Style Melbourne

Circa Nocturna 2010


 Saturday night, Fitzroy Town Hall hosted a sold out runway event, showcasing the best of Australian alternative fashion. Circa Nocturna is a celebration of subcultural fashion with designs ranging from gothic to punk inspired; eccentric street wear to borderline fetish garments.

First cab off the rank was Lyris, a Melbourne label that claims to “bring to life the deepest of dreams and desires”, focused on corsets and full skirts in dark colours embellished with magical symbols such as stars, dragons and the phoenix. The menswear conjured up visions of wizards with black capes, silver imagery and oversized cuffs.

Obsidian Lace followed, experimenting with PVC paneling paired with corsets, mini skirts and pants that were deconstructed as a shorts and ‘sleeves’ combination, attached in a similar manner as suspenders to stockings. Purpur’s models marched down the catwalk also wearing PVC in strong reds and black, combined with furs of various colours and patterns to create a fierce futuristic collection.

Vanyanis seemed to draw inspiration from a range of places, from cowboys and rockabilly fashion to leprechauns with a black and emerald corset, skirt and similarly coloured suit. The tailoring and ornate detail in this collection was particularly impressive. However, perfect lines and precision were nowhere to be seen amongst the chaotic layering and distressed denim in Elvy Ess’ designs. Purples, blues and blacks were combined with check patterns and playing card motifs to create their fascinating turbulent outfits.

Then to completely change the mood, Melbourne’s own Emilie Gray showed off a collection of bright 1950’s inspired dresses; using bold blues, reds and greens in a mixture of patterned fabrics. Her designs were a combination of halter dresses and pencil skirts with smart tailoring, polkadots and stripes and large buttons as features. We were then abruptly transported from the fifties all the way back to the time of Queen Elizabeth III, the inspiration behind the structural designs of Dolly Q, created with tartans, fur and a gold, red and white colour scheme. Some of the particularly unique garments were a cropped hooded cape, puffed Capri pants and ruffled blazers. There was a strong nautical influence during the Darling James collection with stripes, bows, frills and fishing lures intertwined with bathing suits and bustle skirts.

Other designers featured in the show were Mechanimal, Trashglam, Z-entity, Lady Moon, Liquid and Berserk; all demonstrating exceptional creativity and a sound understanding of their target market, evident as the crowd cheered raucously after each and every collection. It was a rollercoaster of fashion influences, all interpreted differently by extraordinary designers and their active (and often wicked) imaginations.

Wise words by Kimberley Smith
Images courtesy Circa Nocturna & Claire Needham, Megan O’Hehir & Peter Ryan

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