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:: Spotlight :: Anaessia’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection

By: Adriana Glass

The flashing lights of photographers surrounded the beautiful people assembled at Sydney’s Ivy Pool Club for Fashion Palette’s 2nd birthday featuring Anaessia’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection, so it is fitting that it was the glitter of sequins that inspired the ‘circus’ theme.

Sue Vanikiotis, designer for Anaessia, said “Deep dark sequins started it all – I saw the red and blue and just died. Then I also just happened to stumble upon this incredible vintage lace that people had put away for years – to get my hands on it was a real dream. I really wanted to do justice to it, it took me back to that era.”

Contortionists, live marionettes and hulahoops created a mood of frivolity while partygoers munched on fairy floss and frozen yoghurts from Twisted Yoghurt. Models tottered as girlish, tentative dancers on the Pool Club stage, meeting their virtual ‘ringleader’ (designer Sue Vanikiotis), who would preen each one ready for their walk.

The collection featured Anaessia trademarks: couture tailoring, ruffled hems, feminine silhouettes yet this season with a far more whimsical flourish than previous seasons. Fabrics are lighter, more detailed, with vintage lace and tulle bound in buoyant skirts, antique beads suspended on tightly tailored bodices, sequins glittering in short, playful minidresses.

The looks contrasted fierce accessories against the dreamy couture - Suzy O’Rourke wired crowns and delicate masks, Terry Biviano’s caged heels, thigh-high leather platform boots and birdsnest hair with lace kites swept up into them: a fashionista’s pleasure state where high drama reigned.

“I’m all three elements – I’m soft and elegant and peaceful but then I have this [edgy] side in me, people are surprised by that when they walk in my store”, Vanikiotis said. “When I met Suzy it was like it was meant to be. When I walked into her studio she had a carousel and I nearly died! Every collection I do, it’s like that right person is attracted… her work is really art and it took [the look] to the next level. The whole reason for my work is that I dreamt to be a ballerina, and you will always see tutus in my work, … because it’s that feeling that you are a performer, that theatricality that I love.”

The collection overtly referenced the costume and theatre of the circus but still maintains its couture influence. Vanikiotis added, “60% of my work is hand finished. I am really attracted to that high fashion finish, I want my garments on the inside to feel as good as they look on the outside because a woman doesn’t get to see it, that feeling is the beautiful finish… everything is French seamed, satin bound and hem stitched. I look at sculpturing and tailoring _ until the sculpturing and tailoring is there to really fit the body… to me the garment isn’t really finished.”

Fashion aside, theatricality was certainly the mood of the night with not one but two beauty queens in residence, Rochelle Fox – a finalist in the 2010 Miss Universe Australia pageant, and Carin Hillman-Varma – Mrs World Australia 2009. Ivy personality ‘Robbie Dazzler’ was also spotted dancing with models in a retro 3-piece red and yellow suit and model/singer Michaela Baranov performed a set of covers on electric guitar.

Michaela Baranov & Rochelle Fox Canin Hillman-Varma & Vic Varma