Polly lounge/bar in Brunswick Street Fitzroy provided the perfect atmosphere for the Chitra’s Closet winter 2009 runway show. The lavishly decorated space blended perfectly with Chitra’s ‘La Grande Duchesse’ 18/19th century inspired collection, with antique silverware adorning the bar, vintage artwork and luxurious velvet furniture as far as the eye could see.
Melbourne based designer Chitra Mangma came to Melbourne in 1997 from Thailand, and through her hard work and determination, managed to put together a collection which encompasses “the drama, tragedy and tumult of the Napoleanic era and the Russian Revolution”. After hearing this, I knew we were in for an amazing evening full of glamour and decadence, and I was not disappointed.
The evening began with the film Murder on the Orient Express playing overhead the bar, and character actors and actresses mimicking the grand entrance of first class passengers when boarding the luxury train dressed in beautiful clothing from that era. Swing music began shortly after and models began sashaying down the carpeted runway which snaked through the crowd and around the bar, ensuring that all present could really take in the detail and beauty of Chitra’s newest collection.
La Grande Duchesse’ featured a range of military-esque jackets in a wide range of fabrics including wool and cashmere blends and corduroy, each featuring rich embellishment in the way of brass buttons or adorable embroidered owl motifs. Pencil skirts with flipped hems made for an ultra ladylike silhouette teamed with fitted jackets and intricately decorated coats. Wool blend stretch dresses with metallic thread detail glammed up the perfect corporate dress, along with several flattering print wrap dresses. The parade concluded with a dramatic, layered black evening gown teamed with an amazing cut out head piece and simple jewellery – a true crowd favourite.
Models were made up in true Gatsby era style, with bold red lips and wide sparkling eyes, with hair delicately curled and swept up, often under Chitra’s beautiful felt hats, adorned with bows and floral brooches. We were lucky enough to be invited backstage to get a closer look at the preparations for the parade, so be sure to have a look at the fantastic make up artistry in our gallery. The girls were outgoing and more than willing to let their gorgeous personalities shine for the camera, making our job all the more enjoyable.
Outfits were accessorised with many different styles of fishnet tights, along with pearls a plenty and vintage hand luggage. Chitra’s own handbag designs were also on show, many featuring old world pin up images and plenty of metallic.
The evening was one of decadence and luxury, and Chitra has created a collection that takes inspiration from eras past yet each piece is modern enough to ensure ultimate wearability, and each garment will easily slip in to your regular wardrobe. The quality, time and care that has gone into every piece at Chitra’s Closet is evident upon close inspection, and we at Style Melbourne encourage you to head down to the boutique located at 97 Sydney Road, Brunswick.
Words – Bronwyn Miller
Photography – Michael Todor, Todor Photography