Gowns for all occasions
Kozminsky and Hetty kate
It’s delightful how perfectly things fall into place. The effortless links that lead one to another cement the truth that like-minded people gravitate to each other.
Make up artist Vivian Ashworth met Jazz singer Hetty Kate whilst doing her hair and make up for Suncheeter, Beach and Water Wear. Vivian and Hetty spoke about a magical store she discovered on the backstreets of Fitzroy and how she dreamt of one day wearing one of their gowns. Hetty spoke of the joy she had walking past Gwendolynnes eponymous boutique, how she would stop and marvel at the beauty and elegance of the gowns on display. Vivian said, “By any chance do you mean Gwendolynne... she’s my friend!” and the rest, as they say is history.
So it was a natural choice when Vivian re launched her make up and hair brand in June 2013, for her to ask her friend and prominent Melbourne Fashion Designer friend Gwendolynne Burkin if she would dress Hetty for the opening event where she would perform. The two met for the first time and Gwendolynne immediately fell in love with the beauty and vivacious nature and style of the talented singer.
Hetty speaks of the ethereal experience of wearing one of Gwendolynne’s gowns, “It is a dream to wear a Gwendolynne gown when I perform! Naturally it’s wonderful, of course, as they are incredibly made and the fit and final look is stunning; but also because there is a fundamental shift within when you put a gown like this on. The fit, the attention to detail, the design, the total celebration of femininity in each gown is second to none. I challenge any woman of any age to wear one of these couture gowns and not stand taller and feel feminine, strong and beautiful in herself.
Yet as my career has progressed and I have had the opportunity to perform in larger concert environments, and often overseas, I definitely feel it’s important to represent Australian fashion as much as I can. Each time I have sung wearing a Gwendolynne gown I am not only representing her incredible brand and creative vision, but in turn I am representing all of Melbourne’s unique creative landscape. Gwendolynne’s gowns are always a conversation starter, and I’m very proud to be able to bring attention to her extraordinary designs and to pair them with performance and music.’
Gwendolynne is renowned as a designer for her alternative view on beauty. To Gwendolynne, Hetty is an inspiringly beautiful and healthy role model, passionate and accomplished in her talents. Gwendolynne feels she represents a positive and real woman of style, talent and glamour who has a modern yet vintage appeal with which her clientelle connect.” Even though I am predominantly a bridal designer I wanted to showcase how my designs could be worn again after the wedding; for perhaps a cocktail party, an anniversary even a performance I’m a believer in sustainable design and I can’t rest with the concept that the hours we take to create are often only worn once!”
Gwendolynne and Kozminsky have a long and enduring history of collaboration and have joined forces on the catwalk many times at fashion weeks as far back as 2002. Together they have dressed countless celebrities for red carpet events including; Helpmann Award winner, Kerrie Anne Greenland, actresses Sybilla Budd & Diana Glenn. Gwendolynne recalls her first introduction to Australia’s first jeweller, Kozminsky through Clemence Harvey of Harvey publicity, who saw a natural synergy.” The timeless sensibility when styled with the beautiful designs of Textile Artists/Designers Vixen (whom I met during my studies at RMIT in the late 80s). When I met Kirsten I was besotted by her warmth and charm.
Kozminsky was also kind enough to dress Gwendolynne for a coveted spread when she was featured as one of Who weekly’s sexiest people in 2004 “I’ve never felt so nervous. I felt very intimidated by the title and on top of that I had the most exquisite & valuable selection of jewels & was photographed in the Royal suite at the Windsor. An experience I will never forget which was quite surreal, I still scratch my head how I got onto that list!”
Gwendolynne is genuinely besotted by the curation of jewels at Kozminsky. “It is clear in my work that I’m consistently inspired by history so the experience of their environment, and the rare and beautiful offerings resonate with me deeply. It is like walking into another time”. Over time I have felt like our collaboration is much more than a business relationship. Kirsten Albrecht, owner of the 165-year-old business , now Victoria’s oldest registered business and Australia’s oldest jeweler shares my vision. “Kirsten is beyond supportive and is consistently encouraging my creativity, like I’m a family member” says Gwendolynne. “When you visit the world renowned Iconic store on Bourke Street despite its grandeur one feels like being welcomed into a home” it is full of stunning antiques with a grand staircase and an abundance of art.
Owner Kirsten Albrecht says, “Gwendolynne’s gowns compliment our treasures with their delicate beading and awe inspiring attention to detail. Our creative union is like we are magically transported to a more gracious and elegant time, when women wore amazing evening gowns and fabulous jewels to enhance their style.”
The iconic site that has served politicians and poets, artists and actresses, from all over the world, originally specializing in gold coins and nuggets, antiquities, and all things exotic, was the location for the photo-shoot. Also an aspiring photographer Gwendolynne Burkin chose to shoot in the beautiful upstairs salon that has enjoyed many a beautiful event. From discussing wedding adornment with brides to sharing their vast knowledge of the history of jewelry, it is a magical space to party.
The style of the shoot has a sumptuous decadent feel with dramatic shadows & reclining gestures with a touch of Film noir. The make up look was high glamour including smokey eyes and styled hair that nodded to the sirens of the silent screen. Jewelry styling involved selecting an array of sumptuous Art Deco & Victorian pieces. A stand out was an exquisite carved rock crystal Pendant set with a turquoise blue bird on a fine gold chain, with an Edwardian diamond swirl cluster ring and a rare agate cameo ring. The final effect expresses MORE IS MORE, and that you can never have enough beauty.
Hair & Make Up artist Vivian Ashworth a friend Gwendolynne met through Richard Nylon, Gwendolynne’s collaborator and close friend, says “I’m immensely inspired by the creative shoots I have worked on with Gwendolynne. It is magic to see my friend have a complete voice with her creativity and implement her full vision as a photographer .We have been doing lots of whimsical loose & natural styled shoots and this shoot really allowed me to explore my passion for high glamour.“
To complete the look Autumnal Flowers were curated by Kozminsky’s very own Katie Dunlop that were inspired by The Old Dutch Masters, a symphony of Chrysanthemum, Rhododendrom, Hydrangea and Phalaenopsis orchids.
After the shoot Hetty headed off to the Czech Republic to sing for the Prague Proms with James Morrison and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, where she wore Gwendolynne. Then to Paris. What new web of amazing connections have evolved from here?