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Day 1 Jinan in Style International Fashion Week - ACF Awards Gala

To formally celebrate the successes of the ACF and to recognise and reward talent, the ACF held its annual Awards Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel Jinan on the evening of Day 1 of the Jinan in Style International Fashion Week. Starting at 7pm, guests were welcomed with cocktails and the chance to network and chat about the days' events and reflect on the stunning couture from both Guo Pei and SONGZIO. At 7.30 pm, the doors opened to the main ballroom. A palpable gasp arose as guests made their way into the flower festooned room - a floral cornucopia of dazzling reds, yellows and oranges. Once sat, the MC welcomed the assembled guests to the ACF Awards Gala and invited Dr. Frank Cintamani, Founding President to the stage. Extending a warm welcome and sincere thanks, Dr. Cintamani, expressed the views of everyone when he set out the importance and significance of bringing the very best of Asia's couture talent to Jinan.

With formalities over, the sumptuous eight-course meal was served. Each course took inspiration from the scenery, mountains, architecture and springs of Jinan with the first dish aptly named 'Jinan in Style'. Under a canopy of seasonal flowers, guests enjoyed fine wines and relaxing music. The ACF Awards Gala is a keynote event for the ACF and an opportunity to not only reflect on its achievements but to also recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution to the ACF and the couture industry. With that in mind, Dr. Frank Cintamani, Founding President, and Ms. Emily Hwang, Vice President of the ACF were invited to the stage for the first part of the ACF Awards.

The first award was to Paul Vasileff and his brand Paolo Sebastian. As a young boy, Paul Vasileff’s grandmother introduced him the fine art of hand-sewing. From that point, his passion for couture was clear. Indeed, at only 17 years old, the Adelaide based designer established his couture house - Paolo Sebastian. A young design prodigy, Paul is largely self-taught, but completed formal study at the European Institute of Design in Milan. Despite his relative youth, Paul has established himself as not only Australia's premier couturier but also one of the most acclaimed of his generation. He has presented across the world from Sydney to London and Adelaide to Paris. He is a firm favourite with celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Sonam Kapoor and Katy Perry. He has collaborated on two collections with Disney including Once Upon a Dream collection and his recent Elements collection, which was inspired by Frozen 2.

Since first inviting Paul Vasileff and his label to be an Invited Member of the ACF, he has continued to demonstrate exceptional artistry, creativity and craftsmanship. Indeed, such talent has been recognised by his being awarded Young Australian of the Year. The ACF has likewise been delighted at the continuing success of this young designer and was therefore delighted to formally promote him to International Couturier Extraordinare. This is one of the ACF's highest accolades and it is one, which is well deserved.