Paolo Sebastian collaboration with Disney to be unveiled at Adelaide Fashion Festival

KING of couture Paul Vasileff is collaborating with global giant Disney for his latest collection of Paolo Sebastian fairytale gowns to be shown at the Adelaide Fashion Festival.

The 30-piece collection called Once Upon a Dream — A Disney-Inspired Collection will be unveiled on Sunday. The runway, starring the face of the festival Akiima, is the finale of the five-day event which begins today.

It will be the realisation of a childhood dream for Adelaide’s Vasileff who “grew up drawing ball gowns on Disney characters”.

“There’s always that magical element in my collections,” Vasileff said, adding he hoped the show would evoke a sense of wonder in all who saw it. “This is something I’ve wanted to do forever. I want to take people back to how they felt when they saw a film like Cinderella for the first time.”

The Young Australian of the Year has his own fairy godmother in Mary Costa who was the voice of Princess Aurora in the 1959 Disney classic Sleeping Beauty.

ONCE UPON A TIME: Paul Vasileff with Georgia Bess from Finesse in the Stroke of Midnight gown from his new Disney-inspired Paolo Sebastian collection. Picture: Tom Huntley

After Vasileff wrote to the American opera singer and actress early on in his career, the two became friends, with Costa granting his greatest wish — by introducing him to the folk in Disney’s publicity department. They put him in contact with The Walt Disney Company Australia who agreed to the collaboration. They also arranged for Vasileff to visit the Disney studio in Los Angeles where he explored the archives and was given a private tour of Walt Disney’s offices.

While many will recognise certain gowns as belonging to specific princesses, others are designed to celebrate themes. They include time, referenced in the Stroke of Midnight gown with clock-face embroidery worn by Georgia Bess from Finesse Models Australia.

“I want to celebrate Disney as a whole … the films offer hope, teach us to dream and inspire us, and I want to translate that feeling of Disney into the collection,” Vasileff said, adding Once Upon a Dream was challenging to design “because there was so much I wanted to put into it”.

That said, creating the couture, handcrafted in Adelaide, has been stress-free. “Normally to de-stress I watch Disney and I’ve done that as part of the process,” he said.

Unable to travel to Adelaide for the festival, Costa will watch a live stream of the runway. “I believe that Walt Disney would be as proud as I am of this unique collaboration,” she said.


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