Monday, 25 September 2017


In just a few days, Australia’s fashion lens will be directed at Canberra for FASHFEST. There will be plenty of fresh wardrobe inspiration on display both on and off the catwalk for the 3 days of festivities.

As I sit in bed sipping on my coffee, what does one pack for a fashion festival? Flying from interstate there is limitations to how much you can pack to run with the fashion pack. I would love to bring my entire wardrobe but unfortunately the plane does not have enough storage.

With a background in project management I apply the same principles to what I pack in my suitcase and plan, plan plan! Not being prepared can pose a problem. Considering weather at all times of the day to factor in coats and footwear selection, where events will be held, indoors or outdoors and of course purpose, will I be dancing the night away or sitting quietly at a stool at QT Canberra (likely dancing)

I always pack for the exact amount of days and the amount of events I will be attending. Typically two outfit changes a day and a range of items to be prepared for what may come my way without the need to over pack.

Planning looks ahead of time ensures more time is spent networking and meeting new people and keeping your eyes open for inspiration. Every look is planned in advance and with a busy schedule ahead of me at FASHFEST it is smart to do so. I tend to create inspiration boards or look book pages to easily see what pieces complement each other and how many items I will need to pack. It's a great way to see how one piece can be worn multiple times if needed, especially if you are a mood dresser like myself.

My selections dangle on the rack awaiting to be tucked into the suitcase for their hour journey north. There are some familiar pieces from some of my favourite brands that I wear constantly such as James Harper, Oxford and Jack London. Fashion is fun and freedom and I love being a little expressive or different at fashion shows. With such fantastic basics already in my wardrobe it is more a styling challenge of putting pieces together in a fresh and different way and jazzing the outfits up with some accessories.

Of course I definitely have some debut pieces in my suitcase for a fashion event. Who doesn’t love to feel extra fabulous in new things at a runway show or after party? I don’t bring any extra choices, what I pack must all work together in case I have last minute changes.

As you know I am a sucker for a pair of shoes and the hardest thing is packing a limited number of pairs and making sure I still have room for my hydrating masks, hair product and body tonics. First world problems but each piece that is packed must be worn.

I am one of those travelers who wear head-to-toe looks on planes. I always keep my airport look simple and classic. As I have said before, if the plane is going to crash I want to be in a decent outfit in the afterlife, not a pair of sweat pants. The airport look is also a great go to look for the three days. Effortlessly chic yet stylish. Perfect for dinners with new friends you meet at the catwalk if you need an outfit reserve.

My suitcase lays open on the floor haunting me with its emptiness and size whilst I apologies to the shoes I am not packing. Join me on Instagram and Facebook for up to date coverage of all the festivities that is FASHFEST and to see what I did finally pack in that 79cm case.

Monday, 18 September 2017


We’re living in the era of experimental fashion which is perfect for those who love to make a bold statement. That’s the great thing about statement socks, they pack a punk and are relatively inexpensive (depending on the sock you wish to sport).
Blazer: Oxford
Shirt & Tie: James Harper
Pants: Department 5
Shoes: Ted Baker
Socks & Ring: Paul Smith
Sunglasses: Dangerfield

Everyone practically wears socks on a daily basis and even fashion minimalists can’t argue with this easy to style accessory. For men the statement sock is the equivalent of a statement necklace, a purse or handbag for women and when spending more than a few dollars on a pair you do want people to see them.

Shoes: Ben Sherman
Socks: Gucci

Not just for women, the statement sock “trend” can easily be adapted to men’ fashion making every one of your outfits stand out! The “trend” is nothing ground-breaking and has been around for many decades, but the variety of socks now available, how you choose to style them is new. From embellishments to colours and patterns it is time for the bare ankles to move aside for this pepped up explosion of individuality.

Statement socks make every outfit stand out in the crowd. If you are more courageous and want to make a statement then this “trend” is for you.
Socks:Ted Baker

Wear them with confidence and pride by mixing them with a chunky statement shoe for a strong styling atheistic. Making your socks the focal point of your outfit is easy by wearing a minimalist ensemble. The key is to build your look from the feet up.

Socks:Ted Baker

For those a little more daring and flamboyant, you definitely want to pair your socks with a great pair of shorts that end above the knee to show off the details of your statement socks. Summer is just around the corner, so it’s only natural to want to show off your legs with this great combination. Some may argue that this look is very geeky. Have you not heard of geek chic?

