It’s 10.49am on Saturday morning in an industrial part of Midtown, New York, and the Dion Lee runway show is about to commence in a gallery above a mechanic. It’s humid and sweaty on the cobbled street as guests line up to enter, fanning themselves with invitations and sipping take-away iced coffees. Street-style fashion photographers jostle to capture models, fashion editors and bloggers as they enter in highly curated outfits. Such is a typical scene around New York this week as Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week engulfs the city.

It opened last Thursday (September 6) and will run until the end of this week, before cases are packed and shipped to London, Milan and then Paris, continuing on the tour of global fashion weeks.

Representing the Australian and New Zealand design set are return guests and some of our favourite antipodean labels, so we stopped into their shows to see what they’re up to this season. Designs by TOME, Zimmermann, and Dion Lee hit the runway in the first few days, with Kiwi Karen Walker kicking off the second half of the busy week on Monday. Here are the details from the runway sidelines.


Collection: SS15, TOME’s sixth New York Fashion Week.

Inspiration: Two female Indian artists; classical dancer Rukmini Devi and contemporary photographer Dayanita Singh.

Main themes: Sari-style wraps, long pleated dresses and skirts and garments folded, overlaid and belted. Palette: white, pink, stripes, black and gold.

Standouts: pink wide-leg trousers, gold trench coat, off-the-shoulder striped wrap top, long pleated skirts.

Hair: pulled-back slick and low into a twist.

Stylist: Michelle Jank.

Music: Milo Kossowski.

Location: The Pavilion at The Lincoln Centre.


Collection: Tell Me Seer, spring 2015 RTW.

Inspiration: the tarot cards of American illustrator David Palladini.

Main themes: lace, frills and ruffles, billowing silhouettes, leather and coated silks.

Palette: gold, blue, purple, white.

Features: silk, military-style trench coats, black-lace halter swimsuit, Mania Mania necklaces with pagan charms.

Music: La Femme, Jimi Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac.

Location: The Pavilion at The Lincoln Centre.

Dion Lee

Collection: SS15, his second year at New York Fashion Week.

Inspiration: the industrial landscapes of Jeffrey Smart.

Main themes: thick belt straps, leather, chains, asymmetrical prints channelling high-vis work wear, harnesses and safety gear.

Palette: white, blue, black, yellow.

Features: Blue-and-black bomber jacket and skirt, leather zipper biker pants, tick chain neck pieces and dress features.

Hair: Wet and slicked back in low ponytail.

Stylist: Caterina Scardino and James Campbell.

Music: Metal by Gary Numan.

Location: Hosfelt Gallery.

Karen Walker

Collection: Garden People, SS15.

Inspiration: Posh English countryside, down the garden path, eccentric horticulturist and photographs by Valerie Finnis of Britain’s gardening culture from post-World War Two through to the 1970s.

Main themes: Colourful floral prints and utility cuts in hard-working fabrics such as denim and suede. Wide-leg pants, shirts under smocks, dungarees, oversized straw hats, secured with big scarfs and Karen Walker 10th anniversary sunnies.

Palette: Terracotta, clay, lavender, moss green, blue, yellow.

Features: Suede terracotta and clay patchwork coat, lavender and moss suede top and patch-knee jeans, weathered cotton gardening suit.

Stylist: Kathryn Neale of Tim Howard Management.

Hair: Roughly half pinned back or under a hat.

Music: Lo-fi.

Location: Pier 59 Studios.