An intimate gathering of Melbourne’s well-heeled fashion media found refuge from the banality of Monday morning at Cumulus Up. Sipping coffee and nibbling on danishes, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival CEO Graeme Lewsey talked us through this year’s Festival program.

Lewsey refers to the festival as a “curated event”; a national event with global appeal, a curation of Australia’s finest designers. The world-class event is set to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from Victoria, across Australia and around the world, to attend a full schedule of Cultural Program events running from 1-31 March and the Festival’s core program of Runway and Business Events will take place from 17-23 March.

The Festival runways are where Australia’s leading ready-to-wear designers present collections to not only be critiqued by industry and peers, but most importantly viewed by thousands of discerning consumers all ready and willing to ‘shop the runway’. Programmed highlights this season include seven Premium Runway shows presented by Australia’s leading fashion publications, and the Independent Runway presenting Australian contemporary designers with an independent spirit, unique vision and unwavering sense of daring come together in an eclectic runway that demonstrates that creativity has no boundaries.

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Shopping takes on another dimension with an expanded ‘Famous For Fashion’ series staged within the City of Stonnington including style edits from two iconic locations within the illustrious shopping precinct, The Chapel Street Edit, The Boutique Edition and a ‘Festival High Tea’ hosted by Dilmah and Australian Women’s Weekly.

This year, designers featured at the Festival will include Alice McCall, Arthur Galan, Aurelio Costarella, Bassike, Bec & Bridge, Carla Zampatti, Christopher Esber, Ellery, Ginger and Smart, Gorman, Josh Goot, Kahlo, Kate Sylvester, Kuwaii, Life with Bird, Limedrop, Livia Arena, Maticevski, Michael Lo Sordo, Sass & Bide, Scanlan Theodore, Shakuhachi, Willow and Yeojin Bae.

“Mass intimacy” is a term Lewsey uses to describe the atmosphere the Festival aims to create at the Docklands precinct this year. “It’s a small group of people working tirelessly to create something extraordinarily big”. Lewsey also announced that all 3 of this year’s VAMFF percents will feature an injection of new infrastructure to enhance the Festival experience for consumers. There will be more to do at the arrivals Hub, including the L’Oreal Paris Boutique which allows consumers to shop the beauty looks they’ve seen on the runway.

This year we can also look forward to the Grand Showcase- a world class runway celebrating the unparalleled and extraordinary work of Camilla Franks.

The Festival’s Cultural Program is rich with fashion-inspired free and ticketed activities that extend far beyond the runway. Diverse, exciting and often surprising, the Cultural Program runs for the whole month of March and invites fashion-loving audiences to revel in the range of experiences on offer.
The curated program offers over 100 unique and stimulating exhibitions, talks, workshops, online content and other activities that celebrate and redefine fashion through art, design, film and innovation.

The full Festival program is available and on sale to the general public through Ticketek or online at the new Festival website Sign up to the Festival’s electronic newsletter to be the first to receive all the latest program updates and premium seating exclusives.

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