Host: Dampier Downs Station
Written by Anne Marie Huey – Owner, Dampier Downs Station.
Only in this industry could a part-time milliner from Broome meet a fashion designer from Belgium, who would design her a fabulous dress for New York Fashion Week on the back of an empty pizza box, all at the local rodeo.
Over the years we’ve had people from all walks of life at Dampier Downs. Last year we even had a fashion designer from Belgium. While a cattle station on the edge of the desert may not be an obvious choice for a European artiste, I think it is safe to say it was a whole new experience for all of us.
On the station he was great. Cheerful, hardworking, enthusiastic, conscientious – in fact all the qualities you hope to find in an employee. But it is what happened off the station that really brought home how inter-connected we all are.
Before starting work for us, Arno was offered the opportunity to work the barriers at the Broome races for Ladies Day and the Broome Cup. We agreed he could have the week off in order to experience these unique sporting events. It was while at Ladies Day he noticed a lady walking through the crowd with a split right down the back of her dress. Rushing to the rescue he swooped in behind her, covered her with a scarf and rushed her back to his van to repair the damage (all the while wearing his ‘Barrier Staff’ uniform). He later noticed the very same lady presenting trophies in the winners’ circle.
Proof that no good deed should go unpunished, I ran into Arno at the Broome Rodeo the Friday night before the Cup. I introduced him to my gorgeous – and very talented – friend Flic, who was heading off to New York a couple of weeks later to have her own millinery show at New York Fashion Week. (To hear how that all came about, check out Flic’s blog here).
As I left I noticed them swapping phone numbers and chatting excitedly. The next morning I was casually flicking through my Facebook feed and there they were – the two of them roughing out a preliminary design for Flic’s after-party dress for New York on the back of an empty pizza box.
Because who hasn’t had a formal dress designed on the back of a pizza box at the local rodeo?
Arno was extremely busy that day so of course we had to give him an extra day off to actually make the dress. Much of the pinning, cutting, and sewing occurred beside the pool in Flic’s back yard. Probably not the design studio he was used to, but that’s how things roll in Broome.
Sewing machine? Check. Backyard pool? Check. Fashion design studio Kimberley style.
Arno was then back at work for us, building yards and mustering cattle during the day and adding the final touches to Flic’s creation in the evening. It is just proof that there is a place in the beef industry for anyone who is willing to give it a go. The dress itself made its debut in New York a few short weeks later and it is exciting to think there was a little piece of Dampier Downs in the mix!
The finished product – Flic rocking New York Fashion Week.