Russell Crowe, Rebecca Gibney, Lorde. These names are ubiquitous in Australian pop culture. And while we have collectively conceded they do in fact hail from across the ditch, there are two more New Zealanders to add to the list of antipodean stars we’d gladly claim as our own: Maggie Hewitt and Wynn Crawshaw.

Waves lapped at the shoreline of Rushcutters Bay as golden hour set the scene for Maggie Marilyn’s debut Afterpay Australian Fashion Week show on Monday evening. Maggie Hewitt, founder and designer of the Auckland-born brand, relocated to Sydney last year. And it’s safe to say that she’s made the city her stage.

It’s the “undeniable connection to nature” that has helped Hewitt settle into her new home in Bondi. “This city has felt like a second home for a while, so to be putting down roots here feels really special,” she says. The brand opened its first Australian store in Paddington in October 2022.

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The show was staged in the RANSA sailing club with a backdrop of the Harbour Bridge. “The venue for our show is a space rooted in the importance of community, and is known for being a melting pot of people,” Hewitt says. “It’s always inspired me how summer brings out the best in the human spirit, and so I wanted to pay tribute to that nostalgia.”

When it came to the clothes, we saw a decidedly delicate femininity – but with a carefree attitude, thanks to practical layering. There were signature shackets worn over swimwear from Fella, puffers paired with ballet pumps and not much else, and proof that the “jeans and a nice top” memo is back in a big way this season. Peppermint candy stripes, blooming florals and splashes of silver featured among the pared-back colour palette. Keen-eyed fans noticed core elements from the brand styled with new-season pieces.

“We intentionally included a lot of existing foundational pieces like the 01 Blazer, 01 Jeans and striped shirts, which I think speaks to how much we believe in the longevity of these styles,” Hewitt says. “My hope is that our customer will see some of her own MM wardrobe in the show and feel reinspired to pull them out. This collection is a homecoming of sorts for my original vision, fusing my love of vibrant, feminine, playful silhouettes with those wardrobe essentials you wear day in and day out.”

Models walked the show barefaced. Their “lit from within” looks were delivered by fellow New Zealand favourite Emma Lewisham – namely the brand’s Illuminating Face & Body oil.

Cut to 9pm on Tuesday, where Wynn Hamlyn closed out day two with sport of a different sort as the setting. Moore Park’s Hyper Karting arena was turned into a catwalk for the occasion. Neon lights and a high-voltage soundtrack created an atmosphere of fun that echoed designer and founder Wynn Crawshaw’s mood during the incubation process.

“My alter ego is Wynn Diesel and when starting on the new collection I wanted to have fun and not take it too seriously,” Crawshaw says. “I’ve been so intrigued by the rise in popularity of Formula One that has exposed so many people to the thrill of ‘the race’, and the electric subculture that surrounds it.”

The motor theme was seen throughout men’s and women’s styles on the runway. Highlights include the “Wynn Hamlyn Race” badges and emblems, chevron stripes, faded denim and leather fabrics, and a custom-designed “blurred vision” flower print that mimics the rush of a racing car. Accessories nodded to the continuing ’90s grunge trend, with speed dealer sunnies, kitten heel slingbacks and Salomon sneakers completing looks.

Afterpay Australian Fashion Week runs until May 19.

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