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The Genesis of the ganbu marra Runway at THE LUME Melbourne

By Bree Pagliuso|

Cultural fusion and style were centre stage at THE LUME Melbourne's ganbu marra runway. This one-of-a-kind figure-of-eight-style runway wasn't just a catwalk but a canvas painted with the inclusive, multisensory, 360-degree essence of THE LUME's Connection experience. Shaped like an infinite symbol, the runway not only showcased innovation but also embodied the enduring spirit of First Nations art and culture.

Notable personalities such as Brooke Blurton, Ayesha Madon, and Morgan Mitchell added flair to the mix, drawing a crowd of 1000 attendees across two runways.

Speaking with Bruce Peterson, founder of Grande Experiences and THE LUME Melbourne , and Vari McGaan, Operations Manager at THE LUME Melbourne, we explore how the ganbu marra runway turned THE LUME Melbourne into a space where fashion, art, and culture blend seamlessly.

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How did the idea for the ganbu marra runway at THE LUME Melbourne come about?

The concept for the ganbu marra runway at THE LUME was born out of a desire to further celebrate and amplify emerging First Nations talent. After the success of our experiences, we recognised our space's potential for unique, immersive activations and events, so fashion seemed like a natural fit.

What was exciting about using the space for the ganbu marra runway?

The possibility of hosting Melbourne Fashion Week at THE LUME was exhilarating, and the ganbu marra runway, in particular, allowed us to showcase fashion and art in a new, mesmerising way, creating a dynamic synergy that was truly exciting.

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What can you tell us about merging technology, art and fashion for the runway experience?

One unexpected aspect of the ganbu marra runway was the use of our technology to create the actual runway. The fusion of fashion and art was so unique, and guests were captivated by the stunning designs and the way technology enhanced the entire experience. It was fashion as you've never seen it before!

Our extensive global presence has taught us that merging technology and art can create powerful, emotional connections with audiences. By utilising multisensory technology, we could enhance the traditional art experience and make it more accessible to diverse people. Our audio, including music, narration and sound effects, enhances the experience and encourages guests to discuss the art without worrying about disturbing others. We introduced scents, large-scale projections, and animations that added a new dimension to familiar famous artworks, making them more engaging and emotionally resonant.

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So, the focus was on creating an interactive experience for guests of M/FW?

Yes, being innovators in our sector and market leaders, we're always eager to explore new technologies that can push the boundaries of what's possible at THE LUME.

In Connection, we've introduced Art Play, which motion-captures guests in real-time, allowing them to interact with artwork elements in a 360-degree room. This type of interactivity adds a new layer of engagement that we're excited to develop and expand further in future experiences- the same thinking was applied to the runway experience.

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What did you want people to feel at the ganbu marra runway?

Our hope is that the people who came to the ganbu marra runway at THE LUME Melbourne felt a profound connection to the art, culture, and fashion showcased. We wanted to create an unforgettable experience that left guests inspired to explore the boundaries of creativity. We wanted them to feel the magic of First Nations art and fashion in a way that lingers in their hearts and minds long after leaving our space.

Can you share a moment that has stayed with you?

Every moment was unbelievable, but the Welcome to Country by the legendary Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin AO, followed by a poignant performance of her moving "Call to Country" sung by her granddaughter, Wurundjeri woman Chenile Chandler, was incredibly emotional and memorable.

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