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The Fairy Tale Story of a Fashion Icon

Growing up drawing ball gowns on Disney characters, Australia’s son of fashion – and Young Australian of the Year – Paul Vasileff, always dreamt of one day making a gown for a princess.

That’s why his recent collaboration with Disney really has been a dream come true, for the now internationally recognised designer and founder of couture fashion label, Paolo Sebastian.

His 34-piece Disney-inspired collection, Once Upon a Dream, was unveiled at the Adelaide Fashion Festival last month and was the pinnacle of what has already been a vastly successful fashion career.

But the humble 27-year-old says he couldn’t have done it without one thing: his family.

Starting out making gowns for his friends, Paul first established Paolo Sebastian ten years ago during his final year at school.

“I had to choose an extension project in year 12 and decided to put on my own fashion show,” he said.

“It was quite an undertaking – I designed 12 gowns in total and had my whole family pitch in to help make them.

“It was crazy, there were 11 of us working on the collection in my Mother’s kitchen, including my Nonna who taught me to sew, and all of my aunties.”

“I’ve been so blessed with my family and my friends who have really stuck by me, I owe them everything – Paolo Sebastian is here because of them.”

Since that first show in 2007 the Paolo Sebastian brand has gone from strength to strength – from couture bridal, to red carpets, and Paris runways, Paul is now known around the world for his intricate detailing and whimsical, nostalgic designs.

“I’m really proud of the little extra details we put in because it’s an art that would otherwise be lost,” he said.

“To know that we’re upholding an art form is a really wonderful feeling.

“Being a couture brand, it’s all about the finer details and making the little things count.”

In addition to his recent collaboration with Disney, Paul is also exhibiting a collection of his designs at the Art Gallery of South Australia, one of which has also been acquired by the Gallery – another dream come true.

“When I first started ten years ago I never imagined I’d be having an exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia,” he said.

“I feel incredibly honoured and humbled that they thought our work worthy to be in here with these amazing masters.”

Paolo Sebastian: X presented by Yalumba Family Vignerons is a free exhibition and will run from 7 October until 10 December 2017 at the Art Gallery of South Australia.