After the polish and sophistication of previous days, there was a welcome turn towards the street on day four of L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. Easy, everyday pieces were on show at Frankie’s Runway 3 and there was denim and a dash of edge at the Independent Runway.
Frankie’s unmistakable touch was evident on Runway 3, with cute little tee-pees, accompanied by succulents punctuating the catwalk. The clothes on show kept to the quirky-cool aesthetic, although at some points were just a little too derivative of international collections.
Gorman was first up, sending out designer Lisa Gorman’s signature prints and layers, with an animal-inspired bent clearly visible in the mix of zebra and leopard print pieces. There were layers upon layers, Fair Isle jumpers paired with leather skirts, lots of pom-pom adorned beanies and a questionable, if not show-stopping, knitted onesie to end the Gorman proceedings.
Limedrop had a loosely Western theme, with a dusky palette of browns, blues and a touch of mustard offset by plaids and an interesting striped-silk print. Although the flowered adornments at Nevenka added interest, there was a touch too much international inspiration visible. Whether the Dolce & Gabbana-like star print to the instantly recognisable Miu Miu-esque swallows, it was a disappointing reminder of inspiration taken a little too far.
Friend of Mine also seemed to be inspired by the American west, and while they mostly stuck to silk and leather separates, a mid-length printed dress with double thigh splits added interest. It was all about the print at Leonard St, where the top-to-toe look was in full swing. Local label Kuwaii was our personal favourite, as designer Kristy Barber sent out dresses, skirts, shirts and pants, which fans of easy, understated dressing will be lining up to wear.
Calling the later show of the evening the ‘Independent Runway’ seems somewhat misleading, especially when some of the country’s more established brands such as Ksubi and Something Else are taking part. Nonetheless, this ode to streetwear had some inspiring moments.
There were no surprises as Ksubi opened the show with 90s-inspired leopard and plaid, yet jeans were a little more slouched than usual. There was more plaid from Garth Cook, although the final look of floral printed dress with the perfect slouchy cardigan was promising. It was all about loose comfort for Francis Leon, whose girls looked nonchalant in their desert boots and oxfords.
Livia Arena was a highlight with her buttoned-to-the-top shirts, textured jumpers and edging-on-deconstructed dresses. Extinct showed denim and stripes that failed to excite – the highlight of their section being the early appearance of a Song for the Mute look. One Fell Swoop concentrated on the drape with some success, even managing to make velvet look good. The slouchy, mostly linen, menswear from Song for the Mute offered a new silhouette for the lads.
Jolet’s washed out colours and all-over cityscape print was both directional and wearable, especially the final pleated dress. National Design Award nominee Lui Hon offered something original and intriguing – black and white draped separates with sheer panels and the occasional cut up. Finally, Something Else added some colour to the proceedings with pink and royal blue looks and the blue polka dotted look standing out in particular.