Custom Designed Silk Blush Gowns for Sabo Skirt Bridesmaids


Photo credit Porfyri Photography

I recently custom-designed some blush silk gowns for the gorgeous Sabo Skirt girls. Yiota, blogger and co-owner of Sabo Skirt approached me to design some gowns for her four bridesmaids. I was excited at the opportunity as I love these girls’ style and their blog, so I was keen to create something amazing for them!

Yiota and her bridesmaids love the deep plunge design with curved french ruching at the bust. They wanted a dramatic look with an overlay of flowy sheer silk over a short, figure-hugging skirt. After consulting with the girls, I drew up a few designs and began working on a toille.

To ensure a wow-factor in the design, I decided to construct the gown with a built-in corset, a skill I learned from my mentor couturier, Kerry. The corset shrinks the waist by several centimeters, supports the bust area and creates the illusion of an hourglass shape.

Half complete bodice

The most time was probably spent on the bodice of the gown, which featured French ruching for the front and back. This couture ruching process is purely done by hand and cannot not be rushed, otherwise it can look lumpy and unflattering on the body.

After numerous fittings, I could not be more pleased with the outcome of these exquisite gowns. Yiota’s wedding pictures were absolutely beautiful, and the girls all looked amazing, like goddesses. These dresses were even featured in the latest edition of Cosmopolitan Bridal Magazine, Autumn 2014.

Cosmo Bride Mag

Cosmopolitan Bride

I have shared some work-in-progress pictures, some of Yiota’s photos from her wedding, and magazine clippings from Cosmo Bride.

Photo Credit Yiota’s Instagram


Photo Credit Yiota’s Instagram


Photo Credit Yiota’s Instagram

You can view more pictures from Yiota’s wedding: Yiota’s Instagram

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Miss World Australia 2011 “The Winning Dress”

Photo credit Herald Sun

Two amazing things happened to me last Saturday night…

First, I won 3 awards at The Flair Awards, including “Designer of the Year”!

Second, Amber Greasley won Miss World Australia wearing my white couture evening gown!

It all started when Zoi Condoleon, a Brisbane stylist, asked if I’d like to create a dress for Amber for the Miss World Australia final.  Zoi thought this was a great opportunity for Brisbane designers to promote their work to a bigger audience.

I accepted the offer, though not without some reservations – as I needed to deliver it in less than three weeks! But I was ready to put in the hard yard, and boy I am glad I did.

It was a pleasure meeting Amber, a fresh, bubbly and beautiful 18-year old who was pleased that I had agreed to make her dress. Amber’s dress should be beautiful, elegant and classy, and it should also have my signature aesthetics.  I decided on white which suits Amber’s skin tone, with a v-shaped strapless bodice, and hand sewn detailing of beaded lace, pleating and ruchings throughout.  A side split would show off her long legs, and the flowy chiffon would sway gracefully as she glides on stage like a goddess. The hourglass shape of the dress would also emphasise Amber’s curves.

We had a few fittings to get the fit and design just perfect. I paid attention to the smallest details to ensure all the workmanship, hand draping and couture works are done to my very best. I was mentored by ex-couturier Kerry Xynias throughout the entire process. She told me once that if clients cannot appreciate the work, or want a couture dress for nothing, send them off to buy a off-the-rack dress.  Because couture takes time and great details there’s nothing worse than an ill-fitted, badly made, unflattering dress. I couldn’t agree more.

The 3 weeks timeline was a huge challenge for me. For days, I worked off the mannequin with a variety of laces, silks, chiffons, organzas. Then I repeatedly reworked them, pinned them on, changed the arrangement, styled them over and over again until I got the perfect balance. This process was important as the surface draping greatly effects the entire proportion and sillouette of the gown.

After 3 weeks of hand sewing and sleep deprevation, I was finally finished! The end result was a beautiful couture gown that I was very proud off. Amber was happy too and left the last fitting with a big smile on her face.

The Saturday of the contest came and I was down in Taree, NSW at the Flair Awards, receiving 3 awards, including the prestigious “Designer of the Year” 2011. My world was just, well perfect!  I remember thinking, it just doesn’t get better than this.

I then received a text from Amber: “the winning dress”… I thought, did she win the evening category, or the competition? I called her,  it went something like this…

“I WON!”



“Oh my gosh, congratulations!….


“I WON too! 3 AWARDS!…”

That night, both of us were on the top of the world.

Amber Greasley was “Miss World Austarlia 2011″.

And me, Flair “Designer of the Year 2011″, AND designer and creator of Miss World Australia’s winning gown.

To see my white evening gown on TV everywhere was surreal to say the least. My friend called me yesterday to say that she just saw my white gown on “Fashion TV”, on the giant screen in Sydney city centre!

