Languid and just a little bit louche, there was a lived-in, déshabillé feel to the collections on day two of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, with an abundance of silky, fluid fabrics and barely-there beauty. Except, that is, for Romance Was Born. In collaboration with Perth-based artist Rebecca Baumann, Romance Was Born designers Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett debuted a month-long exhibition at Carriageworks that was every bit as theatrical and highly produced as their infamous past presentations. Here’s our wrap-up of the day.
Michael Lo Sordo
Music: Thumping club beats.
Hair: Deconstructed bouffant, blown back and sprayed in place.
Beauty: Hyper-bronzed across cheekbones and the t-zone.
Key piece: Alexandra Agoston O’Connor in the show opener: a pinstripe print trench coat that was almost dressing gown-like with its relaxed, off-the-shoulder cut.
Overall feel: Boardroom to boudoir. Moving beyond his previous focus on digital prints, in this collection Lo Sordo placed emphasis on cut and styling. In a smorgasbord of gelato hues, the collection’s long, languid lines were complemented with slip-on sneakers and, often, an extra jacket tied around the hips – a very popular look with the street style photographers outside Carriageworks.
We Are Handsome
Music: Outasight’s Change the World and Donna Summer’s Bad Girls.
Hair: Urban streetwear influenced the voluminous yet slicked-back looks, which sat high from the model’s heads, accompanied by gold palm tree earrings.
Beauty: Tanned. Limbs and midriffs were bronzed and glowing, and models alternated between a frosted-pink lip and a pop of coral red.
Key piece: Can we go past the snake and floral-print swimsuit, accompanied by Candy, the live albino diamond python?
Overall feel: Fun. Very fun. We Are Handsome shows remind you of the important things in life: smiling, the beach, and ice cream. There was a retro, feel-good atmosphere at the show, aided by the super-saturated flamingo and ‘Bella Vista’ prints. Classic one piece and bikini styles were joined this season by more directional wetsuit inspired cropped vests.
Music: Guests entered to the strains of Beyonce’s Drunk in Love.
Hair: The perfect blow dry, glossy and sleek.
Beauty: Very clean. Barely there foundation, brushed-up brows and a slight pink stain on lips.
Key piece: Pale-pink cropped cigarette trousers with and extra waist-tie and disco-ball glitter sweatshirt.
Overall feel: Haute streetwear. There was something about this collection: when the models came out in their final walk – orchids by Dr Lisa Cooper clenched between their teeth – the audience erupted in applause. Inspired by the resilient power of the orchid, Maticevski rendered his trademark red-carpet glamour in a supremely wearable way. Ball gowns were cast in mesh or neoprene and the show-stopping glitter pieces were perfectly undone, with sleeves rolled up and hems untucked.
In his words: Toni Maticevski told us “It's always nice to bring the collection home. We do so much travelling during the sales season which can be really full on, so it’s nice to bring it back and show it on home ground.”
Music: An eerie original composition by CSMNT61.
Hair: Lived-in tousles.
Beauty: The focus was on flawless skin with a luminous finish. Only a touch of colour on the lips was added.
Key piece: Nicole Pollard in the opening look, a double-breasted shorts suit in navy blue silk with gold buttons.
Overall feel: Step in line. Esber took inspiration from uniforms this season. The set design referenced the outline of a helipad, epaulettes and gold buttons abounded and some pieces were even monogrammed with the model’s initials. There was certainly a military precision in his devotion to cut and form. But Esber managed to keep the atmosphere elegant and resolutely feminine, with asymmetrical thigh-slits, midi hemlines and a delicate colour palette of navy, blush pink and grey.
Romance Was Born
Key piece: The Madonna t-shirt embellished with Perspex teardrop sequins, the exact t-shirt Romance Was Born designer Luke Sales was wearing when he first met co-designer Anna Plunkett.
Overall feel: Art meets fashion. Inspired by the slow-release of memory after a big night out, the pieces had all the kaleidoscopic feel of the morning after the night before. Utilising the existing architectural characteristics of Carriageworks, Baumann manipulated, reflected and refracted light, all the better to highlight each showpiece. Visitors to the month-long exhibition can expect oversized sequins, trailing cellophane fringes and multi-coloured metallics that would make Mardi Gras proud.
In their words: Romance Was Born co-designer Luke Sales joked that they were “very happy about not using models this year.”