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Australian Fashion Week Celebrates 15 Years

This past week, Sydney hosted the 15th anniversary of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW). Of course, it’s autumn in Australia now, and designe

This past week, Sydney hosted the 15th anniversary of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW).

Of course, it’s autumn in Australia now, and designers were showing their Spring/Summer 2010-2011 collections. It was a pleasure to see clothes for spring on the runway when it is actually spring here in New York.

We’ve been diligently observing from afar for the past five days and have chosen ten tidbits to highlight from this very unique event:

1) Swimsuits! No one does swimsuits like Australia. Label after label sent gorgeous suits down the runway. The suits were often worn by laughing models carrying adorable props like ukuleles and lollipops.

The two trends? Teeny tiny bikinis and retro inspired maillots. Check out Zimmermann, Seventh Wonderland, and Karen Nielsen Collection for some of the best.

2) Aboriginal model-of-the-moment Samantha Harris (she’s in the photo, left), walked in no less than 18 shows. She was also the cover girl for the June issue of Vogue Australia, which is the fashion equivalent of the September issue here. It’s the first time in 17 years that Vogue Australia has featured an aboriginal model.

3) Everyone was talking about the volcano. No, not the one in Iceland. This one, by much-beloved but not-yet-profitable label Romance Was Born.

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4) Dion Lee showed his highly anticipated second RAFW collection at the Sydney Opera House. Tim Blanks, guest writing for Vogue Australia, said: “Lee deflected the weight of expectation with a flawless presentation that earned him a niche in fashion’s Generation Next, alongside the likes of fellow twenty-somethings Marios Schwab and Proenza Schouler.” High praise indeed. We loved the cool Rorschach blot dresses.

5) Australia is still embracing ridiculously high shoes, kitten heel trend be damned. Models fell or seriously tottered at Elliot Ward-Fear, Ginger & Smart, and Zambesi.

6) There was some snarking in the Aussie press that certain designers took Phoebe’s soft, neutral Celine silhouette and flat out ripped it off.

7) Susie Bubble represented for the northern hemisphere bloggers and chronicled RAFW with her usual infectious enthusiasm and, of course, killer outfits.

8) Unknown label Humility Couture had people shaking their heads after they sent a grim reaper down the runway pulling a cart containing headstones which read, “RIP Alexander McQueen, YSL, Ksubi....”

9)...which had to really piss off struggling label Ksubi, which closed RAFW to critical acclaim in what was billed a comeback show. The label almost went under and hadn’t shown at RAFW for three years. But they now have a new owner and everyone is hopeful.

10) Go here to see images and video from most of the runway shows.

Thanks for an entertaining week, Australia. Now where can we get those swimsuits? It’s almost beach season.