marie claire’s 5 Favourite Melbourne Fashion Festival Moments

From the top looks and unmissable beauty details, we’ve got the inside scoop from digital fashion writer Ava Gilchrist.

For a fashion fanatic, there is nothing more exhilarating than the moment the house lights dim, a spotlight illuminates the runway and a model steps out in the latest creations from one of our favourite designers. 

It’s been almost a year since the last time the majority of the Australian fashion industry saw clothes presented on a model in real life. 

Since then, we’ve seen countless ready-to-wear and haute couture collections, yet our laptop screens don’t  accurately translate the love language of fashion, or give us the fix we crave of basking in the music and atmosphere at a fashion show. 

Now, as I sit front row at Runway 2 of the Melbourne Fashion Festival, an honour bestowed to a select few, I can’t help but feel a sense of catharsis. Despite a turbulent start to 2022, for a brief moment we were allowed a sense of respite and to be engulfed in frivolity.

Sponsored by marie claire and Samsung, Runway 2 saw leading Australian womenswear designers who have an unparalleled focus on sophistication, elegance and refinement, present a selection of their best-selling and coveted designs.

The new guard of Australian design, like National Designer Award finalist Alemais, appear alongside heritage labels including Aje and bassike.

The result was a representation of what makes Australian design so unique; synergies between unlikely parties that creates something unexpected and ultimately meritorious.

If you happened to miss out on the runway show, fear not. I’ve rounded my favourite moments from the evening, including the top looks and unmissable beauty details, below.

Crisp Tailoring Remains To Be Relevant

(Credit: Getty)

Following suit with the industry’s focus on the body, Runway 2 proved that crisp, traditional tailoring remains to be relevant. We’ve shifted from oversized to a just-right fit, with bassike, Oroton and Viktoria Woods showcasing their offering of luxe suit pants, impeccably crafted blazers and matching trench coats. 

These designers are also proving the looks don’t have to be conventional. Some of the most memorable looks from the night included a cerulean blue cable knit paired with a sand shirt and trousers from Viktoria & Woods, or a camel knit pant and matching blazer with a lime green button up.

Puffed Sleeves Are Still Having A Moment

(Credit: Getty)

For our favourite womenswear designers, it seems that puffed sleeves remain to be a preferred silhouette, with balloon and over the top sleeves featured in the collections for Aje, Lee Mathews and Nevenka.

Aje kept their looks flatteringly cinched at the waist, with both mini and midi length dresses showcasing ruched statement sleeves. Nevenka and Lee Mathews also presented looks with a puff sleeve detailing, however kept these less structured and more soft and bohemian.

Wedding Whites Are Not Just For A Bride

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While 2022 is proving to be another difficult year for weddings, the looks on Runway 2 provided plenty of bridal fashion inspiration to make up for it. The main takeaway? Wedding whites don’t have to just be for your special day.

Nevenka demonstrated that your bridal attire can be anything but basic and orthodox, presenting delicately embroidered peasant dresses with red corseting overlay, or a two piece silk slip with crochet detailing and matching slouchy trousers.

While the looks were certainly designed with the modern bride in mind, you don’t have to be walking down the aisle to have an excuse to don these fabulous gowns.

The Maxi Dress Is *The* Wardrobe Staple

Anna Quan
(Credit: Getty)

Runway 2 highlighted the power and versatility of the maxi dress. A quintessential Australian staple, almost every designer showcased their take on the humble wardrobe essential. 

Bassike kept everything basic, with flowing skirts and tight bandeau style tops. Anna Quan showcased that maxi dresses aren’t just for balmy summer days, they’re the perfect one-and-done eveningwear look. Their black maxi’s featured cut out detailing, or unique finishes like tiered tassels. 

Lee Mathews, Nevenka and Alemais, who all share a similar approach to dressing with their unique approach to femeine dressing, presented maxi dresses that channel the picnic-core energy of 2021 with refined simplicity. 

You can bet we’ve added the asymmetrical patchwork maxi from Alemais to cart.

Pattern Play Has Never Been More Profound

Melbourne Fashion Week
(Credit: Getty)

While WFH has had us all reaching for sweats or comforting basics, often in uninspiring monochromatic colourways or luxe cosy fabrics, the designers of Runway 2 are inviting us to indulge in their colourful, patterned filled worlds.

Regardless of what your personal style is, Oroton, Viktoria & Woods, Alemais, Nevenka and Lee Mathews are giving us a reason to incorporate a splash of bright colour here or unique pattern, like a butterfly blouse or vegetable print short, into our wardrobes. 

Plus, the styles are often more flattering and complimentary when you mix and match distinct fabrics with bright patterns. Trust us, your first instinct may be that it’s a fashion faux pas, but as the designers showed, it’s anything but. 

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