Just like the rest of Melbourne, those at Penthouse Mouse would have been very relieved when the cool change finally came last week. After their sweltering opening party the previous week, they must have been worried about how their Midmouse runways would play out if the heat persisted. Lucky for them, and us, it was nice and cool on Friday.
The first group runway presentation started with a performance by the fabulous Zanzibar Chanel, singing, writhing and booty shaking down the runway. Dressed in tight silver shorts and a custom P.O.C. denim jacket, Zanzibar Chanel lifted the spirits of a rather mellow crowd.
Leonard St. was the first to take to the runway. The local label is known for its use of prints, colour and preppy styles, and their autumn/winter 13 collection was a continuation of this, with the sparrow print jeans likely to be a favourite with their customers. Like Leonard St., men’s label Autonomy stayed true to their brand’s DNA, offering crowds on-trend styles (such as camouflage bomber jackets) for the upcoming winter season.
Next up, RES Denim made their runway debut. Launched last year, the label is Australian denim manufacturer Bradmill’s in-house line. Their collection was inspired by 80s rock group Transvision Vamp, but instead of the diamantes, lace-up legs and barely-there crop tops being ironic, it all just looked a little cheap.
Ameca Calleja, another new kid on the block, had fun elements throughout her collection, like the tie-dye silk skirts and cowhide pants. But there were a few too many different things going on – there was tropical, gypsy and even preppy influences. Continuing with the colourful theme, The Social Studio’s collection was bold and fun. The local label and social enterprise, which offers employment opportunities to migrant and refugee community, threw mixed lollies and flowers into the crowd.
After an hour’s break and a beer or two, the second group runway show got underway. If the first runway was the colourful, playful younger sibling, then this presentation was all about the older, sophisticated sister. Raggatt was the first to show. In just a few seasons, this young label has come very far. Designer Naomi Raggatt has polished her aesthetic and simplified her cuts. The collection was elegant, original and by far the highlight of the evening. Raggatt is definitely one to watch out for.
Project Runway champ Christina Exie showed her winning collection. The refined pieces felt like they were aimed at a slightly older demographic than the other designers and would sit well in Northcote boutiques. Meanwhile, Keegan and Neo Dia both opted for structured aesthetics –Keegan moody and dark, while Neo Dia had pops of colour and bright prints.
Jason Hewitt finished things off with his collection of hand-printed garments. Hewitt gathers printed textiles from his journeys to Africa, which have become the focus of his work. The detailed patterns rightly dominated the looks and his cohesive collection was a nice note to end the night on.