In the lead up to this year's highly anticipated FASHFEST - Canberra's biggest annual fashion event - I've teamed up with a number of FASHFEST designers to show off a little of what you can expect from our local talent (More accurately, I turned up at the FASHFEST designers' hang out at Three Little Birds & Little Boy Blue in New Acton last week and grovelled until they let me wear their beautiful clothes!).
Suzan Dlouhy is a bit of a Canberra institution. Apart from being an established local fashion designer, she was a prolific Canberra blogger many years before I even knew what blogging was, she's an artist and a musician, and she's a reoccurring face in the local social pages. She's also one of the first local designers I ever had the pleasure of befriending when I first came to Canberra.
Her label, SZN is a mix of minimalism and experimentation. Her pieces could be described a enigmatic, always leaving you wondering: what are they made of, and how did she come up with this? Suzan, being a sustainable designer, names the fabric itself as one of her main inspirations. Her materials are largely salvaged scraps from other design processes. Most of the times they come in inconvenient shapes or small scraps, and the challenge of working with these gives rise to innovation. Suzan’s finished products are always conceptual and often take on a sculptural quality.
While SZN is on the Avant-garde side of designers showing at FASHFEST, there's always a dress or a separate that just beckons street styling. Everyone wanted the 'Sarah' dress after Suzan showed at last year's FASHFEST - a mod inspired tunic dress made in Suzan's signature monochrome palette. It was renamed the 'Sarah' after Sarah Kelly, the first woman in Canberra to get her hands on one.
I’m wearing Suzan's hand tied net dress, made by meticulously tying elastane off-cuts. The construction brings to mind chain mail, fish netting and, inevitably, mermaids - not so much of a jump, surely. It's that incredible texture that I loved so much when it walked down the catwalk at last year's FASHFEST, worn by Mimi Fairall. Needless to say I was tickled pink to be able to photograph it myself. I thought, given Suzan’s 2013 collection was what inspired me to buy myself a wide brimmed black fedora, it would only be right that I wore it with her amazing dress.
The gorgeous photography also deserve a mention - taken by my talented blogger bestie Heather (Heatstorm Blog).
SZN will be showing at this year's FASHFEST, Canberra's biggest annual fashion event held over four nights from 30 April to 3 May 2014 with different designers every night! Get your tickets here before they sell out! Also, read my blog post detailing all the types of tickets up for grabs.
(Photography: Heather Lansdowne of Heastorm Blog)