Fashion Week Favourites with Kate Gaskin – Jenny Kee, Christopher Esber, Carl Kapp and We Are Handsome

by Jenny Butler
Thursday 17th May 2012

Kate Gaskin continues to take us through her Fashion Week Favourites, today with a Jenny Kee retrospective. It’s wonderful to iconic Australian design being celebrated as well as new and upcoming designers being embraced, such an exciting week! – Jenny x

Jenny Kee at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Photo by Lucas Dawson.

Three down, two days to go!

Day four saw presentations from both the old and new generations of Australian fashion, each special in their distinctly different ways.

First up was Jenny Kee - somewhat of a pioneer of Australian fashion and design, and certainly an icon of the industry. I was quite excited to see what she would present as I remember my mum dressing me up in pieces of hers when I was quite young (between that and my Ken Done kit I was quite the outrageous dresser back in the day!).

And to my delight her installation on Thursday morning, titled ‘The Art Of The Scarf,’ was nothing short of breathtaking. A retrospective featuring her work from 1980 through to current day, the installation comprised of ten different outfits, all made up from her boldly coloured,  flora/fauna-inspired silk creations.

Set amongst a gumtree forest, the exquisitely decorated ‘Jenny Kee tribe’ showed off her designs in one of the more artistic displays of the week. Collaborating with the Romance Was Born team, their imaginative styling midas touch was clearly evident. One of the prints on display, known as the ‘Black Opal,’ was apparently used by Karl Lagerfeld in one of his first collections for Chanel- wow!

A stalwart of the industry, Kee has always had a very distinct, timeless style that she has remained true to despite fickle fashion trends that have come and gone. She says, ‘I don’t want to be restricted by fashion whims- it’s too temporary. I think my work is about lasting.’  And if this display is anything to go off, I’m sure she’ll be around a long time yet!

Jenny Kee at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Photos by Lucas Dawson.

So in contrast to the elaborate, decorative displays of amazingness from one of Australia’s best-known fashion artisans, another day four highlight came in the form of modern, minimal, masculine designs from one of fashion’s relative newbies. Awarded the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival’s highly esteemed Young Designer Award just a couple of months prior, expectations were high for 25 year old designer Christopher Esber‘s show. Much to everyone’s delight, he certainly lived up to the hype.

The presentation was slick and dynamic – with an amazing set constructed from refracting mirrored panels strategically placed down the runway, a thumping electronic soundtrack, and models coming out onto the runway from every which way and in very close succession. There was a lot to take in, but not so much that it took away from the precise tailoring and detailing in each carefully considered garment.

Despite a huge weight of expectation on his shoulders, this bright young thing really came through with flying colours (well more of a monotone palette but you get my drift!) and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Christopher Esber at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Photos by Lucas Dawson.

Other highlights from the day included Carl Kapp‘s rainbow of draped jersey gowns, and We Are Handsome‘s cute and quirky swimwear collection show….

Carl Kapp at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Photos by Lucas Dawson.

We Are Handsome at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Photos by Lucas Dawson.

Kate x

by Jenny Butler
Thursday 17th May 2012


  • megan 3 years ago

    how glorious does the carl kapp show look? it almost looks like toucans in flight. love love love. hip hip horray for maxis

  • Margie 3 years ago

    Jenny Kee is a true pioneer… so fantastic to see such a wonderful talent continuing, the fashion roundabout has swung back around to appreciate her work once again!

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