Melbourne À La Mode


Melbourne’s most glamorous, eclectic and fabulous are coming together for 3 days of styling advice, creative workshops, fashion shows and shopping! All inside a glamorous space at the first ever Melbourne A La Mode event on this Thursday to Saturday at the George Ballroom, St Kilda.

This unique shopping event will include some of the most loved local brands including Lady Petrova, The Eternal Headonist, Dainty & Bold,  T. Serafina, Micky in the Van and Anton Venoir Fine French Antiques. For more information on daily times and workshop bookings go to

DATES: Thursday 23rd July – Saturday 25th July

LOCATION: The George Ballroom, 129 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda

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Ask Melbourne Darling: Best place to shop for Mother of the Bride dresses in Melbourne?

Dear Melbourne Darling,

Where can I find the best Mother of the Bride dress?

A mother of the bride outfit can initially seem like a daunting outfit to search for. In my previous styling experience I assisted a number of Mother of the Brides and after a while I would tend to hear the same things:

  • No white
  • Preferably not a black dress
  • Something that won’t clash with the outfits of the bridal party
  • Above all, something that is flattering and elegant

This may seem like you have already ruled out some of your favourite options but I want to show you that you can most definitely find a stunning outfit if you know where to shop in Melbourne!

Similarly to my post on finding wedding shoes in Melbourne, just like a mother of the bride outfit or any special outfit for that matter, when first embarking on a big shopping quest for the perfect outfit, I would always suggest not dismissing Myer and David Jones as your starting point. I find the department stores to be the quickest and most effective way to firstly get a sense for the prominent trends, styles and designer collections currently available. The exposure to a variety of different designers in the one place also makes the department stores the best first stop to allow you to start hitting the fitting rooms. Try on as many different styles as you can, as sometimes it’s the best dresses that don’t look great hanging limp on a rack but do wonders when slipped on the body!

I also want to point out that you may not want to wear a dress, and that’s absolutely fine too! Whether you decide on a perfectly paired two-piece suit, mix and match coordinates, prefer a feature skirt with a simple top and blazer or a gorgeous top and simple black pants set off by a remarkable pair of shoes, you want to choose something that you will be comfortable in and will make you feel and look your best!

After a visit to the department stores, you may want to check out the stand alone stores of the designers you liked the best as they may have a larger selection of new styles or matching coordinates and accessories in the same collection of the pieces you liked. Below are my top suggestions to get you started with the retailers I believe are reliable in regularly stocking a wonderful assortment of styles that can be beautifully suited (pardon the pun) for a mother of the bride outfit. Keep in mind, it will also depend on the personal taste of the individual, so I’ve tried to cater for some different tastes:

Coast London

Coast is still fairly new to the Australian market, only arriving to our shores in 2011. This actually works to our benefit, as Coast has saturated the UK market to the point that I have heard if you were to go to a wedding in the UK and wear a Coast dress, it would not be uncommon to see another wedding guest wearing the same outfit as you! However, it tends to be the opposite in the Australian market where their smaller presence works to our benefit. I still like to refer to Coast as the best kept secret when shopping for occasion wear in Melbourne, with their more traditional yet versatile range of fancy and feminine occasion wear pieces. (Check out their gorgeous collection of mid-heels! Comfy and funky!)

Put simply, Coast London was made for weddings and special occasions. They are a popular destination for bridesmaid dresses and create cleverly designed garments to flatter different body shapes with sizing ranging from a size 6-18. Many of their dresses also come with added practical features like detachable and adjustable straps, boning in the bodice, secret pockets and design features to allow you to wear one dress, multiple ways. Coast London in Australia is hard to find online, but I can tell you that they do have a stand-alone store in Melbourne Central (click here for more details) and a concession store in Myer Bourke Street. You can also buy Coast online at their global website and on ASOS.

Karen Millen

If Coast London is the girly, sweet girl next door, then Karen Millen is her sleek and sophisticated, seriously on-trend sister. Karen Millen, sister brand to Coast London, produce beautiful, ultra-modern floral and graphic patterns and statement prints in dresses and coordinates, usually created with perfectly matching clutches and shoes crafted from the same material.


Cue has become quite similar to Karen Millen with their focus on modern, sharp tailoring and darker colours for a more edgy yet refined style. Cue pieces sometimes appear to create a more corporate look, so offset this by adding some extra sparkle with statement accessories like a headpiece, cuff or necklace from Mimco.


If you are after something more suited for a day wedding, or something a little more casual or girly, Review is a great option for floral and colourful vintage inspired pieces. Accentuate a very soft and feminine look with accessories from Alannah Hill.

Charlie Brown

For something a little less structured but still makes a statement, Charlie Brown create spectacular patterns in comfortable stretch fabric that can be more suited for day weddings. They particularly produce outstanding maxi dresses too.

Anthea Crawford

Anthea Crawford stock an extremely sumptuous collection of striking dresses with delicate and ornate detailing. They make enough of an impact on their own so all you need to add is a simple pair of shoes and you’re done! Perfect for those who like to keep their accessories to a minimum.

David Lawrence

Alternatively, when less is more head to David Lawrence for more classic, understated pieces and understated coordinates. You can always dress up a classic with some fun accessories and keep it for years to come, creating an entirely new look with the help of on-trend accessories each time you wear it.

Now I wouldn’t be a Melbourne Darling if I didn’t appreciate how to wear a little black dress just as much as the next Melbourne girl, but if you do opt for black or a simple and classic style, don’t underestimate the power of a pop of colour using clever and playful accessories. If you are up for some colour, jewel tones like purples, blues and greens tend to suit most skin tones and make for stunning evening wear options. Alternatively, pastel colours, graphic prints and florals are wonderful choices for daytime, garden themed or more casual weddings.

Don’t forget about comfortable footwear too! For a long day ahead in heels, try a supportive stack heel, a mid heel or choose a shoe with lots of inner support such as the Airflex brand heels. Otherwise prepare to pack Party Feet or invest in a good pair of soft insoles. You’ll be thankful when you hit the dancefloor!

Here are some fantastic finds to inspire you you Mother of the Bride outfit:

Mother of the Bride in Melbourne Outfit - Purple

Mother of the Bride in Melbourne Outfit - Pink

Mother of the Bride in Melbourne Outfit - Blue

  1. David Lawrence Orchid Embellished Corded Lace Dress
  2. Mimco Flashback Clip
  3. Karen Millen Crystal Metallic Asymmetric Court Shoe
  4. Airflex Blake Nude Heel
  5. Anthea Crawford Garnet Sequin Embellished Mesh and Stretch Satin Dress
  6. Anthea Crawford Shiraz Stretch Velour Drape Gown
  7. Jo Mercer Zalia Heel
  8. Samantha Wills Love Like Libra Cuff
  9. Meri By Design Black Rabbit Fur Cape
  10. Review Dion Jacket
  11. Mimco Mini Origami Envelope in Blossom Pink
  12. Oroton Freshwater Pearl Earrings
  13. Coast London Ariel Shoe
  14. Lady Petrova Wonderland Coat
  15. Fillies Collection Pillbox with Large Flower
  16. Swarovski Bolster Bracelet, Atelier Swarovski by Christopher Kane
  17. Coast London Matilda dress
  18. Alannah Hill Close My Eyes Flower in Navy
  19. Samantha Wills Heart of Aries Earrings in Silver
  20. Coast London Jasmine Printed Shoe
  21. Cue Double Weave Origami Dress in Navy
  22. Karen Millen Graphic Stripe Suit Jacket
  23. Cue Stretch Satin A-Line Skirt
  24. Review Eliana Dress in Petrol
  25. Mimco Sporto Large Pouch in Absinthe
  26. Mocha Brighter Than Gold Earrings
  27. David Lawrence Sleeveless Synergy Print Silk Top
  28. Diana Ferrari Tanzy in Black Patent
  29. David Lawrence Synergy Print Wide Bangle

Happy Shopping Melbourne Darlings!

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Style Notes – Spring Racing Carnival 2013

Spring Racing Carnival is in full swing and Melbourne Cup is just around the corner, but every Melbournian knows that it’s just as much about people watching as it is watching those horses. Spring Racing fashion can end up being a bit of a gamble in itself if you’re not entirely sure on what to wear, but these simple style suggestions should see you taking a punt on the fashion sweepstakes with great confidence.

Here are my top five bets on Spring Racing style:

  1. Key trends this season will be futuristic fashion with sharp monochrome pieces or graphic prints and patterns, pinches of metallic statement pieces and detail in unexpected twists and turns. You may find yourself not just saving the black and white for Derby Day this year.
  2. There will also be a fusion of futuristic fashion with ladylike details such as higher necklines, pastel colours, shift dresses and girly accents like diamonds and pearls as well as flower crowns!
    Wayne by Wayne Cooper Harlequin Chain Detail Dress. Available here.

    Wayne by Wayne Cooper Harlequin Chain Detail Dress. Available here.

    Jayson Brunsdon Black Label Transparent Floral Body Con Dress. Available here.

    Jayson Brunsdon Black Label Transparent Floral Body Con Dress. Available here.

    Seduce Diamond Girl Shift Dresss.  Available here.

    Seduce Diamond Girl Shift Dresss. Available here.

    Seduce Hypnotize Dress. Available here.

    Seduce Hypnotize Dress. Available here.


  3. Put those statement necklaces and earrings away girls! Unless your head wear is extremely simple or understated, you don’t want to overdo it with large earrings or a necklace that would clash against your choice of headpiece. A splendid cocktail ring or a collection of dainty and elegant gold, rose gold or silver rings may be all the bling you need to complete your race-ready look. I love Samantha Willis’ Fine China cocktail ring collection which uses white opal as the centrepiece, set off with a vintage, art deco flair.

    Samantha Wills Fine China Art Ring. Available here.

    Samantha Wills Fine China Art Ring. Available here.

  4. Its seems that this season you cannot get away from the two-strap stiletto heel, it is hard to find a single shoe store that has not started selling their own take on this popular style. With that in mind, do not forget you’ll most likely be sinking those thin little heels in grass all day, so my advice is to ditch the stiletto and go for a dressy pair of wedges (like the below metallic silver pair) or at least go for a thicker heel that will make it much harder for your tootsies to start sinking like they’re in quick sand! If you still have your heart set on wearing a pair of stilettos, take a look at Starlettos. Starlettos are rubber heel protectors you can slide onto the bottom of your stiletto heels to literally stop that ‘sinking’ feeling.
    Love Nikki by PeepToe Madrid. Available here.

    Love Nikki by PeepToe Madrid. Available here.

    Jo Mercer Chance. Available here.

    Jo Mercer Chance. Available here.

    Gorman After The Chase Heel. Available here.

    Gorman After The Chase Heel. Available here.

  5. My money on the millinery for this racing season will follow on from the key trends, in that we will see the futuristic and modern fashion trend through strong shapes and monochrome colour in fascinators or alternatively, soft pastel colours, flower crowns and Gatsby-esque 1920’s style headpieces. My word of advice is, don’t go for over the top, crazy expensive choices in headpieces (exhibit a). Instead, go for unique or custom-made. Looking at previous fashion on the fields’ choices, it’s not hard to see that most of the time, less is more, or more modest and elegant pieces beat over the top, eccentric headdresses that just start to look costume like. If your choice of millinery starts becoming a sculpture in its own right, think about how heavy and annoying that thing if going to be perched on top of your head for one long day. Instead, I strongly recommend not just picking a fascinator ‘off the rack’ from any department store or accessories stop, but if you are creative enough, head down to your local craft store such as Spotlight or Lincraft and make your own! If you’re not too much of a creative or crafty type, check out local designers selling gorgeous one off pieces. You can find styles that certainly won’t cost a fortune and be guaranteed a truly unique piece you won’t see anyone else sporting on raceday! Local Melbourne designer Horus and Harper have a selection of dainty headpieces with an ethereal quality you can buy via their Facebook page, as with Brock and Eddie who stock a gorgeous selection of modern, colourful and truly chic fascinators. For beautiful flower crowns, head to Lady Petrova, or for an especially authentic flower crown, head to a florist like the lovely Jaclyn Roma who can pick out flowers and a design to perfectly match the rest of your outfit and create a flower crown especially for you!
  6. Brock & Eddie Millinery. Available here.

    Brock & Eddie Millinery. Available here.

    Horus and Harper Headpiece. Available here.

    Horus and Harper Headpiece. Available here.

    Lady Petrova Flower Crowns. Available in store or enquire online.,

    Lady Petrova Flower Crowns. Available in store or enquire online.

The Spring Racing Carnival is a great excuse to try something new or be a bit experimental in your fashion choices, so have fun with it! Don’t forget to add a generous dose of SPF in your make up to ensure you don’t end the day with unsightly sunburn and whatever you decide to wear,  make sure you’re comfortable! You don’t want to look back on your day with your only memories being of how annoying that heavy fascinator was or sinking pair of heels were. Above all, you not only want to look gorgeous, but feel gorgeous too! Hope you fond these simple style tips helpful when putting together your race-ready outfit, now giddy up and happy shopping!

Melbourne Darling xo

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