VAMFF 2015: What to expect when you attend a fashion runway

UNSURE what to expect if you ever find yourself dropping in on a fashion runway? Anthea Batsakis shares her runway experience at this year’s Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.

VAMFF 2015 Designer - búl. Photo: Lucas Dawson

Designer – búl. Photo: Lucas Dawson

Throughout most of March, Melbourne looked a lot like Sex and the City as the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) conquered Docklands with flashy style.

It was flirty and altogether fabulous but also very surprising if you don’t know what to expect. I attended one of the festival’s Premium Runways, presented by Frankie Magazine, and came away with a varied set of impressions.

While the clothes and outfits showcased by some of Australia’s leading designers offered a glimpse into what these designers will have in store this season, I also learned a few things about the nature of fashion shows themselves.

The clothes…

VAMFF 2015 Designer: Gorman. Photo: Lucas Dawson

Designer: Gorman. Photo: Lucas Dawson

The designers: Kuwaii, Alpha 60, Kloke, búl, Limedrop, and Gorman.

These brands epitomise Frankie Magazine’s indie style. In general, layered, loose-fitting, and light-weight pieces were showcased, almost channeling the class of the ’60s infused with a chic, modern playfulness. With lengthy, loose-fitting skirts, jumpsuits and shorts, the models were austere and elegant.

VAMFF 2015 Designer: Alpha 60. Photo: Lucas Dawson

Designer: Alpha 60. Photo: Lucas Dawson

The pieces were nothing short of unique, with contrasting patterns against neutral tones. And although these brands typically sell clothes with eyebrow-raising prices of more than $150, they are quality products designed to last a lifetime.

But there’s no need to justify spending, it’s worth it when you find an item you love that is unique to you – whether it be a vintage-inspired dress, a sparkly jumpsuit, or a baby blue coat.

To my surprise…

VAMFF 2015 - Premium Runway Photo: Anthea Batsakis

Guests at VAMFF capturing some of the fast-paced action on the runway. Photo: Anthea Batsakis

The Premium Runway lasted for about half an hour, where six designers showcased their latest range for five minutes each. The sheer pace that the models walked at was surprising, especially considering that often the heels on their shoes were analogous to twigs!

If the only camera you’ve got is the one on your smartphone, capturing the action can be difficult as the models sported a flash-like blur, flying down the runway. Designating ‘runway’ rather than ‘walkway’ is an appropriate detail.

To my regret…

Leather skirt Photo: Anthea Batsakis

The culprit… Photo: Anthea Batsakis

It wasn’t until I had to taken my seat that I learned immediately that wearing a high-waisted leather skirt and stilts for high heels was a mistake. Leather doesn’t breathe, and neither could I – its rigidity made sitting a near impossible task. And with sweat drenched legs and my waist forced further in than what’s humanly possible, I was in stylish agony. Though I felt fashionable, I could barely enjoy the show.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should strut down the runway to your seat in anything less than your best put-together outfit, but rather, keep in mind that you paid to see a show; not to wait for it all to be over so you can unzip your skirt as soon as you’re out of sight.

This obvious reminder applies for every show you attend, but it’s easy to forget comfort when ‘fashion’ is in the show’s title.

But aside from my difficulty in breathing, the night was one to remember. And if you’re new to the mystique of fashion festivals, hopefully my experiences will provide some insight into how they should be approached!

In case you missed this year’s fashion week, VAMFF runs annually!


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