Once again, Sydney hosted the biggest Aussie fashion event – Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, aka MBFWA , and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to finally have some runway action in town. Gathering the best emerging and established names in local fashion this version included names such as Karla Spetic, Bianca Spender, Lee Matthews, Christopher Esber, Akira, Alice McCall and Karla Spectic among others.
Off site locations kept things dynamic and interesting – While Carriage Works continues as HQ throughout the week and for the majority of events, every year more designers opt for a different location and even a different show dynamic. Such was the case of labels presenting their collections at the Beach, Studios, Restaurants and private properties.
During the five day program we were delighted with colorful resort proposals which gave us a glimpse into the upcoming trends. Although this year’s version had some changes in schedule, such as a few popular brands missing, and the addition of some new names, MBFWA 18 had something for every taste – Diversity and inclusion in particular stood out. MBFWA has evolved into a multicultural outlet with designers from different backgrounds showcasing their talents, but it was also refreshing to see models in their 40’s and 50’s on the runway reinforcing a more open and positive concept of beauty.
But before I start with this recap, I’ll briefly explain a few particulars about the Aussie Fashion event as it is known today, given that it might not be clear for those reading this post from other countries or even locals who aren’t quite yet familiar with MBFWA. While globally we commonly see two fashion week seasons (more in some cases, if we count pre-fall, resort, and other capsule collections for some brands) celebrated in February and later in September, due to our seasonality, Australia’s fashion industry turned their efforts for fashion week exclusively towards resort collections since 2016. IMG directives came to the conclusion MBFWA would be more competitive as a totally resort oriented outlet. Therefore, we no longer talk about Spring Summer, or Fall Winter in terms of Fashion Week, – this doesn’t mean of course Australian fashion lacks these universes, and that elements from such concepts aren’t also found as a part of resort proposals, which are equally insightful and inspiring when it comes to anticipating upcoming trends and styles.
I’ll be posting in detail about my favorite shows and collections, but for now here are a few highlights and snaps describing what MBFWA Resort 19 was like, enjoy!
With a minimalist take, Bianca Spender’s Resort 19 proposal is an invitation to embrace an understated sensuality. Spender’s array features polished and sleek silhouettes, enhanced by just the right dose of fabric handling and a luminous palette both in solid tones and in vivacious prints which didn’t compromise the sobriety and a sense of empowerment of this collection.
For almost a decade Lee Mathews established herself as a contemporary Australian designer providing easy to wear garments and understated elegance as ever present elements of her collections. For the latest resort proposal Lee Mathews decided to synchronize with current trends yet keeping her signature construction techniques and selected fabrics. Gingham and sheer floral patterns stood out as a proposed trending feature.
Karla Špetić ( See full post here )
Held at an intimate Bondi location, Karla Špetić’s Resort show reflected her commitment with the environment, and her work exploring sustainable yet functional and wearable garments, proving eco friendly fashion can be appealing and fun.
To begging with, this array was captivating from beginning to end, with a luminous palette ranging from whites, sky blues, mint greens, oranges and the inclusion of gingham prints with sheer overlay. Another point in this proposal were structured blazers with emphasized shoulders in harmony with other fluid garments presenting a dichotomy of masculine and feminine silhouettes.
Yet, there was a subtle message encoded in some of the prints, fabrics and materials used – While this collection features cotton and linen garments, as two of the most sustainable textiles, it also invites us to embrace smart and new purposes for materials such plastic – One stand out piece during this presentation was undoubtedly the rain coat made of bubble wrap, which didn’t compromise the sense of luxury and sophistication in this collection.
Contemporary, smart, and chic, a proposal for practical and effortless style – Anna Quann’s collection was another minimalist array of staples every woman needs, stylish pants, versatile dresses, and sartorial jackets, with predominant monochrome tones.
