Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia officially kicked off on Sunday afternoon in Sydney with the Dion Lee show at the Opera House. Following Lee’s show on Sunday a full week is planned, showcasing the best in Australian fashion.
MBFWA is when Aussie designers show their wares to domestic and international retail buyers for both bricks-and-mortal stores and online retailers. It’s also a chance for them to gain exposure from both local and overseas media.
The highlight of the day was also the most anticipated show — Steven Khalil.
Specialising in red carpet and bridal gowns, Khalil’s designs are well known for their elegance and beauty, combining classical elements of bygone eras with a contemporary edge. Fans include Kylie Jenner, Dannii Minogue, Jesinta Campbell and Guiliana Rancic.
This was Khalil’s third MBFWA show, featuring couture, red-carpet and evening designs — the largest and most accessible collection to date — which is available to order during MBFWA.
The start of the day saw Alice McCall get things started. An eclectic brand with a playful sensibility, McCall uses unique detailing and charming folk-like craftsmanship to create charismatic, modern keepsake collections. McCall established her brand in 2004. The past 10 years has seen the designer also collaborate for major retailers, designing sell-out collections for Topshop, Target and General Pants Co. The brand has achieved international and local applause through fashion weeks at London, New York and Sydney with celebrity following including Katy Perry, Kendall and Kylie Jenner and Iggy Azalea.
This year is McCall’s 8th year showing at MBFWA. The collection is called Bon Bon and featured ruched sleeves, micro minis and fluid fabrics.
Then there was Bianca Spender. Daughter of design legend Carla Zampatti, Spender studied at East Sydney Design School after spending a decade working at Zampatti’s fashion house.
After four years working in Paris and Milan she returned to Australia in 2004, designing a capsule collection for Carla Zampatti. She first showed at MBFWA in 2010 and has been a regular ever since.
This collection is inspired by Japanese workers’ Kimonos from the 19th century as well as utilitarian work wear from the early 20th century.
Following Bianca Spender was Thomas Puttick, a relatively new luxury womanswear label from Sydney. The ethos behind the brand is to create clothes to make the wearer feel happy and for those who produce them to feel happy, too. Puttick believes in empowering women through honest and conscious design.
His show was a muse presentation of women of all ages and backgrounds. Sponsored by White Ribbon Australia, Puttick says the clothing and collection was inspired by artist Henning Von Gierke.
Justin Cassin, a multi-functional menswear lifestyle brand showed in the early afternoon.
Cassin is the the man behind the eponymous emerging men’s fashion label and this is the first time the label is showing at MBFWA. He aims to blurs the lines between traditional and contemporary fashion and challenges the everyday man in fusing both streetwear aesthetics with classic menswear looks.
Cassin aims to please, taking you from the working week, to weekends and everything in between.
Walking for the label was International model Jordan Barrett as well as former Sydney Swans AFL player Tom Derickx and model, former rugby league player and F45 Training Athletic Director, Daniel Conn.
Debuted in 2008, Karla Špetić’s self-titled label has garnered local and international industry recognition for her signature soft tailoring and juxtaposition of masculine silhouettes and feminine fabrications.
Immigrating to Australia from Croatia in 1993, Špetić brings a unique romanticism to her designs. The results have seen Špetić nominated for the 2014 International Woolmark prize and she has been worn by Solange and Beyoncé Knowles.
She;s also big with international bloggers including Natalie Joos, Susie Lau of style Bubble, Leandra Medine from The ManRepeller and Nicole Warne of Gary Pepper Vintage.
In addition to her namesakes mainline collection, 2013 saw the expansion of the Karla Špetić brand to incorporate ‘KŠ Swim’, a swim and loungewear label showcasing quality lycra swim suits in an array of bold prints, as well as ‘IĆ ‘, which is a luxury knitwear label.
The show featured pastel pieces and sheer fabrics in white, baby pink and dove grey — with the odd bit of black thrown in for good measure.
Next up was Double Rainbouu, a beach and resort wear brand founded in January 2016 by Toby Jones and Mikey Nolan, former art and creative directors at cult denim label Ksubi.
They believe they offer an antidote to traditional resort brands, which tend to ‘peddle a lifestyle few truly enjoy’. The brand draws from fashion, art and pop culture worlds but carves its own little island niche.
All textile print designs are created in house by the duo and reflect a life spent by the beach and all that it represents. The label already boasts some impressive stockists including Opening Ceremony, Barneys, Revolve, Fred Segal, Ron Herman and Bloomingdales in the U.S.
Stay tuned for more as the shows happen.
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