LMFF Day Three
Our third and final day in Melbourne began with breakfast with the lovely Annie Dawson, the PR and sponsorship manager for the Sofitel Hotel. The Sofitel is Melbourne’s ‘hotel for the arts’, and also the official hotel of LMFF, and during our stay, the hotel was showing a photography exhibition to coincide with LMFF called ‘Fashion Stills: The Secret World of Haute Couture in Photos’, from the Polka Galerie in Paris.
The exhibition features images by photographers such as Derek Hudson, Françoise Huguier, and Gerard Uferas, capturing unique moments on the haute couture catwalk. Images such as Kate Moss smoking a cigarette backstage in Paris , or a peak at Yves Saint Laurent’s work desk, or Valentino’s haute couture runway show at Paris Fashion Week 2010, the exhibition certainly reinforced the Sofitel’s position as the ‘hotel for the arts’.
After breakfast, our first port of call for the day was upon recommendation from Andrea Moore, who told us we simply had to visit one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets: Madam Virtue & Co. on 5 Crossley Street. Madam Virtue & Co. stocks the best and the latest in prêt-à-porter and haute couture as well as its own couture label.
The creatives behind Madam Virtue are Kiwi Dean Hewitt (Artistic Director) and JC Lloyd-Southwell d’Anvers (Designer) and they have secured quite a prominent place in the fashion industry thanks to the first-order range of labels they stock and the sophistication of their couture and prêt-à-porter collections. A-list celebs such as Jane Menelaus, Ruby Rose, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French have all worn MV couture to events such as the Oscars and SAG Awards, and it’s easy to see why.
We were received by the charming Dean, who showed us his completely amazing collection of vintage couture: everything from Chanel, to Balenciaga, to Alexander McQueen, and even World, the store was unlike anything I’ve seen before. Plus they have the amazing collection of collectable vintage jewellery in store - from Chanel earrings to Karl Lagerfeld bracelets - sigh.
The lovely Dean
Dean pays tribute to his Kiwi roots at Madam Virtue
After reluctantly leaving Madame Virtue, we went to ‘Dreams do Come True’ – an exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which explores the art of Disney’s classic fairy tales – from ‘Snow White’, to ‘Cinderella’, to ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘The Little Mermaid’ (my personal favourite) and right through to 2010’s ‘Tangled’. The exhibition gives you a very rare and unique opportunity to see original concept art, story sketches, animation drawings, maquettes and final frame cells from Disney’s most celebrated films. Completely magical – and highly recommended, definitely a must-see for any Disney fan (and who isn’t a Disney fan?) Visit www.acmi.net.au for more information.
After lunch, we went our separate ways for a bit of power-shopping, exploring some of Melbourne’s many vintage stores, shoe stores, and of course, the obligatory trip to Sportsgirl, one of my favourite Australian chain stores.
The evening saw a bit of bar hopping – we met up with Rebecca, our tourism Victoria guide again, and headed to the most amazing rooftop bar, called Madame Brussels. If you’re ever in Melbourne, especially in the summer, put this bar on your list. It’s a delightfully retro-inspired roof top garden bar, with old fashioned lawn furniture, plenty of pastel pink décor, and jugs of Pimms, sangria and cocktails. Perfect! We caught up with Kiwi shoe designer Kathryn Wilson there, who is in Melbourne selling her Spring/Summer 2011/12 range to Australian buyers.
After dinner, it was time for the Alex Perry Red Carpet Runway show, which launched his upcoming SS11 collection, Cuban Princess. It was the first time Alex Perry has shown a collection at the Festival, and it didn’t disappoint. The runway show was opened by the gorgeous Megan Gale, and the collection was typical Perry – glamorous, elegant and luxurious, with show-stopping gowns. A few champagnes later at the after party, we reluctantly left – we had to be up at 6am to catch our flight back to Auckland!
Alex Perry and Megan Gale (Photos: Lucas Dawson)
I had the most amazing time at LMFF, and in Melbourne. The Festival reinforces Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s style and fashion capital, and my second visit to the city again showed me that Melbourne is the fashionista’s, the foodie’s and the entertainment lover’s heaven!
* For more information on Melbourne or Victoria please visit www.visitmelbourne.com/nz
I flew home with Pacific Blue: Pacific Blue offers direct flights from Auckland and Christchurch to Melbourne. Book your Premium Economy or Economy fare at flypacificblue.com