An Insider -FASHFEST ’18

From running errands pre-show, directing backstage, modelling and then sitting front row. I have been a part of everything FASHFEST has to offer.

My experience with FASHFEST goes back many years when I started as an intern for the media communications firm that runs the show Clarity Communications. I had previously walked in the shows so was keen to be involved in every aspect that I could. The more I could learn, the better. I then moved from the media team to the directing team and assisted in running the backstage while modelling in a number of the shows and running VIP tours.

Fast forward three years. I now work alongside Clint at Morganson’s Finery and am apart of Haus models. After having experienced every part of FASHFEST except for enjoy the show from the front row I took this year as my chance. Little did I know that I couldn’t just yet hang up my director clogs and once again found myself back stage organising models and designers as director. This year however was a whole new event, and a much simpler format.


The day of FASHFEST was spent at work (sorry Anthony!!) running errands with my partner (who I would have been a mess without), driving around in a divine Audi A6, courtesy of Audi Canberra and then getting ready with Axis Hairdressing and Morganson’s Finery. We somehow made it to the Gallery by 5pm to set up.


With the whole venue to be set up still we set to work stuffing gift bags, numbering seats and briefing models. Within what felt like seconds the doors opened and all the guest arrived. After a drink and a mingle the guest were sent down the escalators soon to be runways to be seated.


Backstage was going through final touch ups and run throughs, then show time! I stood with the models and when signalled sent them down the towering escalators, down toward the eager audience. Three designers and a grande finale later and the first show came to an end.

At this point I left the running of backstage in the capable hands of my crew and I joined the party. A few fancy Quandong gin cocktails down and pap snaps taken, Mitch and I made our way down the escalators to our front row seats.

It wasn’t until I was seated looking up at Haus model Kahu floating down the grand escalators that the dramatic effect of the escalators kicked in.


Megan Canning designs was beautifully feminine. She used lavish amounts of tulle, lace and silk. Charly Thorn’s collection was beautifully bold, combining bright pops of block colours and monochrome prints. Hajar Gala Couture was simple divine, showcasing soft bridal gowns. Donned in lace and sequins, each piece was a work of art.

And with the last gown disappearing up the escalators FASHFEST ’18 was over. The excitement of watching the collections was wonderful but I must say the thrill of walking in a collection is something else. A commendable effort to the models for the skill it took to keep the gowns out of the escalators.

An outstanding effort the FASHFEST team, for pulling off a new and exciting show. Congrats to Clint & Andrea for the blood, sweat and tears that went into the event. It’s always wild but a pleasure working alongside two such driven and creative people.
Stay tuned for the next FASHFEST show, SO much in store.

She Wore What – Tayela Petterwood

Next up is one of the beautiful chicka’s I travelled Europe with. Tayela has a vibrant, unique and sun kissed style. The golden, water baby writes a fashion and lifestyle blog, So She Says from the warm beaches of the Gold Coast. She is definitely one to watch!

N: First up, who are you and what makes you tick? Introduce yourself!

T: The names Tayela (pronounced tay- Ella), a self confessed water baby and coffee obsessed person. I’ve graduated in my studies of journalism and business and ready for the next career move. This year has definitely been a relaxation and enjoyment year after all the hard work. I really enjoy writing what I’m passionate about and love expressing myself through my writing and fashion.

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N: Tell me about your day to day style?

T: It’s changed a lot over the years, but I’m definitely one to dress up no matter the occasion. In winter I always go for a oversized jumper and the classic knee high boots, then in summer (which is nearly every day up in Gold Coast), you can usually find me in a pair of bathers with a summer dress over the top. Flats for the beach and heels for everything else. Although lately I’ve been drawn to the streetwear look of pants and crop tops, with a chunky sneaker.

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N: How do you express yourself through your look? What does it say about you?

T: My style is constantly changing as I figure out what works best for me, but people have always told me that I’m most likely to be overdressed for a breakfast, and that I express a feminine style throughout. I guess that’s pretty true, I’ve always been into dresses and heels and making sure I always look my best. But lately I’ve been very into high waisted pants and bralettes, and I feel that my style represents how I’m not afraid to try new things in both life and style. I hope that through my style a little bit of that girly nature still comes through no matter how much I change my style.

