Sydney continued to heat up as day three of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia saw temperatures soar and a return to romance on the runway.
Up first was Christopher Esber who showed his divine Resort 2015 collection off-site in Paddington. Taking his cue from the South Pacific with some architectural inspiration as well, Esber presented a range of modern classics in lovely midi-lengths with a focus on texture, clever detailing and carefully placed stripes. White, navy and black anchored the collection with pops of scarlet, emerald and turquoise adding to the summery feel.
It was a magical moment as Akira’s summer collection took to the runway in a year that Australian Fashion Week celebrates its 20th anniversary. Akira was involved in the very first event in 1996 and he included a nod to his fashion week debut where he infamously sent the models down the runway in red socks as he couldn’t afford shoes at the time.
This year the models red socks were teamed with Adidas sneakers which added an edgy street look to his highly avant garde collection, accentuated by glittering makeup and floral accessories. His layered silk creations continue to cement his name as one Australia’s truly iconic designers.
The only New Zealand label to show on the MBFWA runway this season, Kate Sylvester presented her own interpretation of the world’s most famous love story; Romeo and Juliet. Inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s vivid nineties version and Franco Zeffirelli’s classic sixties one but incorporating her own signature twists, Sylvester opened with a female model in a blue floral shirt and tan trousers paying homage to Leonardo DiCaprio’s key look from the film.
Later in proceedings another model wore a beautiful flowing white dress reminiscent of Clare Danes’ angelic Juliet dress or Olivia Hussey’s filmy nightie. The rest of the range featured the feminine womenswear in gorgeous lace dresses, silk shirts and full skirts that she is known for and her more masculine pyjama styles and blazers which give her collections a subversive edge. Unsurprisingly this range will no doubt be hugely popular with Sylvester’s many fans and romantics everywhere.
Celebrating his twentieth anniversary as a couture designer, Steven Khalil made his first MBFWA appearance with an amazing collection of heavily embellished pieces that will likely light up many a red carpet in future. His gorgeous creations were perfectly tailored to flatter the female silhouette in stunning column dresses, sweeping full-skirted gowns and sensuously sheer blouses teamed with sparkling skirts.
With an eye-catching colour palette ranging from rose-pink to midnight blue and mustard, as well as classic nude and black with dazzling gold embellishments, these outfits are made for being noticed. As is the couture tradition Steven Khalil closed with an enchanting bridal gown complete with a delicate veil, flowing train and sparkling details.
Bondi Bather’s latest collection was inspired by the diverse mix of cultures that visit one of Australia’s most well know beach destinations. Hello Kitty played a key influence in the design process with photographic prints of Bondi mixed with the ritualistic Japanese culture of dressing. Bondi Bather continues to build on their sporty modern cuts that are luxurious and use high quality Italian fabrics. They played up to the Hello Kitty phenomenon with a fun collection of swimwear that was cute and modern.
Leather was the order of the day at Jennifer Kate, whose chic collection consisted of nothing but the beautiful buttery kind and soft suede too. Her tonal colour palette of neutrals and pastels was brightened up with burnt orange which is definitely a popular colour this week. For a collection entirely of leather there were certainly a variety of looks with short tunics, chic trenches and casual separates all having a luxurious yet relaxed nineties feel. It was certainly a confident MBFWA debut for the label who has already found favour overseas in the past four years.
The designers for The Innovator’s show are hand-picked by the head of the Fashion Design Studio Nicholas Huxley. This year’s show was an electric mix of collections that really pushed boundaries with the current Japanese trend having a strong influence in layering and prints. Candi Sanderson delivered a daring vision with her classic fits given a fresh spin that featured unique cuts. While Mat Lee’s collection had everyone talking with his use of playful proportions, quirky prints and pale pink beading.
The Innovators Showcase
This MBFWA marks the fifth show for Bianca Spender, who launched her name-sake label in 2009 and has become known for her sophisticated style. She presented gorgeous slip dresses, sharply cut suits and uniquely draped gowns that continue to be the key garments in her collections. The colour palette was made up of pretty pastel tones and earthy hues. Bianca Spender’s beautiful tailoring and sensuous use of silk has stars including Alicia Keys and Katy Perry seeking out her designs.
Ixiah opened with a live singer and percussionist who added an exotic world music flavour perfectly matching the neo-tribal look of the collection as it processed the runway. White fringing, tasselled hems and cotton inserts were complemented by gold embellishments and heavy gold jewellery for an ethnic meets modern party girl look that was intricately detailed. Flowing rainbow tie-dye, monochromatic over-sized ruffles and sparking diamante kept things interesting while the glittering finale gown will be well-matched with a golden tan and nonchalant attitude for summer.
Providing the most theatrical experience of the day, Manning Cartell, ushered the assembled fashion crowd into one of Carriageworks’ cavernous warehouse spaces which had been fine white sand meticulously laid evenly across the floor and clever hanging lights down the runway which created a futuristic feel. Nailing all the key trends of the week in their own way, Manning Cartell sent out lots of white of white looks, monochromatic and contrasting prints, as well as layers of fringing and bold stripes. The silhouettes were modern and fresh with spots, cute collars and divine dresses keeping things feminine.
It was great to see vibrant choices in menswear hit the runway at Wang Yutao. The use of a cute daisy print tied the collection together nicely as it was also used as a motif on matching accessories for both sexes. The womenswear featured pretty sixties-style mini-dresses and cute cropped summer jackets with shorts. Men’s styles featured bold prints in a mix of slick suiting and dapper casual looks. To finish the look off Yutao added patent coloured shoes for that extra pop. It will be interesting to see if the neck scarves and bright colours catch on with Australian men come summer. It was certainly a very bold and breezy summer collection that had buckets of vintage-inspired charm.
Galanni once again used a gold runway to showcase their collection of glamorous evening gowns in tones of cream, gold and black. As is their signature each piece was carefully crafted with lots of embellishments and plunging necklines sure to grab attention on the red carpet. Whilst form-fitting and seductively sheer with trailing skirts, the gowns were still flattering on the Galanni models who appeared goddess-like with their bronzed bodies and perfectly styled tresses.
It was bikini heaven as the Swim show delivered six brands with beach-ready looks for summer. Lots of styles were represented with everything from sexy to sporty in a rainbow of colours that will certainly appeal to many different types of women. The standout collection was definitely Jewels + Grace who presented a gorgeous swimwear and resort wear range drawing inspirations from the European living.
With sleek lines and mesh detailing and clever cuts in flattering styles including many one-pieces, their monochromatic looks with olive, emerald and burgundy hues will be popular choices this coming summer. To finish Blue Glue Bikinis took the audience on a wild journey with a collection inspired by the elements of Bali. It was full of vibrant prints, embellishments and a colour palette of spicy orange and electric blue. To really tie in the Bali theme, models were adorned with massive paper-mache animal head creations making it look as if a festive zoo was parading down the runway.
Blue Glue Bikinis – Swim Show
Stevie May finished up the day with a pretty installation, eschewing the runway experience for a more intimate presentation allowing the audience the chance to get a bit closer and observe the details of the collection. Her accompanying soundscape and moving imagery were inspired by the Australian landscape and the soulfulness of the Stevie May muse. Her range featured soft cottons and delicate lace in free-spirited and feminine styles.
Raw edging, tassel trims and criss-crossed ties added to the bohemian feel of the pieces in natural tones and black. It was a suitably laid-back way to end a busy day of fantastic fashion.
Imagery: MBFWA Gallery