Manning Cartell. Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images.
Beautiful sunshine greeted the third day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, as the fashion set gathered for Manning Cartell’s outdoor show which kicked off another full day of runway shows in Sydney.
Manning Cartel delivered a show-stopper in the most Sydney setting possible – under the Harbour Bridge with the Opera House providing the backdrop. They even upped the cool factor with a runway that was black and sparkled with glitter. The clothing had a bold direction with satin dresses, long flowing pant suits and jackets with contrasting industrial elements. It was a bright collection with a mix of luxurious fabrics that flirted with the theme of modern romance.
Karla Spetic took us to her hometown of Dubrovnik in stunning Croatia for her turn on the runway. The collection was titled ‘Memories’ and referenced the wafting aroma of lavender and summer holiday shades that Spetic recalls from her childhood there. The lavendar motif ran through the collection both as a colour and in a charming lavendar print which featured on relaxed dresses with scalloped hems and mixed separates. A digital photo of Dubrovnik featured as a postcard framed by ruffles as Spetic’s key love letter to her roots.
Contemporary fashion designer Johnny Schembri of By Johnny continues to deliver fresh design elements by reworking traditional silhouettes. His collections are ever evolving for the woman who appreciates effortless style with a unique and modern edge. On the runway shoulderless tops kept with the very chic theme and the peplum style made an appearance for a more relaxed fit. Figure-hugging dresses in pure white are sure to be a hit with metallic detailing adding that extra sparkle, while the layered shimmering party dresses will no doubt be very popular.
It’s impossible not to be excited about a show when the label sends out a cute phone cover as an invitation, so we had high hopes for macgraw’s third MBFWA outing and sisters Beth and Tessa MacGraw certainly delivered. From a pink set that looked like it could have been Barbie’s dream house, model after model emerged in sweet floral and ruffled dresses that had lots of flounce and were accompanied by lace-up boots to add a street savvy edge. A charming royal print complete with teeny crowns played into their royal botanic theme while lush forest green velvet upped the posh factor. It’s impossible not to adore everything about macgraw and their fun finale walk to ‘I want candy’ made us want to be a part macgraw’s delightful world every day.
Bec & Bridge
Sydney favourites, Bec & Bridge, explored Indian inspiration with their collection and began their runway presentation with a sari-clad Indian family drawing beautiful Indian art form Rangoli in chalk on their concrete runway. The collection that followed began with crisp white looks with trailing hems before moving into earthier tones, black and nude on their signature body con mini dresses, crop tops, shorts and cut-out swimwear. They closed with eye-catching black and silver metallic looks which will be must-have party pieces. It was an eclectic collection with lots of flattering draping, shimmering metallics and lace up details.
It certainly got physical with the setting in a yoga studio for Christopher Esber’s Resort collection. He opted for a presentation style approach with guests able to see the clothing up close and take in his direction in the mirrored setting. Esber opted for soft silhouettes yet maintained his precision tailoring on a collection of luxurious easy to wear designs. The style featured edgy net detailing and knotted fabric in neutral tones with a splash of bright turquoise tying it all together.
Akira is a true icon of Australian fashion culture. His exquisite, contemporary designs keep inspiring the runway since his debut at MBFWA in 1996. He kept the clothing for this show light and breezy, with long shirt-style flowing garments, wide-legged pants and relaxed tailored dresses for women. The strong theme was bold polka-dot designs on vintage textiles that keep in tune with his traditional Eastern influence. Menswear was also presented with the resort theme of shorts and loose fitting tees for a cool summer style. It all came down to the beautiful floral prints and splashes of bright colour that made his collection a stand-out!
Master couturier, Steven Khalil, brought his heavenly collection of hand-crafted garments back to MBFWA for the second time after last year’s packed out show. Featuring exquisite gowns of delicated beading and feathered embellishments alongside cropped tops, tailored trousers and perfectly cut full-skirted dresses, his collection harked back to the days of impeccably finished made-to-measure clothing while still maintaining a modern feel through sheer lace and plunging necklines. Definitely a range that is red carpet ready. As is the tradition for couture shows, Khalil closed with a gorgeous bride in a sublime wedding gown complete with trailing veil.
Mixing a feminine sensibility with masculine influences, Bianca Spender created a collection that was contemporary and had an emphasis on subtle tailoring. Amongst an otherwise soft colour palette of neutrals she added acid yellow and forest green in relaxed dresses that ruched and ruffled with a romantic effect. Suiting had a sheen and shimmer that made for a contemporary look. Clever draping and sublime use of silk and velvet completed a sophisticated collection full of modern, confident pieces.
Jennifer Kate’s MBFWA debut last year introduced us to her intelligent use of leather which she crafts into carefully cut skirts, shorts, jackets, tops and dresses with an effortless feel. For this collection she embraced bolder colours with tomato red and forest green both making an appearance amongst softer shades of grey, nude and white. Shoulders were accentuated on jackets and coats while the closing black trenchcoat with a swirling dragon print was a standout. Delicate white floral hand-painted details added a pretty touch to a range that is full of covetable pieces.
Alice McCall hosted an exclusive dinner at charming restaurant Porteno in Surry Hills, where an interactive installation of her Resort 2017 collection let guests get up close and take their own photos of her gorgeous designs on romantically-styled models. ‘Between Us’ is the title of her collection which featured delicately pretty lace dresses and ruffled rompers in black, white, mint green, nude and baby blue. Winsome crochet and bell sleeves added to the retro-inspired feel which was further enhanced by knee-high white socks, smokey eyes and embellished black velvet chokers. The stunning sets ranged from opulent boudoir to swinging sixties and were a brilliant setting for the models who resembled playful kittens strutting and pouting for the assembled crowd. As always Alice McCall’s sublime clothing and brilliant styling made us covet every item on display.
By Evelyn Ebrey and Craig Lawson.
Photos by Caroline McCredie, Stefan Gosatti, Brendon Thorne/Getty Images. Alice McCall image from Evelyn Ebrey.