3 November 2022

Budding CIT florists fashion high-end display for Hyatt Hotel Canberra

| Evelyn Karatzas
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floristry students standing next to their projects

Narelle Phillips and her class of floristry students from CIT take in the fashion exhibit at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra. Photo: Evelyn Karatzas.

A class of 11 CIT students has put its creative skills to the test to create a unique multi-sensory floral fashion exhibit at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra.

The pop-up display gives the second year CIT floristry students an opportunity to showcase their projects in a corporate setting and provides the aspiring florists with real-world experience.

This year’s display of mannequins is inspired by the theme “Flowers Refashioned”, also part of the Design Canberra Festival.

CIT floristry teacher Narelle Phillips said this was the third year students had shown their work to the public at the Hyatt.

“They [students] learn to work for a large client and design and create floral installations that fit the client’s brief and budget,” she said.

“This partnership provides students with hands-on experience to learn about their capabilities, and builds a greater understanding of the real work environment and practices.”

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The display, in the Hyatt Hotel’s lobby, involves students choosing a fashion garment and embellishing it with floral elements.

Ms Phillips said the pieces created for Flowers Refashioned had been in the works for about three months.

“The students were given a brief where they had to take an item of clothing or a garment and refashion or rework it with flowers,” she said.

“They were asked to consider the context and meet the brief of the theme the Hyatt provided us – the pieces had to sit well with the venue, work well with the décor and heritage of the building, and had to be suitable for guests and the general public. Overall the display was customised to the location.

“The event also lined up with Melbourne Cup Day this year, so that’s why we incorporated the fashion element.”

Ms Phillips said it was great to see her students’ works on display.

“[The display] really lifts their confidence, especially when guests and visitors stop by to tell them how amazing their creations are,” she said.

“We occasionally get contacted by florists to do work for them beyond displays like this, so it’s really helping put the students’ names out there.”

woman standing next to a mannequin

‘Aine Tierney with her piece ‘Madame Clouseau Goes to the Opera’. Photo: Evelyn Karatzas.

Second year CIT floristry student ‘Aine Tierney said the display provided her with the perfect opportunity to learn news skills and practise techniques she’d been learning throughout her course.

Her unique teal, white and gold-embellished dress – ‘Madame Clouseau Goes to the Opera’ involved 20 to 25 hours of work.

“I’m really pleased with how it turned out,” Ms Tierney said.

“Overall, the project was challenging and definitely stretched me. I didn’t think I could ever do this, so I’ve really surprised myself.”

Ms Tierney said part of the brief was to use fresh flowers.

“In the headpiece, I’ve used fresh flowers (baby’s breath). And the great thing about it is that you can spray it a different colour too. So that’s what I did,” she said.

“To give the mannequin her beautiful shape, I crumbled up some gum leaves and sprayed them with satin gold and placed them down the seams of the dress.

“The little flowers on the bodice feature some preserved hydrangeas and are surrounded by gold glitter.”

Touches of sea-green, dark blue and gold are incorporated throughout the look. So too is a vintage handbag “picked up years ago”, shoes from Vinnies with added florals, and an ombre effect at the bottom of the dress.

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Hyatt Hotel Canberra general manager Adam Myott said the hotel was delighted to support CIT students by offering them real projects to help start their floristry careers.

“Our guests have admired their beautiful floral works in the past, and it gives us immense pleasure to see the new cohort of students work with real passion to create intricate and grandiose floral decors that complement the heritage-inspired setting of the hotel,” he said.

The display will also be viewed by a judging panel to determine which pieces receive first and second place.

It will be open until Sunday 6 November at the Hyatt Hotel.

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