If it’s winter in the summer, and the toilets flush counterclockwise,
do models walk backwards on the runway? This was the question we set to
resolve at Sydney’s Rosemount Australia Fashion Week. The question is hypothetically silly but the fashion was not. While sun dresses and bikinis are stereotypically Aussie, this season saw a lineup of hard-hitting sophistication that could give even the punters of Paris a run for their Euros.
The breakout collection of the week came from newly graduated design
student Dion Lee, whose official debut collection exuded coolness. The seams of the geometric designs featured diamond cutouts and twists, giving the line a quirky edge. So much so, that fashion editors were seen the next day wearing his electric blue blazer—the standout of the collection
—and rumor has it that he’s picked up new agents in several countries.
Romance Was Born’s melodramatic show was something like an Australian version of Dior Couture. Audience members were treated to a view of the harbor, which framed an under-the-sea treasure trove setup, including a harp-playing mermaid and merman. The series of crochet octopuses, a red lobster and a string of bloomers with oysters and pearls exhibited the label’s penchant for fantastical fashion.
Sister design duo Ginger and Smart, meanwhile, showed the best collection of Australia-themed fashion. The duo’s clothes went above and beyond the call of sundresses and shorts, however; instead the collection showed a playful sophistication with black and white graphic minis, acid color prints on butterfly sleeves and a kite backpack that could bring out the kid in anyone. As for their business plan, the sisters took a clever shortcut: “We started selling fashionable candles in high-end boutiques where we wanted to eventually stock our line,” admitted Genevieve Smart.
Other notables included Karla Spetic, who showed a print of a child’s painting of the countryside and metallic scalloped tuxedo jackets,
Gary Bigeni’s reinterpretation of jersey in purple and turquoise with
drapes and twists as well as stylist-turned-designer Fernando Frisoni’s menswear, which was a take on simplicity in long jackets and linen sultan pants. Beyond the runway, there were openings for “It” girl Myf Shepherd, an appearance by Margherita Missoni for the Little Black Dress event and
a citywide blackout, which pushed Zimmerman’s worthy collection back
But more prolific than the exposed zippers, the jersey tops, harem
pants and cutout parts seen all over the runways, was the presence of
bloggers and twitterers at every show. They were given equal respect as
the high-end glossy editors, sharing front-row seats with the top industry tastemakers. “Half of our job is to exploit the global press—this includes new media,” said Australia Fashion Week creator Simon
Lock, of IMG. “It means that every designer is going to get a piece of