We’re in the final countdown to the 20th Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (with just 18 sleeps to go).
While we released the encouraging news about the early schedule line-up two weeks ago, Buzz now has the final tally in her (unfortunately unmanicured) hand. It’s a well-balanced line-up of experience and new talent (heavier on the former and lighter on the latter than in recent years) that has been further strengthened by the addition of Josh Goot, who came out of voluntary administration two weeks ago; Michael Lo Sordo, who picked up Net-a-Porter as a stockist at the event last year; print and drape master Gary Bigeni; and bridal turned Los Angeles red carpet favourite Johanna Johnson, who will close the event on April 26.
They join seasoned veterans including Toni Maticevski, Ginger & Smart, Kate Sylvester, Jayson Brunsdon, Romance Was Born and Manning Cartell.
Buzz will pay close attention to Daniel Avakian, who last year relaunched his label after a few years out, and Jamie Ashkar, whose sports-inspired aesthetic is even more of the moment than at his debut in 2013.
Kym Ellery will open the event on the Sunday night, but the other coveted Monday morning slot is yet to be filled, as final negotiations continue …
Style diplomacy is the new soft diplomacy, it seems. At last week’s Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, two young Indonesian designers turned up to forge relationships with like-minded creatives and our industry, all with a view to future collaborations and opportunities for both countries,
Buzz met Patrick Owen and Peggy Hartanto (pictured in their own designs), who head their respective eponymous labels, before Owen’s first Australian show on Sunday.
The visit was orchestrated by the Australian Global Fashion Alliance and its new offshoot, the Australia-Indonesia Fashion Alliance, spearheaded by VAMFF chairwoman Laura Anderson and Anderson’s Indonesian counterpart, Svida Alisjahbana, founder of Jakarta Fashion Week and deputy chairwoman of the Australia-Indonesia Centre.
The AIFA held the inaugural Young Indonesian Fashion Designer of the Year award at Jakarta Fashion Week in November, facilitated by the AIC. It was won by Owen, while Hartanto was given an award in recognition of her achievements. As part of the reciprocal agreement, the winners of last week’s Tiffany & Co National Designer Award, Kate Reynolds and Amanda Cumming of Pageant, will head to Indonesia on a sourcing mission and will attend the Jakarta event in October.
Owen is clear in his hopes for the alliance. “It is good to have very close and tight diplomatic ties with Australia,” he said. “My mission is to bring Indonesian art and culture and tradition to the world through fashion.”
Owen works with Indonesian artists on original works to use in his ready-to-wear collections, and hopes to show a more contemporary side of Indonesian culture.
“Hopefully the world will (get to) know Indonesia a lot better in a very interesting and fashionable manner,” he said.
Hartanto, whose sisters Petty and Lydia also work with her, studied fashion design in Sydney and briefly worked for Collette Dinnigan. She previously has shown at Australian Fashion Week.
“Australia has had a really important role in my career,” she said. “With my background as an Indonesian educated in Australia, (this) has already shaped my design aesthetic.”
Anderson told Buzz that the point of the initiative was about “stimulating trade and investment and celebrating our creative cultures and world-class designers”.
“We’re exploring the wonderful points of synergy in both markets but really it’s about establishing relationships that are lasting and sustainable and enriching.”