There’s an old saying that goes something like: “never work with children or animals.”
When it comes to fashion parades, there’s nothing wrong with sending the occasional curly-haired cherub down the runway to make the steely-faced fashionistas go all soft and gooey.
But animals – specifically, giant shaggy wolfhounds – on the catwalk cannot always be guaranteed to induce the same reaction.
Last night at Perth Fashion Festival’s Designer Capsule #1, model Millicent Lambert was given the unenviable job of opening Empire Rose’s romantic, slightly gothic segment by walking the runway with the aforesaid hound, who looked terrified to be there and had half the audience rearing back in mock-horror.
This enormous creature did exactly not stick to the script, nosing his way into the front row and, at times, tugging oafishly at his uncomfortably long leash.
It was all a bit of unnecessary distraction from the clothes, but it wasn’t the only bit of drama on the night.
Alistair Yiap’s Band of Gold jewellery collection opened the four-label parade with an avant-garde flourish.
But this is not delicate, conventional jewellery as we know it.
It’s more like body armour for a fierce warrior woman. Spiky sheets of gold metal and chain embellishments were showcased against black body suits and made me think of the gold embellishments of traditional Arabic dress.
Much more subdued was the shibori-dyed silk of Elisha Quintal’s Butcher + The Crow label, which specialises in soft, easy, relaxed and wearable dresses and separates in faded watercolours perfect for a hot Perth summer.
Megan Salmon sent her models out in fabulous blunt-cut black wigs paired with bold red lips and black cats-eye liner.
Her pretty collection was inspired by Puccini’s Orientalist opera Madame Butterfly, fusing Chinoiserie with Japanese imagery in a gorgeous palette of black, white, red and emerald green.
This was my favourite collection of the night, with its ethnic/boho feel, tiered silk dresses, cropped pants, strappy sandals and relaxed “resort” vibe.
There was a definite 30s Shanghai feel about these clothes, intensified by the way the models were styled up to resemble porcelain China dolls.