Review: Kate Sylvester at RAFW 2011



The company had gone to some lengths to secure the venue, a wonderful arena – Wayne Conway said that a member of their Australian PR team was horsey and had helped persuade the reluctant owners to let it be used for the RAFW show.


We’d already been told in hair and makeup that Kate had been inspired by moths and the speedway – I thought I’d misheard at first (unlikely bedfellows?) but the show notes explained “moths are attracted to lights and the banks of spotlights circling the racetrack were the biggest lights in town.”


Redken hair artist Richard Kavanagh had also told us: “Kate ALWAYS has a story behind her collections.”  ‘Into the Light’ tells of a repressed lady lepidopterist (studier of moths) who becomes literally and sexily entangled with a very handsome young speedway driver – sparks of neon blue, yellow and green flying off them and moth dust showering them.


Hair director for Kate Sylvester, Redken's Jon Pulitano, said:  “The inspiration was a girl at the speedway, up to no good. She’s got disheveled hair so basically we used some Rootful in wet hair and then dried it and reapplied again.  It’s a body building product so it creates lots of fluff – you’ll see when the girls walk out that their hair sort of just billows around but it’s got a slightly tortured feel to it – she’s a little bit of a tortured party girl.


Kate was also inspired by moths and that kind of texture and there’re feathered hats on a couple of the girls…we’re going to finish off afterwards with some Fashion Work 12 – it’s a soft powdery hairspray- just to accentuate the fluff.  It’s going to be beautiful.  There’s another look very similar to the first with a disheveled braid at the back of the head with everything falling out at the front.”


And now the fun begins.  Kate chose to show in very atmospheric but very dim lighting which meant everybody could really only glimpse the slinky clothing.   But oh!  what a wonderful glimpse.  Luscious, iridescent colour in a short tunic or a floor length sleeveless dress.  A librarian-demure wrap dress rendered sexy in a semi-sheer fabric.  Knickers and short shorts – Richard Kavanagh had told us to watch for butt-pads but you couldn’t make them out in the dim lighting.  Sassy, saucy cropped tight pants (the lepidopterist and the speedway driver’s clothes “tangled and twisted up and mutated.”


Feather headpieces, feathers caught here and there on a garment, a feather print on a silky ground, feather-y cutouts.  Socks and heels befitting a lady scientist.


I came away feeling that I don’t care that I’m not sure what the clothes look like up close!  The brand is so rock ‘n’ roll I want to wear it regardless!  But this is a Kate Sylvester collection and the garments have subsequently proved to be as beautiful as rumoured and expected.


– Julie Roulston

Images: Julie Roulston and Lucas Dawson

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