The word 'upgrade' has a certain ring to it: thanks Etihad!

Have just headed to London to check out the James Bond ‘Bond In Motion’ exhibition (and also to drive some of the infamous Aston Martins that have featured in the films over many decades.) Not a bad gig, thank you 20th Century Fox.

But this business trip got off to a great start when the upgrade fairy came calling when I checked in at Sydney airport to fly Etihad to London, via Abu Dhabi.

So, I just thought I’d give you a taste of just a few of the ‘moments’ on the flight.

Best part: when I arrived in Abu Dhabi, I was escorted to the VVIP, roped off area, where I was given absolute super duper treatment.

I mean, maybe they thought I was somehow related Nicole Kidman afterall she did star in the recent Etihad ‘reimagined’ advertising campaign.

Maybe I’m just imagining, ok, dreaming, to live a flying life like this.

Yes, you only live once, but this experience – all last 18 hours of it so far – have been seriously sensational!

*Follow Melissa on Instagram & Twitter @melissahoyer

Fashion label, Coach, reveals autumn winter with a nod-to Velma from Scooby-Doo


An extraordinary hotel, The President from Akaryn to open in Laos

Discover an Indulgent Retreat in the Heart of Vientiane at The President Hotel by AKARYN, Launching Q3 2016

The award-winning AKARYN Hotel Group announces the launch of The President by AKARYN, opening in Q3 2016 in the centre of Vientiane, Laos.

Inspired by its setting, the hotel is located between the House of Parliament, the Presidential Palace and the temple of the Emerald Buddha. With only 30 spacious rooms, including two grand presidential suites with private butler service around the clock, the calming colour palate and elegant fittings will provide guests with a sanctuary from the city outside.

Originally built for the Laotians by the Chinese government as a “gift”, The President by AKARYN will blend original Laotians design with colonial influence to reflect the heritage of Laos and its bright future.

Fine dining with an ever-evolving menu of delicacies both locally and globally inspired will be served in a choice of seven dining options. High tea will be created daily by celebrated pastry chefs from around the world. All manner of private events will be hosted in grand style with intimate dining rooms and an impressive stately ballroom for up to 1000 guests.

The President by AKARYN will also house an exclusive private member’s club, with access to a cigar lounge, humidor and whisky cellar that will present one of the finest and largest selection of cigars found in this region of Asia, with tutored whisky tastings held on a monthly basis. Perfectly situated for business travellers to the capital, the location of the hotel sets it apart as a leading venue for state visits, dignitaries, UN, NGO and corporate meetings. The hotel will provide state of the art business facilities and expert concierge services.

The revolutionary Ayurah Wellness Centre will deliver an entirely new approach to fitness and healing for Laos. With treatments and bespoke programmes based on the four pillars of Ayurah Wellness – Weight Optimisation, Anti-Aging, Mind Balance and Detoxification – guests will benefit from both Eastern and Western philosophies to nurture the mind, body and spirit.

The intricately landscaped gardens offer a flow of manicured spaces and lush tropical gardens to explore. Embracing theAKARYN concept of outside-living, guests can cool off in the pool, dine under the stars, or take in a classical music concert in the private gardens every Sunday. Venturing out during a stay, guests may stroll directly to the Vientiane’s Central Park and the beautiful Mekong River.

Anchalika Kijkanakorn, visionary managing director and founder of AKARYN Hotel Group said: “Vientiane has long been a favourite destination of mine, and we are proud to offer a wonderfully unique hotel both for guests wishing to enjoy the city and the region and for business travellers as well as play host to weddings and other celebratory events on an intimate or grand scale. We are very excited to be able to preserve the heritage of this stunning building and re-instate it as one of the most spectacular landmarks in Laos.”

My verdict on the Myer autumn season runway show

THERE was no raining on the parade of runway star Jen Hawkins as the fashion retail ‘store wars’ came to a spectacular head overnight.

Myer presented what they have in store for the new season with an innovative, fresh and very cool way to show thrift new season fashion collections and designers.

Myer ambassador Jennifer Hawkins concluded the show with a spectacular experience as rain (complete with Jen holding an umbrella) sprinkled on cue as she showed off major Myer designer, Toni Maticevski.

Instead of doing the usual, big time, plenty of people runway show, the retailer opted for a more intimate approach and invited 100 hand-picked guests.

They all experienced a new space — The Cutaway — at the much-talked about Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney.

Taking inspiration from international fashion players, Myer redefined the traditional launch experience by hosting their exclusive, black-tie dinner with Australia’s most influential fashion identities and celebrities in an extraordinary first time setting — the first of a series of new events for the retailer this season.

A striking vertical sandstone cutaway backdrop, 18 metre high linear pillars and a vast open space set the scene for guests who dined in cavernous surrounds.

Crushed grey linens, burning candles and autumn floral arrangements in sandstone wax chalices adorned the lavish, endlessly long, high dining table styled with black stoneware plates and gold cutlery.

Once seated, guests were treated to a delicious menu prepared by prominent Sydney caterer Cook & Waiter with four courses punctuated by two high fashion moments. The menu was filled with light and tasty seasonal produce including yabby tail, foie gras mousse, with plum, crisped rice and basil.

A dessert of valrhona chocolate mousse, caramel crème, Pedro Ximenez fruit, nuts and cherries completed the dining experience.

The fashion-minded crowd sipped Mumm Cordon Rouge NV Champagne and a selection of vintage wines then capped off the night with a refreshing Espresso Martini.

