Echo Point luxury hotel Lilianfels Blue Mountains celebrated vintage toile from an elegant era and cultural diversity when Afghan-Australian couture designer Anjilla Seddeqi visited recently.
The Escarpment Group property was "an obvious choice'' of location for a fashion photo shoot featuring the spring/summer collection of distinctive dress designs by the former asylum seeker lawyer.
Her sumptuous collection of colourful silk dresses and floor-sweeping coats have revolutionised modest dressing with high-end fashionistas who prefer less revealing clothes for religious, cultural or personal reasons.
The inspiration behind Ms Seddeqi's label was a classic, timeless beauty which she felt Lilianfels embodied with interiors and exteriors that `"exuded elegance and sophistication - very much in line with what I am trying to achieve''.
"My pieces from my latest collection, in a range of toile fabrics, were right at home in [the hotel] room with its toile curtains and drapery,'' Ms Seddeqi said. `"It is so rare these days to find hotel rooms furnished so beautifully and with such attention to detail.
"The Mountains are one of my most favourite places in the world and Lilianfels is undoubtedly the jewel in its crown.''
Ms Seddeqi arrived in Australia in 1989 with her family seeking refuge from war torn Afghanistan.
She earned a combined law degree from Macquarie University and a Masters in International Law from the University of Sydney. She interned with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Canberra and provided legal representation to asylum seekers.
Now living in Sydney with her husband and young sons, she began her couture line as a distraction from the harrowing work and received the Symbol of Harmony award in March at the Fashions of Multicultural Australia (FOMA) runway show and featured in the September issue of Harper's Bazaar.
Escarpment Group operations manager Raphael Guillien, who is French-Australian, welcomed Ms Seddeqi: "Such beautiful fabrics and interesting designs are very much at home here at Lilianfels, where the décor is plush with patterns similar to Anjilla's designs.''
Her visit was in line with the cultural diversity for which the hotel collection was renowned: "As well as a large core group of Aussie locals, people from all over the world work in our kitchens, housekeeping and maintenance teams.
"Along with numerous cultures and religions, we have more than thirty language groups represented. The only continent missing from our staff is Antarctica.
"Our guests are used to travelling the world and expect to be greeted in their own language like they are in other luxury hotels around the world. We are proud that our staff can meet that expectation.''
Ms Seddeqi said Escarpment Group's commitment to cultural diversity "makes me so much more inclined to stay in your properties in future''.
"The goal of cultural diversity is one that I am equally personally committed to via my work, demonstrating to the broader Australian community the richness that can be achieved by embracing those from different cultural and religious backgrounds.
"Working together in this fashion helps to build a community that is cohesive, harmonious and strong.
"For visitors to the Blue Mountains who journey from distant reaches of the globe, it is undoubtedly very comforting to be greeted by a staff member who perhaps provides a little bit of the comfort of home while abroad- whether it be through language or cultural understanding.''