Australia Fashion Week has a habit of coinciding with bouts of extremely crap weather. So when the sun came out yesterday, there were short shorts everywhere, and even another nude photo scandal couldn’t keep Lara Bingle from infiltrating front rows left, right, and (mainly) centre. The clear morning provided a fitting backdrop for Lisa Ho’s cheery Hawaiian printed pieces, but it was Alice McCall’s babooshka dolls that really set the bar for what was probably the strongest day of fashion week so far. Opening with Ruby-Jean Wilson in a needlepoint-embroidered shift overlain with frothy sheer silk, McCall’s collection nodded to tradition while giving her loyal customers something fresh in the form of neon colours and structured, scalloped edges.
At noon we were then taken from Russia to the rainforest at Bec & Bridge, and pretty quickly too. Oil-slicked models actually started walking down the runway at approximately 12:13 PM, only just giving time for Candice Lake to sweep into the front row before being treated to a slightly 70s-inspired collection that was one of the brand’s strongest yet. The youthful brand still showed plenty of tiny shorts and floaty dresses, but intricate lace trousers paired with liquid silk shirts took Bec & Bridge in an elegant new direction.
Kym Ellery was handed the post of being one of the last big name designers to show this year, and she didn’t disappoint. Her collection was well structured in every sense, restoring the confidence of those confused by last year’s outing. Sharp silhouettes were made even stronger with heavy metallic silver and the most delicate of glittery tulles, and draped dresses were draped like they had never been draped before. And for those not already sick of tiny shorts, these came straight from the future in dazzling silver and space age cuts.
If people were confused about Oroton’s ready-to-wear show (which they were — 74 is a curious age for an iconic accessories brand to debut RTW), fears were abated rather quickly. Swanky arm candy was complemented by understated luxe clothing, including silk shorts, artfully sliced trousers and classic cotton shirts with embellished sequin collars. Oroton (above) had enlisted fashion wunderkind Taylor Tomasi-Hill to helm the styling, imbuing the brand with her unwavering sense of cool.
Significantly younger brands to make their MBFWA debut included Watson x Watson and An Ode to No One, both of which were as hotly anticipated as some of the bigger names. The former had reined in the best models in the local business on which to turn out the goods, including Rachel Rutt, Louise van de Vorst, and Ollie Henderson. Luxe athleticism and soft tailoring pervaded the daywear, while the neon bracelets we were given upon entering were seriously outshined by the sequined eveningwear. An Ode to No One (below) rewarded those who stuck around until the evening with a remarkably confident runway debut. Designer Adi Setiadi proved he is the master of Everything Modern Girls Want to Wear, extending the futuristic theme of his previous season’s presentation into stunning Tron-esque printed dresses, liquid silks, and sharply tailored outerwear. The night couldn’t have ended on a stronger (or more beautiful) note.