FASHION NEWS Sydney Fashion Week: 5 Australian designers you need to know

Like a breath of fresh air, Fashion Week Australia blows away the cobwebs with its spontaneous roll call of emerging designers. Here is Vogue’s front row edit of the designers you need to keep your eye on.

  • As the Fashion Week train seems to chug non-stop around the globe these days, the traditional capitals have increasingly looked to what satellite industries like Sydney have to offer. Orchestrated by IMG Worldwide, the annual Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) – which drew to a close on Friday – sees over 40 local labels vying for international appeal, parading their designs to a diverse audience that spans top-notch department store buyers, international press, heavy-hitting digital influencers and the local glitterati.

    I have always been impressed by the calibre of design talent that has emerged out of Australia – they all offer a unique point of view which is so important.” says MatchesFashion.com fashion and buying director Natalie Kingham, who hosted a poolside show for London-based New Zealand designer Emilia Wickstead as a part of the week’s proceedings. “For me [MBFWA] is about keeping an open mind when attending shows and visiting showrooms – it is less about looking for specific products and more about discovering that exciting new label we know our customer is going to love.” With the southern seasons out of sync with the majority of global markets, a savvy decision to rebrand the week as a cruise event has allowed designers to fall into the June buying calendar – with some of Vogue’s top picks heading to NYC and Paris for sales campaigns in the weeks following their Sydney runway show for Resort 2019.

  • romance was born designer australien

    Romance Was Born

    To call Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett’s brand emerging is a stretch on the local scene, yet with plans for a Paris couture showing in July and the launch of their first book, the duo are poised for some serious global attention on the back of their ‘Opal Goddess’ collection, which came prefaced with a Liza Minnelli drag impersonator at a dinner show inside a French-style brasserie in the heart of Sydney’s financial district. A collaboration with the iconic Australian artist and designer Jenny Kee saw Romance Was Born’s theatrical party tops and frocks transformed into radical flapper outfits accessorised with chandelier tiaras and circus makeup. Their celebration of a uniquely Australian sense of whimsy is charming, infectious, and all their own.

    Photo: Getty Images

  • double rainbouu designer australien

    Double Rainbouu

    Ksubi alumni Tobey Jones and Mikey Nolan have carved out a high-octane niche for themselves with Double Rainbouu; what started as a tongue-in-cheek collection of bowling shirts and boardshorts in acidic tropical prints has blossomed into a full punk-meets-shoegaze wardrobe for boys and girls alike. The transformation of a dingy Sydney pub into a pulsing, rave-y fashion show (and ensuing after-party) bridged worlds for the pair – appealing equally to their own past as disciples of the Sydney underground electro club scene as it did to a new generation of millennial clientele eager to replicate the effortless urban vs. beachwear style. With clothes like these, the message falls somewhat towards a vintage anti-fashion statement, with idiosyncratic fits (cropped tops, a long sleeve or short shorts, perhaps) and a healthy dose of attitude key to nailing their nonchalant, devil-may-care sense of coastal cool.

    Photo: WireImage

albus lumen designer australien

Albus Lumen

Marina Afonina’s label Albus Lumen has rapidly risen to become one of the quiet highlights of Australian fashion – proof that a new generation of antipodeans has woken up to the sort of sophisticated minimalism that resort wear (and exotic summer getaways) really chimes with. From button-down kaftans to slinky knits and floaty silk sundresses, Afonina’s edited, subtle colourways, accommodating fits and humble, unfussy fabrications are proving a hit with key retailers such as Matches Fashion and Net-A-Porter. “Marina is also a stylist,” says Net-A-Porter’s retail fashion director Lisa Aiken, “so her taste level is impeccable. Whether it’s a swimsuit, cover-up or hat, everything in her collections are done so beautifully.” Inspired by Pablo Picasso, her Resort 2019 show channeled an unflinching vision of the artist’s daughter Paloma which, though beautifully executed, missed just a dash of local flair.

Photo: WireImage

ten pieces designer australien

Ten Pieces

Like Double RainbouuTen Pieces is another product of Sydney’s inner circle, the brainchild of restaurant impresario Maurice Terzini of Bondi Icebergs fame and his design partner wife Lucy Hinckfuss. Paraded around Terzini’s iconic clifftop restaurant, the year-old label’s second show tackled the oh-so-Sydney dress code that pairs urban jersey pieces with slouchy tailoring. Not quite the way Rick Owens does (though Terzini is a self-professed fan), but with nods to military uniform, on-trend logomania, and a mix-and-match approach to unisex blazers, baggy tees and slouchy trackpant hybrids.

Photo: WireImage

  • christopher esber designer australien

    Christopher Esber

    Arguably MBFWA’s most cerebral designer, Christopher Esber’s elevated creations are on a par with the kind of sensual, textured studies that have become the bread and butter of directional daywear brands the world over. Like Phoebe Philo’s CélineEsber’s designs contain a pastiche of Japanese and Belgian references, but with a crafty futurism thrown in that this season sees his lovely ribbed knits and linen suits bolstered with evening touches – a pale grey T-shirt striated with pearly veins, a slashed cobalt skirt fringed in swingy bugle beading. A smart call-and-repeat of pyjama flou balanced Esber’s more structured pieces, while the monochrome palette allowed trickier raw-edge, shirt cuff and elastic belt details to do the talking.

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