N: What are your go to colours?

T: Looking in my wardrobe it’s most definitely white and black, but I do love a good baby blue and navy to accompany my hair and tan in summer. I also love a royal green as my go to dress up colour.

N: Is there a piece in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without? Most essential staple?

T: My knee high black boots and ankle boots. I pair them with absolutely everything. From work, to causal, to dressy, they can make a look so much better. I also couldn’t live without a pair of bathers, at the moment my collection is getting a bit ridiculous!

N: How do you accessories your style?

T: I love a good red lip, it goes well with most looks and I love pairing it with a middle part slicked bun or high ponytail. Another way I love to make a look a bit more extra is by a matching side bag or one real statement piece (like my spaceboots for splendour).

N: From where and who do you find inspiration?

T: At the moment I’m loving the casual street wear look that Bella Hadid pulls off so well and her sleek event looks. Most of all though I look online for inspiration and always put everything through my best friend Matthew Simpson. He changed my style from dresses and heels to high waisted pants and side bags, there’s not a style I don’t run by him first.

N: Must follow designers and models? Favourite brands?

T: Obsessed with Offwhite so clearly @virgilabloh. I’ve always loved Bec & Bridge, Moschino and Dolce & Gabbana (if only I could afford it). Honourable mention to Stella McCartney for bringing ethical fashion to the forefront, her sport line is amazing. Must follow models for me is of course the Hadid sisters, Winnie Harlow, Duckie thot and Ariel Nicholson.

N: If you could give Canberra some advice about street style and fashion, what would it be?

T: I would love people just to be more bold and to not let location dictate what you wear. Obviously Canberra is known highly for politics and business, so clearly fashion is centred around that. Definitely not a bad thing, as I love a good power suit and my black and whites, but I would love to see more risks being taken.

N: If you could collab with anyone who would it be and why?

T: Blog and Fashion wise I’m obsessed with Leonie Hanne from Ohhcouture, not only does she have amazing style and is gorgeous, but she’s the sweetest person and I would love to be able to experience a day in the life. Ultimate dream though is to work as interviewer for music artists so hey there Rolling Stones I’m available whenever you want me!

N: A parting word?

T: Be confident in who you are and you can’t go wrong. It doesn’t matter if you are wearing a $10 dress or a $10,000 dress, if you wear that $10 dress with confidence everyone will believe in you too, and you’ll look like a million dollars!

Change It Up – FASHFEST ’18

With only 5 days until FASHFEST 2018 debut at the NGA, tickets are selling fast!

This year, FASHFEST has changed things up, as it does every couple of years. ‘We want to keep fresh for our fans,’ says co-founder Clint Hutchinson. ‘This year we’re hosting a series of rolling shows in venues of cultural and historic significance in Canberra, showcasing the beauty of architecture as well as the beauty of the fashion.’ The NGA event will see three designers present collections that showcase cocktail glam and elegant bespoke gowns. Voluptuous  amounts of layered fabrics will don the escalator runway in an artistic twist on what FASHFEST has perviously presented. 


The evening will see three designers present collections in the NGA’s foyer turning the massive escalators into towering runways.

Hajar Gala’s luxury couture has been featured in the most exclusive fashion magazines internationally, including Collezioni Haute Couture. The designer and her label, Hajar Gala Couture, has a reputation as one of Australia’s most elegant couturiers. Hajar will showcase gowns not seen before in Canberra, with some appearing at Paris Fashion Week.  ‘As a designer I believe there’s a strong relationship between art and fashion,’ says Hajar who creates elegant silhouettes, each with a timeless quality and each requiring tremendous skill to construct.


Megan Cannings Designs has just returned from New York Fashion Week.  Her new season collection stays true to her aesthetic—feminine, floaty and true fairy tale-like gowns and showstopper evening wear. This is her third appearance at FASHFEST and she was selected to show internationally after photographs of her initial FASHFEST collection was spotted through social media. ‘I remember as a little girl looking at Princess Diana and drawing pretty dresses I wanted her to wear,’ says Megan.


