The Royal Botanic Runway

  • Virburnum carlesii

  • Zantedeschia

  • Protea magnifica

  • Aeonium urbicum

  • Delphinium

  • Philodendron maximum

  • Syringa vulgaris

  • Rosa ‘Pink Rose’


Thursday, 30 January 2014


Our Debut Year

Celebrating a beautiful union of fashion, flora, design, environmental awareness and philanthropy, the Royal Botanic Runway will transform the majestic Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne into an international runway event and a truly unforgettable summer experience.

Premiering on Thursday, 30 January 2014, this inaugural runway event will feature world-renowned Australian designers: Akira Isogawa, Aurelio Costarella, Collette Dinnigan and Martin Grant, who have each produced stunning pieces to be worn by over sixty local and international models. Created to raise funds for the final stage of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Water Strategy Project, the magical landscape of ‘Guilfoyle’s Volcano’ will become a spectacular open air runway.

The volcano represents the vision of the exceptional designer, William Guilfoyle, whose 1876 concept was reworked and brought to life in 2010. Topped by a storage reservoir, it forms part of the innovative Working Wetlands project that already has capacity to provide up to 40 million litres per annum of RBG Gardens’ irrigation needs. Support generated by the Royal Botanic Runway will contribute towards the final stage of the Water Strategy Project to fully drought-proof the Gardens. 

After the show partake in an after-party at the Botanical Bar, a dinner and auction in the Gardens by highly acclaimed chef, Shannon Bennett, or a curated screening at the Moonlight Cinema.

This unique event provides an opportunity to experience global fashion up-close whilst ensuring the continued conservation of Melbourne’s much-loved gardens.

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The Project Ambassadors

Geraldine Frater-Wyeth
Co-Founder and Director
Royal Botanic Runway

The Royal Botanic Runway is an innovative event that was created by Event Gallery for an audience passionate about the environment, fashion, philanthropy and the arts. Event Gallery is thrilled to have the opportunity to produce an initiative that celebrates the best of Australian fashion and supports the Gardens in raising important funds to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

The designers, all established on the international fashion circuit, were chosen because of their remarkable collections produced season after season. This project would not be possible without these celebrated and iconic designers, and like the Gardens, it is an occasion to praise and applaud their spectacular creations.

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the commitment of my team and our partners involved in this exciting project and thank them for their support and dedication to making this event possible.


David Shelmerdine
The Royal Botanic Runway

Born in 1846, from the swamp and marshland that was home to the Kulin nation for over 30,000 years, the Royal Botanic Gardens was created and brought into being by the botanist and inspirational landscape designer, William Guilfoyle.

Generations of visitors, adults and children alike, have strolled through these exquisite, world-renowned botanic gardens. During my own innumerable visits to the Gardens, I have observed and experienced first-hand its many moods, and the stress and harshness inflicted on the historically and botanically significant living plant collections; their resources have been stretched to the limit in a fight for survival, especially during droughts. Yet, I think, like so many of our other living treasures, we tend to take our botanic gardens for granted, not always taking into account and acting upon what is needed to maintain them into perpetuity.

This creative event gives us the opportunity to care for the Gardens and secure and sustain the Gardens’ water supply. In doing so, we can ensure that future generations of Melburnians, together with interstate and international visitors, have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of this iconic landscape.


Professor Timothy Entwisle
Director and Chief Executive
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

The Royal Botanic Runway is the first of its kind for the Royal Botanic Gardens, and there is no better backdrop for it than Guilfoyle’s Volcano. The Volcano represents the vision of an exceptional designer, William Guilfoyle, whose 1876 concept was reworked and brought to life in 2010.

Backed by philanthropic support, and designed by staff at the Gardens, the spiral boardwalk around the Volcano creates one of the most stunning runways in the world. What better place to experience Australia’s most inspiring fashion than among the exotic beauty of nature.

The Volcano is more than an iconic landscape. Topped by a storage reservoir, it forms part of the innovative Working Wetlands project that already has the capacity to provide up to 40% of the Gardens’ irrigation needs. Support generated by the Royal Botanic Runway will contribute towards making the Gardens fully drought-proof.


Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne is proud to support the Royal Botanic Runway – a unique fundraising event that will see some of our finest fashion designers showcase their creations in a very special setting.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is one of the city’s most popular public spaces, and a place of rare beauty and serenity. It contains 10,000 plant species and is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading botanic gardens. It is an asset that must be nurtured and preserved for future generations.

The continued conservation of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is a priority for our city and I encourage every-one taking part in the auction to dig deep and support our Royal Botanic Gardens.


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I have released collections every season for 165 years.
My runway is 38 hectares wide.
My pieces have been forged by the world’s most prolific designer.
The House of Mother Nature.


The 2014 Runway

Akira Isogawa

One of Australia’s most celebrated designers, Akira has achieved international recognition for his exquisite contemporary designs, which are sought after in every major fashion capital throughout the world. Born in Kyoto, Japan, Akira moved to Australia in 1986 and studied fashion design at the Sydney Institute of Technology.

Inspired by contemporary Japanese design, his work has been lauded by fashion critics, such as Anna Piaggi, and acquired favorable reviews in news and fashion magazines including the New York Times and US Vogue.

Since 1998, Akira has been a fixture at Paris Fashion Week, receiving rave reviews for his collections whilst boasting an impressive international clientele.

In 2005, he was honoured by Australia Post and named an ‘Australian Legend’, his image appearing on a commemorative postage stamp.

Akira has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Powerhouse Museum’s Fashion of the Year retrospective. His exhibition, Printemps Été, the first solo fashion exhibition by an Australian designer in a major national institution, opened in 2004/05 and is still on tour in Asia.


Aurelio Costarella

Architecturally trained, Aurelio has been creating exquisite women’s wear for 30 years. Based in Western Australia, the Aurelio Costarella brand was launched at Australian Fashion Week in 2000, and has since forged a formidable international reputation.

In 2009, the Fashion Group International acknowledged this by awarding Aurelio with the International Achievement Award. That same year, Aurelio was nominated for Evening Designer of the Year in the Prix de Marie Claire Awards. Other awards include Winner 2009 Caulfield Classic Style Awards and Winner 2004 and 2005 WA Designer Of The Year Award.

Aurelio has been presenting his collections at New York Fashion Week since 2006, and in 2010 his work was showcased at the Shanghai World Expo.

Aurelio’s trademark silk chiffon gowns, intricate handcrafted beadwork, embroidery and sharp tailoring have gained him a strong following and loyal celebrity clientele, including Rihanna, Dita Von Teese, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Stone, Melissa George, Geri Halliwell, Dannii Minogue, and Tyra Banks. Most recently, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was photographed for the cover of Australian Women’s Weekly wearing an Aurelio Costarella Couture gown.


Collette Dinnigan

Born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, Collette Dinnigan moved to Australia, having graduated from Wellington Polytechnic, and began her career in the costume department at the ABC in Sydney.

Collette established the label Palladium in 1990, launched her first shop and her self-named label in 1992, and was soon exporting her designs to Barneys New York, Harvey Nichols in London, and Joyce in Hong Kong.

In 1995, Collette received a Prêt à Porter invitation from the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show her collections — becoming the first Australian designer to do so. This was the beginning of a long and successful association with Paris Fashion Week at which Collette has presented her collections ever since to rave reviews.

Awards Collette has won include: 1996 Australian Designer of the Year, 1997 Louis Vuitton Business Award and the 1998 Award for Excellence by the Fashion Group International. In 1998, Collette was also inducted into the Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame, and in 2002, was honoured with the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World Award in Paris.


Martin Grant

Born in Melbourne, Martin Grant launched his first ready-to-wear line in 1982. After winning the Cointreau Young Designer Award in 1988, he studied sculpture at the Victorian College of the Arts.

In 1991, Martin moved to Paris, where his first collection was selected by many top international department stores and boutiques in Australia, Japan, the UK and the US.

