Ekka celebrates Fashion

Ekka_Rush005-12The maxim says “Things get better with age”, and that’s certainly true for the Ekka, which is currently celebrating it’s 139th year.
The extensive redevelopment programme of the showgrounds is coming ever closer to completion and the venue is looking increasing elegant with the whole event feeling much easier to navigate again.
This year’s show displays the ever increasing sophistication and broader appeal that has been evident over the past few years and we were lucky enough to secure front-row seats to the always fabulous Natural Fibres Fashion Parade.
The parade itself is enjoying a milestone of it’s own this year, with Brisbane fashion legend Lindsay Bennett celebrating his 25th year of directing Australia’s longest running free public fashion parade.
We attended on the second day of the show and it was wonderful to see crowds queueing to grab seats, ample evidence of a passion for fashion in Brisbane.
The catwalk show opened with a creative, informative and highly enjoyable history reel that took the audience on a brief history of the Ekka, before the opening segment, a stunning retrospective of designs from leading couturiers involved in the parades over the past 25 years.
This year’s show was a true catwalk event, with exquisite choreography and bubbly, vivacious models who were clearly enjoying the experience. The highly polished parade featured a unique mix of emerging talent and iconic brands, with stunning outfits and millinery for every conceivable occasion.
A spectacular, high-split gown with see-through red lace bodice and flowing skirt from the always edgy George Wu was one of my favourite pieces from the current collections on show.
The grace and feminity of the Darb Couture bridal gown in the retrospective segment showed the timeless elegance of Brad Webb’s creations and why he’s one of Brisbane’s leading couturiers.
You really don’t want to miss out on this show and if you haven’t been yet, you’ve still got time to get along and enjoy this wonderful spectacle before the Ekka closes on Sunday 14th August.
Retrospective Gowns from the past 25 years included: Keri Craig, Anthony Leigh Dower, Grbac, Maiocchi, Tengdahl, Paul Hunt, Darb Couture, Pia du Pradal, Cotton Wool, Sacha Drake, Bora and George Wu.
The parade included fashions from Sacha Drake, White Label Noba, Hunt + Kelly, Maiocchi, Bags by Louenhide, TAFE Queensland Brisbane, QUT Fashion School, Tengdahl, The Irma J Smith House of Fashion, Pia du Pradal, Darb Couture, George Wu and Paul Hunt.
Production Credits:
Executive Producer – Lindsay Bennett
Parade Stylist – Kimberley Gardner
Choreographer – Bernadette Bagley
Lighting & Audio – Microhire
Projection Screens – Microhire
Set Design – Iceworks Design
Hair Stylists – CorCorz Hair
Video Production – TPD Media
Stage – Corporate Stage Solutions

The wrap party

GoE_Wraps_Blog002-3Last Saturday our friends at Gowns of Elegance hosted an eagerly anticipated high-tea function to celebrate the launch of a new range of fabrics and styles of wrap dresses from designer Erika Coyle, who was on hand to demonstrate some innovative ways to wear these versatile outfits. As usual, Linda, Bella and their team had created a stunning atmosphere with their Chermside boutique stylishly decorated for the occasion by Annastasia from Grande Moments Weddings & Designs. The floral decorations were particularly beautiful, with fresh roses being a distinct theme. We loved the unique “rose ceiling” feature with individual stems suspended in glass tubes. Guests arrived to find the store looking exquisite, with gift bags waiting on white americana chairs and a celebratory glass of champagne on offer, together with a smorgasbord of sweet and savoury treats for attendees to enjoy.

Whilst the event was aimed at Bridesmaids, Erika’s new range includes some stunning white lace and tulle gowns that would be equally suitable for brides, especially those planning a destination or casual beach wedding. The new “uber-bling” sequin fabric range of gown was especially popular with the bridesmaids in attendance who could clearly envisage being able to wear the gowns to formal events as well as to a wedding. Wrap dresses, being so versatile, are extremely popular right now, and are available from a number of sources, but not all are created equal. Erika’s dresses have a wonderful quality and feel. The gowns can be made in different weight fabrics and are made locally in South East Queensland.

Dave from Masterpieces Photography + Video was lucky enough to be invited to capture the event and you can see some of the highlights below. If you weren’t able to get to the high-tea on Saturday then you should give the team at Gowns of Elegance a call and make a time to visit their showroom and take a look at their incredible range of both bridal and bridesmaid dresses.

