Aje kicked off Mercedes Benz fashion week Australia with a runway overlooking the opera house -crisp cotton shirts, Bermuda shorts, signature balloon sleeves, topstitching and ruffles commanded the runway but I loved the tiered, flowing dresses and oversized suiting the best. As much as Aje drew on their signature silhouettes for this collection, this incarnation had a distinctly Australian flavour with native plants, animals and road signposts all making an appearance. ( Aje top and pants, Bulgari bag, Christian Louboutin heels, Ole Lynggaard ear cuff)
Leo and Lin introduced light cotton maxi dresses, high necks, asymmetric shoulders, mixed print scarf dresses and plenty of lace this year. There was frills and frivolity for the party girl ,as well as blouses and pants for the professional but my favourite were flowing gypsy dresses and skirts strewn with floral ( Leo and Lin dress, Valet hairclip, Bulgari bag)
Bec and Bridge returned with a collection that mixed inspirations- surfing, tropical print, 70s and 80s all made an appearance. All the favourite micro mini dresses were present, along with tiny shorts, but this year my faves were bermuda/ bike shorts, oversized satin suit jackets, bright turtlenecks akin to wetsuits and pleated skirts. I loved the colour palette mixing bright turquoise and orange with more muted tones of mustard and ochre. ( Bec and Bridge top, skirt, belt and shoes, Ole Lynggaard earrings, Bulgari bracelet)
If you’re in a need of a sexy dress or perhaps are going to a fabulous dinner party in a Palm Springs mid century mansion, don’t go past Alice McCall’s collection. There were 80s sequins, lurex, feather lined pyjamas, rhinestoned chainmail and pretty satin as well as the designer’s signature pretty cutout separates in pastel colours. Thanks for bringing the fun! ( Alice McCall dress, Roger Vivier sneakers, Valet earrings, Bulgari fanny pack and bracelet)
Anna Quan makes classic pieces for a grown woman and you will always be able to find a good shirt, pants or suit jacket from the designer, yet this year the collection had a distinctly vintage flavour with knitted dresses and asymmetric tops, long line shorts and pleated skirts ( Anna Quan dress, Giuseppe Zanotti shoes, Christie Nicolaides earrings )
Double Rainbuu may have started with hawaiian shirts but it has quickly grown into the go to label for all your holiday needs. The brand has a habit of churning out shorts and shirts that make you feel like sunshine yet look Hunter S Thompson cool. This year DB continued their travel inspiration by showing in the Chinese gardens, where guests meandered between presentation sections to zen music. New for the brand was the light knitwear and long line dresses all done in the new asian inspired print ( Double Rainbuu tops, Roger Vivier boots, Bally bag)
Fashion Week only swings around once a year in Australia so come May everyone in the industry is lining up their outfits, pillaging pr agencies, last minute online shopping, loaning from friends and otherwise spending solid quality time in front of the mirror.
Dear reader; I wanted to be one of these people but I was doing the MBFWA review story for vogue.com.au in the lead up and hence was too overwhelmed with existing loans,countless emails and shoot production to think street style.When Monday came around and I had no outfit, I sent some emails and my assistant to pick up a few things from a couple of ravaged pr offices that now looked like supermarkets before Hurricane Irma hit ; barren and sparse.
First world problems these may be but one needs to get through the week clothed and my preference is a tad more fabric than what Bella Hadid wears on the Cannes red carpet 😉
Even though many Australian heavyweights didn't show this year, there were many highlights to the week so I decided to do a little photo diary - I want you to see all the fun that was to be had ! Sadly, I'm not posting all the shows I went to- some of them I just didn't get great pictures at - sometimes the lights are too low and the models move too fast.
DAY 1: Camilla & Marc started off the week with a bang, all cool tailoring, oversized jackets, shoulder pads, ruffles, off the shoulder dresses and skirts over pants. There were so many things to love here, all I can say is: send separates guys!
