At The VIP Viewing Of TAFE Fashion Design 2022 Graduate Collections

Writer Vivienne She and fashion designer Noor Wahbi at the VIP viewing of TAFE Fashion Design 2022 Graduate Collections.
Meeting designer Noor Wahbi at the VIP viewing of TAFE Fashion Design 2022 Graduate Collections. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

For one night only, the Applied Fashion Design and Technology at Ultimo TAFE, showcase the mid-year 2022 graduate collections on Wednesday, June the 22nd. This would be my third time attending TAFE’s graduation exhibition thanks to Kent who is a real fashion insider. This year Kent’s invitations came from one of TAFE’s graduate designers – Gemma Pope. Kent was commissioned to shoot her range for her fashion label – Viena.

Australian photographer Kent Johnson and fashion designer Gemma Pope at the VIP viewing of TAFE Fashion Design 2022 Graduate Collections.
Designer Gemma Pope and Kent share a cheerful moment in her collection showroom. Photo credit: Vivienne She

The exhibition was held at The Muse in Ultimo TAFE. Kent and I followed the queue and walked on the red carpet that lead us all into the building. There was no media wall this year but the pop-up bar was set at the same spot which was near the entrance. I helped myself with a glass of sparkling wine and first thing first, we wanted to congratulate Gemma.

TAFE Fashion Design 2022 graduate Gemma Pope at the VIP viewing of TAFE Fashion Design 2022 Graduate Collections.
Gemma, showcasing her Viena collection with pride. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

The Muse is a long building that is divided into sections by walls but no doors. Guests could easily walk around and view designers’ work from both sides. We soon spotted a poster of Viena’s campaign hanging up high in one of the rooms, we knew straight away that we found Gemma, as this familiar shot was one of Kent’s. After seeing Gemma’s outfits in Kent’s photographs and helping with giving some opinions, it was lovely to meet her in person. I heard earlier from Kent that Gemma’s design was inspired by the movie The Hungry Games, but I would like to find out more. And here’s what Gemma told me:

‘The collection is inspired by the main character Katniss Everdeen. I want to transform her vulnerability and strength into my collection.’ Gemma continued: ‘And they are 1920s lingerie style.’

Viena lingerie by Gemma Pope. Lingerie fashion shoot by Sydney photographer Kent Johnson.
Gemma’s design is inspired by the main character Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

It’s always interesting to hear about the brainwave behind the designer’s work. I especially like the rich colours she chose. Here I included one of Kent’s photographs for Gemma’s collection, it’s among one of my favourites! And guess who came out with the location idea? C’est moi!!! Oui… ‘Why book a studio when you can book a hotel room!’ As I suggested. And it turned out to be a great idea. After a little chat and well wishes to Gemma, we went on to discover other graduates’ work.

Vivienne She and Noor Wahbi at the VIP viewing of TAFE Fashion Design 2022 Graduate Collections.
With Noor in front of some of his red carpet gowns! Photo credit: Kent Johnson

It was hard to walk past a selection of glamorous gowns without stopping by. Noor Wahbi, the creator himself was in all black, standing straight and proud greeting guests with a welcoming smile. As a migrant myself, I have always been interested in other migrants’ stories. I found out that Iraq-born Noor was a civil engineering student before he gave it up for fashion in his homeland. He later worked in Lebanon’s fashion industry for four years before he moved to Australia. His eponymous label Noor Wahbi focuses on haute couture gowns for the red carpet, evening wear, and wedding occasion. ‘And they are fully made in Australia.’ Noor added. He sure looked very proud.

TAFE Fashion Design 2022 graduate Brian White at the VIP viewing of TAFE Fashion Design 2022 Graduate Collections.
A portrait of designer Brian White in the showroom of his collection. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Another migrant designer Kent and I talked to was Brian White. Brian’s brand Alphie Esquire was one of the very few menswear collections we saw that night. Coming from London, Brian now calls Sydney home. He shared with us a personal story that after many years, he followed in his wife’s footsteps by studying fashion design. Kent and I were impressed by Brian’s posters for his collection, and we thought he modeled his own creations very well!

Writer Vivienne She at the VIP viewing of TAFE Fashion Design 2022 Graduate Collections.
‘Go stand there, let the dress wrap you!’ Says Kent who spots a pattern on pattern photo opportunity. Photo credit: Kent Johnson

Before I wrap this post, I want to talk a little bit about my colourful coat…
It’s mid-winter and I wanted some bright colour to uplift the mood. My velvet coat’s floral print seemed to channel the quirkiness and artistic spirits, which I thought it was just perfect for the occasion. Any of you, or any designers you might know who need a photographer to shoot their range? Why not contact Kent for a free consultation.

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Vivienne She
Vivienne is an author, traveller, story teller, and occasionally a muse. Through White Caviar Life, you will share in her leisure activities, dining and travel experiences, and her fashion style tips that she hopes to inspire your way of living.


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