In the Frow: Your Front Row Seat to Melbourne Fashion Festival From Afar

Sponsored by Nespresso, the official coffee partner of Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Melbourne Fashion Festival 2021 kicked off on Thursday, March 11, and runs until Saturday, March 20. Held in the Victorian capital (though with a plethora of virtual online events that offer a front-row seat to all of the action), MFF is a welcome addition to a fashion calendar that’s felt pretty sparse since early 2020. 

In fact, with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia cancelled in May 2020, Vogue’s Shopping Night Out brought in, and the MFF calendar cut short last year, it’s safe to say style-savvy Australians are excited beyond belief to see their favourite designers take to the runway, take part in forward-thinking fashion panels, and covet the enviable street style of it-girl attendees.  

If you’re a Melburnian who can make it to one or many of the events — what are you still doing here? Hurry on up and register your attendance right the hell now. But if you’re anywhere else in Australia or even the world, then we have some good news for you. 

This year, the event is going virtual. The real-life event is happening online simultaneously, which means you, no matter where in the world you may be, can also experience a front-row perspective on the jam-packed calendar. 

Nespresso has teamed up with stylist and creative director Lana Wilkinson as their ambassador, who has shared with POPSUGAR Australia her expert tips on how best to experience the MFF. From live-streamed runways to jewellery workshops and styling masterclasses, here’s exactly how you can get the most out of the long-awaited festival from afar. 

Sit front row in a runway show 

Well, sort of! While a few runway shows have sold out for in-person attendance, your chance to sit in the virtual front row remains. MFF is putting on a bunch of shows featuring iconic Australian designers. As for our pick? We’ll absolutely be joining Runway 3. Described as “a dazzling display of luxe textures, fearless silhouettes and unforgettable aesthetics”, we’ll be tuning in from afar to view new collections from Paolo Sebastian, MATICEVSKI and Steven Khalil.

The National Graduate Showcase is another unmissable event. Featuring designs from the next generation in fashion, the show shines a light on 10 of Australia’s brightest up-and-comers. Online attendees in Melbourne can even order an MFF x Entrecôte ‘Parisian Fashion Pique-nique’ for two, with sweet and savoury canapés that elevate the virtual experience to make you feel like you’re really there. 

Pour up the official MFF cocktail

With Nespresso being the official coffee partner of MFF 2021, the brand has teamed up with Longrain Melbourne to create a bespoke cocktail to serve as the official tipple of MFF. Over the course of the festival, you’ll no doubt spot your favourite fashion influencers clinking glasses (and may even experience some FOMO), but the good news is you can do the same at home, because we’ve got our hands on the official recipe. 


  • 45ml Corazon Blanco Tequila
  • 15ml Kahlua
  • 15ml Palm Sugar Syrup
  • 45ml Nespresso Diavolitto coffee


  1. Use a Nespresso Vertuo Next machine to extract a Diavolitto coffee capsule into a glass.
  2. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain with a fine sieve into a cocktail glass.
  3. Channel your inner fashionista and garnish boldly with silver leaf.

Join a styling masterclass or workshop

We’ve got a lot to learn from the amazing stylists, makeup artists, designers and makers who make up the backbone of MFF and quite frankly, the fashion industry in general. This year, MFF is shining a spotlight on a handful of these professionals with expert-run masterclasses and workshops. 

The free and online Westfield Doncaster Styling Masterclass Series is an absolute must, delving into the fashion and beauty trend insights from Australia’s leading fashion stylist and Nespresso ambassador, Lana Wilkinson, and celebrity hair and makeup stylist, Jade Kisnorbo. 

You’ll also catch us at Vivian Qiu’s free two-day Sentimental Rice Jewellery Workshop, as she takes us through bracelet, necklace and pendant-making using rice fabric. 

Another special event, but one that requires your debit card, is the Bil Donovan Fashion Illustration Masterclass. Both live and streamed online, the event is run by Bil Donovan himself, streaming from his NYC apartment. He’ll conduct live demonstrations and give invaluable insights and learnings into fashion illustration, before engaging in a Q&A session. 

Attend a panel discussion 

Knowledge is power, and the more we know about the past, present and future of fashion, the more we can understand how things are likely to progress and change for a positive, inclusive, and environmentally-conscious future. 

First up, the Opportunities for Indigenous Fashion Post Pandemic. Join a panel of First Nations fashion millennials from Australia, New Zealand, Pacific, Asia, Central America, and North Canada as they discuss triumph over adversity, opportunities for Indigenous fashion post-pandemic, and share aspirational narratives. 

The Circular Consumer is another not-to-be-missed panel discussion, featuring eco-experts including Andie Halas, founder of Thread Together, and James Rogers, Director of Sustainability for The Real Real. Hearing from those who know best, you’ll find out how to make a more meaningful contribution to the planet, people and profit.

“There is no doubt that both consumers and designers have become focused on, and driven by, more sustainable practices in the fashion industry. We all have a role to play to continue to educate ourselves and ensure we have a positive impact on the planet moving forward. We have to work collectively on minimising the environmental effects, from the clothes we wear to the coffee we drink,” Wilkinson said.

Walk the walk

Whether you’re right there in the action or joining from afar, why not get involved and dress up for the occasion just as you would to sit in the frow?! According to Wilkinson, the best street style looks are those that show off your personality. “It’s all about having loads of confidence. Don’t be afraid to display your own unique sense of style, wear it with confidence and a smile,” she said.

Then, set your own pre-show ritual and stick to it. It’s a busy time, and you’ll do doubt appreciate your efforts of self-care as the festival pushes forward. “My pre-show ritual is always a skinny cappuccino from my Nespresso Vertuo Next coffee machine. I take a five to 10-minute break in a quiet space, hopefully in a spot with a little sunshine,” said Wilkinson.

Go behind the scenes

The runway shows, the street style, the thought-provoking panel discussions… there are plenty of ways you can get involved in the festival and its busy schedule. But living vicariously through those IRL attendees is yet another way to bring the festival to you.

Keep an eye out on social media to spot your favourite fashion influencers and contributing stylists, designers, makeup artists and artists. Wilkinson said, “I’ll also be sharing behind the scenes looks across my own social channels.”