EXCLUSIVE FEATURE: Melbourne Fashion Festival

L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival is the single most prestigious event that a Fashionista need in Melbourne. This is the time of year when all Fashionistas/nistos gather in a single spot with the most fabulous and eccentric outfits to attend to the runway shows.

And this year, I went down to the venue, Central pier Docklands to hunt for some trends that are sporting in Melbourne this season.

One phrase says it all for this season, “One Big Statement”. Gone are the days of plain old minimalism with head to toe subtle pieces and plain colors. Even in Melbourne, where we are known for head to toe black looks, burst in excitement from the runway influences across the globe and gone for the unconventional.

In the festival, all follows one main rule, which is to have that one statement number and dress everything else around this piece. It is like a compromise between the ‘less is more’ or ‘more is more’.

From a golden goat fur jacket matched with a simple white shirt and khaki cigaratte pants to a fluoro green dress with minimal accessories and makeup.

The key is to highlight that one eccentric piece that no one else have or in other words, be unique.

Also some applause for the men of the festival who up their game this season by mixing up the usual conventional suit and tie with textures like velvet blazers or sheen leather pants and some bold cobalt blue or vintage scarf inspired printed shirts.


When I say “I whip my hair”, one would normally think Willow Smith immediately. I have to say, I would too. That song has become such an icon that you just can’t ignore. But there is more to whipping hairs than just Willow Smith, but the general concept is the same. I am talking about fringed accessories. It might be a little reminiscent of Wild Wild West and a little of Native American feel but it can also be extremely chic and modern.

In the spring/summer that just passed in most parts of the world except for Australia; fringe has become one of the most chic trend that you could find. Remember that irresistible Greek multicoloured dresses with fringed hems in Versace? Or maybe those tassels you see in Gucci and fringed capes in Anna Sui? They are all the fringed highlights for the season and since spring/summer is currently residing in Australia, Fashionistas around would definitely pick on to this old revived classic.

This Fashionista wears something bought and something borrowed. She wears a top from Sportsgirl, a skirt borrowed from a friend and sandals from Green with Envy. More importantly, the focus goes to the bag. The Savannah Suede Fringe Bag, which is also from Sportsgirl. Speaking of the Native American influence, this Fashionista captured the essence without putting any fringe to the outfit and instead she fringed her bag. With a nice lacey top and a native printed skirt paired with the studded sandal, she looked more native and natural than ever.

If you think a fringed all over bag is too much for you, you could always try something with less fringe like a tassel on a bag or those bags with only fringed flaps. Also, one can try other fringed accessories, like earrings or bracelets but, in my honest opinion, never ever try fringed boots because it is too literal and you would actually look like a native or a cowgirl, unless you are dressing for Halloween or a Western themed party.

Spotted:  Fringed bags as seen in Dsquared².

ACCESSORIES REPORT: A Messenger Bag But Smaller?

A messenger bag is a quintessential accessories for a man’s day to day activities. For a long time, messenger bags for men had been restricted to only sizes at least as big as a laptop or an A4 document sized bag. Therefore men had limited choices in bringing a bag out with them. Even for a day with the slightest tasks at hand when you only need to bring a digital camera, a wallet, some keys and maybe an umbrella, you still need to carry that large oversized bag with you all the time.

In the past two seasons, something called a mini messenger bag had resurfaced from the past and soon became one of the most “vogue” accessory for men. This type of bag is about a size of A5 paper and can usually be able to fit a camera, a phone, a wallet, some keys and sunglasses or some that would so fit an umbrella on top of all the other items.

This Fashionisto is carrying the exact same type of bag by Burberry. The classic Haymarket check that he uses fits all kind of purpose and events. It could be day and worn well into the night. Today, he dresses in the most classic and simple way for spring/summer. He wears a polo shirt from Ralph Lauren, a military double breasted jacket from H&M, a Padini pair of striped shorts and a pair of Gucci sneakers. A simple and yet efficient way to dress for a warmer climate but still be able to protect yourself from the slight chilled wind by the sea.

The bag is also a perfect way to carry your goods in summer especially if you have more than a wallet because ones pants would not look as good when you stuff it with too many things. So a mini messenger is probably the best choice unless you are willing to carry some extra weight in form of a larger bag. While purchasing the bag, there are plenty of options from high street to high fashion. A classic one from high end brands go from Burberry to Louis Vuitton and lower prices can be opted from ASOS or H&M. And the shape can be a little more flexible, for a guy, it could be like this Fashionisto in a vertical rectangular shape or in a horizontal one. Plus length can be varied too.

So this summer, go grab yourself one of these bags and save yourself some trouble and for the ladies, time to consider a Christmas present for your beau.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Neither Too Long Or Too Short

In Melbourne, when it comes to spring/summer dressing, girls often resort to maxi skirts or mini shorts. Maxi skirts or dresses are usually worn in floral and extremely flowy, while shorts are normally in plain white or black in super short length. Both are worn to minimise heat on the lower body depending on whether you want a tan on you or not.