Socks &: Paul Smith

As far as office attire goes, sock experimentation requires a fairly simple getup (a tonal look is always a safe bet). Utilising a pair of your favourite loafers can take your look from drab to fab and reinvent and bring focus to your shoes.

Socks: Gucci

Before settling on a pair of socks, I recommended that you know what you want the socks to do. Do you want them to be the focal point, do you want them to contrast with what you are wearing, match or compliment. I am a firm believer in fit for purpose. The statement sock trend is going nowhere, choosing correctly is important, although fortunately this accessory is relatively cheap to purchase and dispose of.

It is time to get experimental and pimp up your ankles, the options are endless that you can try this summer. Have fun with your ankles and throw in a bit of colour, pattern, or print. 

More on Instagram

Monday, 11 September 2017


Melbourne Fashion Week took over the footpath of Swanston Street for its annual week long offering that launches the beginning of Spring and Summer and the social season in which Melbourne comes alive. 
Melbourne fashion week 2017
Suit: Jack London
Shirt: Department 5
Socks: Gucci
Shoes: Ben Sherman
Bag: No Name
Sunglasses: Arockonalens

The fashion obsessed flowed into the Melbourne Town Hall to view the latest offerings from both designers and retailers with their glasses of champers in hand. It is always a great environment to catch up with your fellow stylish friends, see familiar faces behind a camera and meet new and exciting people that your normally only communicate with through your instagram feed. The MFW Bar meant serious business inside with its set up and exhibition space, which unfortunately did not flow outside to the claustrophobic outdoor area on the footpath either side of the entrance. 
Melbourne Fashion Week 2017
Courtesy: Mamamia

For dedicated fashion addicts there were a handful of people on the street that peaked my interest. Hoards of bloggers, influencers and wannabes presented their best offerings for the camera's as they circled the block. As you know the louder and more individual you are in your clothes, the more likely you are to peak the interest of the papz and be snapped. In this case I felt like I was stuck inside a photo shoot for a menswear suit catalog. After a week of viewing the street styles I was left with the impression that Australian menswear fashion is still relatively conservative, with not much evolution between seasons or even years. Thankfully there were standouts from the ladies who bought their A game to the footpath injecting understated chicness and colourful combinations whilst braving the chilly nights.
Melbourne Style at Fashion Week
Shirt & Blazer: James Harper
Pants: Department 5
Shoes: Lacoste
Bag: Doucals
Sunglasses: Gucci

Trends that dominated the footpath outside the shows:

Street Luxe - The number one dominating trend was the mixing of streetwear with high fashion. Of course all black ensembles were everywhere, and the opposite. All white was also present like a flock of seagulls searching for a potato chip. 

Florals - As Miranda Priestly so eloquently put it, florals for Spring. Groundbreaking. Let's move on.

Belts - Belts were everywhere. Some good, some bad and some that I will be happy to never see again. If I see one more GG gold belt I think I will scream as it has replaced the tiresome YSL tassel bag that every woman has been renting for the last year.

Men in Suts - When it comes to men's suits there were some stylish accessories to set off the slim tailored fits that were on display. Plenty of pocket squares and lapel pins which showed individuality of the wearer. There were minimal pleated trousers which have been huge in Europe for the last two years and plenty of loafers with no socks. Special shout out to the gents who took the stuffiness out of menswear and wore something a little different and didn't play it safe. Bravo.

Pretty Ugly Shoes - Delighted to see so many wonderful shoes with different hardware and embellishments in a variety of styles both on men and women. Thigh high leather tan boots on women with chunky heels were a regular staple. The elaborate shoes would not normally be considered pretty but the vulgarity and opulence was beautiful and refreshing to see in Melbourne. ADORE!

Fur - Fur accessories adorned everything from earrings to bags and shoes. Poor little critters will live on for seasons to come after being dyed in fabulous colours providing a lux
vibe to ensembles.

Men's street style Melbourne Fashion Week
Blazer & Coat: Oxford
Shirt, Tie, Pocket Squares & Shorts: James Harper
Sweater: Ted Baker
Socks:  Gucci

Most of the shows were exactly as I feared, producing safe visions of well groomed and pruned ensembles ready for the horse racing season in a few months. The flare for dramatics or igniting a point of difference was eliminated by many big designers that played it safe and delivering much of what they have for the previous seasons. However there were a few examples of inspiration and creativity that will be burned in my mind for a while. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram for updates

Garage Runway - As much as I enjoy a good summer dress, there was a lot of black and muted tones or uninspiring patterns that were constantly reused. I understand ethical fashion and the need to be wise with materials, but without variety comes boredom. I have seen so many dresses inspired by Queen B's baseball bat twirling dress to last me a lifetime. 