In 2005, the National Gallery of Victoria celebrated Martin’s work with an exhibition, Martin Grant, Paris, showcasing his garments, drawings, paintings, photographs and installations, offering insight into Martin’s influences and sculptural forms that characterize his approach to design.

Martin creates four collections per year and is stocked in over 50 stores worldwide. Martin’s designs are revered for their precision, sharpness and grace and are worn by some of the world’s most stylish and elegant women including Cate Blanchett, Juliette Binoche, Tilda Swinton, Gong Li, Lee Radziwill, Kate Hudson and Blake Lively.

In 2012, following Pucci and Yves St Laurent, Martin Grant became the tenth designer invited to create the latest Qantas uniforms.


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Our Goal and Our Supporters

The Royal Botanic Gardens’ 3 Stage Water Strategy Project was implemented in 2006 with the objective of drought-proofing the Gardens, and creating for it a sustainable water supply, independent of Melbourne mains water.

Stage 1, ‘Guilfoyle’s Volcano’, was completed in March 2010 and Stage 2, the ‘Working Wetlands’ was completed in August 2012. By creating water storage capacity within the gardens, and harvesting and diverting storm water from the surrounding precinct through a process of bio remediation, 40% of the Gardens’ total water requirements are now being delivered in a sustainable way.

The Gardens still rely though, on the balance of their annual requirement from mains water, which in the past has been subject to water restrictions, particularly during periods of sustained heat and dry conditions when their water needs are greatest.

Stage 3, the final part of the project, is a $3.5 million initiative that will enable the Gardens to ‘turn off the tap’, to become drought-proofed and eliminate the need to rely upon increasingly valuable drinking water. When completed, it will provide the means for the Gardens to survive future droughts, maintain its health and beauty and ensure it remains a major tourist venue, education centre and iconic asset for Melbourne and Australia.

If you are unable to attend on the evening and would like to support The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, please see our contact page or donate through the Gardens phone application – Shout.

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Special thank you to our partners for their generous contributions and support.

Presented By

Major Partner

Supporting Partners

Product Partners

Event Partners

Media Partners

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Be Part of this Special Event

General Admission (GA)

$28 per person + booking fee (incl. GST)
Includes entry and lawn seating at Runway Show.
Gate D opens at 4pm for 5:30pm Runway.
Pre-order your Botanic Runway Picnic Box – $18 from Café Vue (03) 9691 3899

Moonlight Package (GA)

$45 per person + booking fee (incl. GST)
Includes entry, lawn seating at Runway Show and Moonlight Cinema Curated Screening following the show.
Gate D opens at 4pm for 5:30pm Runway.

Limited Reserved VIP Runway Seats

$250 per person + booking fee (incl. GST)
Includes Champagne Pommery on arrival, VIP seating along the Volcano path and cocktail party at The Botanical restaurant and bar following the show.
Gate C opens at 5pm for a 5:30pm Runway.

Only a limited number of tickets are available.

Donor Box and Premium Donor Seats

$1,000 per person ($800 Tax-deductible donation)
Includes Champagne Pommery on arrival, Premium seating on the Volcano, Black Tie Dinner at the Terrace Restaurant with highly acclaimed chef, Shannon Bennett and Royal Botanic Runway Auction presented by Mossgreen, Pommery and Bank of Melbourne.

For Donor Box and Premium Donor Seats tickets
please enquire by email royalbotanicrunway @

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The Designer Experience

The Mossgreen Auction will be an opportunity for supporters of the Gardens and lovers of fashion from around the world to pledge their support and participate in an auction that will begin online Monday, 20 January 2014.

Please support the Gardens at

All proceeds from the Royal Botanic Runway Black Tie Dinner Auction and Online Auction will directly benefit the final stage of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne Water Strategy Project.

“The lover of nature would feel delighted with a visit to these localities. If he wander through their thickly-wooded glens and rich fern gullies, where streamlets of pure spring water gently trickle, and on the banks of which the woolly tree fern overshadowed by lofty gum-trees, often grows to more than thirty feet height, he will be filled with wonder and admiration.”