The Camilla & Marc stage was this amazing outback-ey looking set that every single person tried to get a photo in after the show. Here's me, semi soaked still cause it was pouring outside, elbowing my way to a quiet corner with the help of Yan Yan Chan who took these photos for me (thanks Jan ; )).
Wearing Rebecca Valance skirt and bustier, Balmain Top, La Perla bra, Gucci bag, Zimmermann shoes and a vintage Versace jacket
DAY 2 :Monday was a busy day, so what better way to start it but by wearing head to toe pink and matching it to a double shot flat white in a Dion Lee Vittoria cup ? Wearing Dion Lee top and pants, Michael Lo Sordo jacket, Fendi bag, Charlotte Olympia shoes, Balenciaga earring and vintage Balenciaga sunglasses
I loved the Bianca Spender show; all oversized, feminine suits and flowing, sensual silks. Well tailored and flattering with a sustainable bend, I can't wait to wear some of those slinky silk dresses over wide legged pants
En route to the Alice McCall show (Alice Mccall pants, Ginger and Smart top, Gucci shoes, YSL bag and Matteau bikini top )
If Alice Mccall had a girl she were making clothes for it would be a fun party girl with vintage sensibilities. Some of her dresses and shorts used to be so short they'd make my eyes water ( cause I didn't have the guts to expose so much of my pins ) so I'm loving how some of the hemlines are longer this season and there are amazing maxi gowns in the fray too. Lace detailing and lamé dresses never hurt the party girl either, let's face it
My mates Mikey & Toby over at Double Rainbow did an amazing job growing their hawaiian shirt label into a veritable style reference of their own. This show was pure festival summer incarnated with mesh tops, prints galore, tracksuit combos, clever t-shirts and beach shorts we all need once the heatwave hits. Big love to Sarah Starkey who styled this show to perfection, within the restricted confines of the Landsdowne hotel non the less.
It was 9 pm when the Double Rainbuu show finished so I rushed to the intimate dinner Michael Lo Sordo was hosting at the city institution that is Bambini Trust. I had to make a swift change into a Michael Lo Sordo look in the car, across the road from a packed bus stop which was as hilariously awkward as you can imagine. The girls and I were all Lo Sordo brides that night- Sunny Vandervelde took this fun snap of us in front of the restaurant before we all settled to a gorgeous candlelit dinner. Thanks Michael and MCM pr for this wonderful night!
DAY 3 When you're dressed so farshion but you wish you were wearing a bikini and diving in!
Wearing Undone Project pants, Jill Sander t-shirt from Net-a-Porter, Zimmermann shoes, Dinosaur designs earrings and bracelet, From St Xavier clutch and Double Rainbuu x Le Specs sunglasses
The Emilia Wickstead x Matches Fashion was a pure delight. Not only was it held at the spectacular Wylie's baths which I'd never been to before but the weather was incredible, the clothes lovely, the atmosphere magical, the champagne cold and the appetisers delicious. Can every show be like this? I wanted to twirl in these pretty dresses and dive into some long gone Riviera pool whilst wearing a pink swim cap. This show evoked so many feels that I escaped through a portal to another time. When the show finished, I still didn't want to leave because the reality was wonderful too.
Snakeskin, lamé, 70s, gingham, sheer...the Hansen & Gretel show had all the trends. All I can say is: I'm coming for you head to toe snakeskin print, don't even bother hiding cause I'll find you!
I had some time to rush home and get changed for the Romance Was born show ( wearing Romance Was Born, Gianvitto Rossi from Net-a-porter shoes, Reliquia earrings )
Hello lamé, hello slinky goddesses, hello prints, ruffles and the joy of seeing creativity unbridled - Romance Was Born show is always such an unmissable event on the week's calendar. This year, the underbelly of Hubert's was transformed into a Parisian salon where models twirled between tables and enchanted us with ruffles, lace and batwings.
