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Labels We Love At Melbourne Fashion Week

Textiles

With Melbourne Fashion Week taking over our home city from this Friday, August 31st, today we’re veering a little out of our usual territory, to spotlight seven Aussie fashion designers worthy of your attention!

This sublime editorial produced by Hart & Co has been shot by legendary lensman Mark Roper, with styling and words (what a wonder woman!) by Kate Gaskin. Stunning Model Billie is swathed in swoon-worthy garments soon to grace the upcoming MFW runways, as she haunts Butterland in Castlemaine… enjoy!

27th August, 2018

Billie wears Michael Lo Sordo jacket, pants and collar. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Arnsdorf dress, Lelet headband from Christine and Miss Louise mules. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Arnsdorf dress and Lelet headband from Christine. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Aje blouse, waistcoat and pants, with Victoria Beckham glitter heels from Christine. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Ginger and Smart dress. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Lee Mathews shirt and skirt. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Akira dress. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Akira dress. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Akira dress. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Nevenka dress and Lanvin earrings from Christine. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Verner blouse and pants, and Christine earrings. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Martin Grant coat, pants and blouse all from Christine, and Lanvin earrings also from Christine. Photo – Mark Roper. Styling – Kate Gaskin. Hair & Make-up – Christine Gaunt. Model – Billie at IMG. Location – Butterland.

Kate Gaskin
Monday 27th August 2018

Melbourne Fashion Week really is an exciting melting pot of the best of the best.’ – Kate Gaskin.

September is always a very exciting time of year in Melbourne. Spring is in the air, warmer weather is on its way, and we kick it all off with Melbourne Fashion Week (MFW)!

I have been involved with the Festival for over 10 years now, and in my time have seen it grow from what was once quite a local, small-scale affair, into a nationally recognised celebration of the country’s best emerging and well-known designers and retailers. Not just a platform for fashion, the week celebrates varying genres of creative industry, through multi-disciplinary programming spanning music, art, film and design.

And whilst I certainly expect to see a few key dominant trends this season (pastels, tailoring, mod prints, lace…), I am finding more and more that Australian labels are really refining their own identity, and exploring new ways of conveying their individual personal visual message through design, rather than following on from what has already been done overseas.

A rapid influx of international high street brands flooding the market in recent years has caused a lot of local designers to rethink the way they design and produce garments.

As a result, a lot of positive change has ensued, with designers doing smaller runs, producing locally, and becoming more aware of their environmental footprint. In turn, the end product has become more considered, better quality and more unique.

MFW really is an exciting melting pot of the best of the best – the most iconic, established designers and makers showcasing as part of the Premium Runways, the edgier streetwear-focussed cool kids of the Garage Runways, right through to the new generation of student designers that will be exciting us with their unbridled talent and limitless creativity and imagination.

Here, we highlight some outstanding Australian labels that will be showing…

 

Aje

For their resort collection, that will be shown as part of the Town Hall Designer Series runways, Aje designers Adrian Norris and Edwina Forest have been fortunate enough to work within the archives of one of Australia’s most prolific artists, Brett Whiteley.

Collaborating with his wife and muse Wendy to ensure the integrity of his artworks would be preserved, the Aje designers transformed his artworks into prints that feature heavily throughout the collection. Wendy’s unique personal style also helped to inform the silhouettes of the garments, creating wearable artworks that are as unique as their muse.

 

Akira

Iconic Sydney based designer Akira Isogawa, in quite a romantic and perhaps inadvertent way, has also created a collection with a focus on sustainability. The inspiration for his collection this season ‘Vicious Beauty’ came from a box of 80’s fabric swatches given to him by a fabric shop before they closed down. The designers says ‘I loved the idea of repurposing something that would otherwise have been destined for landfill’. All his prints of the season have come out of that box.

In his 25th anniversary collection that will be showcased as part of the Designer Series runways, Akira has really focussed on an exploration of some of the cornerstone ideas of the brand’s core signature of abstract romanticism – ruffles, handwork, sequins and organza are fused together to create a collection that returns to the masterfully decorative and pretty aesthetic he is known for.

 

Arnsdorf

Exquisite modern womenswear label Arnsdorf are trailblazers. Pushing boundaries within the industry in areas of business practice transparency, sustainability and ethical manufacture, they produce everything in-house at their Collingwood factory, and offer all clients complimentary alterations and repairs for the lifetime of their garments.

Their current collection was inspired by the study of drapery in marble sculpture, and the idea of fluidity from structure. Designer Jade Sarita Arnott says ‘it is also an investigation into modern sophistication and codes of dressing. Volume and scale are exaggerated in some garments, while others have a subtle manipulation of form.’

 

Lee Mathews

This namesake label, which is going on nearly 20 years, has always had a strong signature style. But in a testing time for Australian fashion, Lee Mathews has seen it as an opportunity to inject some new perspective into the brand, whilst at the same time maintaining her strong stance on sustainability and effortlessly chic signature style.

Focussing on traditional natural, biodegradable textiles like silks and organic cottons and linens, as well as new technology such as EcoNyl (a fabric made up entirely from waste nylon and recovered fishing nets) the brand has just brought on a new creative director, Natalia Gryzbowski, to, as Lee puts it ‘bring a fresh take to our signature work with silks and resort dresses.’

 

Martin Grant

Melbourne born international superstar Martin Grant will also be showcasing his exquisite designs via the infamous, one-and-only destination for all things amazing, Melbourne institution : Christine. Owner Christine Barro has been a long-time champion of local industry and is now the exclusive Australian stockist of Martin Grant’s collections.

Known for his elegance and uncluttered modernity, Martin’s collection in combination with Christine’s fabulous accessory additions will certainly be a highlight of the week.

Precise tailoring mixed with voluminous silk silhouettes will float down the runway in an array of rich metallics and unique fabrics, staying true to Grant’s simple yet spectacular signature style.

 

Nevenka

While looking to the future is the way forward for some, for Rosemary Masic of Melbourne label Nevenka, inspiration is found in the past.

From a Croatian heritage, Masic often delves into storytelling and the roots of her past to find inspiration, but also looks to key historical fashion figures such as Marie Antoinette, who heavily inspired her current collection. Noting that she ‘loves to bring luxury to everyday life, not just special occasions,’ Masic’s dresses will be dancing down the runway as part of the Designer Series shows.

 

Verner

One theme that has become quite apparent across several fashion collections in recent years, is the melding of art and fashion. Whilst art and music have always been a major influence on fashion, I think the exploration across the mediums has become so much more apparent as we see designers favouring a more artisanal approach to creating clothes.

Local Melbourne label Verner have this season collaborated with friend and painter Gian Manik to create their collection titled ‘Picture Sequences’ which they will be showcasing as part of the MFW Underground Runway series at the iconic Degraves Underpass. Graffiti sprays, painterly markings, and hand-drawn scribbles are taken from the work of Manik and transformed into beautifully printed garments that ‘fuse creative practices to find a new shared visual language.’

In addition to the Melbourne Fashion Week runways, there are talks, exhibitions, parties, films and free fashion experiences to be had. Check out Melbourne.vic.gov.au/mfw for more information.

 

Photography: Mark Roper
Styling: Kate Gaskin
Hair & Make-up: Christine Gaunt
Model: Billie at IMG
Location: Butterland
Production: Hart & Co

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net