In the past few seasons, 1970s trend had made a huge comeback with its calf length skirts and dresses. From A-line, bell shaped, to pencil and circle shaped, everything had been chopped down to midi length. What is considered as midi length? Basically the length has to be slightly below the knee or a little above the ankle and stops right around the middle of your calf.

This Fashionista wears a midi length dress in cigarette burn print from Kitschen, a chain link necklace from Lovisa and a pair of tasselled ballerina loafers from Wittner that shows a perfect midi length style of dressing that looks summer but not typical floral everywhere kind of summer. She wears the midi dress with a cigarette burn print that reminds me of Jason Wu’s 2010 collection and matched it with a simple black belt tied in a knot. It was simple but not too much of a typical summer print that everyone envisions especially with those cute pair of loafers in nude. And she brings even more edge with her chain link necklace that is more rough and eccentric to lift up the black and white dress.

Wearing a midi length skirt or dress requires much eye to detail. You have to know how long should the midi length rests, depending on what shoes you wear. If you are wearing a longer midi that rest on your calf towards the ankle, get a pair of heels and if you are wearing a midi slightly below knee, you have the option of wearing flats or heels. This is all to match and complement your height as not everyone is born with a model’s exquisite height and waistline. To end a great note to a new summer dressing, pair it with a nice pair of sunglasses and in this Fashionista’s case, a pair of nude Burberry sunglasses.


Embossing accessories comes as no stranger than a pair of peep toe heels to all Fashionistas. It is traditionally used method that is implemented by most of the current designer bags. Perhaps one of the most famous embossed leather bags are from Louis Vuitton’s Monogram Vernis. But as students, we might not be as fortunate to own even one designer bag. So we always sort for alternatives.

Embossed leather is something that is used since a few decades ago and the original and more ethnic bags feature floral or ethnic prints that is more eccentric and less modern main stream. This Fashionista was spotted with one of these one of a kind handmade leather bags that she found in a small town in France and it costs under 50 AUD. Her bag had embossed ornamental floral patterns similar to those of eastern Europe that has a mix of Arabian feel to it. And as it was handmade, it is one of a kind and no other bag will be the same as this particular one. Each and every design made has a slight difference to it based on the artist that made it.

And if you are not from France, you can always source these bags from local markets, cultural villages or vintage stores. And, like everywhere else in the world, vintage looking bags are perhaps one of the most trendy item that a student could have. There is a certain allure to that soft worn-in leather that looks slightly tattered and old but at the same time chic and fashion-forward.

You can match the bag with almost anything from daywear to work or to classes to a coffee date or an evening out to a fancy restaurant. Take a pick and you’ll realize how the bag would fit to all the occasions. Match it like the Fashionista, a plain tee and maxi skirt or go grunge with a biker jacket and studded ankle boots. Maybe even try an evening black cocktail mini dress. It’ll all fit to it unless you go for a red carpet glitz and glamour embellished dress.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Witches of the Prairie

When one says “you look witchy”, you would think black, gothic and scary in some way. But that is not all a witch is about. Think a green or earthy witch. This had been quite the trend for the fall season. We have seen the likes of it from Rodarte, Alexander McQueen and Anna Sui. These designers and their collection was all about earth, fantasy and magic. Rodarte, in particular, had an amazing collection where their focus was on the witches and the prairies. Basically, what I call the witches of the prairie where things like wheat, cornfield, flowers, trees and grass plains are the main theme.

This Fashionista I spotted embodied that exact look and feel — a green witch. She wears a earth red coat from Tree Of Life, a simple open slit maxi skirt from Forever New. It was a very down to earth but yet bewitching look that one could have. Plus the tribal bag and strapped sandals that have the same feel of a witch, not to mention some mythical-inspired rings from Egypt and Aztec folklore.

The tip to get this very look is to have earth colored pieces like the coat. Don’t just go for brown colors — you also can try dark reds, gingers, dark greens or blood orange. Think all shades of the forests from animals to trees and earth. Also, have matching pieces in floral or lighter shades like beige to represent the sunlight and accessories for the actual sun.


Melbourne had been known for its fascination of hats, especially in spring. Mainly it is because of the annual spring races where attendees would wear larger than life hats and fabulous ensembles to have a good time from wine and dine to horse races. While the races had ended, the hat marathon is still on.

In the norm, hats are the ladies’ thing but as of late, men of Melbourne started to embrace more of fashion and started sporting hats. There are those who go for the typical fedoras, bowlers and berets but there are also more fashion-forward men like this Fashionisto that goes for the wide rim hats.

This Fashionisto I spotted on the streets was wearing a wide rim hat in reminiscence of Zorro but not as big as the fictional character and certainly with no moustache. He wears all vintages pieces like most Melburnians do but nonetheless he looks more fashion-forward than any other men on the street and certainly a stand out. The black on black, head to toe outfit works like a charm as it gives a sense of cool and vogue attitude like a rogue. Plus, black always works no matter what the era or season it is. Also with his cartoon-ish sunglasses in white, it makes the charm even better. Personally, I think more men should embrace hats like this Fashionisto. No matter what type you wear, it will up your look and away from the typical stereotyped men on the streets.