As always Alice McCall brings that dose of glam and glitz, – from delicate and ethereal to daring and bold, the array of designs was every girl’s dream. A delight from beginning to end – the show opened with fresh and subtle mesh fabrications enhanced by ruffles and other feminine details, floral and tropical prints as well as seductive see-through fabrics. Towards the end, a futuristic twist, when bold, fierce and unapologetically sexy creations in metallic fabrics emerged taking this collection to a different level!
On an early morning and held at a majestic location in Darling Point, the McGraw duo presented a whimsical vision of style in a show loaded with poetry and playfulness; old fashioned details infused with a modern take, seemed to evoke a modern princess tale. As a revival of past centuries this collection features romantic garments such as Victorian and Edwardian inspired tops and ruffled organza and lace dresses as key pieces.
HANSEN & GRETEL
With a laid back influx, this collection reflects both free spirit and effortless sophistication, loaded with youthful and ultra-feminine silhouettes. We saw an array of low key and boho garments tastefully balanced with luxurious fabrics and flattering proportions. Pink checked sets where a stand out note bringing a dash of innocence, as well delicate semi-sheer dresses.
Dramatic color, sassy silhouettes and a nonchalant allure, every garment in this collection seemed to have a subtle surprising element -like exploring new possibilities in what can look basic at a glimpse; I absolutely loved how the bold palette and vivacious designs, didn’t compromised the versatile quality in this resort array, and certainly a big plus, IMO apart from the very wearable but equally sophisticated looks, was a more flattering and ultra stylish use of denim.
Ever since their debut in 2012, Roopa’s signature has been the fusion of references – loyal to their roots but in sync with contemporary and appealing visions of diversity and maximalism. An ode to Nepal, we saw a profusion of colors and vibrant prints in the form of fluid garments of exquisite movement – handcrafted with splendid fabrics and textures.
Held at the MCM House in Paddignton, and in a more intimate setting, Christopher Esber presented his resort vision for 2019 inspired by Ancient Greek sculptures; sleek and sophisticated this collection it’s all about minimalist luxury; subtle detailing, interesting cuts and fabric folding, turn wardrobe basics into elevated pieces. The array displays a predominant palette of raw and neutrals as well as others in real and light blue.
STILL STILL STUDIO
Personally one of my favorites, with a dose of fantasy and enchant Still Still Studio’s proposal captivated the audience with their luxurious eclecticism and playful dose of glitz and spark. This array was all about more is more, featuring delicate garments with an exquisite use of sequins and embroidery; playful but efficient use of plastic textures, and generous use of lace and ruffles.
LEO & LIN
Another dreamy presentation was Leo & Lin’s show, – named Ms. Moonlight, the collection was simply a vision of beauty at its best, featuring a whimsical and ethereal aesthetic. Sheer, tulle and organza gave form to voluminous and layered skirts and gowns, along with tastefully revealing bodices. As a distinctive feature of this array, the enchanting moonlight theme in the form of meticulous embroidery and delicate appliques.
One of Australia’s most celebrated talents – Akira Isogawa presented a vision of androgynous identity, where traditional techniques meet the edgy aesthetic, the Japanese born is known for. In his latest resort collection, the experimental and interesting mixture of textures and silhouettes, along with the retro inspired graphic theme result in a duality game, at times strong and rebellious, others quirky and fun, but above all astonishing !
To say this closure was one of the best MBFWA has seen of late, would be an understatement – it was in deed a transporting experience. An emotional presentation, considering the recent announcement about Camila Franks health, but also inspiring and empowering as she presented herself in such moment. Now, the show was a ceremony from beginning to end, massive textiles with Japanese references enclosing the room served as an immersing scene, while a captivating rain of cherry blossoms turned this catwalk into a surreal land along with a central performance by Japanese artists. But, it didn’t end in just a show, – it was smart and how Camila reinterpreted her distinctive work with tunics with elements of Japanese aesthetics. Plus the much needed presence of models of certain age gracing the show, definitely a closure to remember!
To be continued….!
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