Australia’s international fashion rep might all about great swimwear and Zimmermann dressing Beyonce in pretty lace, but Day 5 at MBFWA told a different story, book-ended by two shows, from Romance Was Born at 9am and Discount Universe at 6pm, that used demi-couture techniques. Both were bedazzled with more sequins than Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Romance designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales were inspired by Liberace, which was at first only hinted at by the gold beaded excess and prints of martini glasses and cigarettes. Then came a musical note print, and a clickety-clackety flapper dress built from piano keys. If this sounds insane, it actually wasn’t - it was just gorgeous, as was the setting.
Somehow they managed to persuade art dealer Roslyn Oxley to let them use her harbour-side gothic mansion as a venue. Filled with fresh flowers, golden light and the sound of Paul Mac tickling the ivories, it was quite simply heaven. It was also a privilege to be there since the guest list was so tight – there are only so many editors you can fit in a living room, even one as grand as Oxley’s.
Many of the garments shown will be commercially unavailable. Romance Was Born stages these events to sell us their ideas, to excite us with their beautiful dreams – and the ready-to-wear collection that appears shops next season will take its cues from it. Look out for that martini glass print.
From heaven to hell. Discount Universe was intentionally less beautiful but no less exciting, proving exactly why they dress Miley Cyrus and Madonna. Not that their true tribe, well represented in the audience, would go for anything so lame as commercial pop.
To a soundtrack of Nick Cave singing about the devil, models stomped out onto a glittery blue runway with fake blood dripping down their chins. Most of them gave the finger to the photographers’ pit.
The sequins on their catsuits, knickers, skimpy dresses and jackets depicted tattoo and graffiti motifs, from knives and thorned roses to cartoon penises. But it was the slogans the revealed the most about designers Nadia Napreychikov and Cami Jame’s approach. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that “sin is in” and if we didn’t like it (and even if we did) we could “f**k off”. One silver dress featured that question “Could You f**k the sadness out me” picked out in red sequins. The message on the back of a metallic red biker jacket? “This is our last collection.”
Those looking for calm between these storms were well serviced by a graceful and ethereal show from sustainably-minded brand KitX, in the old Paddington Reservoir. Designer Kit Willow’s skill with cut and drape is second to none in Australia.
Then, after Discount Universe, another wave of calm from NY-based Aussies Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of TOME. No glitter, no fuss, just smartly designed shirting, dresses and culottes you’ll want to wear now. Oh, and guess what? You can. The show was called: #SEEBUYWEAR
and is in store now.