For the first time, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: Australia is focusing on Resort collections, and we're Down Under to bring you all the best of Aussie fashion. From New York favorites making a homecoming to brand new designers making their mark, Sydney has got plenty to offer.
Romance Was Born
Romance Was Born is easily Australia's buzziest brand, and it's not hard to see why: Wednesday's presentation was a theatrical production on par with some of the fashion industry's most exciting talents. At Carthona House, a historic — and private — residence on the water in Darling Point, an intimate group of fashion editors watched models in madcap hair and makeup prowl through the rooms like vexed heiresses. They then exited to the lawn, where they took a moment to perform for the cameras (at the direction of Mark Vassallo, one of Australia's biggest stylists), all to celebrated Aussie musician Paul Mac's piano rendition of (what else?) Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love."
The performance didn't overshadow the clothes, though – the level of design held up to the weight of the production. The mix of colors and fabrics (which included velvets and chiffons) combined with the embroidery and detail work created a collection with incredible depth. Designers Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett unquestionably have a hit on their hands.
There are few designers who have real fans, people who would do anything to just be at the show for the experience. The crowd at Di$count Universe was filled with people who came decked in the brand — or some facsimile thereof — and who erupted in applause when the lights went down to start the show. This wasn't a runway, it was a rock show, and Di$count Universe entertained. Models with electric-blue tears or deep-red blood stains running from their mouths took to the glittering catwalk wearing sequined dresses emblazoned with phrases like, "God is good but Satan does that thing you like with his tongue" and "Fuck off and die."
It sounds like a lot, but somehow, the brand left us all wanting more. One look close to the end was a red leather jacket which read, "Pretty sure this is our final collection." It was just the dose of attitude and humor any fashion week needs – and, in many ways, exactly what Jeremy Scott aims to be. At the finale, models flipped the camera the bird, so it may be a while before we see Di$count Universe clamoring for the acceptance of mainstream fashion. Until then, it's not hard to see why Miley Cyrus and Rihanna are fans.
Tome, which typically shows in New York, has become one of the Australian fashion industry's success stories, so it was nice to see the brand return to Sydney. It was one of the few brands locally to commit to the "see now, buy now" trend that's currently dominating the New York fashion scene. Of course, it was showing the pre-fall 2016 collection it had already shown in New York last December, so it's hard to say how genuine this effort was. Still, locals were clearly pleased to see hometown heroes Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin back Down Under — new collection or not.
Disclosure: IMG provided my travel and accommodations to cover Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.