In the midst of a global pandemic and against all odds our pinnacle fashion event came back in full force. The first in-person almost maskless event of its kind anywhere in the world since covid. If you are reading this from a different country you might wonder how. Well, thanks to the efforts by the local authorities, in Sydney we could say it was a low-risk time to celebrate our local talent, not without certain precautions.
After a year like 2020, in which given the circumstances we got deprived of fashion affairs, the industry and enthusiasts in general, were more than eager to welcome back our beloved Fashion Week renewed as Afterpay Australia Fashion Week.
It felt, however, different in many ways. Some things were gone and some things were new. This time, there wouldn’t be seats for international editors and buyers, while some interstate attendees were forced to cancel last minute given the fluctuating travel restrictions. Nonetheless, the local crowd was there to support their designers and for a moment, experience this calendar like in the old days. Some runways were open not only to industry but to general public, offering fashion lovers the chance to experience their favorite brands’ shows just as an insider.
But perhaps one particular twist was the inclusivity and diversity memo being taken seriously. Not that there wasn’t the presence of different ethnicities and plus-size models during the shows in past versions of the event ( in fact that’s been done for years ) but this time it was all about normalizing different types of bodies, heights, ethnicities, and gender-fluid on the runway.
Like in recent years, sustainability was a premise – ensuring policies to reduce the environmental impact both from the event logistics and from the participating designers’ practices.
Carriageworks was as usual the house of the event, hosting shows both for familiar and new brands, while others hosted their presentations in a more private setting at different locations. With a five-day schedule, one may get greedy wanting to see it all, yet under the circumstances, it is best to be grateful for those you had the chance to attend. Here a recap of some of the runways we attended and the proposed trends!
Rebecca Vallance’s 10th Anniversary Runway was one anticipated show, to say the least. Her Holliday collection was an ode to the 80’s glam with a rock-chic edge. We saw the flashbacks of that decade materialized in velvet and lame body-hugging numbers, focus on pronounced shoulder lines and feather hems bringing back that Dynasty-worthy allure yet with a sense of simplicity. See more about this runway here
Romance Was Born
When it comes to Fashion Week, Romance Was Born always sets the bar high, those who attended their show would agree it was an immersive experience. A whimsical setting that included a merry-go-round and laser lights anticipated something magical. At a glance, their proposal seemed like beautiful chaos, a bit too much of everything when in fact it’s a brilliant example of sustainability – the fashion duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales gave new life to the remanent fabric they’ve used the past and vintage finds from their studio, which resulted in two collections constructed almost entirely from what otherwise would be considered waste – all “from a pile of stuff “ . See more of this show here
There was a particularity about Bassike’s industry presentation, attendees were asked to surrender their cell phones before the show, and to remain in silence – a way to create peace and stillness prior to the thrill of the show. No wonder their resort collection was called “Pause”. I have no records of that however I had the chance to attend their Winter show which offered an equally delightful experience; their A/W21 proposal was a display of edgy appeal via empowering leather pieces balanced with other relaxed yet poised utility garments such as trench coats and long cardigans as hero pieces.
Loyal to her eco-friendly philosophy, Kitx’s latest resort collection ” Underworld” it’s an environmental statement with the release of KITX’s ENDANGERED Tees, raising not only awareness but funds for various causes, such as Bee The Cure and The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
As for this collection’s aesthetic, – A sense of luxurious simplicity, the inspiration comes from the ocean itself, foamy whites, blues, and greens in fluid forms with her signature draping and sleek yet relaxed-fitting. All pieces were made with upcycled, recycled and ethically sourced materials, including virgin organic natural textiles, trims made from marine litter, knitting discarded fishing nets into jersey using solar-powered mills, brilliantly giving form to functional garments.
A memorable runway throughout AAFW was undoubtedly Mariam Seddiq’s with her “Cerulean” Resort 21/22. In a dramatic presentation enhanced by classical music, she unveiled her prêt-à-couture collection – A kaleidoscopic vision comprised of sculptural and powerful silhouettes, featuring a vibrant neon palette. Totally handmade in Sydney with minimal fabric waste. See more here
The beachwear quote was delivered by Aqua Blue – This show was not just about perfect bikini bodies as one would expect from a beachwear universe brand. Once again we saw diversity and positive body image represented on the runway, but it was perhaps a woman of certain age leading the runway closure that stood out the most, it made the show relatable and inclusive. Aesthetic wise, the collection Enchantment evokes everlasting glamour of holiday balmy nights, aside from the eye catchy beachwear, other dressy options captivated our eyes – like elegant separates and maxi dresses in iridescent floral and tropical prints and willowing fabrics, not to mention the sophisticated statement sleeves for an elevated summer look
Cool girl vibes were the notes of “Joi de Vivre Resort 22” the recent proposal by cult brand IXIAH. Keeping the tradition alive, the feminine boho-chic vibe aesthetic emerged in the form of flowing layers, and delicate floral prints in a palette of pastels, being protagonists tiered garments, cut-out details and bishop sleeves tops. Stand-outs in this selection were deconstructed denim pieces as well as blazers and shorts sets. Contrasting the dainty garments with combat boots and undone hairstyles for a young fresh appeal.
Last but not least from my round-up, Another stunning event wear selection was the one showcased by Yousef Akbar – A relatively new name in the Australian Fashion scene but with devoted followings of his own and considerable success in Europe and the Middle East. Akbar paid homage to its cultural roots for his resort 2021/22 collection encapsulating maximalism at its best: Rich jewel tones, exuberant use of fabrics, sumptuous sequins accents, alternating sharp tailoring, and voluminous silhouettes boasting an avant-garde feel.
Which of these collections was your favourite?
Thanks for your visit!