Get amongst it at the blockbuster fashion festival of the year
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“The festival is getting bigger, and bigger,” CEO Graeme Lewsey tells Time Out at the recent L’Oreal Fashion Festival program launch. “What we’re trying to do is get consumers excited about a world-class production right here at home.” Although the festival is focusing largely on the economy of fashion in 2013, the cultural programs and runway shows will be as vibrant and dramatic as ever. We ask Lewsey to select five events he’s particularly excited about.
Loreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Opening Event
Docklands, Mar 19. $75-250
The festival kicks off with a royal bash at the Dockland’s Central Pier, featuring guest of honour Mary Katrantzou. The London-based, Athens-born designer is adored for her illusory prints and striking silhouettes – and we’ll probably see Australian fashion heavyweights’ jaws on the floor during her keynote speech. The opening event is just the place to schmooze with industry folk, spy on celebrities, and dress to the nines.
L’Oreal Paris Runways
Docklands, Mar 20-24. $52-150
These runway shows are the “heart of the festival,” says Lewsey. Each one is hosted by a leading fashion publication to celebrate collections from Australia’s top designers. Putting Australian fashion on the world stage is vogue.com.au, InStyle, Grazia, Madison, Harper’s BAZAAR, Cosmopolitan and frankie.
Famous for Fashion Series
Various, 21-23 Mar. $35
The festival shines a light on the area of Stonnington with two runway shows. One features Chapel Street’s retailers; the other unveils the fashionable gems found on High Street, Toorak Road, Malvern Road, and Glenferrie Road. Lewsey is proud to “involve local businesses in the festival with these intimate events”.
The business-focused events allow industry folk to get down and dirty with fashion talk. Lewsey assures the “line up is stellar” with 30 speakers, 9 of them international, discussing the fashion biz and how to keep it thriving. Designer Mary Katrantzou and fashion illustrator Bil Donovan show “how important the creative process is in the heartland of fashion”. And online media pioneer Marc Worth and branding guru Ron Pompei unpick the problems facing fashion today.
Various, 18-24 Mar
The month-long Cultural Program is what makes this festival “a blockbuster” according to Lewsey. Seventy-three workshops, exhibitions, online events, talks, films and performances bring the festival to the farthest reaches of the city. We’re particularly excited about And All Things Return to Nature Tomorrow, a BalletLab and MATERIALBYPRODUCT collaboration, and the always impressive Penthouse Mouse.