One of the most prestigious events on the Australian fashion calendar, BT’s Runway for Success continues to celebrate the best in emerging and established design talent. 

Back for it’s sixth consecutive year, the event welcomed 600 guests to Sydney’s Royal Hall of Industry’s, for an exclusive evening of fashion, entertainment and communal contribution.

A tripartite co-op between BT Financial, the Australian Fashion Council and Vogue Australia, BT Runway supports Dress for Success; a local non-for-profit that assists disadvantaged women with procuring employment, by providing necessary work attire, coaching and mentoring services.

Taking out the coveted BT Emerging Designer Award for 2018 was Maria Afonina of Aussie outfit, Albus Lumen, who (along with fellow finalists Anna Quan and Double Rainbouu’s Mikey Nolan and Toby Jones)  presented her most recent offerings to a crowd of fashion insiders, media personnel and esteemed corporate guests.

“Maria Afonina has an amazing fashion eye, as a stylist and fashion designer, so it’s not surprising that her fashion label Albus Lumen has won the 2018 BT Fashion Designer award,” said speaker and Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Australia, Kellie Hush.

“Albus Lumen is chic, timeless and delivers classic pieces, such as cigarette pants and cashmere sweaters, that every woman wants to wear season after season.”

Each of which – along with Maria’s penchant for detail, and quality craftsmanship – coalesced to score the designer a coveted prize package worth over $70,000, including a $10,000 cash grant, and sponsorship/hair support from the team at Toni & Guy Australia.

Between a menu curated by distinguished restaurateur Mat Moran (and performances from Guy Sebastian, and a string ensemble led by an Isabel Tzorbatski), a series of Designer Showcases found life upon the space spanning runway, with each segment exhibiting new pieces from eight of the nation’s most prolific designers.

On hand to ensure models’ tresses was aptly runway ready, was International Creative Director for Toni & Guy, Katy Reeve, who once again led a troupe of the brand’s stylists in fashioning three bespoke looks for each of the evening’s designer segments.

“There’s three different parts to this evening’s show, so we really want to evolve the looks as we go,” said Katy.

“We’re working with a lot of designers today, so it’s important to find looks that go across all aesthetics. Every year, we try to push the looks, and make them fresh for those watching, at the same time complementing many different types of design.”

“We’re starting off with the Emerging Designer Showcase; we’re keeping it quite youthful. There are three unique designers going for the win, so the look is quite fresh and clean, with a middle part and not too much product – everything is out with a bit of a natural wave to it.”

Albus Lumen
Double Rainbouu
Anna Quan

“For Runway One, we are evolving the look with the use of gel, keeping a slight middle part and that flat natural texture, though creating more of a juxtaposition of textures. The look has a clean, high-shine feel, mixed with a slightly dustier finish at the bottom.”

“We want the lights to catch the sheen, but still have hair move as models walk down the runway.”

Dion Lee
Manning Cartell
Bianca Spender
Camilla and Marc

“For Runway Two, we’re changing the look to a flat ponytail. Hair is pulled back off the face, and really clean; we’ve added a little bit more gel to achieve this look. We’re working a lot with Label M gel today; it’s really soft, light, and doesn’t have that sticky finish.”

“There’s no parting for his look; hair is brought into a low ponytail at the nape of the neck, and the bottom is left nice and natural.” Front tendrils were swept forward at the hairline using stylist’s fingers, for added softness.

Ginger & Smart
Carl Kapp
Carla Zampatti
Toni Maticevski

All hair was first prepped using Label M’s Volume Foam, blowdried through for added texture and malleability; “A mousse or foam gives the hair more texture, making it more pliable for tonging, straightening or blowdrying technique.”

“We’re also using a new product today – Label M’s Fashion Edition Wax Spray. It’s been used backstage at LFW, and is coming out just in time for MBFWA.

“It’s quite specific, and on trend, with a touch of sheen, and a matte, grungy, 90’s feel. We’re spraying it through the top before models’ walk; it keeps the hair together, stopping the top from moving while allowing the bottom hair to move freely.”

The final hero product? Label M’s Weightless Hairspray; “It’s quite natural, pliable, and doesn’t go dry in the hair, so we’re able to work it through for a clean finish.”

A troupe of makeup artists – led my esteemed artist Linda Jefferyes – delivered a number of complementary makeup looks (including a dazzling bright lip for the evening’s conclusion), before models graced the runway in welcome succession.

Until next year…

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