THE Flair Awards certainly went out on a high on Saturday night with many spectators and committee members dubbing the evening and its sensational garments as some of the best to ever walk the Taree runway.
The night was a mix of beautiful, delicate fabrics, pops of neon and intricate beading, with monochrome also having a strong presence.
Makeup artist Ervan Wu and his team of professionals again worked their magic, creating a stunning, chrome/silver eye that complimented the designs, while the beautiful models did the Manning and themselves proud, navigating the runway with ease in sky high heels and some daring pieces.
It was an emotional end to what has been a major part of Taree's social and cultural history with compere, Pam Petherbridge wavering in her professionalism on a couple of occasions as she paused to hold back tears.
Click the photo to see more images from the night
Flair 2013 saw an unprecedented number of highly commendeds presented, highlighting the quality of the designs and the detail and workmanship that has been poured into creating them, with judges Prue Rainey and Diane Lewis having their work cut out for them to choose overall winners and the designer of the year.
The awards were again dominated by students with both the Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE and the Sydney Institute of Fashion Design TAFE NSW claiming the majority of awards.
Two locals Sharon Geraghty and Rebecca Hanley also received a nod from the judges, Sharon taking out the Regional Award and Rebecca receiving a highly commended.
But for everyone in attendance, the coveted Designer of the Year award went to an eye catching design that stood out from the moment it hit the runway.
Yousef Akbay from Pyrmont, and a student at Sydney Institute of Fashion Design TAFE NSW, wowed the judges and the crowd, with his ensemble featured in the tailoring section and beautifully worn by model, Noelle Gallant. The attention to detail with every bead and precise stitch blew the judges away.
A mix of sheer black lace and intricate beading, teamed with a peplum, tailored coat and statement, wide-brim felt hat, meant the showstopper was unanimously chosen to take out its section as well as the night.
When teacher Nicholas Huxley, who accepted the award on Akbay's behalf, phoned the designer to tell him the good news, Akbay couldn't believe it.
"He just kept saying 'that's a horrible joke to play Nicholas'," revealed Flair co-ordinator, Jo Meldrum on Monday. "He couldn't believe it, he was very happy."
Akbay has received a brand new sewing machine as well as $3000 for his win, to help him further his career as a designer.
Jo was busily packing up the race course and finalising everything after the show but said the night had run "perfectly".
"I think, for our final show, it was perfect," she said.
"We were just so organised this year, we were sitting down with our feet up having a cup of tea at six o'clock," she laughed. "Everything went off without a hitch."