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Melbourne Fashion Festival

Buzz is still a little buzzed from the past two weeks of fashion frolicking in Paris and London, not the least of which was the visit to Buckingham Palace for the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange and seeing the Queen attend her first catwalk show. Also: jet lag.

But it’s back to some (brief) desk time before heading south to Melbourne for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, the opening event for which is tonight at Government House, probably the closest equivalent we have to any palatial action. Always a chic soiree it is, too.

That will then set off a chain reaction of events for the next 17 days, from catwalk shows to seminars, some of which are to be hosted by your columnist, including a Women in Media evening on International Women’s Day (March 8), featuring the likes of Ita Buttrose and Kellie Hush of Harper’s Bazaar, among others, and the Business Seminar the following day. This features four speakers including Fanny Moizant, co-founder of luxury resale site Vestiaire Collective; Wen Zhou, chief executive of 3.1 Phillip Lim (and a recent phone call suggests this will be a lively chat); and Aussie expat Jarrad Serafine-Clark, partner/director creative services of KCD Worldwide — basically, the man on the ground behind some of the world’s biggest and best fashion shows.

Another set of Fashion Talks, hosted by Buzz’s peer Damien Woolnough, will cover topics such as monetising social media platforms and building careers and brands within the digital realm.

For more information and tickets, head to Let the stylish mayhem begin!

The finalists of the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award can be revealed today, and it’s great to see the three brands up for the prize have already made great inroads in three years or less. The brands vying for the gong, which is awarded in conjunction with the Australian Fashion Council (recently merged with the Australian Fashion Chamber) are: Albus Lumen (pictured), Anna Quan and Double Rainbouu.

Of these, men’s and women’s casual resort label Double Rainbouu is already stocked by a slew of retailers locally and internationally, including David Jones here, Barneys, Revolve, Shopbop and Nordstrom in the US, Selfridges in Britain and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and China; refined resort label Albus Lumen has accounts with online retailers Matchesfashion and My Chameleon, among others; and shirting and relaxed tailoring specialist Anna Quan has stockists including Myer and Lane Crawford.

The award is in its sixth year, and previous recipients have included Macgraw, Christopher Esber and, last year, Kacey Devlin.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 (which perhaps needs to be upped), but other support to the tune of $60,000 includes two years of financial advice from BT Financial Group and a lookbook shoot with Vogue Australia.

For Devlin, who also won last year’s National Designer Award during VAMFF, the BT award “has been really beneficial in terms of the financial side of the business”.

“In our line of business, growth can happen quite quickly and you don’t know how long it will last for,” she tells Buzz. “It’s so easy to start trading internationally and when you do start trading internationally a lot of foreign currency comes into play, and you have to make sure your business is set up in its ability for cashflow management and forward planning, and to sustain growth as well.”

The winner will be announced on March 28 in Sydney.Read more at:prom dress shops | prom dresses online

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