Woollen cocktail dress steals limelight in Henty awards


Winning entries in the Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards modelled by Shalayla Wheeler, Holbrook, Claudia Grogan, Morven, Sarah Brennan, Henty, Tamara Stewart, The Rock and April Kennedy, Yerong Creek.

A tartan cocktail dress stole the limelight in the catwalk at the Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards to win the supreme garment.

The outfit was designed and entered by Lorraine Shipway, Collingullie, NSW, and capably modelled by Billabong High School student Shalayla Wheeler, 16, of Holbrook.

The 15th Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards were a highlight of the Country Lifestyle program at the Henty Machinery Field Days on September 18-20.

Fashion designers vied for the chance to win a Bernina B350PE sewing machine valued at $2199 plus $1000 cash prize money for the supreme garment made of natural fibres.

Open to amateurs and professionals, the awards recognise the innovative use of natural fibres – from paddock to catwalk – in creative but wearable clothing.

The judging emphasis was on visual appeal, creative and innovative use of natural fibres.

This year’s judges were Rose Organ, Wagga, Beryl Brain, Grong Grong, and Colleen Smith, Lockhart.

Awards organiser Lyn Jacobsen said the natural fibres could include wool, alpaca, angora, mohair, cashmere, cotton, silk and linen.

Mrs Jacobsen said the awards had attracted 80 entries from around the nation, as well as from two New Zealand designers.

The knitted and crochet section was won by long time supporter of the awards, Judy Bond, Buronga, NSW, with a black sequinned evening gown featuring a low slung back.

The student’s encouragement award was won by Reanan Toovey, Wodonga TAFE, and modelled by Tamara Stewart, Billabong High School.

Pat Meahan, Thurgoona, won the accessories category with a red felt coat and hat, modelled by Sarah Brennan, 14, of Henty.

April Kennedy, 16, Yerong Creek, modelled a black and pink boater to win the millinery section for Karen Hyde, Wagga Wagga.

Lorraine Shipway, of Collingullie, was thrilled to win the supreme garment after whipping up her entry on a 30-year-old Bernina sewing machine.

The 67-year-old grandmother of seven has always loved sewing and once made outfits for a boutique in Double Bay.

Mrs Shipway used worsted wool to create the cocktail dress, featuring some panels cut on the bias, inverted pleats and an up-and-down hemline.

“I thought the up and down hemline would have impact on the catwalk,’’ she said.

“I was thrilled to have won the award and had been originally inspired by the material itself and the awards entry form.

“The worsted wool was beautiful material for winter or summer and presses nicely – I’m a real fan of it.’’

Student designer Reanan Toovey is in her first year of a textiles course at Wodonga TAFE after being encouraged to sew by her grandparents.

“I’ve always loved sailor pants and when our teacher told us we had to find a 20th century inspiration for our garments, I was pleased,’’ she said.

“I chose sailor pants from the 1940s and teamed it with a simple blouse, all made from Japanese cotton lawn and cotton sateen.’’

Once Reanan graduates, she aims to start her own clothing business.

Judy Bond, Buronga, made her winning black sequinned evening gown from pure wool and hand-threaded sequins.

“It took a few months to hand thread the sequins onto the wool and crochet them into the fabric,’’ she said.

Judy made the finals with three of her four entries.

“I do this purely for pleasure and do a lot of charity parades of my gowns for local organisations.

“It was quite competitive this year and the international entries were strong.’’