If dedicated L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival followers were showing any sign of tiring by the fourth day, it certainly wasn’t showing on their faces. A-listers (or B or C) sitting front row included Brett Tucker, Zoe Badwi, Carrie Bickmore, Tiffani Hall, Kate Langbroek, Lillian Frank, Miss Jay Alexander and plenty of AFL players that certainly attracted the most female attention on the night (with the clothes running a close second).
Up first on the super-long catwalk was Roy by Roy Christou. Famous for his jeans, this collection didn’t disappoint. White, distressed denim was first up. The torn and messy look features heavily in Roy but can work in any situation if you simply team his jeans with a cute 1920s bowler hat and a square shouldered, white lined, black tuxedo jacket from the collection. A very popular trend on the night was the exposed back and Roy encompassed that with a long tank with a low back. Not very practical for a Melbourne winter, but then again, who’s practical in Melbourne? For men, not much has changed. Whip that cardi out. Damn you men, warm and stylish while I’m exposing my back.
Next up was Illionare. No, I didn’t leave out a B or an M. Some of my favourites from this collection included the dresses with parachute sleeves. With a bargain buy of a Wayne Cooper silver dress with parachute sleeves a couple of years, I am very happy with the return of this trend. However, on the other end of the spectrum Illionare has some beautiful shift dresses made of silk. Pink and black were some of the hottest looking colours in this style, and again, the exposed back was a popular style. Make sure you can reach the back for fake tan application! There was also a futuristic jumpsuit, and to make it look edgy, not tragic 80s, studs were added. With a bat wing back, this look won’t suit everyone but with an awesome pair of studded, black gladiator heels and black clutch it could be perfect for a night on the town. Just maybe not work…
White Suede is one of Australia’s proudest success stories. Designer Jacqui Demkiw has managed to get her label stocked in some of the world’s leading boutiques in London, Paris, LA and Copenhagen. Her designs have also featured in magazines like UK Vogue. And local fashion magazine Oyster, named her one of Australia’s most important designers because of her ‘originality and creative gusto.’ One of my favourites from this collection was a blazer with the most gigantic flower corsage on the lapel you have ever seen, you couldn’t even see the model’s face. Tone it down a bit, and I love a good flower! A black satin jacket with squared shoulders (take note, square shoulder pads in, cool ones, not the rounded ones of the 90s) and fringing and tassels was also totally rock-goth and could become a staple in many women’s wardrobes. Models also made pale blue jeans with paint splatters look totally cool, but the leather skirt and high-waisted black trousers did it even more for me. But then I looked at my lower half in the mirror and will perhaps stick to the flower jacket.
It was then time for a change of pace with One Fell Swoop, an up and coming West Australian brand established in 2005 by Marie Mazzurra, Daniel Romnin and Nikolina Ergic. Instead of the fast paced beats, classical music filled Central Pier and we knew this was going to be something different. First down the catwalk, which surely would be intimidating in front of Miss Jay Alexander, was a model in a beautiful cream, flowing dress. Perfect for a picnic by the beach. Quite obvious they were from the warm state of WA! As the audience awed over the beauty, lovely dresses just kept floating down the runway, mainly the ever popular mini dress in neutral tones. If you’re a bit scared about bearing the pins by themselves, follow One Fell Swoop’s lead and team a pair of stockings with them. They are sure to gather a cult following for the beautiful timeless pieces they offer.
BAM! Fairbanks then took advantage of the serenity and blew the crowd away with its heavy metal music and shocking (but amazing designs). The music was fast and the show was fast, but the hemlines were short, as in ‘models kept pulling them down’ short. A red velvet mini with gold studs set the tone for a wild few minutes. How about a suede, purple leopard print dress? A leather bustier with chains? And of course there was the ever-exposed back, this time with layers of chain criss-crossing. Might be a bit cold to put on a chilly morning. Then there was the backless blazer, a Madonna a la’ 1980s style bustier and a white long-tailed blazer. Maybe not the kind of clothes I would wear but certainly the best presentation on the night.
Jenny Bannister was next and her prom style dresses were among my practical favourites of the night, particularly in the midst of a search for a 21st party dress for myself! A tangerine (popular colour on the night) tiered chiffon dress was paraded down the runway and with ribbons hanging around the neck, it was an extravagant, yet somehow practical, look. Then my favourite of the entire night; a strapless, bright purple, satin dress complete with hoop bottom and black and purple tulle pouring out from underneath. Absolutely amazing. She then edged it up a bit with a fringed, cream flapper dress, jungle inspired dresses and a spiked (literally) leather jacket covering a rhinestone dress. She has certainly cemented herself in Australian fashion royalty after this collection.
Bettina Liano is always dependable for some great practical pieces with quirkiness and this season it’s all about studs for her. Studded leggings were a big feature in the first half of her show, and at the moment they’re on celebrities all around the country. Pipe jeans are also hot, as is the military style denim dress with fishnet stockings. Something a little different for the weekend. For those a bit braver, try the leather dress with gold studs and fringing. Many of the models wore her famous dark coloured jeans with loose fitting tops, certainly practical.
Finally, another of my favourite designers, Wayne Cooper, finished the show on a very high note! The intricate details always make his designs stand out and for this show it was the corsaged shoulders and bows on the back. Cute! A beautiful V-neck, purple flowing maxi made many eyes glisten as did the black V-cut dress with an elasticised middle (sigh of relief) and parachute sleeves. For the men, it’s very similar to Cooper’s own style. Invest in a biker jacket and slouchy jeans and you’re done for winter. But the finale was the show-stopper; three very different red dresses. One that ties around the neck in a loose bow, hugs in the middle and flares out at the middle. Another strapless, structured mini red dress which just bounced with the model. And the showpiece, a flowing chiffon red maxi dress. So simple but pure class.
Runway 6 demonstrates that established designers and up and coming designers can work together to create an amazing and sigh-inducing show.
Words – Tara McGrath
Photography – Anthony Licuria APL PhotographyTags: belinda fairbanks, bettina liano, illionaire, jenny bannister, LMFF 2009, one fell swoop, roy, Wayne Cooper, white suede