Gowns that your Grandmother might not like

Your grandma might not approve but there is a definite trend towards bridal gown designs that might cause blushes amongst earlier generations. Figure hugging sheer fabrics and see-through lace are now no longer the preserve of Hollywood sirens with a daring range of plunging necklines and low backs now de-rigeur in most modern collections. Skin is most certainly in!
Are you confident enough to strut in these stunning gowns from some of our favourite
designers?

 

The end of MBFF

The end of an era.

It’s been a very sad week for fashion in Brisbane with the announcement that the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival (MBFF), is no longer going to take place in the city.
After a wonderful, decade-long run of haute-couture shows in fabulous locations, the organisers have been forced to pull the plug after the State Government withdrew support for the event.
You could feel the emotion in Festival director Lindsay Bennett’s frank and open press release and the news has been greeted with dismay and disbelief in Brisbane’s fashion community.
As we have described many times, MBFF was a world class event which put Brisbane on the international fashion stage and created opportunities and opened doors for many of the city’s  talented designers.
Last year’s 10th anniversary event was particularly memorable, with the EKKA show ground location transformed into a European-style, destination show. At least the team can say they went out with a bang, with record attendances and one of Australia’s top models walking the runway.
How established labels will replace the exposure generated by MBFF in the future is questionable, with huge added expenses likely to be incurred to attend Sydney or Melbourne shows.
Of even greater concern is the flow-on effect to up and coming labels who will no longer have the benefit of the festival group shows and networking opportunities the festival provided to press their cause.
At a time when Brisbane is finally able to attract world-class fashion stores and labels we can only hope that this is a temporary blip and that the Government realises what an enormous impact this will have on the burgeoning Brisbane fashion industry.
As a fashion devotee I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it is just Au revoir and not Adieu!

The Main Event – The QC Club Bridal Show MBFF

MBFF_Bridal_GW083It may not have had Jennifer Hawkins walking for Myer, but for us here at The Wedding Alley, this show was the big ticket item of the week. Brad’s stunning collection for Darb at The Brisbane Arcade Group Show had whetted our appetite and we were hungry for more from some of Brisbane’s very best couture designers.

The long, simple catwalk and well paced timing was ideally suited to showcase some truly spectacular collections with a show that engaged all the senses.The lighting of the show accentuated the embellishments and bling of each piece and being front row, in the middle of the catwalk, enabled me to feel surrounded by the gowns and appreciate their sensual textures.  Collections ranged from eclectic mixes through to classic elegance and on to magnificent themed segments. The layering of fabrics was a common theme, as was the use of stronger and more coarse laces that suit today’s confident brides. Next season’s colours made subtle appearances in some collections, with stylish and dramatic headpieces also a big feature.

Elizabeth De Varga

It was wonderful to see Tammie Nitschke back on the runway at MBFF and her collection emphasised her romantic, beautifully embellished style. The gown reveal was a big wow factor. Full bodied skirts were unclipped to reveal options for every bride including a gown with a short lace skirt, a sophisticated pant suit and the most fun being a short, sexy playsuit.

Jordanna Regan Couture

Showcasing a dramatic, form-fitting, diverse range of sensual gowns for the modern bride, Jordana created a fascinating segment. A dusky, off white gown, with incredible floral ruffles from thigh to floor that appeared to move almost of it’s own accord was our particular favourite.

Brides Desire by Wendy Sullivan

Elegant designs in classic shapes created with sumptuous fabrics were the hallmark of this collection from Brisbane bridal couture royalty. Beautiful layering of lace with sequin embellishment was again a feature, with stylish matching headpieces providing an added touch of elegance to each piece.

Alter Ego

A first time showing, Daniel’s gowns had a sleek, sexy silhouette with beautiful detailing. He showcased a sophisticated range of styles married with diverse range of exciting headpieces.

Jack Sullivan

Modern, sexy shapes, softened by beautiful layering of lace textures were a feature of this cohesive and confident collection. The subtle use of sequins and lace within the layers of fabric added another dimension to these beautiful and sophisticated gowns.

Paul Hunt

Having already exhibited on opening night, Paul included a small collection in the main bridal show. A complete re-imaginging of the bridal gown, Paul displayed a dramatic range of unique styles that would suit alternative brides, along with a pair of ultra feminine gowns that beautifully incorporated the black and white season trend.

