#FashionAndHealth: How a fashion show spotlighted women’s health

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Alka Chopra and Claudia Rubinstein
Fashion designer Alka Chopra with German-Canadian artist Claudia Rubinstein

It was a marriage of talent with textiles at Alka Chopra’s fashion-with-purpose event, held recently at the Grand Ballroom of Manningham Hotel. Re-energising her brand the Melbourne designer invited Australia-based German-Canadian artist Claudia Rubinstein to join her in presenting a covetable collection.

The focus was not just on what covers the female shape, the High Tea and Fashion show afternoon dwelt considerably into breast cancer awareness and its impact on those affected.

Professional medical experts specialising in women imaging, presented information on breast cancer, signs and symptoms, early detection, risk factors, inherited genes and cure.

Dr. Monica Pahuja, Principal Radiologist at Direct Radiology and head of women’s imaging (Breast and Gynaecology) at Monash Health, and Dr Kirti Mehta Radiologist and doctor at St. Vincent’s Hospital presented the session, encouraging those present to talk to their doctors about breast health.

10% of all sales at the event were pledged to the Think Pink Foundation, the living centre that provides professional care and support to people affected by this invasive disease.

The overall message was uplifting, thanks to Alka and Claudia’s passion for art and colours, and together they were able to combine the many vivid strands into a coherent and striking collection.

Going back to the fabric mills in India for inspiration, Alka’s eye for textiles reflected in the choice of material used for the rounds that showcased her ethnic, bridal and Indo-west fusion wear.

A diverse group of women from various cultural backgrounds and ages took to the catwalk in a conscious move implemented to celebrate the multicultural inclusivity in the fashion scene.

“As a fashion brand I feel I have a responsibility to promote the diversity that represents the faces of contemporary Melbourne and ensure that women’s health is a major focus along with the latest trends,” said Alka who lost a close friend that succumbed to this disease recently.

Basking in the applause from the packed audience, the models got to strut their stuff with style. The sold-out event had audience engaged pre and post show with photographs, high tea and the opportunity to purchase clothes and jewellery. MC Poonam Aggarwal, radiating confidence and charm, ensured that the agenda flew as smoothly as possible.

Among the gorgeous models was Sangeetha Singh international model and Mrs Earth Oceania ‘19 who has just returned from modelling assignments in Paris and Miami. “Same, same but different,” she commented on her social media in reference to the four wonderfully different looks put together for her by Alka.

Sangeetha also commented on the sensory explosion created by artist Claudia Rubinstein who launched her debut wearable fashion range at the show. A registered nurse by profession and painter by hobby, Claudia specialises in polymer clay creations, handmade jewellery and paintings. 

Claudia’s creative space is infused with emotions, colours and unexpected delights. Alka painstakingly created all the garments transforming the images and paintings from Claudia’s collection into a joyful, fantastical statement. Vibrant Kaftans with rhinestones and sequins dominated the catwalk followed by a stunning bridal collection handpicked by Alka.

Fashion designer Alka Chopra and artist Claudia Rubinstein with the models
Fashion designer Alka Chopra and artist Claudia Rubinstein with the models

With a fashion career spanning decades, Alka recently closed her retail store in Bourke Street to go online and claims to be enjoying the challenges it entails. Her refined taste complemented by Claudia’s artistic flair made for a visual feast that could have been better visible with more stage lighting. Applying their craft the two designers used their individual aesthetics to create some very wearable art.

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