As if the beautiful clothes weren't enough, guests were presented with a delicious 3 course sit down dinner and drag queen singers that ravished the captive audience with vintage hits. The night also served as a launch for RWB's incredible retrospective book - if you love fashion, buy this book as it's sure to be iconic ( and whilst you're page turning, play a little find Tanja game- there are a few pictures in there from my modelling days ) The fun didn't stop there- after the show, some of us stayed on for a nightcap and danced on tabletops ( i'm looking at you Isabella Manfredi ; ))
DAY4: One of the highlights was the Christopher Esber show today, with it's impeccable detailing and painstakingly beautiful beaded knits. I wanted so many items from this show. Worn as a look , these were strong pieces but equally important; any one of them would elevate plain old t-shirts or jeans to new heights. I also had a deadline today so I spent most of my day just editing : (
Wearing Zimmermann pants, Michael Lo Sordo top, Gucci Belt, Byfar x Net-a-Porter sandals, YSL bag from Net-a-Porter, vintage necklaces and jacket, Reliquia earrings
Day5: Nothing like the joy of arriving to the Ten Pieces show at Icebergs and finding my girl Lindy Klim was seated next to me. Love an early morning catch up! ( Wearing vintage top, Fendi sunglasses, Lindy wearing Rama Voyage and Dion Lee)
Maurice Terzini and his partner Lucy did such a great job with this collection. Modern, fresh,androgynous and wearable, the clothes were as cool as the show was fast paced and to the point, a bit like mr Terzini himself. Bonus points for casting some of the coolest characters around who promptly started a dance off on the balcony when the show ended.
The evening saw the ethereal Akira show and the tribal inspired Camilla show, followed by Russh magazine's dance party extravaganza ..needless to say the weekend in bed was heaven sent!
Thanks so much to all the designers, models, hair and make up artists, pr and my fellow journalist and bloggers for making this MBFWA such a hoot
The week started with rain so torrential, it was hard to imagine how anyone would get any Insta-perfect streetstyle photos. While photographers and the fashion pack breathed a relieved sigh on Monday when sunlight hit the pavement, fashion week was delivering all the colour, irreverent prints, summer ready dresses and gorgeous tailoring on the runways indoors.
It has been two decades this year since I walked numerous shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia as a budding model and such an honour to follow so many Australian designers’ careers from their very beginnings, witnessing their evolution from experimentation to the creation of unique style codes. I still get a kick out of seeing my favourite designers create something amazing, and this year was no exception. Here are the things I’m looking forward to wearing most from this homegrown bunch of standout creatives.
Alice McCall always incorporates a lot of colour, playsuits and shorts so short that they make me wanna run to pilates but this year there was denim knee length dresses, sheer tops, printed pencil skirts and shorts reminiscent of bike pants to play with too. I was beckoned by gorgeous sheer cutout gowns and dance floor ready lame mini and maxi dresses in jewel colours.
Romance Was Born
Romance Was Born held their show in the underground belly of restaurant Hubert, transformed into 1930s Paris art deco bohemia for the occasion, complete with a Judy Garland impersonator and a beautiful three course dinner. As the models twirled between the tables, the beauty and originality Romance Was Born creates each year stood out in all it’s sequined, silky, layered, batwinged, printed, lamé, iridescent and intricately beautiful glory.
Christopher Esber is a designer I have loved from the very beginning for his ability to turn separates into interesting pieces through the use of clever detailing and amazing fabrics and this season was no exception. Modern tailoring had buttons made with liquid, knitwear was beaded, skirts were slit to show a layer of lace—these are work to play investments that won’t age.
Camilla and Marc
Camilla and Marc celebrated 15 years in the industry with a spectacular show setting that looked like it was transported from the Outback. Long fringing, off the shoulder dresses, brocade, XXL bags, sleek leggings, tweed bike shorts, skirts over narrow pants, shoulder padded T-shirts and oversized tailoring were standouts of the show that delivered something for everyone.
Lee Mathews has been around for years but the last few seasons the brand has really shone with it’s beautifully printed silk dresses, summer separates and clever prints made in beautiful fabrics. If you could encapsulate summer, it was this collection–I was envisaging floating on the Riviera shores in a trail of light as air silks.
