A model walks the catwalk for One Fell Swoop. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

The 14th annual Perth Fashion Festival kicked off in style with a glittering VIP opening party at the Perth Town Hall tonight.

The local sartorial set mingled with Perth's A-list including emerging model Sarah Pauley, former couple Bree Maddox and Malcolm Day, Lydia and Zhenya Tsvetnenko, Premier Colin Barnett and his wife Lyn, festival ambassador Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and many established local designers including Aurelio Costarella.

MC Deborah Kennedy took to the stage to introduce speeches by festival director Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan and Mrs Scaffidi and the official launch of the festival by the Premier.

Touted as a night unlike anything seen during PFF's 14-year history – the runway show featuring 40 designs by established label One Fell Swoop lived up to the hype.

The first official runway show of the six-day festival by design duo Daniel Romanin and Nikolina Ergic offered a whimsical trans-seasonal collection.

Guests were squashed into the iconic space, craning to catch a glimpse of the action.

The collection - titled An Illusive Tribe - spanned summer and winter designs and included showpieces created especially for the event, which was the pair's most ambitious show since the label was created in 2005.

The parade – which was longer than your typical fashion show – saw 20 models, including 2001 face of the festival Gemma Bidstrup, strut a dogleg runway that was flush with the floor, entering through multiple doors.

A video portraying a model in One Fell Swoop designs played on the screens behind the runway while music by world-renowned musician and PFF international ambassador Jean-Michel Jarre rumbled through the vast space.

Hair and make-up by iconic Sydney hairstylist Brad Ngata and make-up artist Bev Wood mirrored One Fell Swoop's design aesthetic, with face-framing braids and dustings of colour around the eyes.

The collection, made up mostly of draped dresses and jackets featured a largely neutral colour palette of whites, earthy tones and of course black.

The garments emulated light and movement through feminine tailoring, layering and draping.

Highlights were the mustard yellow hue used in a number of pieces and splashes of silver.

The simple and elegant runway show set the tone for the week to come with the 2012 Perth Fashion Festival expected to be stripped back to focus on quality rather than quantity.

This year PFF – which runs until Tuesday – boasts a selection of 36 ticketed, free and invitation-only events — down from 40 last year.

The West Australian

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