Ballerinas, strobe lights, smoke, bass and an explosion of glitter. With that, Kym Ellery opened Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

This was a night of returns – Ellery is back home after showing at the world’s most prestigious fashion week in Paris, and Gemma Ward is back on the runway after a six-year break from modelling.

As the lights dimmed at Carriagworks on Sunday evening, dancers from the Australian Ballet came on to the runway, twirling in black tutus to an amped-up version of a classical tune. Then came lights, sound and smoke, and Gemma Ward was gliding down the runway in a black silk dress that set the tone for the show: refined but sexy, urban but romantic.

For the rousing finale Ward lead out Ellery’s brigade to Katy Perry’s hit Firework, as silver sparkles fell from the sky. Ellery, sprinted up and down the long runway, and with that, fashion week was on.

Music: Beats and bass. DJ Snake’s Turn Down for What and Kanye West’s Black Skinhead came first, then Firework for the booming finale.

Hair: Sleek, middle-part, low-slung ponytails with hair adornments akin to long dangly earrings.

Beauty: Minimalist, with a dash of white around the eyes which added an ethereal, disco element.

Key looks: A speckled, grey, off-the-shoulder dress, with a split up the middle and ruffled long sleeves - the sexiest winter dress you’ve ever seen. A strapless column of a shimmering golden fringe over black trousers; long, swinging and extremely wearable tailored coats in black and cream suede and burnt orange; jackets with oversized flap pockets and collars cinched in the middle with a black silk belt; sensuous layers of silk upon silk in white, blue and black; a tailored black coat adorned with glassy white ceramic buttons made by Ellery’s mum.

Overall feel: Contemporary and sensuous urban power woman, with a hint of romance. Ellery showed a tapered version of this collection in Paris in March, then expanded and recast the offering to suit local sentiment. Ellery told Broadsheet the collection is inspired by the female subjects of Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele; she is imagining what these women might wear today.

There has been a 1970s renaissance on the runways recently and there were elements of that here, with Ellery’s trademark flares and bellbottoms, funnel sleeves and willowy silhouettes, and that clap-inducing splash of disco fringe.

Alongside draped, fluid shapes there was a focus on tailoring and the layering of textures, fabrics and garments, with a largely black-and-white palette punctuated by blues, greys and a high-shine blush pink paisley. There were future and retro elements in a collection designed for the multifaceted city girl.

Spotted: Bambi Northwood-Blyth, Nicole Trunfio, Cheyenne Tozzi, Lindy Klim and Jessica Mauboy.

To see the rest of our coverage from MBFWA, click here.