Fashion festival off to exciting start

Pip Christmass

For Ae'lkemi designer Alvin Fernandez, it was "an honour" to open the 2014 Telstra Perth Fashion Festival last night along with two of Asia's most respected couturiers, Michael Cinco and Sebastian Gunawan.

Ae'lkemi showed 25 exquisite outfits as part of a new couture collection created especially for the opening night, International Runway - Beyond Imagination.

"The collection is partly inspired by Venetian Gothic architecture," Fernandez explained after the show, the first to be held at the festival's new Fashion Paramount venue at the Perth Concert Hall.

"I liked the idea of the contrast between structure and fluidity and also having a lot of different textures in an all-white dress, for example."

Ae'lkemi designs opened the festival. Picture: Ian Gillespie/The West Australian


Many dresses featured intricate hand-finished French beading and experiments with laser-cut leather, a first for the Ae'lkemi brand.

"We still wanted to stay pretty true to our signature, which is elegant, nipped in at the waist, skimming the hips," Fernandez said.

"There's a lot of detail in there, but we also wanted some palate-cleansers, some simpler pieces before you go into the more in-your-face red carpet pieces of the finale."

Picture: Ian Gillespie/The West Australian


Fernandez said the presence of delegates from the Asian Couture Federation and Singapore's FIDe Fashion Weeks was a valuable opportunity to showcase his work to a wider international audience.

"This is a valuable market that we really want to tap into," he said.

"For us to show the rest of the world what we can do is always a plus, and being given opening honours was huge for us."

Watching all the glamour from the front row were celebrities Dannii Minogue - flying the flag for WA design in an Aurelio Costarella outfit - Kate Waterhouse, Matthew and Lauren Pavlich, Coterie group member Emma Milner and international fashion blogger Diane Pernet.

Premier Colin Barnett, Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and Asian Couture Federation chairman Frank Cintamani were among the dignitaries welcoming guests to the week-long festival.Michael Cinco, who is based in Dubai but was born in the Philippines, has dressed the likes of Sofia Vergara, Beyonce and Rihanna, while Indonesian designer Sebastian Gunawan has built up a loyal fashion following throughout south-east Asia.Both designers featured detailed beading, embroidery, sequins and lace-work.Tonight Flannel designer Kristy Lawrence will premiere her summer collection in Perth for the first time, while Morrison and One Fell Swoop will share the runway with cult New Zealand labels Zambesi and Nom*D at the 3300 Miles Apart show.