George Wu

A dramatic change of tone heralded the arrival of George’s stunning themed collection. With the cavernous venue amplifying the cathedral sound, the first model out walked in a slow, pious way that created a near religious atmosphere. The collection that followed, inspired by the early christianity of ancient Rome, was simply sublime. Pure white toga necklines, gowns adorned with ancient roman Pegasus motifs and beautiful toga rope detailing created a true spectacle. The use of simple white laurel-wreath headpieces and crucifix inspired jewellery enhanced the experience and reinforced George’s already stellar reputation.

Thanks to Lindsay Bennett and the team at Mercedes Fashion Festival Brisbane for making the 10 year one of the every best. We’re missing it already, and can’t wait until next year.

Credits:
Photos @mpvdave from Masterpieces Photography + Video
Makeup Napoleon Perdis
Hair Schwarzkopf

A change is as good as a rest

MBFF_Cars0009As it reaches it’s 10th anniversary, MBFF keeps getting bigger and better every time. I have to admit I wasn’t sure about the switch from the CBD to the RNA showgrounds when it was first announced. However, this year’s venue, the John Reid Pavillion, may turn out to be the smartest move the festival has made. The location in a quieter part of the city means your arrival feels more like an exclusive European experience – you have arrived somewhere special for something unique, and the genial hosts and the avenue of gleaming Mercedes certainly helps to set the perfect tone. Once inside, Lindsay Bennett and his team have created a simply phenomenal set of flowing spaces within the cavernous, industrial environs of the building. There is ample space to mingle, and the provision of two media wall’s, one manned by the official photographers, the other available for selfies is a big plus. The photowalls are simply stunning this year and help transform the space, whilst the fashion bar had plenty of counterspace and never felt busy despite the full-house crowd. The VIP space was elegant, with plenty of break-out space and the right mix of seating and standing space to permit mingling or more serious business negotiations.

The long u-shaped runway allowed exceptional viewing of every design for all patrons, with parades well paced to permit relaxed enjoyment of each segment. The lighting was bright and even, perfect for our professional photographer, and for the keen fasionistas in the crowd too.

MBFF_Cars0013

Ekka Fashion is a Circus

This year’s Natural Fibres Fashion Parade at the Ekka followed the trend for circus skills with an entertaining themed runway event. Following in the footsteps of Cirque du Soleil and Absinthe who have wowed us already this year, the bar has been set high. This parade really did cater for the diverse Ekka crowds, from country kids children through to Brisbane fashionistas and even the reluctant Queensland bloke.

Presented by Cotton Australia, the eclectic collection of designers provides the perfect taste of some of Queensland’s premier designers and upcoming newcomers. First seen in 1980, the longest running fashion parade in Australia promised a show we wouldn’t forget and with Lindsay Bennett’s usual aplomb we weren’t disappointed. Using Queensland’s natural resources, the collections showcased cotton, wool and silk presented in an exciting demonstration of strength, flexibility and big top talent.

Royal Queensland Show
Natural Fibres Fashion Parade
Presented by Cotton Australia

Garments by

Darb Bridal Couture | Brides Desire by Wendy Sullivan | Paul Hunt | The Irma J Smith House of Fashion | Pia du Pradal| Tengdahl | Will Valour | White Label Noba | Sacha Drake | Maiocchi | Urbbana | Easton Pearson | Soot | Gail Sorronda | Ubermen | Jack Sullivan | George Wu | Bora | The Cloakroom

Executive Producer: Lindsay Bennett
Choreographer: Bernadette Bagel
Parade Stylist: Kimberley Gardner
Circus Artists: Majestic Artists
Aerial Rigger: Rigcom Access
Lightening and Audio: Microhire
Projection Screens: Microhire
Hair Stylists: CorCorz Hair
Make Up: Napoleon Perdis
Video Production: TPD Media
Theming: Staging Dimensions
Stage: Corporate Staging

Moving on up at EDV

Exciting times are afoot at Elizabeth deVarga Exclusive Fashions! One of our favourite suppliers is relocating and for some lucky local Brisbane brides this will be a huge windfall. The relocation sale has started and will continue until the end of May. Personally, I wouldn’t wait. Pop into their Stones Corner store for offers on floor stock, jewellery, veils and shoes. The best buys won’t last long.
Don’t stress if you’re not quite at the point of ordering your dress yet. Tammie Nitschke, head designer, and her fabulous team are available for consultations and fittings right through the move and will be on hand to give their usual expert advice. We can’t wait to see their new location and I know that brides will continue to appreciate the style, quality and love that Tammie and her team give to every client.
The relocation sale starts today – 6th May – be sure not to miss it!
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My Sweet Valentina