Thomas Puttick's collection had well cut tailoring and interesting shirting but also suit jacket minis, silky T-shirts, lace inlay dresses and perfectly cut pants. The collection offers something to satisfy the avant-garde modernist and the working girl alike, existing on the modern and very sellable precipice of luxury, comfort and cool 90s minimalism with an edge.
Photography: Simon Lekias
Hair and Make up: Katie Angus using Giorgio Armani and Oribe
Model: Lilla from IMG
Styling and words: Tanja Gacic
This post appeared originally on vogue.com.au here!
Australian fashion continued to carve its own path on the world stage at this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) with our designers covering everything from swim to denim, ready-to-wear and high-gloss evening wear.
Dion Lee opened the week with a spectacular show at the foreground of the Opera House, wowing with his unique mix of high tech craft, interesting tailoring and modern swim whilst simultaneously launching the kind of menswear any man would love.I was excited about Alice McCall’s foray into glam rock with a Hollywood starlet edge, Bec & Bridge’s return to rock 'n' roll party dresses, Akira’s soft yet modern collection, Double Rainbouu’s signature look, Michael Lo Sordo’s dramatic silks and hipbone detailing, Christopher Esber’s mix of irreverent cool and great tailoring, Vale denim’s pastels, the ever amazing Ellery fashion code…and the list goes on! Special kudos goes to this year’s casting which included older women, street kids and ordinary people, making shows diverse and fun to watch.
I was privileged to borrow clothes from five designers prior to fashion week to bring you this story. It is always difficult to pry items away from designers so close to their big event, but also incredibly exciting to shoot the pictures whilst getting a sneak peek into their collections.
Without further ado here is my review of five designers …
Wearing: Yousef Akbar dress, Gucci heels from Farfetch, Christian Louboutin bag
Yousef Akbar is a young designer making a name on the world scene designing daring clothes favoured by the likes of Chrissy Teigen, Kelly Osbourne and Jessica Mauboy. Yousef has his own way of mixing avant-garde with eveningwear and I’m excited to see what this fresh designer does next. I especially loved his foray into sequin and feather this season.
Wearing: MacGraw top, skirt and shoes
MacGraw is a label I have been following for a while for their vintage-brought-to-the-21st-century-sensibility. For this collection they seemed to veer far into the past, mixing Edwardian times with the 60s, 70s and 80s, with puffed sleeves, high collars, checks, prints and ruffled skirts that young Madonna would’ve adored.
Wearing 10 Pieces
Ten Pieces showed their collection at Icebergs's dining room and bar, with the pretty views juxtaposing the tough streetwear collection on show. A mainly black and white series of easy to wear pieces showed designer Maurice Terzini’s penchant for avant-garde yet relaxed clothes that are sure to be a hit with the cool kids. For this story we shot a different side to this label, influenced by Terzini’s partner Lucy Hinckfuss who is bringing in a soft and feminine hue as a polar opposite to the label’s aesthetic. Hinckfuss has said: “ Ten Pieces is an androgynous label so we decided that there should be more variations and the kind of clothes that appeal to women. These will be available alongside our other pieces online.”
Wearing: KitX, vintage Balenciaga heels, YSL sunglasses from Farfetch
KITX is one of my favourite brands showing at MBFWA. I am not sure if it is Kit Willow’s infectious enthusiasm at bringing top-notch quality to ecologically responsible manufacturing, or the fact that she always uses beautiful fabrics that she makeshifts into addictively interesting staples . This season, Kit continued her reign as the tailoring queen, mixing it with sensuous silks , sexy draping, colour blocking and grown up relaxed chic.