The third designer at the NGA show is Charly Thorn who received a roaring round of applause at her debut FASHFEST show in 2016, when she was just 17 years of age. Charly, from Cooma, has gone from strength-to-strength and has also showcased internationally. Her resort wear collection was photographed in the Bahamas. Charly is concentrating on high-end cocktail glam aesthetic, with special printed silks.


Models for the show have been selected from Canberra’s three top modelling agencies, Devojka Models, Victoria’s Models and HAUS Models. ‘We’ve selected really experienced runway models based on what the agency’s have put forth as their best talent—models who can walk in massive gowns on a moving escalator with little rehearsal time given that this major space has to be available to the public,’ says FASHFEST co-founder Andrea Hutchinson.

Next up for FASHFEST will be shows in December and February, with venues to be announced. FASHFEST may also pop up periodically with surprise events during the next few months.




The Fashion Vault: Feature Interview

REPOST: Thought i’d share the beautiful interview Maryanne from The Fashion Vault wrote on me.

Take a peep xx


 Model of the moment Nicola is taking Canberra by storm. In between back to back modelling shoots and running her blog, my gal pal spared a few minutes to talk to me in my apartment over a cheese board.
 Who are you and where are you from?

I was born on Anzac Day in Darwin in the military! I moved to Canberra when I was 7 years old and started school at Girls Grammar. I’ve lived in 10 houses growing up! I studied Double English in school. I also loved science, if I could do a second degree, I would go into Medicine! I’m currently studying a double degree in Bach of Commerce and Bach of Public Relations.

So let’s talk fashion! What does a typical uni outfit look like?
Well I can’t wear jeans and a t-shirt that’s for sure! I need to wear something that’s uniquely me. If I don’t feel comfortable or look like crap then I can’t be efficient or get anything done.

How would you describe your style in general? 

Eclectic! I love mixing old, vintage pieces with new, modern staples.

My colour palette is quite neutral – my favourite colour to wear is tan or camel. I would probably say I hate wearing black but if I’m being completely honest, I always incorporate that into my wardrobe.
What are your Top 3 items that you can’t live without?

Blazers, shoes and a good jumper.

Who’s your style icon? 

My Grandma, she’s had a massive influence. Danielle Bernstien from We Wore What, Chiara Ferrigani from The Blonde Salad and Super Model, Gigi Hadid.

What’s your favourite accessory?

Watches for sure! I don’t really wear much jewellery but I love my watches and I have so many bands to dress up or down a look. Sunglasses too, so many fun things you can do with sunnies.

Favourite and worst fashion trend? 

Probably vintage trousers, because I love trousers!

So you have a blog, how did that start?

Well it’s a funny story! It started as an assignment in Florence when I was studying Communication, Media & Fashion. We had 3 minutes to pull a logo, name and blog page. So I created my blog, with the assistance of my friends to come up with a name that suited me.. The Tipsy Blonde Fashion Blog was born. Further down the track it is now known as Blonde & Co. We were sent to Milan Fashion Week as starting content to write about. So I did all this fashion stuff overseas and got back to Canberra and wanted to continue it. I did this really vulnerable video on my Insta stories one time and I didn’t realise I had an effect on people! I had people interacting and engaging with me more than ever before.

How fun! So what can we expect to find on it? 

My outtake on fashion trends, top picks on different seasons, different fashion events, travel and lately I’ve been into skincare.

What’s your modelling story?
I saw a good friend walk in FASHFEST when I was young and hadn’t finished Year 12. I pretty much threw myself in the deep end and didn’t know what to expect when I gave it a go! I auditioned and cried and told my mum when I got in. After that I joined HAUS Models!
Favourite model at the moment? 

Gigi Hadid, Steph Claire Smith and Brooke Hogan.

Favourite designer at the moment? 

Balmain – I love the military look because I had that background growing up. I love Chanel – I’m a classic pearls and tweed jacket kind of girl. Closer to home I love Zara and Seed. Oh and Dior gowns – anything from Paris really!

Words by Maryanne

Photography by @wearefoundau