Menswear Garage - Alike the aforementioned it was held in the basement of the Melbourne Town Hall, the likes of Amxander, Jack London, Autonomy, Chris Ran Lin and Dom Bagnato sent styles down the runway that unfortunately did not peak my interest. Following European trends with oversized bumbags across the chest and numerous patterned materials that were reused for different pieces, there were a few nice pieces but nothing that made me gasp. The overall vibe of the show was trying to be edgy with the model selection, music, skateboards and styling, that it all felt the same. I left a little deflated after this showing.

David Jones - The creative styling team behind the show should be commended for creating safe ensembles that would peak the interest of suburban housewives and gents who require a suit for the races. A huge retailer like David Jones do know their target audience very well and this showcased their knowledge of their consumer, right down to the YSL heels or The Kingsman inspired gentlemen that will soon appear on movie screens.

Premium Runway Four - Finally an injection of what fashion means to me. There were opulent embellishments, tassels, fabric choices, voluminous sleeves and dramatics in the styling including a little homage to good old Formation film clip. The line up of deisgners meshed well together although once again there was a little too much black on the catwalk for my liking, but it is Melbourne after all and black sells. 

Premium Runway - Closing - The saying "Leave the best to last" was true of closing night of the festival with some inspirational displays sent down the ice melting runway. In a week that started off rather underwhelming it was good to wrap the festival up on a positive note with some of Australia’s most popular labels such as Romance Was Born, solid stand out for me.

After a few seasons not attending what was Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and rebranded MFW, it was pleasant to see new ideas influence the program and inject some much needed innovation into the festival. Melbourne has serious pride in it's events and the team behind Melbourne Fashion Week should be commended for staying current and on trend whilst producing a solid program. A huge shout out to the volunteers who spent 12 hour days holding the festival together. Round of applause.

I believe that some of the designers need to lift their game if they wish to retain current supporters of their brands, or attract new customers. By the end of the week photographers were not on the streets, media pit at the end of the runway appeared a little thin and there were many empty seats in the town hall creating an underwhelming atmosphere. With Melbourne Fashion Festival receiving an injection of funding from the State Government recently it will be interesting to see if the fashion capital is big enough for both Fashion Week and Fashion Festival. Let the catwalk battles begin.

Friday, 1 September 2017


The countdown is on until the style elite descend on Canberra for FASHFEST. In the lead up I caught up with Canberra designer Yumi Morrissey who is the creative genius behind Zilpah Tart and its strong colourful unique prints that I am excited to see sashay down the runway. 
Image: Andrew Donato

Where about's did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Canberra

What sparked your interest in fashion?
I decided when I was 7 years old that I wanted to be a fashion designer, and never changed my mind. I spent my time as a child making outfits for my troll dolls.

What personal history has(if any) influenced your views on fashion or your design aesthetic ?
I’ve always been a very girly girl so my designs are very feminine. I’ve also always found individuality important, even when I was a child, and so this is part of the way I design. The clothing stands out in a crowd, through the use of bright colours/prints and beautiful flattering shapes. It’s not designed to blend in, and the designs are not trend based.

How did you get to where you are now? Where did you study?
I studied a Bachelor of Fashion Design at Canberra Institute of Technology, graduating in 2007. My label at this point was just a hobby, while working in the public service. After my son was born in 2013, I quit my public service job to take my business full time. This was the time when I really started on the journey, working out what my true aesthetic and business direction was.

I am super excited to see the Canberra Institute of Technology, I adore the creativity of students and their willingness to push the envelope. How did you come up with the name for your label?
The name Zilpah tart was my grandmother’s name. Zilpah was her first name, and Tart was her maiden name. After she passed away, we were going through her things and I found a 1930s brooch of a penny farthing. At that point, I decided to use her name for the label and the image of the penny farthing for the logo.

Yumi Morrissey designer of Zilpah Tart Image: Holly Morrison

How many people are in your team?
Just me, myself and I. I outsource a small amount of production here in Canberra, but everything else is created by me.

That really impresses me that you are so hands on with your work in all fascists. What is your favourite material to work with?
I use stretch jersey. I love using jersey for the comfort and fit. Particularly after having a child, comfort and being able to move easily (bending down picking up a child etc) became super important. But I like to look good, and generally jersey doesn’t fit that category. So I use design to be able to make beautiful clothing that is also comfortable.

