VAMFF Gala Runway 2: Power Suits, Sequins and Diversity

It’s no secret that Melbourne loves its fashion, and no event is more highly anticipated than the annual Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. The first in the series of runways kicked off on Monday night, with the Gala Runways 1 and 2, presented by David Jones and supported by Vogue Magazine.

A highlight for me is always seeing everyone – from Instagram influencers, designers and fashion lovers alike, turn up in their carefully curated outfits.

The surrounding ‘Plaza’ is the best vantage point to take mental notes of at all the outfits, with a variety of pop up bars providing a chance to grab a cocktail, or suss out new makeup at the Priceline Pharmacy Beauty Bar. Part of the fun is getting to rub shoulders with the likes of Yan Yan Chan, or Pip Edwards, and the fashionable crowd rocked everything from neon green, to suit sets, or silk slips and sneakers.

Runway 2 was off to a late start, with a half hour delay; an usher apologised saying, “the last show ran late”, leaving festival goers standing idle, sipping warm champagne or San Pellegrino’s in the great opening hallway of the Royal Exhibition Building, fanning themselves with their tickets.

Once settled into our seats, the show opened with a performance by Owl Eyes, looking ethereal in a red silk get-up waltzing out from the crowd, while Jessica Gomez was the first to walk the runway in a floral Pronza Schouler look.

The runway entitled “The Art Of Living”, exclusively showcased brands from the David Jones family, ranging from Camilla And Marc, and PE Nation to Dion Lee or Witchery, and was divided into categories like “The Art Of Dressing” or “The Art Of Luxury.”

With countless brands, looks were listed in a complimentary David Jones catalogue in order of appearance, encouraging attendees to shop the runway after the show. After all, the festival is about fashion, but it’s also about shopping.

Standout looks came from Scanlan Theodore, sending a series of rich, berry-colured looks down the runway, taking form in a leather patent skirt, or dress and a suit. Bassike featured neutral knits in oatmeal, or tan trench coats, while the final looks had models dripping in sequins and sparkles, with a silver embellished dress from Rachel Gilbert, and a Carla Zampatti sequin jacket trailed close behind.

While leather, layer jackets, fur and sequins all took center stage; the army of well-tailored blazers stole the show. Seeing Jessica Gomes close the show in a stunning white suit, suggested the power suit is well and truly set to make its return.

But it was also the casting choices that struck a cord. Models were decidedly diverse – and it felt like it went beyond the token one or two. Featuring men and women of colour, wearing their natural hair, and 57-year-old model Lou Kenny also walked the runway.

VAMFF seemed to be saying something about the changing fashion industry. That positive messaging combined with free Halo Top ice cream from The Plaza promises to be a very fun fashion week.

Enjoy the rest of VAMFF which runs from March 1-10.
To view the full program visit the website.

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