Since launching 22 years ago, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2017 has been the country’s leading fashion affair, connecting local designers with an international audience. As the launch pad for major labels including Maticevski, Alex Perry and Zimmerman, this year saw a surge of emerging talents taking charge of the limelight.
Running from May 14th to May 19th, hero designer Dion Lee had the opening honours, using the impressive architecture of The Sydney Opera House as the backdrop for his show. The main bulk of the event, hosted at Sydney’s contemporary multi-arts centre, Carriageworks, saw more than 40 local and international designers showcase their Resort ‘18 collections, with kooky favourites Romance Was Born wrapping up the week long ordeal.
We roundup our top pick designer talents to watch out for this year, from one of the most dynamically evolving events on the fashion calendar.
BACK TO BASICS AT ALBUS LUMEN
Showcased offsite at La Porte Space, Albus Lumen’s Resort ‘18 collection was rooted in simplicity and minimalism. With shell button detailing, lightweight fabrics, and relaxed silhouettes, the collection gave a nod to European summers in quaint countryside villages, with an air of classic modernity. As finishing touches, the garments were worn by bare-footed beauties padding down the runway, accessorised with woven basket handbags and uncomplicated jewellery.
UTILITARIAN LAYERING AT CHRISTOPHER ESBER
Known for his utilitarian tailoring, Christopher Esber’s resort ‘18 collection delivered elements of clever fabric layering with an edge of urban city elegance. The collection featured female power-suit silhouettes, trenchcoats and safari-esque midi skirts, in a mix of striped patterns and bursts of fire engine red, amongst block-coloured neutrals and buttercup yellows.
SLEEK SLICES AND GEOMETRIC CUTOUTS AT DION LEE
Adding menswear to his acclaimed womenswear and accessories repertoire, opening designer Dion Lee presented a sculptural resort collection that cleverly mirrored the architectural backdrop. A mixture of luxe sportswear, geometric cutouts, diagonal hems and deconstructed tailoring, the collection also featured soft, fluid coats louchely tied at the waist and slumped off one shoulder to reveal flashes of bare skin.
IMPERFECT BEAUTY AT HOLLY RYAN
Emerging jewellery designer, Holly Ryan, made her debut Australia Fashion Week showcase this year, presenting her SS17 collection entitled ‘Femme’ at the The Suites Trade Showrooms, Carriageworks. Known for her architectural and organic minimalist signature style, her latest pieces - displayed on artful stone sculptures carved by the designer herself - were an ode to sensuality, minimal abstractions and the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi design and imperfect beauty.
NATURALIST WONDERS AT LUCY FOLK
As the catwalk shows unfolded at Carriageworks, jewellery and accessories designer Lucy Folk hosted a launch party showcasing her Resort ‘18 collection at her recently opened Bondi Beach boutique, PLAYA. Inspired by nature and organic forms, the designer creates handmade jewels, Italian handmade eyewear and lust worthy cocktail clutches, often mixing materials such as fine metals, acrylic, crochet and mother of pearl.
CONTEMPORARY ARTISTRY AT ACLER
Emerging brand Acler staged an offsite presenting for their Resort ‘18 collection, at beautifully rustic restaurant No.1 Bent Street. Launched by design duo Kathryn Forth and Julia Ritorto in 2015, the collection preview was in collaboration with department store Myer, set in an art studio inspired setting, complete with live sculpting artists. Models donned the artistic collection featuring the label’s signature oversized shirts, playful ruffles, delicate lace appliques and abstract sculptural silhouettes.
DECONSTRUCTED BUSINESS CHIC AT ANNA QUAN
Newcomer Anna Quan debuted her first solo show this year, after courting major attention at the 2016 NextGen initiative. Quan presented a range of deconstructed pin-stripe shirt and trouser ensembles, reimagining office staple silhouettes into unusual new shapes. The resort collection featured asymmetrical off the shoulder tops, and reinterpretations of feminine shirt dresses and business chic pant suits - all in all, a collection fit for the modern sartorialist woman.
OPULENT JEWEL TONES AT YOUSEF AKBAR
“One of the things I focused on was the heartbreak and the fantasy, the opposing worlds in colours, in shapes, in textures, hard and fluid,” said Yousef Akbar, the emerging designer with a master’s in logistics and more recently a graduate of Sydney’s Fashion Design Studio. His resort ‘18 collection presented a fusion of rich jewel tones and clashing fabric combinations. The opulent pieces featured draped silks, sequin and feather dresses and rashie-style tops, juxtaposed with masculine biker jackets in bonded cork with brass hardware.