Wearing: Romance Was Born dress, Gianvitto Rossi boots, vintage hat
Romance Was Born closed MBFWA in a spectacle of a Studio 54 extravaganza. High drama and theatrics always make Romance Was Born’s shows eagerly anticipated and this year did not disappoint. The audience tapped their feet to the beat and swooned over amazing specifics (each girl had different hair and make up! There was a dance sequence! Nude models were body painted by artist Del Kathryn Barton!). Underneath all the glitz, however, certain things stand, such as the incredible attention to detail. The codes that Romance Was Born has built over the years have been re-invisioned through cool denim, oversized sleeves and beading. Lush ruffles have joined oversized feather jackets, along with rainbow fringing and colourful suiting.
Styled and Photographed by Tanja Gacic
Hair and Make up by Claire Thomson using Oribe hair products
Model: Nathalie Nyren from Chic Model Management
Assisting by Eleni George
This post originally appeared on vogue.com.au here!
My love for Australian Fashion Week runs deep. For 20 years now, I have participated in it in some way or another; first as a budding young model going on intimidating castings, later as a runway model with an incredibly OTT walk that I’m not even sure I could replicate now, and nowadays as a blogger who is passionate about the amazing fashion being created in our country. A lot of people think that to look stylish they need to look beyond our shores but I am finding that to be more and more untrue as time goes by. In fact, I would like to state that I believe Australian Fashion has never looked better, more well made or relevant on the world stage than it is today. The variety and ingenuity of our designers only gets deeper and wider each year, so that it is now possible to dress only in Australian fashion and look incredible each day. Fashion made in this country now covers all price points and all styles of dressing; the glamorous and the basic , not to mention sporty and swim. Without further ado, here is my review of 8 designer’s shows this year.
(above) ROMANCE WAS BORN: Set in the beautiful Carthona house and it’s magical gardens, RWB sent out otherworldly girls that belonged in the 1920s wearing romantic and whimsical yet strong and intricately detailed clothes that took my breath away. I feel RWB are really hitting their stride and capitalising on their codes; embellishments, tactility and craftsmanship mixed with sparkle, vintage aesthetic and off beat femininity. This collection is full of the sort of gowns and dresses that you will covet for life ; you know how there is always a moth eaten vintage dress that is so beautiful you just cannot part with it ,ever? These pieces are destined to become keepsakes that your children fight over. ( gown by RWB, shoes by Saint Laurent )
KITX : To start an ecologically conscious label is no small feat in today’s world of fast fashion, yet Kit Willow has managed to mix impressive eco credentials with clothes that actually look amazing as well. This collection is full of gauzy cottons, the softest, naturally dyed leather and quirky artesian detailing,boasting perfect, breathable pieces for your next holiday along with every day staples that you’ll cherish forever ( Kit X bustier dress and boots, Dior sunglasses )
PE NATION: Pip Edwards and her partner Claire Tregg have managed to create a sportswear label that is not only functional but also achingly cool and desirable. Think sexy,high tech, rave , 90s inspired pieces that will look just as cool at the gym as they will sipping the morning latte at your local. No wonder OS buyers have gone gaga over the brand (P.E top, skirt, bra tops and sunglasses, Tommy Hillfigher booties )
REBECCA VALANCE: The queen of the well cut dress sent out perfect examples of her tailoring across supple leathers, a smattering of yellow, stripe and off the shoulder gowns that made me swoon. These are not clothes that reinvent the wheel but are pieces that every woman needs in her wardrobe- elegant and sexy at the same time whilst remaining well made (Rebecca Valance dress, Stuart Weitzman heels)
TONI MATICEVSKI: The 80s trend has been building up for a while, yet no where did I feel it deconstructed in the right way as much as I did at Maticevski. Whilst bustles hail from 17th century, they made a reappearance at Maticevski in a variety of ways, building up on the designer’s love of peplum, along with all of by now famous Maticevski codes; the punky yet sexy gowns, amazing pencil skirts that do miracles to a woman’s booty and crop tops that are anything but their namesake. Maticevski does his thing and he does it well; these are clothes for grown up women who are not prepared to lose their sexuality or elegance any time soon. Blade runner vibes were punctuated by amazing crystal gags and cuffs by Ryan Storer. Because why wouldn’t put together also be irresistibly naughty? ( Maticevski skirt, top and sleeves, Giuseppe Zanotti pumps)
Read the full story on vogue.com.au here
Photographed by Alice Wesley-Smith
If I were to judge the upcoming MBFWA 2015 solely based on the samples pulled for this story , the keyword of the week would be volume. As in slightly impractical, wonderfully dramatic and so much fun to shoot! The all seeing wizard I am not, but I know I will be proven both correct and incorrect numerous times over the week -Australian fashion is always about providing a number of conflicting trends– from whimsical and dreamy to utalitarian, well cut , feminine, practical, beachy or vintage inspired ; we are blessed to have such a talented and varied bunch of designers in this country.
