After sitting through Friday and Saturday night's shows, it's obvious that while there is immense diversity among Australia's current crop of designers, summer can't help but evoke similar emotions in all of us.
Friday night was very much a snapshot of Melbourne's street labels along with a welcomed injection of menswear. Gaudy gold jewellery, baseball caps and Azealia Banks beats put a varsity spin on Nobody's coloured denim. Limedrop featured athletic lines and White Suede focused on prints. Similarly, label on the rise Friend of Mine made a strong statement with their clean and lean collection. Their jagged-edge hems resembled the signature style of Peter Pan's Tinkerbell, but instead of acid yellow and fairy dust, designers Teale Talbot and Leticia McLean kept the cleverly named 'stardust' micro-minis monochromatic.
While From Britten's boxy and deconstructed suiting offered a unique point of view and Leopold's (link) chocolate leather shorts proved appealing for both men and women, the highlight of the show was Strateas Carlucci. Designed by previous Trimapee duo Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci, the label took street wear to a luxe level, diverging from the baseball caps towards the evolving street style revolution that is proving ever-influential. While primarily black, the dynamic collection kept surprising with deconstructed and exaggerated suiting for both men and women. Hand treated fabrics and intricate details gave an interesting touch to cocoon and straightjacket shapes. Not your traditional spring collection, but apt considering the arctic winds that were blowing down Swanston Street, these boys know their city (and the European market) well.
Saturday night's show was when summer really came to shine. We might not have felt the season outside but with models sporting nonchalantly wet hair and a slick of white on their eyes reminiscent of sunscreen, you could have been forgiven for thinking that they'd just come from a dip at St Kilda. Gorman kept up the facade, opening the show with their beloved geometric prints and kitschy sunglasses. It was a rainbow of colour, celebrated in harlequin triangles, Missoni-style zigzags and spatial sequins. Surprisingly, while colour was a prominent theme, florals failed to come to fruition throughout the show.
Megan Park moved from dainty and painterly prints on white to bolder prints that grew more intense as the show progressed. Alice McCall's take on the concept resulted in white lace and cotton frocks brightened with vibrant embroidery, the pairing wavering only once with a sculptural gold netting dress cocooning a white singlet underlay. Kuwaii also followed suit, with soft drapery appearing in ice blue and warm reds, softened by stark crystal cuffs and white patent creepers, proving summer's new white heat is more sleek than crisp.
In addition to bright on white, the show also revealed a collective focus on the back, with cut-outs, ties and button-up backs adding subtle accents to simple silhouettes. In among Dress Up's (link) hot pink culottes and front split dresses, tie backs added a relaxed element, as seen holding together a knitted playsuit with a deep v-back. Obus's preppy pastel collection, complete with winged sunglasses and summer suiting, also took on similar tie elements, most notably on a boxy blazer that, when buttoned together at the back, revealed a diamond shape cut-out.
Diamonds of a more digital form took shape on We Are Handsome's swimwear, joining a fierce entourage of lion and zebra prints. Alpha60 closed the show, demonstrating that even the usually black-clad label is feeling colour and shapes for summer.