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France inspires Canberra’s Rockstars and Royalty

Wendy Johnson

It’s a gown that takes your breath away. An exquisite gown hand-made with lace, silk organza, layers and layers of delicate ruffles and glitter. A gown that wowed the audience at Fashfest 2014. A gown that will now feature in a fashion parade at Telopea Park’s La Grande Fête  this Saturday 1 November.

And the inspiration behind this divine design by Rockstars and RoyaltyLa Mothe-Chandeniers, the splendid 13th-century castle in the town of Les Trois-Moutiers in France that fell into disrepair and was abandoned after a fire in 1930. It’s a surreal place designer Vicki Kidd-Gallichan pays homage to every time she returns to France to visit family.

To understand the amazing impact this tranquil, mystical castle has on Vicky, and why she went so far as to name her Fashfest 2014 collection after it, you first have to immerse yourself in its beauty. Experience it on YouTube.

“The gown represents the princess I imagined lives in the castle, locked away from time in its tower,” says Vicki. “I named her hair piece ‘Time Won’t Let Me Go’ and her gown ‘Hide from Time’ after the song by London’s alternative rock band Queen Adreena.”

Inside her tower she feels free from harm.
I’ll lock her up inside safe and warm.
She’ll sleep for winter, she’ll sleep for years.
The garden’s overgrown over her tears.

The gown has so many elements it’s hard to know where to start when describing its magnificence. To create the skirt alone, Vicky used 20 metres of silk organza, cascading down in ruffled layers, each one fuller than the last. In striking contrast, the gown features a beautifully contoured corset, with a delicate pink and intricate silver lace overlay. The ruffle jacket and exquisite hair piece complete the look.

hide from time

Professionally trained as a designer in England, Vicky is today renowned for her skills in corset making, bridal design and her detailed fascinators and hair pieces. It took Vicky between 60 and 70 hours to make ‘Hide from Time’.

But the La Mothe-Chandeniers collection is so much more than just this amazing gown. Each piece was inspired by others Vicki imagined also lived in the ruined castle, some who were morphing into birds and animals.

And so, Olympian Alicia Coutts, made her debut model appearance at Fashfest 2014 wearing the ‘Corvus’ (Latin for raven) cocktail dress and the ‘Nightwatch’ piece perched on her head — inspired by a photo Vicki found of the castle with ravens flying out of the tower. Haus Models’ Samara, wore a pitch black dress featuring green crystals representing a cat’s eyes shining in the night and a bird-skull headpiece. The dress is called ‘Eye in the dark’ and the head piece ‘Trophy’, representing predator and prey.

Credits: Designer: Rockstars and Royalty. Photographer: Andrew Campbell. Hair: Form Hair. MUA: Karen Mathias, M:Artistry

Alicia Coutts wears Rockstars and Royalty. Photographer: Andrew Campbell. Hair: Form Hair. MUA: Karen Mathias, M:Artistry

The collection has fascinated many, including Canberra photographer Lori Cicchini of Loriana, who has photographed all of the garments for her upcoming solo exhibition, opening 6 November at Huw Davies Gallery, Manuka.

In the meantime, there’s an opportunity to see the ‘Hide from Time’ gown in , other creations by Vicky and even meet the designer herself at Telopea Park’s La Grande Fête this Saturday 1 November. Vicky will be joined by several other Fashfest designers, including Zilpah Tart, Wnd.Lnd and BMdesigns, who will contribute garments to the event’s fashion parade at 3pm.

Fashfest will work with these designers on styling a very special fashion parade showcasing their designs and curated vintage ensembles that will be available for purchase on the day, making it a must-attend event for lovers of local and preloved fashion. While the parade is at 3pm, fashion will be available for sale until 7pm.

The collaboration with Fashfest is just one element of the popular annual event at Telopea Park School. Principal Kerrie Blain says La Grande Fête brings a strong French polish to the traditional Australian school fête at the Lycée Franco-Australien de Canberra, combining multicultural fun, food and entertainment stretching into the twilight hours.

“There’s something for everyone – including carnival rides, a medieval display by the Canberra-based ‘battle sports’ group The Hundred Swords, a display of a range of French Cars, entertainment, market stalls, and a veritable cornucopia of food and drinks.

“Fête-goers can also purchase a ticket in the Raffle Extraordinaire for a chance to win $5000 towards two return airfares to Paris,” Mrs Blain added.

the essentials

What: La Grande Fête – new and vintage fashion on parade and for sale.
When: 2:30pm to 7pm on Saturday 1 November. The fashion parade will commence at 3pm.
Where: Telopea Park School, New South Wales Crescent, Barton
Web: http://www.telopeapnc.org.au/?page_id=571

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a few decades ago. She’s been living in Australia since 1995, having fallen in love with eucalypt trees and kangaroos. Wendy is passionate about Canberra and all the nation’s capital has to offer. She loves to write (about everything and anything) and owns her own pr and advertising business. More about the Author

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