Style Melbourne

High Tea on High

There’s something so Alice in Wonderland about a High Tea. Alice was a guest at the tea party of the Mad Hatter and the March Hare eating cupcakes and several cups of tea. She was surrounded by nonsense. I was a guest at the City of Stonnington’s High Tea on High (that’s High Street Malvern) with a delightful cupcake, tea and surrounded by inspirational and unusual designer creations. Both Alice and I had an extraordinary time.

Frocked fashionistas filled the room with two audience members already ahead of the pack. One sports the gorgeous statement bell coat from Woodford and Co and another wearing a dazzling design from Dizingof. The gorgeous weather bought out florals and patterned maxis, pastel coloured summer to autumn dresses and it was a mix between the low heeled and pumps Christian Louboutin would be proud of. Men kept the classic suits, but no tie required for a 10am High Tea. Surrounded by an audience highly anticipating the collections, I settled in.

Lisa Barron bought out the highly desirable and wearable pieces. The entire collection was tailored and elegant. Two piece suits fit for the office, after five or could easily transit to a Parisian cafe. Fabrics were nothing short of the highest quality and Lisa cares about her commitment to the Australian economy, so all garments are produced locally.  Lace shift dresses, flower detailing and embellished belts wrapped dress waistlines. Sequined and streamlined after five gowns and a divine black gown with a vertical metal embellished strap from the nape of the neck to the middle of the back. Sophistication at it’s finest. with tapered jackets with two toned fabrics and clever patters throughout. A modern shift, a winter turtleneck dress and sequins made an appearance on most garments. There was an Audrey influence and Lisa Barron has been faithful to the womanly silhouette. The stand out piece for me was the stunning maxi.. There’s something about the sweeping silk fabrics and well coloured pattern palette of this design. A simple structured garment with the WOW factor with geometric shapes flowing vertically in autumn colours. Lisa had me at MAXI.

Now the drama begins. Two musicians, with violin and piano set the scene for something unusual. A masked model slowly takes the catwalk in what would be ‘the red dress’ of the morning. Femininity at its peak brings Sophie Lui to the catwalk. Sweetheart top with gathered satin layers falling from the waist. It gathers to the side and back of the body looking tucked almost but giving a full skirt effect. The waist is belted with the silk fabric and is met by a white cropped bolero type jacket with blue designs. Stunning! The entire collection features flowing fabrics, cropped jackets, wide pants and looks Asian inspired. All jackets and coats were elegant and well structured with satin blue finishes on the white fabric. Waist and cuff detailing and the top half of the designs being the feature of the garment with everything sweeping gorgeously down below. Most outfits were teamed with bright stockings and high pumps. Voluminous skirts, luxurious fabrics, Sophie will leave you feeling conservative and sophisticated with a fascinating twist.

Dizingof bought the most theatrical collection of the day. Carefully constructed powerful garments that portrayed a love for the real fashion, body adornment. It was power dressing with femininity with structured garments, textured fabrics and everything accessorised so appropriately. We saw fur wraps, long metallic necklaces layered in masses, pearls bought back a 1930’s evening style and so carefully teamed with statement tights. The ‘Thousand Kisses Dress’ a clear favourite and already making an appearance in the audience. Modern shift style and completely embellished vertical black and grey patterns, teamed with tights and this collection featured many black but brilliant pieces. Fitted black wrap-around style jackets layered flowing skirts and tight military style pants. An off the shoulder dress also caught my attention, black and voluminous with luxe fabric. Every outfit accessorised with a head piece, high hats, embellished fascinators covering classic up-do hair. The most entertaining collection, a little outrageous but very wearable.

From the theatre to the movies, as we head into a comfortable, stylish and casual collection from Pink Zebra. This label have an exclusive store in High Street, Armadale and do all the research for us, in finding the most exclusive and best garments from the USA. Every model wore a themed tea-cup necklace which I’m hoping is part of the collection, as they looked gorgeous. As expected, layering is back for Winter however Pink Zebra has played with some clever colour combinations. The cool colours of greys and black are still evident but are being teamed with bold green cardigans, large orange scarves and red jackets. Feminine pink and purple shirts and cardigans with lots of detailing and striped well structured vests for stylish overlay. The ‘Yum’ cashmere dominated the catwalk from cardigans, vests, scarves and all met with True Religion and Paige denim which is looking light and detailed for winter. Fantastic hand picked pieces and lots of staples here. A comfortable yet exclusive winter.

Here it comes! The cape coat we’ve all been waiting for. Mid thigh length, white with black lining, bell sleeves and a cape feature over the shoulders, absolutely divine! Woodford & Co have created the ultimate coat. This collection is beautifully placed together. Every piece is conservative with exquisite fabric and classic. A gorgeous navy shift dress with feminine bow detailing around the collar, and another white one with velvet floral designs surrounding it. Teamed with tights and statement red shoes, tartan has made a comeback in a dress and shirt. Larger sleeves, bows and even long gloves accessorise the collection wonderfully. Simple and stylish shirts with cut-outs on the back take you from corporate to evening; mod colours dominate with black and white ensembles. Mini dress lengths and shirts with frills and skirts are structured to the waistline. Woodford & Co is a best dressed winner for Winter.

In awe as Neighbours stars Margot Robbie and James Sorensen (wearing Hemden) commence the Baccini & Hill collection. Margot is wearing an outstanding orange gown; sweetheart cut which meets to an intricate embellished centre detail. The gown gorgeously flowing and the colour is so lively, it’s just divine. Every garment is a master piece, superior fabrics, incredible detailing and in reference, completely fairytale. The skill and workmanship that has gone into these dresses is extraordinary. Fabrics were carefully merged with silk and satin meeting lace detailing over shoe string straps, and diamante straps diagonally over the back of the dresses. Corsets and structured garments with off the shoulder and low v backs. Tiered dresses and going back decades and some pieces achieve understated elegance. All compliment the figure, vibrant colours and just an incredible collection. We all want to get married in Baccini & Hill.

The High Tea on High was ladies focused runway, however Hemden made appearances in between and also accompanied some models during the collections. The quality of Hemden’s workmanship and fabric is incredibly evident when you see a tailor made suit and shirt form and fit so perfectly. European imported fabrics, vibrant colours like blue and orange teamed with bolder and more detailed suits. Pinstripes, florals and a great ensemble which I like to call ‘polished cowboy.’ I love that hats are back and really completing the outfits, as well as patch work on suit elbows with cotton and cashmere jumpers. Hemden never looked so good.

I take my High Tea on High experience, calories from my cupcake and a mind filled with creativity and decision making about what to buy first as I head down High Street, Armadale to continue the celebrations in the boutiques. Brilliant.

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Words – Angela Fedele

Photography – Amanda Phoon

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