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
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
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.