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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Fawcett-Smith

Local Horti-Couture Artist Turns Heads

Wearable art designer, Belinda Kuhlewein of Husk & Vine, is turning fashion industry heads with her bespoke, one-of-a-kind pieces created from Mother Nature’s elements.

Working in horticulture, and possessing a natural flair for design inherited from her sign writer father, Belinda was asked last year to make a headpiece for a collaborated photo shoot. Inspired after making the first piece for the project, Belinda couldn’t stop; arriving at the shoot with eight different pieces.

“I looked around my backyard and thought, what can I do to make headpieces that aren’t going to cost me anything?” explains Belinda. “Ever since, everything that has gone into my pieces has been foraged and found, and every single day I am adding to my stockpile of pods, feathers, foliage, snakeskins, shells, and much, much more.”

Now an in demand member of a TFP (trade for pictures) Facebook network of models, makeup artists, stylists and photographers, Husk & Vine headpieces, neckpieces, shoulder creations and wearable clothing have featured in a number of high end fashion artistry magazines, including ‘Femme Modern’, ‘Gilded’, ‘Surreal’ and ‘Photogenyc’.

“I’m pretty confident that I’m one of the only horti-couture artists doing headpieces. There are people doing other things, but nothing quite like this, so the response to what I do is quite big. I’ve currently got seventeen creations in the pipeline, and I’m constantly getting requests.”

Approached earlier this year by Neva Weber, Creative Director of the Angels With Wings fashion show, on May 26, Husk & Vine head and neck pieces adorned runway models at Flamenco The Dance, a red carpet gala event held at Woolloongabba’s Princess Theatre.

“The Angels With Wings runway show was the first thing that I’d ever done outside of the TFP network. Being out there in the public domain was huge, because there were people there from different platforms, I met a whole new group of models and photographers, and everyone was so excited by my work. I want to go to Melbourne with the show in October because I’m a bit addicted to the response that I got.”

The reaction Belinda’s headpieces received at last year’s Melbourne Cup Raceday at Doomben Racecourse will see her returning this year with the aim of ticking off the first of three personal goals – winning the Fashions on the Field competition.

“Four friends and I went last year wearing my headpieces, and people just swamped us. Everywhere we turned, people were wanting to photograph us. Then while we were watching the Fashions on the Field competition, all the judges that were supposed to be looking at the models turned to look at us. We just stole their attention.

“Afterwards, a judge approached me and said, ‘Why didn’t you enter? If you had, you’d be $2,000 richer’. So this year I’m entering ten models, they’ll each be wearing a headpiece, and once we’ve made a splash at Doomben, we’ll hit Flemington next year.”

Belinda’s second goal is having Husk & Vine designs appear in the world’s number one fashion magazine, ‘Vogue’.

“I would love to feature in Vogue Magazine. When I apply hashtags to my social media posts, I always hashtag Vogue which is very cheeky, but I’m hoping that they keep seeing my stuff.” Her third goal is one that every aspiring artist dreams of – to be discovered.

“I want someone to discover me and commission me to do something amazing somewhere. Paid or unpaid, I don’t mind. I’m not in it to get rich. I do this because I’m passionate. I give my art because I love it.”

To see more, visit Husk & Vine on Facebook and Instagram.


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