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The future looks bright in fashion Fashions on the Field Emerging Designer Award winning outfit by Jessica Virk
Fashions on The Field

The future looks bright in fashion

VRC 6 December 2023

Emerging Designer Award

The creative and design-led Emerging Designer Award was judged by an elite panel including fashion designers Toni Maticevski, Effie Kats and Rebecca Vallance and Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassadors Count Nikolai of Monpezat and Christian Wilkins.

Winner – Jessica Virk

The winner was Melbourne-based creative Jessica Virk who is currently undertaking her final year in Bachelor of Fashion Design at Whitehouse. With a passion for experimenting with different fabrics and construction techniques, her winning look was an incredible mix of traditional shapes with a newfound modernity.

In her submission, Virk described her mission as to “make the wearer feel exceptional, [and] to stand out from the crowd”. Virk certainly did this with her design that was inspired by a classic trench coat, but exaggerated. “I love wearing trenches and a lot of my garments are deconstructed around that whole concept.” As part of her prize, valued at over $40,000, Virk will enjoy a trip to Paris Fashion Week to be a guest at the show of Australian fashion export Zimmermann.

Second

Simone Parker (Gravett)

Simone’s outfit was made of cotton voile, organdie, taffeta and tulle, diagonally hand-woven into a form fitting strapless gown, matching single sleeve and hood, adorned with lilac bows. Tendrils of white, lilac and apricot fabric were left loose to create movement and apricot suede stilettos completed the outfit. She was inspired by her home state of Queensland, which she describes as “a cornucopia of sundrenched Aussie beauty brimming with such diverse landscapes, from beautiful lilac jacarandas, rainforests, beaches, to pastel sunsets.”

 

Third

Nikki Edgar

Nikki made her outfit by deconstructing a second-hand wedding dress, unpicking the piece and hand painting and dying the white to a deep blue. This was a play on the tradition of ‘something old, new, borrowed and blue’. She also wanted to create a piece that was delicate and showed the body, but was also loose fitting and more size inclusive.

Lillian Frank AM MBE Millinery Award

The final of the creative and design-led Lillian Frank AM MBE Millinery Award was judged by an international panel of fashion experts including VRC Ambassadors, Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer, Melbourne Cup Carnival Ambassadors Gemma Owen and Georgina Burke and daughter of the late Lillian Frank, Jackie Frank. The award was re-named in 2022 to honour the late Melbourne icon, philanthropist and friend of Flemington, Lillian Frank AM MBE.

Millinery Award winner model Chloe Park

Millinery Award winner model Chloe Park on runway

Millinery Award winner Cynthia Jones-Bryson and model Chloe Park

Winner – Cynthia Jones Bryson

This year’s award was won by Canberra- based milliner and third-time winner, Cynthia Jones Bryson. Inspired by Michael Buble’s song Sway, Bryson took a piece of recycled nylon she found at an op-shop and turned it into a winning headpiece. The impressive neon green and pink headpiece was meticulously crafted over 30 hours. Bryson was certainly on trend, as various shades of pink dominated headwear choices at Cup Week this year, complemented by green tones and floral designs.

 

Second

N.A.T Millinery

Claiming second place was designer Natalie Amanda Taylor. Based in Cairns, she also got the pink memo, pairing her radiant yellow creation reminiscent of the sun, with a magenta dress. The hat is called ‘Leto’ which, in Greek mythology, means Goddess of Motherhood. It was inspired by becoming a mother to her daughter, Charli, 2. A staggering 250 nagori feathers were hand-cut and stitched to the circle structure, taking approximately 24 hours of work.

 

Third

Jill Humphries

Jill Humphries, another past winner of the competition, took third place with a whimsical handmade piece adorned with intricate beaded ants, berries, and fabric flowers. It was inspired by the concept of picnicking at Flemington, and contemplating the quintessential items that might accompany a leisurely picnic on the lawns.