The West

Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Despite being in an industry so focused on image, Perth's style set went incognito tonight in the name of charity for the masquerade-themed Perth Fashion Festival VIP closing night Giving Back is the New Black.

A night filled with glamour, charity and of course style concluded the 14th annual festival.


Following a more laid-back week of 36 ticketed, free and invitation-only events — down from last year's 40 – the well-heeled crowd took a final opportunity to bring out the glamour big guns.

Invited guests including Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, Basil Zempilas, Tonya and Malcolm McCusker, Ruth Tarvydas, Wheels and Dollbaby's Melanie Greensmith, and Zhivago designer Lydia Tsvetnenko dressed up to the nines, finishing off their outfits with an array or masks for the swanky soiree.


The unique and intimate evening at Government House celebrated the local fashion industry's most respected and recognisable designers, showcasing their interpretation of the classic black dress in a bespoke runway show.

Seventeen accomplished and up-and-coming WA labels that took part included Tarvydas, Wheels & Dollbaby, Poppy Lissiman, Zhivago, Morrison, One Fell Swoop, Ae'lkemi and Ellery.

As guests descended the stairs into the Government House Supper Club, WA Academy of Performing Arts students dressed up as Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour and fake paparazzi made everyone feel like they were walking into New York Fashion Week.

Masked performers gave an impromptu absurdist choreographed catwalk in the middle of the room as guests sipped well-earned beverages.

The crowd then moved inside the decadent Government House Ballroom complete with its regal candelabras and red carpets.

With a drumroll by the masked WAAPA students, a former face of the festival - model Sarah Pauley - opened the runway show in a sheer mesh gown by Ae'lkemi.

Models with cotton-candy beehives and mesh masks zig-zagged between the rows of seats in the first of two parades showing off the black gowns.

The dresses will be auctioned off in a silent online auction to raise money for Ready to Work, a charity that supports disadvantaged, disabled and long-term unemployed women to enter the workforce.

The public will have a chance to see a selection of the designs on display at the Claremont Quarter from tomorrow until October 14.

Following the dramatic runway show, MC and model Elise Carr introduced the speakers, Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi and Tonya McCusker.

A second parade featuring colourful outfits by designers who appeared at PFF closed the show in spectacular fashion, marking the final catwalk show of this year's festival.

The West Australian

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