Everyone has one material that they absolutely detest working with, what is your least favourite material to work with and why?
That’s a hard one… but probably chiffon. It’s slippery, it moves on the grain, and is tricky to cut and sew. I generally avoid it at all costs.

I love your use of colour in your designs can you describe your collection in 3 words?
Bright, floral, feminine.

What is your inspiration for creating?
For each collection I design three new fabric prints based on Canberra photographs. I choose a theme and this theme directs the photographs that I take to create the fabric prints. 

I love creating clothing that is beautiful and unique, and not only makes someone feel good wearing them, but through the use of photographic prints, creates a personal connection for the wearer as well.

I agree that clothing should empower you and make you feel great. What or who is your motivation?
My main motivation is being able to do what I love. I think following your passion in life is so important, and I’m motivated to make my dream a reality.

Image: Anthony Caffery

In the lead up to FASHFEST could you share a little about what I and the crowd may see?
The new collection is full of colour. I used photographs from several years of Floriade (pulled them from my Floriade photo collection). I followed a sort of garden nymph vibe, and this will continue through the makeup and hairstyling for Fashfest as well.

You use wonderful digital printed fabrics from inspiration you have captured around Canberra, what is your first memory of using a camera?
My interest in photography is definitely something that developed later on in life. It’s something I really enjoy, but I’ve only really gotten into it over the last seven years or so.

What makes you passionate about fashion and the women you dress?
The most important thing for me is being able to make someone absolutely LOVE what they have bought and are wearing. I want to be able to make women feel good and special when they are wearing a Zilpah tart dress. This has many levels too. Not just the aesthetics of the dresses – I use shapes that tend to flatter most body shapes – but the comfort, the easy care instructions, the versatility (being able to wear the dress with a blazer for work, with sandals on the weekend, and with heals to a cocktail party), knowing that they are wearing a cool photo, quite often cleverly hidden in a pattern – this creates talking points too. Then there’s the local aspect. My customers know they are supporting a local designer. They know that the product is made in Australia by me and they end up with a personal connection to me and to the clothing. It’s makes it more special than a mass-produced piece with no identity.

What are you looking forward to at FASHFEST, besides your designs on the runway?
This will be the launch of my collection so I’m super excited to finally show the new designs, but I love being able to work with other creative people involved in the show, from hair and makeup, models, musicians, and just seeing the whole event come together.

You have been involved with FASHFEST for a few years now. Can you tell me how the festival has changed over the years?
I started at Fashfest in its second year (I was eight months pregnant when Fashfest first launched or would have applied that year also). The show has grown enormously, and it’s really developed its own identity. There are more designers and It’s earned its spot as a major Canberra fashion event.

Image: Tina Nikolovski

Can you describe what runs through your mind when you see your designs walk down the runway?
I love being able to see the designs come to life as a collection. I don’t normally get to see the full collection all together on people at once so It’s great to be able to see that. I also love being able to create a total image using the hair and makeup and seeing it as a show. I’m really excited about the hair and makeup concepts for this year. It’s an opportunity to be really creative.

What type of woman do you envisage wearing your pieces when you create them?
My customers are professional women, aged 25 to 40. They are confident and have a keen interest in unique styles and love to look and feel good.

Where would you like to see Zilpah Tart in 5 years?
My main focus at the moment is trying to expand into the Melbourne market. I now stock at Design A Space in Manchester Lane and Windsor. I hope to be able to build on my customer base there, and then when that market is at a sustainable point, to perhaps expand into the Sydney market.

What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
Think about what you can provide your customers. What do they do? What do they find important? What do they want/need? Think about how your product can appeal to them on different levels. For example, my customers always tell me they love how easy the dresses are to wash and dry and that they don’t need ironing. Many professional women are busy and travel a lot. They love to be able to throw a versatile dress in a suitcase, and not have to worry about needing to iron it in a hotel room.

One thing I should see or do whilst I am in Canberra?
One of my favourite places to go is the National Arboretum. The views are spectacular, you don’t want to miss it. Sunrise there is incredible if you are an early riser.

You’ll also be in Canberra at the only time of the year when Tulip Top gardens (just outside Canberra on the Hume Highway) are open. They are incredible. I’ve used photos from Tulip Top in a previous collection. Floods of blossom trees all in bloom, tulips, and amazing views.

GFASHCOLLECTIVE: Thank you for the travel recommendations and giving me a little insight into your world. I look forward to seeing Zilpah Tart strut down the runway on closing night at FASHFEST and wish you all the best for the collection. 

Tickets are on sale now at: