What do you say when Brisbane fashion designer Deanne Mayocchi asks if you’d like to walk in her fashion parade? You say ‘ YES’ of course and then start to worry about falling over on the catwalk. I write about fashion so I have had the privilege of watching beautiful models walk in local fashion parades, Mercedes Benz parades in Sydney and Brisbane and in Paris for two Haute Couture Fashion Weeks. None of these parades included a 56 year old shy writer from the ‘burbs.
It has been 15 years since I walked in any fashion parade and then it was the Payne Road State School Fashion Parade. Here I was amongst friends, walking with friends and being watched by friends. We wore beautiful garments sourced from Paula at Paddington’s Petrol, which sadly closed its doors this year. I still remember the fun we had trying on outfits and matching accessories, so it was with trepidation and a little excitement that I watched the days tick over…. very quickly, leading up to the launch of Maiocchi’s Bloom Collection.
It was in 2011 that I bought my first Maiocchi dress. I still wear it and receive compliments on it to this day. Since then I’ve been a regular customer and have introduced many friends to the label. I really feel that Deanne Mayocchi has gone from strength to strength with her designs. They are particularly suited to our Australian climate. Last year she created a Maiocchi Mavens Facebook group, where Maiocchi wearers can share their outfits, favourite things and vintage Maiocchi from seasons past. It has been a roaring success and is a positive and uplifting group.
I know Dee and her fellow local fashion labels have scrambled to adapt and change to this new world and my beloved local Paddington Maiocchi is no more. The City store on Brisbane Arcade is open and online shopping is booming. The last collection, Gone Troppo, was a great success and we wondered how Maiocchi would ever top it.
Yet top it they did! In collaboration with her friend, artist Julie Tomaszewski, Deanne created the Bloom Collection celebrating everything floral. Julie is known for her whimsical botanical’s drawings and watercolours. Dee and Julie have been friends for over 10 years and were in a mother’s group together when their children were born. Last year Julie took a trip to Japan and was inspired by all the Japanese florals. As Dee has long taken inspiration from the same, she asked Julie to do a print collaboration and that is where the Bloom Collection began.
Usually we’ve been to launches at the Paddington Store, but this time Dee’s friends Shannon and Clare from Mica, hosted us in their brilliant new Breakfast Creek Lifestyle Precinct Event Space called Lumiere Events. You might remember Shannon and Clare from Montrachet, Paddington and now Montrachet, Bowen Hills and King Street Bakery. This ensures the guests at the fashion show are always served top notch canapés at Maiocchi Launches.
We models of varying ages, stages, shapes and sizes arrived at the venue at 1:30 pm. We felt like old friends as many of us had seen each other on the Maven’s page. My fellow columnist Nanny Babe was there to greet me and I knew Jody from her time working at Maiocchi and Sacha Drake. Gabrielle is a nurse and grandmother to three. She was walking with her granddaughter and Mia, daughter of photographer, Kate Luke. Mia is an old hand, being the house model for Maiocchi’s children’s line.
Beautiful Akua is President of the local Ghanaian association and an electrical engineer. She mentors women in STEM careers. I knew Tien from the Maiocchi page where she always looks stunning. I soon learned she was a Masters student who had come home to Queensland because of Covid.
Jody’s daughters were also there. The beautiful Monica , who is studying Youth Social Work , came along to show a new generation of Maiocchi wearer and her lovely sister Charlotte helped us all on the day by taking photos, ensuring we had water, watching out for the youngsters as we had our hair and make up done and making sure none of we ladies succumbed to our nerves.
We had no idea what outfits we would be wearing but we soon spied a rail of looks with our names and accessories. Dee had laid out a glittering array of colourful earrings to pair with our looks. Julie’s artwork was on display and there was a rack of the Bloom Collection designs for customers to try after the parade. Our stunning MC Robyn Bailey arrived and was soon rocking a flattering striped dress from the new collection.
We were whisked away to have our hair done by stylists from The Blow Dry Room and make up from the bubbly Sally Williams and her team at Sally Williams Beauty. It was a calming and lovely experience. Kate Luke from Kate Luke Photography was snapping some behind the scenes shots and whisking each model outside for our professional photos. All too soon the guests were arriving and flitting about with champagne flutes. It was a sea of colour with the well dressed guests wearing their own Maiocchi from seasons past.
Soon it was time to walk. I popped on my first look, the flattering Zoe jumpsuit in navy garden. She fitted perfectly. I had been worried that it would be too long and that I would skid head first on to the runway. Suddenly Michelle transformed into ‘ Elle’ and as I walked on to the catwalk I was greeted by so many friendly faces- some of my family, close friends and many, many smiling Maiocchi Mavens – that I forgot about my nerves.
I saw Bec from ‘ I Love That Skirt’ with her daughter Ali, who looked like she wanted to jump up and model too. I waved ‘ Hi’ to her, my son Luke and my mates Leigh and Kelly. As I began to walk off I heard the beautiful voice of Robyn Bailey say, “ And Michelle’s greatest work of all has been raising her three grown up sons.” I was bursting with pride!
My second look was the very popular Holiday Dress in pink animal, a comfortable fit, perfect for our Queensland Summer. With a very quick change and Nanny Babe urging me to quickly pop on my orange shoes I was off again. Confidently waving and posing now I was wishing that there was another outfit to share…. but in the blink of an eye we were done. We regrouped and did a group walk along the runway. Before we’d even had time to get changed, the excited Maiocchi shoppers were inundating the change rooms looking to try on and buy. The Bloom Collection was a roaring success.
I bought my lovely jumpsuit and it’s now hanging brightly in my wardrobe, a perfect reminder of the day. Dee gifted each of us a lovely silk scarf and signature tea towel, but the best thing I collected from the day was some new friends and women to admire. To hear the stories of the diverse women who modelled that day was a gift and to spend time with women of all ages and stages, whom I may never have known, was precious. So if you are ever asked to participate in something like this don’t shy away….. just say ‘ YES’ and you’ll be uplifted by the experience. Buying local fashion has never been more important!
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).