Models walk the runway during the We Are Kindred show at MBFWA 2017. Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia is quickly rushing by in a blur of ruffles, sequins and bold colours but after an epic Day Three we were anticipating another stellar day of fashion for Day Four and we were not disappointed. More brilliant debuts and some strong collections from established labels graced the runway with highlights including Ginger & Smart, We Are Kindred, Yousef Akbar, Vale Denim and KitX.
Ginger & Smart
Ginger & Smart kicked off the day with a vibrant show at The Art Gallery of NSW with a modern art installation by Emily Floyd as the setting. It provided a bold backdrop for Ginger & Smart’s fashion-forward designs that had a strong resort feel. Usually designers Alexandra and Genevieve Smart do much more body-con styles but this collection offered floatier silhouettes in tulle and silk that were relaxed and effortless. The collection felt playful with plenty of colour on offer and abstract prints. Texture was key with petals, pailettes and pleats creating beautiful movement on the runway. Definitely a strong showing by a much admired Sydney brand and the perfect start to a fabulous day of fashion.
We Are Kindred
We Are Kindred’s winsome debut at last year’s MBFWA set the bar high for their sophomore fashion week show and they definitely delivered the goods. Transporting the crowd to a dusky casa in Cuba complete with ceiling fans and wooden chairs, designers Lizzie and Georgie Renkert captured hearts and imaginations with their sultry boho collection. Beautiful chiffon dresses with ruffles and lace inserts floated down the runway while high waisted palazzo pants and crop tops upped the carefree summer feeling. Delicate embroidery, tassel details and charming beading continued the romantic luxe theme the brand are known for while semi-sheer metallics were on trend for the upcoming season. Every single dress, jumpsuit, skirt, jacket and top was extremely covetable and they even introduced charming floral swimwear into the mix for Resort 2018 which will no doubt sell like hotcakes come summer.
Swim show Tacoola (left), Aqua Blu (centre), Skye & Staghorn (right)
Swimwear is a huge market in Australia, and with some parts of the country lucky enough to have year-round warm weather it’s no surprise that swimwear gets its own show at MBFWA, and it’s a popular one too. Six brands took to the runway this year with Kopper & Zinc first up with their Moroccan inspired collection full of earthy tones and lace-up details. She Made Me followed with pieces that had a handmade feel and were inspired by traditional Indian silhouettes. Skye & Staghorn went for a tropical approach with a mix pretty prints, gingham and gold. Tacoola were up next with a boho collection of crocheted pieces that had a definite retro feel. Aqua Blu were all about digital prints, black mesh and texture with a showstopping glittering finale outfit. Duskii closed the show with a pretty Hawaiian inspired range that was playfully styled with water wings and pool toys. Prominent model Samantha Harris opened and closed Duskii’s collection. Lots of high cut styles and 90s influences were seen throughout the collections.
Anna Quan is a designer who believes everyday clothing should be special and less is more which was evident in her contemporary Resort 2018 collection. Cleverly tailored shirting with high collars, exaggerated cuffs and puffed sleeves had a Victorian meets present day appeal. Elsewhere striped shirting was styled with a deconstructed approach which emphasised its modernity. Slip dresses, mini-skirts and trenches also features in a blue, white, grey and black colour palette. Key design features were in the details with the carefully placed pockets and exaggerated sleeves part of Quan’s signature aesthetic. Her functional yet desirable garments will crossover with ease from day to night, or work to play. She also counts Kendall Jenner and Margaret Zhang as fans.
Designer Silham Elmawey was definitely feeling floral for her Resort collection for C/Meo Collective that put a modern spin on classic pieces. Ruffles (which are not going anywhere anytime soon) featured on feminine dresses and were accented by sweet faux fur shrugs in pretty peach. Warm hues of red, blush, burgundy and yellow were complemented by silver, moss, grey, black and white. Sequins, delicate embellishments and velvet elevated the evening looks and are sure to impress her big-name fans including Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lopez and Kourtney Kardashian.
The Innovators Handsy (left), Ewol (centre), Ann Xiao (right)
The Innovators: Fashion Design Studio showcase was full of fresh ideas that packed a punch! Seven designers were selected from the 2017 TAFE graduating class to showcase their talent. HANDSY swimwear is a brand to watch, merging high tech with high fashion in a collection of one-piece suits and bikinis in black, white and electric blue. There was a bold use of leather strips, 3D printed hardware and over-sized polished eyelets gave this collection a stylish edge. EWOL upped the fun factor with a highly creative collection for both men and women. Featuring loud prints, plenty of sparkle and designs that blurred the boundaries of streetwear and high fashion. The end result was to create wearable art to be worn by people who like to take risks with their style. For those who embrace rebellion and eccentricity every day. Clever collections from Amelia Akle, Ann Xiao, Casea, Johanna Smith and Richard Giang also took a turn on the runway with this year’s graduating class full of terrific talent.
Anticipation was high for the solo MBFWA debut of Yousef Akbar who has already dressed celebrity clients with his designs despite only graduating from The Fashion Design Studio at Sydney TAFE last year. A clever wooden set created the perfect backdrop for the designer’s eye-catching collection of jewel toned pieces in luxurious silk and shimmering sequins that beautifully contrasted with each other. Akbar certainly made an impression with his brilliant use of colour not to mention the wonderful feathery texture of his pieces. Added drama came in the form of floor-length dresses with full face masks that had a theatrical effect. Without a doubt a stellar and self-assured debut from a very talented emerging designer.
Nautical was the theme for Vale Denim’s MBFWA debut with designer Amber D’Enett titling her Resort collection “Sail Away”. Yachting references abounded in the casual collection with compass motifs, rope tie details and traditional marine colours of navy, indigo and white. Different denim washes from soft to dark featured on easy to wear shorts, jackets, jumpsuits and dresses while pops of bright red and yellow added fun variation to the range. Complementing the denim were lightweight cotton and linen in tees and shirts that felt easy to wear and perfect for the warm weather. The collection was a perfect mix of classic and fashion forward denim that would be a breeze to style and wear.
Designer Kit Willow returned to MBFWA last year with her new brand KitX that is focused on creating ethical and sustainable fashion. For Resort 2018 Willow created a stunning collection of daywear and evening looks that had a 90s appeal. Mesh, fringing and raw-edging featured on her sophisticated collection of cleverly constructed dresses, tops, jackets and trousers. She demonstrated her superb mastery of draping to create flattering garments that are modern and elegant in hues of cobalt, lemon, red, blush, black and white. KitX proves that ethical fashion can still be glamorous and truly covetable.
Ellery x Etihad Airways
Kim Ellery celebrated a decade of her eponymous brand Ellery in collaboration with Etihad Airways who were also celebrating ten years with an exclusive party to close the fourth day of MBFWA. The Australian designer (who is now based in Paris) also displayed a retrospective of her collections with many of her fashion friends and industry insiders in attendance to mark the special occasion.
Images courtesy of Stefan Gosatti/Brendon Thorne/Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images.