As a consumer-oriented event, L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival is primarily focused on group shows, showcasing current collections with the aim of driving dollars into stores and local industry. While this certainly has its place, sometimes the innovation and originality we have come to expect from the country’s leading fashion talent gets lost in the crowd. The Red Carpet Runway presents Toni Maticevski show that closed out the week was, then, especially welcome.

In every way, this show was a step above everything else we’ve seen this week. The moody atmosphere was apparent as soon as the lights dimmed and Lykke Li’s haunting vocals drifted through the space. The sold-out audience were literally on the edges of their seats as, one by one, perfectly dishevelled models slowly marched down the runway in Maticevski’s intricate designs.

An all-gown show, these were pieces from Maticevski’s bespoke service, each dress building on the one before and all of them clearly laboured over for hours. The show began moodily, as black dress after black dress appeared on the catwalk. Draping, embroidery, cut outs and sheer panels all made appearances alongside feathered sleeves and voluminous skirts. The black mood gradually progressed to grey jersey dresses that clung to the body, through to white gowns that both evoked the past and reached forward into the future.

Best of all, this wasn’t any kind of red carpet dressing we’re familiar with. There were none of the strapless, metallic, fishtail gowns that today’s playing-it-safe red carpet attendees favour. These were daring dresses, made for women with confidence and an inherent, individual sense of style.

The final parade of models – paper butterflies pressed to their lips – was an emotional ending to LMFF, celebrating the extraordinary talent of a man we are lucky to call our own.

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