Thoughts: Creativity and Business

VAMFF 2015 has been a whirlwind week of fashion, business and play. Here is a selection of photos this week as I allow the dust to settle and prepare a look at the sartorial highlights for you which will be on the blog next week.

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Reflecting on VAMFF 2015 from the frames worn by stylist Catherine Baba. Last week in an interview with the Clothing Exchange I had mentioned that Baba was one of my personal style icons so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I realised that she was speaking as part of the Fashion Forum event at VAMFF!

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That’s me on green speaking on The Clothing Exchange’s Sustainable Fashion Panel which was part of the VAMFF Cultural Program. Congratulations to Kate Luckins (who has already written about the event here) and The Clothing Exchange for celebrating ten years of working with the festival this year! Photo: Lara McPherson

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The highly-engaging President of Levis Strauss, JC, on the Global Business Panel – left many in the room inspired. Lots of food for thought from this guy… And props to the stylish panel of men for being- well, stylish!

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The Australian Fashion Editor (and one of the best double-barrels going around IMO), Glynis Traill-Nash in conversation with the other-worldly Catherine Baba.

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The Creativity and Business panel with VAMFF Chair, Laura Anderson. L-R: Glynis Traill-Nash, Pip Edwards, Jemma Dyas, Laura Anderson, Catherine Baba and Matthew Jensen.

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With the lovely Annie Abbott of Habbot Studios who had me along as her guest to the Premium Runway show presented by Shop Til You Drop and styled by the incredible Kate Gaskin where Shakuhachi’s collection was paired with Habbot shoes.

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Runway inspo on my mind: why not try wearing your coat on one arm only? A solution for the time-poor and those who may struggle getting squeezing arms into sleeves!

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Why not carry bags as shown at Ginger & Smart? I wonder how much of my life I would have to take out for bags to be light enough to do this!

Creativity and Business

The President of Levis Strauss, James Curleigh, aka “JC”, delivered an exceptional presentation talking about how  business is a constant balancing act but that challenging the status quo is imperative to creating momentum and movements that makes products and brands successful.

I found myself thinking about JC’s presentation during the Fashion Industry Forum session hosted by Glynis Traill-Nash talking about the tension between Creativity vs. Business. Pip Edwards delivered a great presentation illustrating the tension through her experiences with Ksubi and Sass & Bide – business she had worked with that were both high in creativity but with differing levels of business acumen which ultimately led to varying success.

Realistically we need to have Creativity and Business and in taking from JC – the challenge is in getting the balance right so that we can create the momentum required to make the business a viable success.

The tension between creativity and business were perfectly captured in the film, Dior and I, which my Melbourne in Fashion co-host Meagan Harding and I had the chance to preview ahead of its release next week on March 26. The film follows designer Raf Simmons as he creates his first haute-couture collection for the legendary house of Christian Dior. It is utterly fascinating, showing everything from: the thoroughness of his preparation of each garment; the love-fests and tensions between the team as they battle against time and existing client work while trying to meet the demands of the new artistic director; to his momentary wig-out as celebrities start arriving for his first show. For those who visited the recent Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the NGV and enjoyed viewing the haute couture garments close-up; you will love seeing all of the petit-mains at work hand-stitching and beading while they share their own stories. If you have seen it and were moved by it half as much as I was, you may enjoy reading Director Frédéric Tcheng’s reflections.

JC’s presentation, the Dior and I film all have learnings that I feel are applicable to all businesses. A basic but powerful one is the importance of knowing what your business is about – whether it’s a new kid on the block like Jemma Dyas’ être cécile or a 150-year-old brand like Levis. Whether you are in fashion or corporate, we work for brands that need to build momentum in order to remain relevant and financially viable – even successful.

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Love this moment that street style photographer reicho2015 captured between Micky in the Van designer and The Estelle Store owner outside the runway shows at Central Pier.

Tickets are still available for events on this weekend including the Grand Finale – the Romance Was Born show at the National Gallery of Victoria who are also currently hosting RwB’s wonderful exhibition on for kids (and kids-at-heart).



  1. Love the photo of you and Estelle!!!!!!

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