There is such incredible talent coming out of Australia right now that despite all of the uncertainty surrounding MBFWA, I think it’s possibly the most exciting fashion week of the year. Romance Was Born kicked it off with a ridiculously cool take on comic books. There were pieces of clothing printed with comics, riffs on superhero suits, over-sized silhouettes, jagged peplums (a trend as ubiquitous in Sydney as it was at every other major fashion week), sequins and fringe, exaggerated cuffs and bold stripes and color-blocking. The first thing that came to mind for me was “Prada does comics,” just based on the originality of the collection.
Other highlights of the week so far would have to be Gail Sorronda (disco vampire clown chic that made me think of that new Johnny Depp movie, Dark Shadows), Kirrily Johnston (boho draping, tiered floral chiffon jumpsuits and high-waisted pants, art deco jewelry and a whole nun thing–habits and all), Nicola Finetti (pastels, cut-outs, more jagged peplums, gorgeous silhouettes, bras as shirts, and asymmetrical hems), and Ksubi (denim evening gloves–pretty much covers it).
It’s been really interesting reading about some of the challenges that MBFWA faces. According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, the designers who show there would prefer that the event either be moved forward a month (when women are still considering and budgeting for their spring wardrobes) or pushed back a month to coincide with the international resort collections. A week before the event kicked off, two of its biggest names, Dion Lee and Josh Goot, announced that they were withdrawing in order to focus on the collections they will present during the international fashion seasons.
Personally I believe they would do best to push back to June, because I think most potential customers start planning their spring wardrobes well before March or April, basically settling on what they saw in the spring collections back in September. Whereas holding MBFWA closer to the resort collections will make designers more relevant in the minds of buyers. In general Australian designers face the singular challenge of working from a country where the seasons are completely flipped. I think that while sometimes it can seem like they’re playing catch-up seven months later, that distance from all of the hype about trends is what fosters the independent spirit of so many Australian labels.