Pure wool mini dress steals the show at Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards

September 26, 2014

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Vanessa Taylor, of Holbrook, models the overall winning garment in the 2014 Henty Natural Fashion Fibre Awards designed by Judy Bond, Mildura.

Mildura fashion designer Judy Bond finally snared the overall title in this year’s Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards with a crocheted mini dress after a decade of trying.

The winning forest green dress and matching reversible jacket wowed the audience and judges to take out the knitted or crocheted category, and going on to cinch the supreme award from a strong line-up of finalists.

Ms Bond’s design was capably modelled by Billabong High School Year 11 student Vanessa Taylor, of Holbrook.

“I enjoy doing garments with a double purpose,’’ Ms Bond said.

“It was originally designed to be elegant, sleek and beautiful race wear – I’m more than thrilled with the win, in fact I’m ecstatic.

“I have been trying to win the supreme award at Henty since 2004 and have finally cracked it.’’

Ms Bond not only won $2000 for the overall title but also $500 for first prize in the knitted or crocheted category.

She now has plans to enter the garment in the Australian Wool Fashion Awards and begin working on her entries for Henty next year.

“I work in a real estate office and fashion design is a hobby for me, as crocheting takes too long to be commercially viable.

“The Henty Natural Fibre Awards are always competitive and I only enter garments that I feel will win the big prize.

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Georgie Schulz, 15, of Culcairn, models the winning accessory designed by Bronwood Packwood, Northern Territory.

“I absolutely love working with wool, it’s a soft, beautifully manipulative yarn and I can create my own fabric as opposed to buying it.’’

First-time Northern Territory entrant Bronwyn Packwood, of Palmerston, won first prize of $500 in the accessory section for a felted sleeveless jacket and matching bag and scarf.

Judge David Tester said the entry had the element of “wow’’ when it came to colour and style.

Eight finalists were selected from the biggest single section, millinery, with Amanda Causer, Wagga Wagga, winning on “bling, style and colour’’.

Wodonga Institute of TAFE student Anna Williams took home a Bernina Activa 125 sewing machine (donated by Bernina and Julia’s Fabric Boutique) as an encouragement award for the best garment by a student designer.

Anna, 27, designed a 1950s inspired denim wrap around dress with an Aztec style lining in pure cotton.

“This is the first time I’ve produced a garment and I’m still in shock over winning,’’ she said.

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Anna Takle, Henty, models the encouragement award winner entered by Anna Williams, Albury.

“I work part-time in administration but would love a career in fashion.’’

The 11th Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards showcased designers who have created garments containing at least 70 per cent 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.

Awards organiser Lyn Jacobsen said the event drew a record number of 85 entries, including  40 millinery entries.

On the judging panel was David Tester, of Albury and former Golden Gowns winner Colleen Smith.

Compere was Anna Dennis, of Collingullie.

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Rebecca Christie, 16, of Billabong High, models the winning hat designed by Amanda Causer, Wagga Wagga.

Year 10 and 11 students at Culcairn’s Billabong High School modelled the garments, with Riverina and Wodonga Institute of TAFE hair dressing students styling the models. Makeup was done by Ellen Humbert, Arbonne, Table Top.

Mrs Jacobsen said the awards had lifted the profile of many young fashion designers since their inception in 2004.

She said competition was particularly tough this year, with many designers showing flair and innovation.

-Kim Woods