In Japan the emergence of spring is announced by a profusion of cherry and plum blossoms. In the US they hope a groundhog will predict the start of the new season by failing to spy his own shadow. In Australia we tend to put on ridiculous hats and place bets on how fast a horse with an even more ridiculous name can run. In this town we also celebrate the welcome return of spring with a little thing called Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. Here is our carefully curated list (in no particular order) of the top ten things you should see and do at MSFW 2010.

The Stylist Says Workshop
The blog of celebrity and session stylist Philip Boon will come to life at The Stylist Says Workshop. Boon will discuss his career as a designer, stylist and creative director, and share tricks of the trade to ensure we all look like we’ve just stepped off a Hollywood red carpet. The workshop will also feature special industry guests.
September 4. The Whitehouse Institute of Design, Level 5, 672 Bourke Street.

Obüs Route No. 21
Don’t you just love it when fashion labels break with the haughty stereotype to display a serious sense of humour? Obüs invites Melbourne to go all ’Out of Africa’ with them as their resident photographer will be in store to take your picture complete with menacing spears and safari hats. The shots, inspired by their African-tinged Route 21 summer collection, will be published in Obüs’ online travel album.
August 30–September 3. Obüs, 289 Flinders Lane.

iSpyStyle Fashion Career Workshop
If half of corporate humankind yearns to run away to the circus it seems the other half just wants to fashion a new life in the rag trade. Fashion guru Kate Vandermeer presents an iSpyStyle workshop featuring those who know how to get that elusive edge in the industry: designer Arabella Ramsay, stylist Romy Frydman (StyleMeRomy) and visual merchandiser Amanda Henderson (Gloss Creative).
September 4. Melbourne International Fine Art, Level 1, 278 Collins Street.

Dangerous Goods Exhibition
Avoid the deafening squall of the typical electro runway soundtrack and view RMIT fashion students’ work at this exhibition instead. Dangerous Goods will be set up in shipping containers scattered around town to display pieces from potential rising stars of Australian fashion. You’ll either shake your head or marvel (hopefully more of the latter) at the state of our fashion future.
August 31–September 5. Various locations.

As part of a Fashion Icons on Film series the ACMI will be screening Célébration. This film follows the great Yves Saint Laurent through his final days at the helm of his couture house. Célébration intrigues us the most out of the line-up of films that includes Halston, Biba and Rucci, as YSL’s partner Pierre Bergé successfully lobbied to have it banned in France. A little too close to the bone, Monsieur Bergé?
August 31, September 1 and 3. ACMI, Federation Square, Flinders Street.

Kimono House Japanese Textile Workshop
If only you could hand stitch a decent kimono in a day. An impossible task, but you can learn how to make a fabric flower to adorn a kimono or any other whimsical spring outfit in just an hour. Kimono House will show you how to create a bloom – perhaps the plum, or ‘ume’, blossom – at their workshop that gets hands-on with Japanese fabrics.
August 31, September 1 and 3. Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston Street.

Et Al’s Global Illumination preview
Global Illumination galas are a series of events around the globe that are putting the spotlight on breast cancer awareness. There is one coming up in Melbourne later in September but this is your chance to take a sneak peek at the runway collection by Et Al that will be part of the event. The preview collection is designed by Chris Doughty and Anthony Capon of A.Concept.
September 3. et al, 1B, 268 Flinders Lane.

The UP Market
Online vintage and pre-loved designer emporium Miss Money Penny is combining its considerable powers with Take 2 Markets to present The UP Market during MSFW. Buy or sell near new or still valuable fashion pieces at one of 40 stalls. With bubbles, makeovers and a strict policy on what can be sold here, this is certainly no flea market.
September 5. Alto, Melbourne’s GPO, corner Elizabeth & Bourke Streets.

Nikon Camera School
Now this one is almost too good to be true. Nikon is offering budding fashion photographers free lessons with experienced photographers like Christian Blanchard, Monty Coles and Stefan Gosatti. They will show you how to get the best out of you DSLR – whether shooting runway shows or fashion editorials – and how to use lighting and movement to your advantage.
Throughout the festival. City Square, Swanston Street.

Fashion: Australian & New Zealand Designers
GQ’s Mitchell Oakley Smith takes you on an edited journey of fashion down under as he presents a discussion of his new book Fashion: Australian & New Zealand Designers. Expect special guests – such as Dhini, Yeojin Bae and the team from Materialbyproduct – and collections fresh off the runway of the official shows.
September 2. City Square, Swanston Street.