what inspired VOLARE, was there a defining moment that inspired you? A person? Print? Sound?

Yes, I was travelling through Italy with one of my best friends – we spent an incredible day at Lake Como and I fell in love with it.  The music, the sounds, the locals, the smiles, the summer heat, the aperitifs, the landscape… I can still close my eyes and picture being there. It was just one of those really special days.

Tell us about your design studio. What’s currently spread across your desk?

The CLEONIE design studio is based in Redfern in Sydney – it’s a grungy little area with lots of new happenings from pocket bars, cafes and retro furniture stores… I love it there! My work space table changes every day. Looking around now though I have new designs, fabrics and testing trims for the new collection scattered across part of it, as well as a large roll of fabric which I will cut this afternoon for the Volare collection to hit stores in August.

What’s on the cards for the next line?

Our new season will be launched around August/September and will be a continuation of the current VOLARE collection.  It will have some new cuts and prints – we want to continue telling the same story for this year.

I love that CLEONIE is 100% Australian. Why do you think it’s important to ensure you keep every aspect of your business Australian made?

Being 100% Australian made was a decision I chose long before launching CLEONIE. I believe we have highly skilled workers right here on our doorstep and they should be utilised before businesses consider moving manufacturing offshore.  I would prefer to spend more money on high quality Australian made garments where the money remains in our nation, over sending it to a foreign country.  Sadly, the industry is dying and soon there will barely be any businesses manufacturing garments here in Australia.

When an inspiration comes to you what do you do?

Depending on where I am or what time of day it is I always try to do a quick sketch, or a description. A lot of the time ideas pop into my head while I am going for a run or just about to fall asleep – if that happens I do the same and get that idea onto paper as soon as I can.

What began you on your journey into swimwear designing?

I love love love the beach and have always dreamed of being a mermaid (laughs). This is my way of being able to create beautiful swimwear pieces and accompany that with the wonderful beach culture our island nation is blessed to have.

Have you always been interested in a career in fashion?

Yes. Every since I was a little girl I loved more than anything to dress up and watch my mother and grandmother sew.  From a young age I was surrounded by beautiful fabrics and the skills of the women in my family – I think venturing down this path was inevitable.

What are you interests outside of the CLEONIE world?

The beach would have to be my paradise, I spend as much time on the sand as I possibly can.  I love to travel – road trips and camping would have to be a specialty.  But there is nothing like getting on a plane and exploring another land for a time either. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to break into the fashion industry?

Just get involved, whether it be an internship, a short course, a diploma or just going out there to learn how to sew – all of the skills that can be learnt come from the desire to achieve them.

Where do you see yourself and CLEONIE in the next 5 years?

CLEONIE will be more of a household name, it will be worn on beaches throughout the world.  We will have remained Australian made and be known and respected for that decision.

Who’s the ideal CLEONIE girl?

Anyone can be a CLEONIE girl- she is someone who knows how to have fun, is carefree at heart and loves spending time by the waterside with those friends that matter most.

Where can us Melbournians shop your collections?

CLEONIE is available online at www.cleonie.com. Here at CLEONIE we ship nationally and worldwide, meaning we can have any item on your doorstep in Melbourne in just two days.

You can follow CLEONIE on Instagram @cleoniebeachwear.

Images by: Ashley Russell.

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Michael Lo Sordo

The minute Michael Lo Sordo’s crowd walked into the room for his Spring/Summer 2014-15 show at Carriageworks they knew the showcase would be different.

As models steered around a three-dimensional sculpture on the runway, a burst of white and black pinstripes, pastel shades of yellow and pink and animal inspired textures lit up the room.

Clean lines were featured among graceful gowns and floaty layers were perfect in their styled embodiment. The true magic was the feeling of nonchalance throughout the collection. Dresses fell from models shoulders and layers hung loosely in casual directions.

Although all the tailored goodness of Michael Lo Sordo was present in his new collection, it dove into a softer side, with comfortable silhouettes portraying an ‘I just threw this on’ look.

Images: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Dion Lee II

Those who know Dion Lee would know he pulls the largest crowd of all Aussie designers at his shows, and the crowd at his Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show did not disappoint.

Set up in a converted warehouse in Sydney’s Waterloo district was Dion Lee II, the cooler younger sister brand to the designer’s main line, which saw an easy-to-wear, more affordable rendition of what was presented in New York several weeks ago for Autumn/Winter 2014-15.

Fundamental to the collection were dark pinstripes among pops of navy, cobalt and soft denim as well as origami like folds, splits and crisp whites.

The runway gave off a cool-girl cross menswear vibe, with loose tailoring, collared business shirts and slouchy suits contrasted against a feminine colour palette and a couple of little black dresses.

All in all, Dion Lee schooled the audience on how to re-invent denim in a fresh way and rock a varsity look with college stripes and a clean folded bomber jacket.

Images by: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.