It just doesn’t get any better than this, does it?!

Amber Greasley on “Sunrise”

Photo credit Herald Sun

Photo credit Herald Sun

Photo credit Herald Sun

Photo credit Herald Sun

Photo credit Herald Sun

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Winning the Flair Awards

I have entered my work into the Flair Awards every year, starting from my first year at Metropolitan South Institute of Tafe. Though I have never won anything before, it was always great to have my garments in the finals each year.

Last Saturday night, 28/Aug, after a 9 hour drive from Brisbane with my teachers Chris and Linda and my sister Poya, we arrived at the Flair Awards in Taree, NSW.  We came all the way from Brisbane to get a taste of the excitement and to suss out the excellent works on show. Little did I know, I got more than I could ever have hoped for!

The show started, the music played, and when my garments came out of the runway, my adrenaline was pumping!  The garments looked beautiful on the models… just like how I imagined they would be.

Photo credit six6photography

The major categories of the Flair Awards include Avant-Garde,  Generation Y,  Racewear, Millinery, Cocktail, Swimwear, Tailoring, After Dark, and Bridal.

There were some amazing works from various TAFE and universities, as well as professional designs.  You could really get a sense that there is so much amazing talents in this vibrant industry.

Then they announced my name, “and the winner is…Anna Peng!” Not once, not twice, but three times… It’s like winning a huge lottery. The only difference was knowing the hard work I’ve put in made the moment so great!

I won in total 3 awards- “Collections”, “Cocktail”, and the big one- “Designer of the Year”.
Other winners from our MSIT include:

    JENNA REDFERN from Manly QLD, Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE QLD
    JENNA LEE from Wishart QLD, Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE QLD
    JESSICA TOVEY from Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE QLD

Full list of winners

Winning the 3 awards felt so surreal. My heart pounded as I stepped on the stage, the bright lights shone in my eyes, the silvers sparkled behind me. I could feel the excitement from my teachers, my sister, my friends, the crowds cheering, all the faces smiling back at me, my whole world stood still.  I felt so much honour and appreciation in my heart.

Holding the mic, my voice was shaking with excitement.  I didn’t care if I said anything silly on stage, which I probably did. Oh never mind!

“All the sleepless nights of hand-sewing, now its all worth it….. This is the moment that I will cherish the rest of my life”

I hurried off the stage and Pam Petherbridge asked me to come back and walked with my models on the stage. I remembered watching fashion shows where the designer comes out with the models in the end on the catwalk. I’ve always wished that one day I get to do that. And now look at me! The feeling was INCREDIBLE!

Thanks Jo from Flair for this beautiful image of me grinning so happily with my garments

Just in case I missed thanking anyone…I’d like to thank The Flair Awards for making the magic happen; my MSIT TAFE teachers – inspirational and dedicated people who always inspired and supported me unconditionally (special mentions to my mentors couturier Kerry Xynias and Chris Twine); The fabulous judges who could appreciate the art in my works; my friends – the numerous last minute hand sewers who came to help out; my family who also became my last minute sewing slaves, who have always been there for me 24-7 and fed me when I lacked food; my partner who picks up pins and fabric scraps after me and put up with my messiness everyday; my fellow fashionites who helped little bits or big bits along the way; the people who appreciate my work.. THANKYOU ALL!

Photo credit Manning River Times.

Holding the two trophies, I’m now officially The Flair Awards “Designer of the Year 2011″ , who would have known that only 4 years ago when I didn’t know how to thread a machine?!

News article from Manning River Times about the event.
The Flair Awards
Photos from the event

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

MSIT “Unwrapped” Parade 2011

This is the moment that you forget about the hard work…  and just appreciate the immense beauty, that you seem to have captured, for that brief moment.

Last night’s MSIT graduation parade was fabulous. I was so thrilled that my range was the finale range of the night. I had my friends and family with me to share the excitement.  A few of them had their bits in doing last minute handsewing for me…It belong to me as much as it does to them.

My mini Bespoke range “Ethereal” consists of three couture outfits. Everything was hand dyed, pleated, ruched, draped, and mostly hand sewn. The garments are made of variety of silks, feathers, and french laces.

I was inspired by the mystical nymphs and organic lifeform which evolves in nature. The silks and feathers moved softly, and beautifully in rhythm…

the models looked like my mystical nymphs. When the garments walked, they floated…This is exactly how I have imagined, and so much more.

Photos by Charles Wong

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Sneak preview to tomorrow’s parade.

Excited about the MSIT graduation parade on Wednesday- tomorrow night , which I will have my mini couture range shown! Here’s a little sneak preview.












Mystical forest nymphs as my muse. Just looking at them they look like organic forms that grow and evolve from nature…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off