Sustainable Couture proved itself again last night, with renewed inspiration from its core group of designers and inspired new designers entering the fray. The group’s commitment is to making wearable garments with flair, using recycled materials. First time exhibitor at the event, Jen Standish-White, wowed the crowd with this elegant trio, her sleek male models getting a particular welcome. KIERAN FINNANE was there.
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Pictured: Hayden, Nathan and Megan modelling; Jen Standish-White at the rear, far left, with MC Meredith Campbell.
Though the veteran designers of the Alice Desert Festival's Wearable Arts Awards have all but bowed out, the arts and the show live on. Certain names are now establishing themselves as ones to watch out for – such as Simone Kilian and Tina Tilhard – while names associated with different roles – such as Jen Standish-White and Mary Menotti – have emerged to reveal unsuspected talent. Edginess, provocation and humour were not to the fore this year, but refined skills were – in design, execution and performance. Many models did much more than strut – some expressed moments of intense drama and emotion, others revelled in the sensual experience of the adorned body and pulsating music. WORDS by KIERAN FINNANE, PICTURES by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Photo:Deliberately Lit by Clare Whitcombe (designer and model), inspired by last year's bushfires, winner of the Fantasia Award.
Video, in order: It's in the Bag by Alex Stephens; Tealirious Sirena by Tina Tilhard, performed by Sally Balfour; The Upside Down Tree by Kate Yoffa; Aquila Marirosa by Mary Menotti and Henry Smith; Coffee Anyone? by Simone Kilian, performed by Hamish McGauchie; Hot Head by Philomena Hali, performed by Melissa Zahoruijko; Top End Coast Line by Carol Phayer, modelled by Jaimee Eaton; Beneath the Surface by Leonie Oakes, performed by Courtney Summers; Angled by Simone Kilian, performed by Jasmine Ahwah; Duprada Dance Company; final parade of award winners.
A bridal gown from a tablecloth, a party dress from a curtain, a coat from a blanket. And how? Raid the op shops, then recycle, deconstruct, reconstruct, embellish. Sewing skills are a must; tacking is advised. Above all, have an eye for design, for the possibilities.
They call it "sustainable couture" and last night was its fourth showing in Alice Springs. Well-known names were joined by first-timer Jane Lloyd, who has recently found the time to resurrect the sewing skills taught by her mother when they lived in Darwin in the days before TV.
There's a camaraderie between the designers, all of them women. So much so that Nicky Schonkala, known for the clean lines of her designs, feels that her style is "morphing" into Carmel Ryan's – more complex and decorative. – Story and photos by KIERAN FINNANE
Pictured: Aviator's outfit with a difference, designed by Nicky Schonkala, modeled by Madly Bodin.