Through the Looking Glass: behind the scenes of the Collarts installation at Melbourne Fashion Week 2018

Making their sartorial debut at Melbourne Fashion Week, Collarts fashion marketing students were briefed on an exciting project, Through the Looking Glass, an after dark projection in the heart of the city.

Examining how our fashion choices, living environments and digital personas intersect to express our ideas of style and identity in the 21st Century, the fashion marketing students first developed their creative concepts, then collaborated with interior design (from Mercer School of Design) and content creation students to produce scenes of unique figures inhabiting stylish settings (loosely based on TGW Weekly Wardrobe series).

The fashion marketing students first developed their creative concepts, then collaborated with interior design (from Mercer School of Design) and content creation students to produce scenes of unique figures inhabiting stylish settings.

I was asked by Collarts to first run a styling workshop as an introduction, then attend one on one sessions with students to help turn their ideas into tangible scenarios. I tried to encourage students to lift the lid on what is familiar in their every day life – average, pretty instaworthy photos – and go beyond their creative concepts. Higher! Higher! We can ramp it up more. The images will be more striking if you exaggerate and volumise everything! Once we reached that peak of revelation, we were able set about making things happen in practical fashion. It takes work to make your vision come to life. Lists are our friends, they help to break down and frame larger tasks, bringing clarity to what must happen next, and precisely what is needed to create…the magic.

Higher! Higher! We can ramp it up more. The images will be more striking if you exaggerate and volumise everything!

Through The Looking Glass set out to create an open and inclusive dialogue around contemporary fashion, observing from multiple, often skewed viewpoints on what inspires the style statements we make today – our style, our décor, screen chic and home environments.

Here are examples of the students I worked most closely with throughout the process, helping to source wardrobe and propping from my personal collection and some local Melbourne designers to layer up their imagery like pros. The final images will be available when they’re published online.

Al Paraiso – Chloe

Luxe-boho goes to the country. Chloe chose cactus country in Strathmerton, Victoria as her shoot location, and the concept was setting a stylish traveller against an exotic background, which I still can’t believe is in Australia. Click the gallery for commentary.

Madhatter’s Tea Party – Carly

A tea party for three stylish generations. Carly wanted to capture a sense of colour soaked fun and wonderment at any age, so she staged a mad hatter’s tea party with three generations seated at the same table. I particularly enjoyed dressing Carly’s Grandmother in a silver turban, teal faux fur, polka dot scarf and chartreuse, fingerless gloves.

Stitched networks/Fashion connections – Gemma

How fashion connects us to one another. Benjamin Garg is an RMIT student whose creations I noticed during last year’s Fashion Week. He very kindly loaned his precious, first-ever collection to Gemma and her models, along with a suitcase full of Desi Hangover shoes, Indian leather woven sandals and loafers, which perfectly ground and complement his ethereal designs. The fabrics are from Rajasthan and the magic truly is in the hands of the designer, who moved to Australia from India nearly two years ago. Benjamin Garg presents his graduate collection at RMIT in Melbourne later this year.

Sugar Rush-Sugar Crash – Sarah

What goes up, must come down. Sarah has aspirations to become a career stylist. She didn’t really need much help from me, as her mind is already firmly in the stylist place, but I was glad to be there for the shoots to make suggestions, provide extra model pose options, add props, give reassurance, and of course, a vital hot water bottle and blanket for the freezing night shoot.

It was an honour to work with Dr. Rachel Matthews and her Fashion Marketing students, learning about their creative ideas and helping them come to fashionable fruition.

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