As for ladies, this advice goes well to you too. Take a bigger and wider rim hat with you wherever you go as it is summer and we don’t want any uneven tan on your skin. You can go as big as you want or just a smaller one that is right enough to cover your eyes from the sun glare.

All in all, it works like a charm as another perfect accessory for spring/summer.

Spotted: Wide rim hats as seen in Dsquared².


When one thinks of a more formal type of outfit for women, we would normally resort for the more classic approach of a simple skirt and blouse or maybe a pair of tailored pants and a shirt. You might think that as students, we don't have to worry about formal wear but you thought wrong. Formal wear, as some of you might know, is also used in university like in a mock-up presentation, a conference or internship interviews — depending on which industry you are in. So it is always a good thing to have a few options of formal wear at hand.

Jumpsuits are one of the more fashion-foward formal wear pieces that has recently been back in trend and, if one dress it properly, a jumpsuit could be the best alternative of formal wear without being too serious or too casual. And sometimes jumpsuits can also be used for red carpet styled events — remember Tina Fey in Yves Saint Laurent’s jumpsuit for the Met gala?

This Fashionista I found on the street wore a jumpsuit but only half of it. From the looks of it, it is a simple side legged jumpsuit but it stops at mid waist and continue on top with only straps; it is a jumpsuits/overalls combo. She pairs her jumpsuit, which was purchased from Vivien Of Holloway from London with a simple black long sleeve tee that you could find from the likes of Cotton On or UNIQLO. I think that her choice was a smart one as this piece is an investment piece. You can simply dress it up or down by wearing a different kind of top inside from a simple collar shirt to a lace top. And with each different top, the entire look can shift from day to night, fun to study or work.

Jumpsuits in general has a wide variety from the mid-waist like this Fashionista, to the sleeveless, draped, tailored to skin tight ones. It all depends on your liking of what shape complements you the most. Some like a tight jumpsuit while others like it light and breezy. Plus, the weather also affects the choice. But one thing’s for sure, a girl can’t live without a jumpsuit of any kind in her closet — at least for the current trend.


When we go for classes, what is the most essential piece that one should have, especially in days where assignments are due where you have piles of books to carry around plus your laptop, stationeries, phone and such? The answer is a backpack.

Backpacks had been frequently taken as the uncool bag that one could have, probably due to the fact that when we were younger, backpacks werent exactly stylish. But things are different now — we are older and wiser. More importantly, backpacks have evolved and have risen above the “uncool” tag. In the recent years, it had been one of the most essential bags that one has to have for both Fashionistas and Fashionistos. And the best thing about backpacks is that it is convenient for students. The size is decent to carry a huge amount of items; you can opt for those with multiple compartments to organize your items; it does not hurt your body as much as a messenger bag does when you carry heavy items.

There are also plenty of different styles like the drawstring from The Row, the dual option from Alexander Wang and printed ones from Marc Jacobs. This Fashionisto is spotted carrying a structured square shaped backpack which he purchased from ASOS.

He carries the bag with a simple outfit. A simple printed T-shirt, a cut-off denim short and a pair of beach thongs — all very simple but cool cutting edge that can pass for a day in class to a party at the beach. The bag and his sunglasses gave the most style and cool factor his entire look as his backpack is something not seen everyday because all who buy military backpacks most likely go for the slouchy classic mili-backpack.

While choosing a backpack, you don’t necessarily have to go for these ones. Explore different options and choose what you think is comfortable to you.

Spotted: Backpacks as seen at Prada.


When we talk about spring/summer wear, what do we look for? Of course, it would be something easy and breezy but for Fashionistas, we look for easy, breezy and also beautiful outfits.

And the best material would probably be lace. It is light, breezy and definitely very stylish. Lace had been a material favoured by designers everywhere for almost every season, from summer to winter.

Despite its lightness, by putting it with different combination of fabrics and material, it transcends seasons. You can do well wearing it even in winter.

And who better to associate lace materials to, than the famous Dolce and Gabbana where their collections had consistently produce lace type outfits, but this trend had been extremely in vogue after the royal wedding where Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen created the amazing number for Her Royal Highness.

This Fashionista captured me with her excellent combination of pieces to match the theme of the day – lace. She is wearing a white lace top with a pair of leather shorts from H&M and matching it with a pair of crystal tassel flats that she sourced from a boutique in Hong Kong.

She manages to embrace the lightness of the top by wearing something a little heavier at the bottom, which further showcases, the light fabric of the lace. Plus, what better to make an outfit a little edgier than leather.

This is probably one of the optimum outfits that a girl could wear in a nice sunny day in spring especially in Melbourne where even spring, wearing something leather would not suffocate you.

And to top the outfit, the Fashionista also carries a Speedy 30 by Louis Vuitton. Who doesn’t love some Vuitton with them?