Alyx Gorman, fashion editor at Australia's biggest lifestyle site The Vine, gave us the run down on the best collections at the just-wrapped Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. Now she's singled out the ones to watch.
Check out these three hidden (for now!) gems:
Christopher Esber has the potential to become one of Australia's most significant designers. He has won most of the major fashion prizes in the country and last year, he was a finalist in Australia's heat of the Woolmark Awards.
A classmate of Dion Lee, Esber's growth as a designer has come in fits and spurts. He has been buzzed about within the fashion industry for years, but a bit of hype and a lot of talent haven't always translated into a healthy portfolio of stockists.
Last year, Esber finally fully came into his own. First, he won the LMFF Design Award, then his show at MBFWA was the week's strongest moments. This year Christopher Esber showed elegant tailoring in complicated, custom-made fabrics, building on the impression he made in 2012. He presented in a mayonnaise factory filled with eye-popping blue and orange shelving, and his collection piqued the interest of at least one international fashion buyer.
There's a considerable coterie of Australian designers who manufacture in Bali, and Celeste Tesoriero is the latest to join these ranks. She presented her Spring 2013 collection of clothing and jewelry at a gallery a few days before fashion week commenced. Her use of rough textures like course woven linen and raffia embroidery, combined with an elaborately sketched sea monster print made for an intriguing collection. While she's self described as an explorer of 'the romance of nature, and the nature of romance', her latest collection seemed to be more nautical hipster in the vein of Opening Ceremony.
Tesoriero's work feels more complex than many designers who occupy the same street wear space, and she has already picked up a swathe of stockists. With the right strategy, especially in the online space, it's easy to see her work gaining a cult following, fast.
Pageant has been making menswear since 2010, but they have just launched their first line for women at L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. Designed by Amanda Cumming and Kate Reynolds--who have between them worked with Christopher Kane, Tim Soar and Melbourne based street wear heroes PAM--Pageant has a solid base to start from. The label's point of difference is their use of unusual seaming and performance fabrics. A vaguely dirty twee look, featuring fully buttoned up shirts, school boy shorts, frills and pseudo-thrifted onesies has come to typify Melbourne style lately. In their first womenswear collection, Pageant took these codes and scrubbed them down. The result is still a little cutesy--but a pastel pink and cream based palette, combined with sleek textures, has siphoned away the style's most awkward aspects. Their fold-over, frilled clutch looks particularly purchase-worthy.
Given the brand already has international support from too-cool-for-school magazines like WAD and Dazed and Confused, and at least one unisex stockist, their new line could well take them places.