WE ARE VAMFFING – FEEL THE LOVE

VAMFF began, and will end, flying the banner for diversity. It was the underpinning muse for 2017 and a concept VAMFF CEO Graeme Lewsey has been cheerfully banging on about for weeks: fluidity of gender, fluidity of culture, sexuality, beauty, fashion. Tolerance for fluidity in all facets of this marvellously Melburnian festival. Stop and watch the throngs on The Plaza and you can almost feel it. You can see the breadth of it too, mostly from Row B back at the Royal Exhibition Building runways. And if there were an official crescendo of Diversity with a capital D this week, it was surely the Global Indigenous Runway, staged on the glossy lower ground of Melbourne Museum.

Many of the models were first-timers.

So much love! Such talent. And such joy; front row, backstage, runway, hanging over the balustrades. At the end, after a dozen diverse collections had been walked by 50 indigenous first-time models (you sooo couldn’t tell), everybody took a bow and a celebratory swing around the runway: designers, dressers, hair and makeup crews, organisers. Tina Waru, Global Indigenous Management’s CEO is the eye of this lovely storm, and took centre stage: “This is about us all,” she said, among many other things. And, she didn’t just mean her own remarkable crew and community; she meant the proverbial, universal “Us”. (Main photo, top: Kahuwai by Amber Bridgman)

WORDS: Janice Breen Burns Photographs: Lucas Dawson Photography

Damien Loizou

Damien Loizou

Lisa Waup & Ingrid Verner (Also, main photo, top)

Lisa Waup & Ingrid Verner

George. The designer is 15, couldn't make it to the runway for a bow, so his mum did it for him.

George. The designer is 15, couldn’t make it to the runway for a bow, so his mum did it for him.

Lyn-al Young

Lyn-al Young

Suvinikan

Suvinikan

Freshies by Jaeden Williams

Freshies by Jaeden Williams

Hand Sewn by David Roil

Hand Sewn by David Roil

Lisa Waup & Ingrid Verner

Lisa Waup & Ingrid Verner

Janice Breen Burns, jbb@voxfrock.com.au