It was a rare quiet night at the Fashion Festival on Monday, with only a single show for the evening. But with sponsorship from, the lone show was certainly a big one. There was a serious fashion crowd in the building, including Vogue Australia editor-in-chief Kirstie Clements sitting front row with National Designer Award winner Christopher Esber.

Dion Lee started proceedings with a stellar showing of his signature tailored aesthetic. Despite some serious shoe problems for the models (half of them ended up barefoot), Lee’s internationally-minded looks combined body-con, geometric prints and spot-on use of colour. Having just shown at London Fashion Week, Lee’s already stellar trajectory just keeps aiming higher and higher.

Gary Bigeni was next up, with a collection that saw him branching out from his signature jersey and seriously stepping up to the plate. A polka-dot print added interest to his draped pieces as well as cropped pants and shirts, but it was the half-leather, half-jersey skirt that really impressed. Josh Goot’s opening look of a rose-embossed leather skirt and top saw the crowd draw a collective breath. The suiting and moody prints that followed were a darker side to the Goot we know and love.

Therese Rawsthorne started light and airy with sheer dresses and shirts before progressing to a dark palm tree print, leather pants and a final metallic, tweed-like skater dress. Christopher Esber showed just why he took out the National Designer Award last week with an outstanding, mood-drenched showing. Pale mint brocade looks evolved into black leather, silk and shearling skirts and tops accompanied by marled grey slouchy jumpers and jackets. The final black dress with sheer cut-outs seemed destined for many a magazine editorial.

One of our favourites, Magdalena Velevska, sent out looks that built on her successful spring/summer breakout collection. The tribal-like chest detailing was still there, but this time there were sheer elements, lime green and a dark brocade print. The final dresses – in purple, black and teal – were particularly lust-worthy. The breezily cool designs of Kym Ellery were brought to a new level with laser cut leather, double thigh splits and red carpet-worthy gowns. Studded belts finished off the dresses in textured black and gold, while on-trend peplums were also present.

Runway 4 truly showcased the best of Australia’s fashion talent – forward, original design that is starting to make its mark on the international fashion scene.