Written by AMPR Managing Director, Sarah Gale.
Having worked on the publicity for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) for over 14 years, I often refer to it as my fourth child. I feel a great sense of satisfaction watching it grow and evolve each year and am proud to be playing some small part in supporting Melbourne and Australia’s talented fashion and creative industries.
I am often asked what differentiates this fashion event from all the others and what it is that makes it so special, so I thought I would share my highlights from this year.
Firstly, VAMFF’s home at the world heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building provides the most idyllic backdrop, representing glamour and grandeur, history and style.
For lovers of fashion (me included), VAMFF is a sensory overload. The jewel crown is the evening runways featuring the crème de la crème of Australian designers showing the upcoming trends to over 1200 consumers, media, designers and VIPs. The best thing is that people can actually buy their favourite looks, either direct via Shop the Runway or instore – providing an immediate impact on sales for participating designers.
This year my standout shows were the Gala Runway Presented by David Jones featuring the largest designer line-up and an A-Z of the season ahead. The Virgin Australia Grand Showcase featuring Carla Zampatti was unforgettable and a reminder that there can be longevity for designers who stay true to their aesthetic, produce beautiful garments and stick at it! And who could go past Runway 4 featuring the incredible international model and VAMFF special guest Ashley Graham.
We all know that these days the real action happens outside away from the Runways, with thousands of consumers, bloggers and fashion icons descending in their carefully curated outfits to be snapped by the country’s best fashion photographers. I love watching the action unfold every night outside the Melbourne Museum.
The Plaza, the area between the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum, ties it all together, becoming a real fashion party each night with interactive pop ups such as a Priceline Beauty Bar, food (by the one and only Tommy Collins by Atlantic Group), drinks and entertainment – making sure people hang around long after the shows have finished.
This year also saw introduction of the Australian Fashion Summit, a line-up of local and global trailblazers who unpacked retail challenges and explored innovation and sustainable thinking. It would be impossible to walk away from this not feeling empowered and inspired.
So as VAMFF wraps for another year, I am already counting the days till 2020 where there will be even more camera flashes, air kisses and, of course, loads more fashion.