Day three at Fashion Week was a chance to showcase some of Australia's strongest labels, each of which have made a name for forging their own niche in the industry and have mapped out their aesthetic, garnered a loyal customer base and rarely veer from their signatures.
The first case in point was the bright and always graphic We Are Handsome. Titled 'The Discovery and The Dynasty’, this season’s showing from Indhra Chagoury and Jeremy Jules Somers blended their new print concepts (The Discovery) with some of their greatest hits (The Dynasty). Within The Dynasty, there was familiar imagery of stallions, feathers, roaring lions and robots, each applied to a range of styles, from the skimpiest of string bikinis to the most flattering corset one-pieces, sleeveless dresses and even sheer silk cover-ups. For The Discovery, the design duo delved into vivid imagery of foxes, theme parks and monochromatic wildlife in the form of tigers, penguins and zebras. Combined with Bondi Beach Cruiser bicycles (ridden in heels and emblazoned with matching prints), the results were as colourful as any safari, and just as fierce.
Despite it being their debut show at MBFWA, Vanishing Elephant was another label that looked as if they had been doing it for years, staying true to their now recognisable, relaxed yet tailored street-wear. Set at a wonderfully industrial space at Australian Technology Park and accompanied by a zine edited by Broadsheet (now available at the label's stores), designers Huw Bennett, Felix Chan and Arran Russell let their precise techniques and sense of humour shine through. As always, shirting and suiting for women and men were present, this season in cheeky stripes, spots, hibiscus and shark prints. Vanishing Elephant's biggest strength has always been its outerwear and this season's offering was no exception (the kimono-style jacket worn by Julia Nobis proved a key example). All up, the collection, titled 'A Continuous New Beginning' seemed to tick all the sartorial boxes of a clichéd Japanese tourist’s trip to Hawaii, and yet it appeared so effortlessly cool – as if it had been so obvious all along. Such is the understated magic of this talented trio.
Understated magic was also in the air at Michael Lo Sordo's show. This season Michael swapped digital prints for a strong emphasis on suiting. But it wasn't all business, with deconstructed pieces revealing a serene, almost melancholy mood – like a businesswoman coming undone, checking into a clinical asylum and wandering stark halls in a honeycomb-textured white trapeze coat, bike shorts and slippers. A high nun-collared business shirt looked to be shrunken with hems ending above the midriff, while a body-con black dress featured abstract sheer splices as if the dress had cracked. You could continue to dive deep into the metaphors, but on a surface level the collection was incredibly elegant and further cemented Lo Sordo as not just a lovely guy (you could tell from the cheers alone), but a designer to be reckoned with.