Perthonalities flock to Melbourne fashion fest

Melissa George (AGENCY)

It might be called the Melbourne Fashion Festival, but there is a multitude of Perth models, celebrities, stylists and designers both backstage and out front this week.

Perth actress and now Hollywood superstar Melissa George is the official "face" of this year's festival, and in that capacity has already been seen at a host of events, including yesterday's announcement of the Designer Award for 2011.

That accolade went to menswear design duo Song for the Mute, designed by Lyna Ty and former Perth-base graphic artist Melvin Tanaya, who create directional menswear with a dark, conceptual edge.

While a team of Perth stylists and hairdressers worked backstage at last night's runway shows, a strong contingent of Perth models took to the catwalk.

Former Perth Fashion Festival face Sarah Pauley led a model cast that also included Perth girls Greta Chesterman, Emily Cattermole and Rachael Grasso, most of whom are now based in Sydney or Melbourne.

On display were the latest winter fashions by some of the best-known names in the Australian fashion business.

Carla Zampatti did what she does best - classic tailoring with a sophisticated edge.

Big, bold florals were the winter signatures for Romance was Born and Leona Edmiston, but it was a rock and roll combination of leather and lace that dominated at Nina Maya and Rachel Gilbert.

The return to longer hemlines on the international catwalks doesn't seem to have trickled down to the Australian fashion industry, however.

With a couple of exceptions, the designers on show last night kept it short, glittery and skin-tight - an interesting option in what is ostensibly meant to be a showcase of winter fashion.

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