I have to admit, as soon as I had an idea for this story, I was seeing a remote location – somewhere idylic and breathtakingly beautiful where I could juxtapose all the volume with sweeping vistas and nonpulsed kangaroo locals. Not only is it incredibly exciting seeing previously unseen fashion and taking it for a spin, but also quite scary and nerve wrecking taking original samples out of Syndey a week before fashion week! Thankfully we were blessed with a gorgeous set – an original , renovated 1800s homestead with fields and kangaroos on the grounds of the stunning Emirates Wolgan Valley One & Only luxury resort. Mountain paradise – meet fashion heaven!
(above) AJE : Calling spring! Intricate beading and structured shape of this bustier is vying for attention with the homestead’s white flowers (shhhh, Aje’s new denim pieces also looked amazing)
MATICEVSKI Resident marsupials meet Maticevski’s dreamy polka dot confection
TOME They may be intended for a more urban environment with their cool detailing and oversized shilouette, but these Tome clothes are also high in chill cred
ALICE MCCALL Mesh pleating and feminine shapes take on country simplicity
ROMANCE WAS BORN The road is long and there are mountains in our way, but flared overalls will make sure we climb a step every day –and not just because Joe Cocker says so.
MICHAEL LO SORDO: Pleats please! This modular skirt and top combo had numerous ways of wearing it and they were all incredible.Red pleats & wind = heaven!
ELLERY: Ellery continues her fashion code legacy with sumptious fabrics and exaggerated lines
See the full story on Vogue.com.au here!
Photographed by Alice Wesley-Smith
With thanks to the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley resort
One of the best aspects of being a blogger is playing dress ups with fabulous clothes - whereas I usually dress down in everyday staples, Fashion Week is always a great excuse to go a little wild and have some fun. My outfits this year were so intricate and beautiful, I felt that they needed a post of their own to show off the sheer amazingness of the details .
We shot this post in front of my house at Bondi Beach and boy, did we get a lot of looks and even a little audience from the nearby Muscle gym, but not for reasons you'd think! The boys were more enamoured with the lace and the crystal encrusted jacket then they were with the two girls shooting. I'm not surprised, I mean who wouldn't swoon over the way the near artpiece sparkles in the sun ?
The light kept playing peekaboo behind the clouds and the night came quickly with autumn daylight savings giving the looks from Burberry, Dion Lee, Toni Maticevski,Alex Perry and Dyspnea their own special glow.
