We're almost famous

Designer dresses, killer heels, fake lashes and sequins. It could be a scene from the Oscars but it's also today's average Australian school formal.

Gone are the days of trawling through shopping centres to find the perfect graduation dress. With the high school formal season in full swing, the modern schoolgirl is more likely to have searched the internet and magazines in the quest to emulate her favourite celebrity look.

And while most can't afford the expensive price tag that comes with a designer gown, many are opting to hire a version of the dress or get it made by a local dressmaker, for a fraction of the price.

Effie Faridi, who owns a small alterations business on Sydney's lower north shore, said there had been growing interest in made-to-measure dresses.

''We have had a significant increase in the number of schoolgirls wanting to get the celebrity look for their formals,'' she said. ''About 80 per cent of all the girls that come in have a predetermined look and dress picked out.'' Most are based on celebrity looks from magazines.

For 17-year-old Gabrielle Ingham, a student at Monte Sant'Angelo Mercy College in North Sydney, the style of celebrities Blake Lively, Miranda Kerr and Kim Kardashian are at the top of the wishlist.

''You know what the celebrity looks like in [the dress] and you want to look like them so it makes you feel better about what you're wearing,'' she said.

Beccy Cambridge, also 17, from Oakhill College in Castle Hill, said the majority of her school year looked at celebrities for inspiration for their formal. ''You get an idea of what looks good because you look at celebrities who have a similar look, skin complexion and hair colour as you.''

Serena Ross, who owns designer clothing hire store Dressed Up, said Delta Goodrem, WAGs and Home And Away stars were the most common home-grown celebrities her customers wanted to emulate.

Ms Ross said: ''We stock Australian designers so a lot of girls come to us because they have seen the dress in a magazine and they aspire to look like a celebrity, but can't afford the $1200 price tag. So they will hire it for the night for about $250.''

Ms Ross gets inquiries from all over Australia, including remote rural locations. She believes that celebrity interest has increased due to social media.

''Celebrities are becoming more accessible, you see them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so you know exactly what they are doing all day, so much so you feel like you could be them, the only thing holding you back is the funds.''

Even if the dress did not suit their body type, Ms Ross said, girls would still opt for the celebrity look over another style. ''If [the dress] doesn't fit them that well, they still want it. They have decided that this is the dress that they want to wear.''

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