OMG! What a night! Gorgeous bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses, and dapper suits strutting the catwalk. The runway was styled beautifully, bedecked in flowers and with fantastic chalkboard signs creating a visual fest from every angle. Exciting promo films being projected onto the wall and large screen TVs added to the impressive ambience of the Spring Valentina Collection Launch for When Freddie Met Lilly.
One of our favourite models, Hayley Wilson, the reigning Miss World Australia Queensland and new Channel 7 lotto presenter, MC’d the evening with fun and grace. Of course Hayley looked absolutely stunning, wearing a glamourous gown by When Freddie Met Lilly.
The sexy effortless style that we have come to expect from Vanessa Hoe’s designs have now been given a new twist with addition of lace – sometimes just a simple little detail, other times complete gowns, and then the final gown, which had a stunning sheer lace bodice, was a true show stopper.
With champagne flowing, and delicious canapes on offer, this was an evening not to be missed.
Evening Credits:
Headpieces by The Little Pack of 5
Make up by Blissful Makeup
Hair by Whisk Makeup
Chalkboard Signs by LaPapeterie
Flowers by Francesca’s Flowers
Photography and Films by Masterpieces Photography + Video
Catering by Zen Catering
Have an event coming up that our brides might like to hear about?

Brisbane Bridal Fashion at its Best

With our breath held tightly we attended the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane Monili Jewellers Bridal Group Show on Tuesday night. We are always excited to see a bridal gown designer’s new range, so the opportunity to see six of Brisbane’s very best couturiers, all in one parade, launching their latest creations, had us in absolute overdrive. MBFF is really coming of age and this year was the best yet, showcasing some amazing local talent, in the iconic setting of Brisbane City Hall.

The glittering addition of amazing jewellery by Monili Jewellers meant you couldn’t take your eyes away for a minute. There was so much to see. This year’s runway allowed for a great pace, with every design having just the right time in the spotlight, and the opportunity to be seen from every angle.

The hall was very quiet in anticipation, but the vibe was excited, and welcoming. Starting the parade was Brides’s Desire by Wendy Sullivan with a range full of exquisite fabrics, married with alluring statement head pieces.

Stealing the show with rousing applause was our favourite designer, George Wu. It’s reassuring to see Brisbane crowds respond so favourably to haute couture designs that would once have been monopolised by Sydney and Melbourne shows. With designers of this calibre it’s blatantly clear we’re no longer nipping at their heels – we’re running our own race.

George Wu’s creativity and couturiere workmanship are evident on the catwalk. Having worked with George’s gowns before I know the luxury, and perfectionism that goes into every single one.  Watching 14 gowns parade was a pure joy, each with it’s own breathtaking appeal. The Wedding Alley team’s top pick’s of the night all came from George’s range, especially the exquisite lace sheer gowns in bone.  They may not be for the traditional bride, but they take your breath away.

Anne Bertossi from Bertossi Brides gave us beautiful lace and sheer high necklines that flatter so many. I particularly loved the sparkling fabric in a number of gowns, that would look elegant and demure during a traditional ceremony before coming to glittering life under the lights at a reception party.

The 1950s style strapless gowns by Darb Bridal Couture have a ladylike quality that channels Grace Kelly. Each with a luxurious full skirt that conjured up images of a princess and a perfect fairytale day. To complement the range there were also a few slinky, sheer gowns, for today’s modern bride.

Rayner Lee showcased a couple of tea length dresses in her collection, as well as the traditional floor length gowns.  The use of different lace on the each piece created a textural display of fabrics, highlighted by a headpiece, birdcage veil, or sparkling belt.

The finale of the parade, Jack Sullivan Bridal, rounded out the event beautifully. The delicate application of lace on some of the gowns showed a lovely restraint that embodies a chic feminine and romantic style. The final walk with all of his collection on stage was a vision of gorgeous designs. A sight to behold for the bride to be, and just as enchanting for any fashionista.

It was a pleasure to attend such a prodigious display of amazing Brisbane bridal designers, offset to perfection by the dazzling jewellery by Monili Jewellers. Well done Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival – can’t wait for next year!