The styling of the show, by fashion director Michael Azzollini, delivered a strong 60s and 70s baroque tone, with luxurious renderings of distinctive ladylike silhouettes contrasted with masculine styling.

Hip-hugging flared trousers, bell sleeves and fringing dominated a monochromatic palate mixed with bright prints.

Instead of one long fashion show, just two fashion ‘moments’ saw 30 models walk the length of the sandstone cutaway between the dining guests to showcase 100 of the top new season looks by 15 leading Australian and International designers.

The Cutaway of Barangaroo’s is the newest cultural space and created a scene of dramatic proportions as the choreographed designer moments made the most of the vast scale of the environment.

The fashion moment finale by Maticevski saw models kissed with falling rain symbolic of the approaching autumnal months.

Myer also officially welcomed talented womenswear designer Georgia Alice to its fashion stable.

Collections from Australian and international designers including Alex Perry, Aje, WHITE SUEDE, Peter Pilotto, MSGM, Balmain, Oscar de la Renta and Self Portrait impressed guests as Jennifer Hawkins starred on the red carpet wearing by johnny. Jennifer then closed the final fashion moment wearing a stunning bright orange Maticevski creation.

The Melissa Hoyer Verdict:

It is inevitable and essential that big retailers adapt and change with the ever-moving and fast pace of fashion. With that in mind, the way Myer produced and presented their new season collections was a great tonic and proved that fashion shows do not just have to always be on usual catwalks or runways.

While guests were perched on high stools at one exquisitely decorated long table, viewing of the clothes wasn’t easy for everyone. But that aside, a fresh way of presenting a new season of clothes was very much appreciated by the guest list who are always on the lookout for the current fashion zeitgeist.

As a new way of doing a fashion show, Myer certainly did a great job of it.

This article was originally posted on

National Gallery of Victoria acquires extraordinary couture collection

THE constant tousle between Melbourne and Sydney as to which is the country’s fashion ‘leader’ has been given a nudge. Yet again.

Well before fast fashion became the style du jour, it was haute couture (high fashion) that was the most talked about and studied fashion art-form.

With the couture collections in Paris still a major event on the international calendar and still occur twice a year, the National Gallery of Victoria has just announced the acquisition of one of the world’s most sought-after couture collections.

The collection includes the most significant French haute couture ever to be acquired by an Australian museum.

Works from names like Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Vionnet and Jeanne Lanvin, and an outstanding fashion research archive including rare workbooks and photography by Yves Saint Laurent and Madame Grès will all be featured at the NGV.

The vintage couture collection was developed over several decades by Parisian collector and former Givenchy couturier, Dominique Sirop. The $1.4 million Dominique Sirop Collection was then purchased and generously donated to the NGV by major donor, philanthropist and Gallery Foundation board member Krystyna Campbell-Pretty.

Mrs Campbell-Pretty has made the donation in memory of Harold Campbell-Pretty.

“My late husband, Harold Campbell-Pretty, was a committed supporter of the NGV and a great lover of women’s fashion,’’ said Mrs Campbell-Pretty.

“This gift, in his memory, is an outstanding opportunity to recognise both of these passions in honouring a most elegant man, a true gentleman.

“It would have pleased him greatly to know that such an important collection and archive are now with us in Melbourne, to be shared with the community. It is very satisfying to think that the exquisite beauty of these pieces can now be enjoyed by so many others.”

The 130 works in the highly-coveted collection represent more than 30 different fashion designers from 1800-2003 and has a transformative effect on the NGV’s Fashion and Textiles Collection.

It includes a staggering 11 gowns by Christian Dior including a highly-prized couture dress from his first ever collection, as well as 12 exquisite works designed by Coco Chanel, including rare 1920s-era gowns, draped Grecian-style sheaths by Madame Grès and stunning examples from the father of haute couture Charles Frederick Worth.

The collection is the kind of stuff lovers of fashion and the pages of Vogue will totally understand.

“We are deeply grateful to Krystyna Campbell-Pretty for her extraordinary generosity and ongoing support of the NGV Collection,’’ said Tony Ellwood, director of the NGV.

“As the largest acquisition of French haute couture in the NGV’s history, this donation further cements the NGV’s Fashion and Textiles Collection as the most significant fashion collection in Australia.”

Other pieces in The Dominique Sirop Collection include a feathered evening cape, embellished ball gowns and bias-cut silk sheaths by highly desirable and influential French couture designers, such as Elsa Schiaparelli, Paul Poiret, Jean Patou and Jeanne Paquin, the majority of which were designed between 1890 and 1960.

The fashion research archive donated as part of the acquisition includes original fashion designs and couture house workbooks by Jeanne Lanvin, fashion photography from Paris fashion houses including Balenciaga and rare fashion magazines including coveted early issues of Gazette du Bon Ton, Vogue and L’Officiel.

Collector Dominique Sirop acquired the first piece, a 1945 Paquin black wool dress, when he was 14 years old with money borrowed from his grandmother.

Paquin holds significance to him as his mother modelled there for six years from 1946 until 1952 before she married.

Mr Sirop then collected the majority of the works in both collection and archive from auction houses and specialist dealers in the US, France and London between 1989 and 2014, while assistant designer to Hubert Givenchy at the House of Givenchy and at his own couture house.

Mr Sirop said his collection would provide an important heritage for younger generations and he wanted to pass on this history to them.

“I also wanted to find a museum that understands my passion for fashion,’’ he said.

“I never imagined when I did this research that I would meet a woman like Krystyna with the same sensibility and understanding of fashion, and for me this is a gift from god.”

This article was originally posted on