Hi hunnsss – itsa me! Acacia! After a small hiatus I’m happy to say I’m back writing for the Rebel Muse blog. It’s been a heckin while. My first segment is quite the delight, I had the pleasure of attending the first MERAKI fashion show put together by local sweethearts Maryanne Irhia and Bianca Pavlic, so please, enjoy and we shall speak soon!
First of all, let me just say wow. Wowowowow.
When I first walked into the Fitters Workshop I was instantly engulfed in the energy of the room. It felt happy and light, everybody was dressed their best getting drinks from the boys at Lenton Bar, eating the glorious food platter catered by Local Press and of course snapping the insta pics (myself included) in front of the elegant media wall that featured flower arrangements by Wiluna Studio. If that wasn’t enough you could also get your nails done by local artist Anna O’Shea – In retrospect I actually should have got mine done because they’re an absolutely mess right now but whatever let’s move on.
The show opened with Gerhardus Harmannus, which spoke a lot to me without saying too much at all – if that makes sense. With a dark and moody pallet, the clothing featured minimal lines and structure, as well as baggy co-ords. The label’s broody and dusky look made me think of jazz music, whiskey and a man reading from a little book in the park, isn’t it strange how much your imagination can make these connections.
Second to power through the doors with their lady power was Claudia the Label. My absolute favourite part about watching this brand was the fact that each piece is made with love for all shapes and sizes, which was clearly highlighted with heir diverse range of models. Sticking with the monochrome vibe, there were high-waisted and low-cut briefs featuring dainty lace designs and matching bralettes. My personal favourite was a sultry black lacey bodysuit, something I believe every woman deserves.
To close the first half came Venus Blooms… good god you guys. I myself am a festival goer, and I was absolutely L I V I N G for this. Serving gypsy mixed with Rockstar mixed with boho mixed with techno rave mixed with good fucking times, I’m just about ready to invest in some pieces for my next festival. Featuring floral prints, silver head pieces and AMAZING blue flaming go-go boots, I highly recommend checking these guys out if you’re into the festival scene as well! Major vibe.
After a brief interval it was time to see the main event brought to us by co-founder of MERAKI, Bianca Pavlic the Label. Once you set your eyes on these pieces you’re instantly transported to a magical place where you can eat fairy floss for breakfast, ride a unicorn in the arvo and then settle down and listen to fairy stories in the evening (wow literally being transported to my childhood lol). Featuring gorgeous pink and white sheet pieces with lace detailing, mixed with your denims, linens and neutral tones – there was definitely something for everybody. While also tying in with the festival look, I also found everything had that feminine feel, so delicate and light – each woman walking had a distinct glow about them, which genuinely made me happy.
I had a chance to catch up Bianca to give you a little bit more of an insight into the magic she and Maryanne created!
Well… let’s start with the obvious – who the heck are you?! Tell me your life story. What do you do, how did your paths cross and how did the spark ignite to form MERAKI?
To keep it short and sweet I’m a fashion designer based in Canberra as well as a casual barrister at some funky cafes. I’m a bubbly outgoing person who loves to make people smile and feel amazing in the clothes I make.
Maryanne and I met over Instagram as we wanted to collaborate with each other. She borrowed one of my pieces to wear to Kokomos Sunday sesh, which she absolutely rocked by the way. After that was the side to meet up for brunch and have some avo on toast of course. Slowly throughout the shop period of time we began to realise how similar we are to each other in both our moral thinking and literally just everything. We were talking about fashion and fashion scene in Canberra and the rest is history!
MERAKI is an interesting concept with an exotic sound, what does it mean to you? Where did the inspiration come from and how does it translate into the show?
To me MERAKI is exactly what the definition says, to do something with passion creativity and love. All of my designing and all of my creating stems from the exact definition of MERAKI. Inspiration was formed from the idea of wanting to create an experience rather than a commercialised show, it’s safe to say that both Maryanne and I love pretty things, so of course everything had to be our idea of perfect, beautiful and Instagram worthy. This inspiration translated into the event through the local collaborations we had as well, which could be seen in the styles of clothing ,hair, make up and props that were used.
It’s clear you have your own distinct vibe. How would you describe it and what does style mean to you personally in such a crowded industry?
My vibe… I would say it’s like a Sunday afternoon relaxed picnic in the hills of a European winery. In saying this some of my clothes may not be worn in this exact setting, however it is the feel and emotion that this idea brings. The fashion industry today is very oversaturated so it is important for a young local designer to find the niche that will set them apart.
Okay so clearrrrrlyyyy putting on a show is no easy task! If someone were to go forth and follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give?
Plan plan plan! This is not an easy task to set upon, do lots of research understand exactly who you want to target. Do it with someone that you love and most importantly don’t take everything to seriously, have fun!
Will we be seeing more from you both in the near future? Perhaps a MERAKI show x 2, or involvement within the Fashfest enterprise?
Of course will be back! We have had such great feedback, and everyone has attached themselves to MERAKI in some way - we are already having people ask when we are doing the next show. The anything that we can say is that it’s going be bigger, better and more fabulous than this year! To me personally, I would like to keep MERAKI as its own event, it’s something new that Canberra has not seen before and we feel that it is giving its own energy into fashion industry. We love collaborating with local Canberran businesses and we wish to do more in the future!
How did you come to find/ choose the other labels that were showcased?
We wanted to include local Canberra designers to keep the MERAKI vibe local. We chose labels that people may not have heard about yet or are just starting out. We figured this will be a great way for creatives to get some exposure and to show Canberra that there are local young designers that have lots of talent. We can’t wait to see what happens over the next year and who we can uncover in the Canberra fashion scene to be a part of the next show!