Australia’s largest annual celebration of fashion, arts, ideas and creative endeavour for everyone to enjoy

Embarking on its 21st year and returning to its new home at Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum Precinct, the 2017 Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival will run from 01-19 March;spanning over three style packed weekends and offering more than two full weeks of free and ticketed events for everyone to enjoy.

The 2017 program encompasses three major pillars; Fashion, Arts and Ideas and will further affirm the Festival’s position as the pioneer and leader of the ‘see now buy now’ fashion event model, offering a unique value proposition for consumers.

Graeme Lewsey, Melbourne Fashion Festival CEO, said: “We are very pleased to be able to continue to expand the Festival program each year following the ‘sold out’ success of many shows and events last year. This coveted Festival will now span three weekends, over two full weeks of free and ticketed events. The Festival is proud to host and share such wonderful design talent with an even stronger emphasis on Fashion, Arts, Ideas and so much more. Our dynamic program will celebrate creativity in all its forms,” Lewsey continued.

The City of Stonnington will play host to the Festival’s first Fashion Weekend on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March.  Retailers will come to life with extensive offers and activities for fashion enthusiasts of all ages. Highlight runway events include the High Tea supported by The Australian Women’s Weekly (Saturday 4 March) and Fashion Weekend Runway (Sunday 5 March), presented by City of Stonnington and held the beautiful Malvern Town Hall.

The Gala Runway, presented by David Jones and supported by Vogue Australia, kick starts the world class runway schedule at the Royal Exhibition Building with the largest line-up of Australian and International designers on Tuesday 14 March, while the Virgin Australia Grand Showcase, supported by marie claire, will honour the extraordinary talents of Camilla and Marc on Thursday 16 March.

Presented by leading magazine partners and supported by Priceline Pharmacy, the seven world-class Premium Runways (15-19 March) will take place under the dome in the iconic Royal Exhibition Building, showcasing over 45 of Australia’s established and emerging designers, a third of which have never been seen on the runway before including Albus Lumen, KITX and Acler. Each ticket holder at the Premium Runways will receive a gift bag valued at over $100 including the best in beauty product from Priceline Pharmacy and more

The rise and evolution of Australian menswear will be celebrated with the GQ Menswear Runway and after party, presented by Asahi Super Dry, on Friday 17 March, featuring Dom Bagnato, M.J. Bale, Arthur Galan AG, Calibre, Aquila, HAN and Autonomy to name a few.

The Festival’s National Designer Award presented by David Jones and supported by Harper’s BAZAAR remains Australia’s most prestigious fashion award fostering excellence in the fashion industry.  The award will be presented at a glamorous industry event held at David Jones on Wednesday 1 March. Continuing to nurture the next generation of design talent, the Festival’s highly anticipated National Graduate Showcase will this year return, presented by AMP Capital Shopping Centres, supported by Fashion Journal, celebrating Australia’s brightest graduates as they present original collections on the Festival’s Runway.

The Festival’s Ideas program brings together industry professionals from around the world to discuss, debate and deliver seminars, workshops and forums that include a range of contemporary business topics and insights.

Within the Business Events Program supported by NAB, the acclaimed Business Seminar, presented by the State Government of Australia and Supported by WISH, will take place on Friday 17 March and feature international keynote speakers Alexander Elicha and Nicolas Dreyfus, Founders of The Kooples (France); Joanna Gunn, Chief Brand Officer at Lane Crawford (Hong Kong); and Luca Alessi, fourth generation design collaborator (Italy). The full speaker line up to be announced early next year.

A curated Arts program will celebrate fashion beyond the runway into the realms of art, performance, design, film writing and creative industries.  Highlights include the Fashion Film Series, presented by RUSSH and supported by Val Morgan, the Fashion Writing Series and a range of free and ticked experiences across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

The Plaza, located in-between the Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building and supported by the City of Melbourne, will again come alive each night from 14-19 March.  Red carpet arrivals, food and drink, beauty and pampering, live entertainment and much more will encourage Festival attendees and passers-by to eat, drink, play, stay and soak up the balmy Melbourne nights.

Continuing to be an industry trailblazer in the online and digital space, the Festival is expanding its Shop The Runway platform in 2017. Not only will visitors continue to be able to share and buy fashion and beauty looks straight off the runway during the Festival, but they will also be able to find inspiration on what to wear to the Festival.

Virgin Australia last year renewed a three-year contract as Principal Partner, which will see a six year overall contracted investment period.  The Festival prides itself on long standing relationships with over 70% of its corporate sponsor base held for over five years; relationships with David Jones, Westfield and Target for over 10 years; in some cases decades such as the State Government of Victoria, the City of Melbourne, the City of Stonnington and Sanpellegrino for a remarkable 20 years.

In 2017, The Festival welcomes new relationships with Mercedes-Benz Australia as the Official Automotive Partner.Mercedes-Benz will be hosting Australia’s leading fashion, creative and artistic VIP set and will ensure all travel to and from the Festival in style.

Horst von Sanden, CEO and Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Cars Australia/Pacific said: “It’s an exciting time in local and global fashion. The Festival allows us to widen our fashion footprint in Australia and further cements the link between Mercedes-Benz and top-class fashion design. We are committed to supporting the evolution of the fashion industry whilst celebrating perfection, innovation and distinctive style.”

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