AFF Runway 2: Couture Culture with Hugh Hamilton Wines

Couture is a luxury many of us can only dream of affording, but that doesn’t stop us from attending every couture runway we can find.

That being said, we were lucky enough to be invited to Hugh Hamilton Wines corporate box at the Couture Culture Runway this Adelaide Fashion Festival. Being the 180th anniversary of the Hamilton family’s very first vintage, this year was a special year for the winery, and was the perfect year to get involved with a highly fashionable event such as AFF in celebration.

Hugh Hamilton Wines are undoubtedly prestigious, made fittingly for luxurious living and stylish events. As an official partner of the AFF, the winery offered four of their traditional wines at the AFF bars alongside a signature cocktail for guests to indulge in. We were sure to take advantage of these delights before taking our seats for the Couture Culture Runway!

As the lights dimmed on the runway, all eyes were on an antique lounge and a ladder decorated with bright, blooming flowers . Slowly, each of the models glided on stage and perched around the centrepieces, revealing the first glimpse of Jaimie Sortino‘s ‘State of Grace’ collection.

The 2017 collection opened the show with a royal colour palette of burgundy, maroon, emerald green and jade blue. The richness of the colours meant that little detail was needed, which let the incredible structure and shape of the dresses draw your attention. Plunging necklines were followed by dramatic trains, sheer fabrics formed cascading skirts and exaggerated bow designs. Elegant, sparkling brooches nipped the fabric in to provide shape and add a little bit of old-world glamour.

Cristina Tridente, designer behind Couture+Love+Madness is fresh off a plane from studying at Central Saint Martins in London, and has clearly brought a fresh bout of inspiration back with her. The new collection, simply titled ‘Les Fleurs’, featured baby blues and soft pinks offset by bright embellishments and detailing. Though the collection presented some striking, full-skirted gowns, our favourites were a strong-silhouetted a-line mini-dress with cherry blossom branches dancing across it (and the matching bomber!), and a white jumpsuit with a giant overlay skirt for the modern bride.

Varacalli Couture presented an edgier collection, using darker, deeper colours. The detailing was full of drama, be it bright embroidery contrasting against black mesh, giant tulle fishtails or structured sleeving. A maroon bodysuit was skirted by sheer fabric that moved as gracefully as water when the model walked, weighed down only by a number of tumbling roses.

Eliza French stepped away from traditional wedding gowns and experimented with heavy detailing and complex craftsmanship. A figure-hugging gown made from crochet and pearls was a favourite, as was a sparkling, nearly-naked number. The use of sheer fabrics to highlight bare skin underneath, hidden only by intricate panelling or details, made a striking statement that we loved.

Fashion and innovation go hand in hand, and that’s exactly what Caléche‘s new ‘Natural Beauty’ collection is. The fabrics are recycled and environmentally friendly, making these dresses perfect for the ethical bride. Romantic instrumentals played while models glided down the catwalk holding baskets and bunches of wildflowers, and flowing white gowns billowed above bare feet, giving us the ideal these dresses would be ideal for an outdoor wedding. Though the designs are simple, it’s the little touches of detail that make them special, like a sheer sleeve, a lace top or a number of embroidered flowers dotted on a skirt.

For us, Greta Kate‘s designs always make us think of the roaring fashion of the 20s. Be it the dazzling beading, a touch of feathers or a blouson sleeve, Greta Kate seems to take the best bits of the decade and turn them into modern masterpieces. These gorgeous gowns were styled with headpieces from Sylvy Earl, who adorned the model’s heads with gold leafing, blossoming flowers and oversized hats with delicate gold chains.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a specular couture show complimented by dramatic music. If you couldn’t make it to the Couture Culture show this year though, stay tuned for our AFF vlog featuring some of the looks from this runway. Thank you to Hugh Hamilton wines for hosting us in their corporate box!

Photography: NKM Images

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