Close your eyes.
Listen to the calls of wild birds.
Feel the wind gently blowing your hair.
Smell the sweet waft of eucalyptus leaves in the morning.
As I walked into the Great Hall at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) last night, a wave of nostalgia hit me. If I had not been surrounded by a sea of strangers, I would have thought I was back in the country, in the fresh alpine air. I was reminded of my home in North-East Victoria; the kookaburras laughing outside my house, perched on top of a light post and the rustling of gum trees in the school next door.
I wish all fashion shows were like the one I attended on Sunday night. The attention to detail, the illusion that you were walking into another world, was nothing like I had experienced before in the fashion world. Ballet dancers in native Australian costume roamed the foyer as people clinked their glasses and gobbled down canapés.
I snuck into the media pit with my friend, Adele. We purchased tickets a month ago, but I soon realised that I could get into the show for free with my media pass, as they had not printed the shows I obtained accreditation for on the back of my lanyard. I gave the spare ticket to my mother, who had never been to a fashion show before. It's not really her scene, but I'm glad she got to see this one.
Before the models took to the runway, the audience was graced with a beautiful ballet routine. Each ballerina was dressed in a tutu resembling Australian flowers. I'm no well versed on flora, but I recognised wattle and lilly-pilly. The music reminded me of the first ballet I performed in when I was four years old, 'A Bush Ballet' and I was a butterfly, looking at the ground because I felt that I was too shy to be on stage.
The models filed down the runway dressed in some of the most intricate clothing I've seen in person, whilst ethereal covers of iconic Australian songs circulated in the background. Of course, all of the clothes were inspired by the Australian Bush - the models were styled with native Australian flowers as headpieces and the make-up was also flora inspired.
Every outfit reminded me of various Aussie paraphernalia. The gentle pinks, soft textures and boater hats above reminded of Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975), whilst the black waistbands and bomber jackets below reminded me of our obsession with sport, particularly basketball.
A few outfits reminded me of magpies and traditional dot-dot paintings.
These glorious outfits below made me think about what Frida Kahlo would have looked like if she lived in Australia instead of Mexico.
Then the hall went dark and the disco ball came to life, turning the room into a pool of what felt like, swirling stars. When I was little I would have dreams that I was swimming/floating through houses and rooms and this moment of the show reminded me of that - it was so calming.
The most beautiful dresses flowed down the runway afterwards, inspired by kangaroo paw and wattle. I would give anything to wear or own just one of those amazing creations!
I can't express how amazing it was to experience all of this in person. The whole package, the music, the atmosphere, the lead up to the show itself just painted a beautiful picture and I'm so happy I was able to see it all in person, rather than through other people's photos.