Assuming the difficult task of following up the RMIT Graduate Showcase last night was the Emerging Designer Runway. Showcasing the Spring/Summer collections of a handful of recently launched labels, the show lived up to the challenge with impressive and inventive pared-back design.

Kinoak, who we featured on the cover of our Spring 2011 print edition, opened with a gorgeous collection of floral printed linen pieces, featuring modestly cut shorts, tailored jackets and playsuits. A subtle feeling of sportiness imbued the casual cuts and chambray shirt-style dresses – girly retro fun.

Pageant slicked things down with a menswear collection designed by two girls who clearly know what guys want. A vintage rose print was cast across light shirts and shorts, while athletic parachute pants were cast in sheer canary yellow and boxy tees in high-shine fabric. Blue shirting and matching shorts were a classic contrast.

Orri Henrisson’s collections always communicate a strength and masculine cleanliness that has no doubt been key in the label’s building of a devoted fan-base. The new collection solidified this, with a focus on striped panelling of colours and contrasts between sheer and opaque fabrics. Beautiful were the form fitting shorts and slim lined jackets with translucent elbow patches.

Livia Arena showed 1970s mini dresses, tailored pants and full A-line skirts, with an emphasis on linen in tones of metallic rust and white. The collection complemented that of Thursday Sunday, with cropped knitted jumpers, culottes and chic wide-brim hats channelling a Hamptons summer holiday.

Neo Dia brought glamour on board with a breathtaking white floor-length gown followed by a trail of handkerchief hems, crisp silk shirting and glomesh accents. Similarly sophisticated were Catherine Leon’s blotched floral prints on structured blazers, matched with slim-cropped pants in blush pink silk.

The future looks bright for these designers.

MSFW