When I saw this Burberry outfit, I fell in love..hard! It's crazy beautiful embellishments, plastic capelet detailing , mermaid-esque scaled clutch detailing and shimmering crystals are out of this world. The near exact match of Sarina Suriano jewellery added to the drama. ( top, jacket, skirt, clutch and sandals -all by Burberry, necklace and bracelet by Sarina Suriano )
One of the big trends this season is the exuberant shade of yellow. This gorgeous lace dress made me feel like a candy hued princess coupled with hundreds and thousands accessories (dress by Alex Perry, bag and shoes by Christian Louboutin )
For the last few seasons a momentum has been building for a flashback to fuller, ladylike skirts and cinched in waists. I wanted to juxtapose the elegance, softness and femininity of the silhouette with intricate hardware and toughness of a leather corset. It made for an interesting sartorial dynamic - I coined it the dominatrix princess ! ( Skirt and bustier both by Toni Maticevski, Christian Louboutin pumps, Louis Vuitton bag, vintage earrings )
Pale pinks are the new way to do neutrals this season and this beautiful, shimmering, python scaled leather dress is this trend personified. Combined with gorgeous silver jewellery, it made for a subtly glamorous, figure hugging look. ( Dress by Dion Lee, cuffs by Tiffany & Co, vintage earrings, A-esque clutch, Sheriff & Cherry sunglasses, Giuseppe Zanotti pumps)
Sheer layers, mesh fabrics, metallics and pastels are huge at the moment - I wanted to give this trend a spin in an elegant lilac coat and mirror encrusted dress that made me feel modern and feminine at the same time. ( Dyspnea dress, Toni Maticevski coat, Sarina Suriano jewellery, A-esque clutch , Giuseppe Zanotti pumps )
Photographed by Kasia Werstak
Among the fashion flurry of designers buyers, photographers, models , la mode folk and a liberal sprinkling of fabulousity, the jam packed 4 day Mercedes Benz Fashion Week schedule delivered surprises, creativity , newbies and awesomeness. (it wasn't all unicorns and rainbows but more on this later). During the course of the week, I kept getting asked the same questions by reporters, so I will share my answers to these with you here as they seem so pertinent, albeit probably answered here with a lot more measured fluidity!
Q: What do you think is unique, and what do you love about Australian Fashion ?
A: I believe Australia's unique geographical position as a country whose towns are urban environments situated near water lends us a laid back perspective in which our wardrobe needs to be multitasking and comfortable and yet, as any metropolis, also stylish and fashionable. I love the way Australians seem to be able to combine colour, beach lifestyle and high fashion into something that seems so effortless.
Q: What do you think about MBFWA and Australian designers in general?
A: I think , truly, that Australian fashion is better than it has ever been. I moved to Sydney and worked at the first ever Sydney Fashion Week as a wide eyed young model. Since then, I have witnessed Australian fashion become something that is distinctive, world class and exciting. Our designers are a versatile, talented and unique bunch and personally, I believe that the way forward for Australian fashion is for our designers to create transeasonal collections which will be an easier sell to opposing seasons overseas (some are doing this already).
As far as the future of MBFWA, we need to create a way to lure all our talent back from showing overseas so that our designer superstars can add gravitas and star power and make this an exclusive and exciting yearly event. The way things stand and unlike it is elsewhere, it is just a really expensive exercise for our designers and it need not be. Perhaps , if the media and sponsors could get involved in the right way, we can create an atmosphere of excitement such as exists overseas about fashion week, which will in turn create an opportunity for designers to show at low or no cost, and this may be able to stem the fashion brain drain and create an arena for fashion spectacles that Australia can be proud of. As it stands, and since it's move to Carriageworks, MBFWA has succeeded in making the week's activities more localised, organised and congruent which is a damn good way to start.
Q: How do you feel about the "skinny" debate?
A: I think coming from a background of a model, I can see this debate from both sides of a coin. Firstly, media does sensationalise this aspect of Fashion Week, ignoring everything else, because let's be real, what is a newspaper without big, polarising headlines , public outrage and cries for change? In reality, only a couple of girls I saw at Fashion Week were actually at a weight that made them look unwell, when most of the models, while extremely thin, were simply young girls who hadn't developed hips or breasts and probably ate plenty. I do however agree that in the last 10 years , the models have got thinner and I do not necessarily believe that this is the right way to go.
While the measurements have stayed in a similar vicinity, the girls have got taller. For a 6'2" girl, maintaining a 34" hip is much harder than for a 5'9" girl - and here is where the problem lays. While designers keep insisting that girls fit a certain measurement standard (no more than a 34" hip for overseas catwalks ) there will be eating disorders aplenty. A tall girl simply cannot maintain these standards and be healthy at the same time. Why not look at each model as an individual and tailor clothes to her? After all , a gorgeous 6'2" girl with 39" hips will still look very thin, but this adjustment will give her an opportunity to stay healthy and protect her future fertility. After all,for me, there is nothing worse than trying to focus on clothes and instead feeling sad/scared for a skeletal girl on the catwalk. I want my models to be aspirational, in a way that I'd think : If only I exercised more, I too could have that banging bod ! I think we all want to see models and think : Beautiful, amazing, sexy, cool… not : oh-oh, ouch ,OMG, is she ok? For the most part, however, girls in Australia do not have this problem.
Now that's out of the way let's focus on what is really important- the fashion!
Carla Zampatti opened MBFWA, fittingly for an icon of Australian fashion who will be celebrating her 50th year in the business next year. Her designs were tailored, timeless and sexy. I especially loved the monochrome looks and sharp separates and Michelle Jank's cooler than thou styling
Ellery held a show at the sparkling Icebergs restaurant and bar in which details, craftsmanship and fabrics stood out. My favourites were the intricate bustiers,slim, slightly fluted pants , pleated details and clean blazers
Alex Perry added Angel dust via Alessandra Ambrosio but it was nothing compared to his encrusted, romantically asymmetric lace party dresses with snakeskin printed leather inserts. I really love the direction Alex has taken in the last 3 seasons and I have enjoyed shooting the clothes over that time. I am especially loving his oversized shimmering snakeskin printed t-shirts with squared off shoulders, which are totally my idea of a luxe basic.
I enjoyed Christopher Esber's show this year. His neat, boxy double breasted jackets, nautical inspired hues and shapes, the gold buttons and the asymmetric skirt all the girls I sat with at the show wanted signalled that he hit the proverbial staple nail on the head.
I love Emma Mulholland like I love the Opening Ceremony in L.A. It's young and whacky but also cool and fun.These are the pieces to mix with more tailored streamlined clothes for an instant injection of fresh. Pair her transparent sweatshirts with long leather pencil skirts or boyfriend jeans and pastel mules, or wear a printed miniskirt with an oversized cashmere sweater and stiletto sandals. Hi-Lo cool ya'll!
At Alice McCall it was all about shiny satin, scalloped necklines, sheer fabrics , pretty dresses ,cool bombers and prints, prints , prints! I loved Mark Vassallo's styling colour and the sheen not to mention the gorgeous way the confetti fell on the catwalk at finale.
I loved the Bianca Spender show for it's mix of vintage and modern, kooky and classic, beautiful prints, sassy sequins and sexy leather dresses. Bianca asked me to walk in the show, so I had a great look at these clothes and the quality is amazing. Can't wait to use my voucher!
Dion Lee line II presented a new version of street with easy separates, cool leather pieces, androgynous shapes and flattering wrap dresses that every It girl will scramble for. I especially loved the backless tops...sexey!
Although the print clash didn't quite work for me,this newcomer still got points for it's cool shapes and marching to it's own beat. I love Macgraw's vintage/modern aesthetic ; wide pants, cute collared dresses and billowing fabrics..One to watch in the future.
My absolute favorite show of this year's MBFWA was definitely Toni Maticevki. Beautiful fabrics, elegant but cool , oh so beautiful embellishments and to die for evening wear. Want. Need!
I did an editorial spread on Dyspnea a few months ago because I love originality and imagination and these girls have it aplenty. In this show I loved their intricate sheers studded with pastel fur balls and gorgeous embellished tops. Not so much the Bollywood story, but hey - each to their own!
The biggest surprise this year was definitely Discount Universe, a new label heavy on punk, 'tood, spikes and embellishments. Katy Perry is a die hard fan, commissioning a whole tour's worth of clothes. But before you think : I ain't Katy Perry! , consider this: so beautifully finished and glossy, these clothes have the superpower of lifting anything drab to another level. My money is on the incredible studded python leather jackets. Swoon!
Working hard at MBFWA with my assistant and Lindy Klim's gorgeous back is never a chore. 'Till next year Fashion Week Australia!
photo via Vogue Australia
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