Fashion Week is a curious beast. Frenemies who haven’t met yet make idle chit chat, smile and nod while pretending to hear each other over the din; designers spend twenty-four hours working frantically on a collection of clothes with only Tim Gunn acting as a sounding board [TBC]; and the entire Australian media contingent converge on the agora of Carriageworks in Sydney to decide what you will and won’t be wearing in the imagined tragicomedy of your life for the foreseeable future.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia officially started on Sunday evening, but for all intents and purposes it really started yesterday when I arrived with much inaudible fanfare to begin this, the first of four expeditions up chic creek without a paddle.
Here is a definitive guide to the Best Things That Happened Yesterday At Fashion.
BEST YOU BETTER WERQ CAMEO
In industry parlance, arriving half an hour fashionably late to Alex Perry was not a #major problem, because in being half an hour late I was technically twenty-seven minutes early. After being asked not to make any footprints on a mirrored gold runway conducive to footprints, I assumed my seat opposite a morning show host who sat with the uncomfortable spinal curvature of someone who knew they were being photographed at all times. I adjusted my posture. Near her, the day’s most impressive celebrity sighting: the star of ABC TV’s lesbian legal drama, Janet King.
Nothing could be dealt with.
Besides Janet King (second photo, bottom left, hardly visible unless you know what you’re looking for) and Gerard Butler (who would later make known his grievance at having his photograph taken with the gruff refusal of someone who’d just been asked to sample a communicable disease) the day’s Best You Better Werq Cameo belonged to Heaven’s Angel Alessandra Ambrosio, who opened and closed Perry’s supremely confident, sexy and sporty Varsity show – think sequinned and second skin python, sherbet lace and one (1) model taking a tumble – with the verve of a seasoned pro whose job requires that she fly from one side of the world to the other for an overnight stay.
No big deal.
Belonged to the miniature brioche Caprese burgers and easily-neckable gratis prosecco at Kym Ellery’s Opaque show at Bondi Icebergs, where a sudden downpour of rain elicited level-headed hyperbole from the waiting queue. Things overheard included: “They need to give us umbrellas or we’re going to leave,” and “This rain is literally the worst.”
The clothes – translucent evening wear, all pleats and folds, bell sleeved and flared, styled like balletic punks – were sublime, building on Ellery’s trademark silhouettes and further solidified her brand as one of Australia’s pre-eminent labels.
“What’s the big deal? What’s going on?” a sweet elderly lady asked on her way to the bistro next door prior to the show. “It’s Fashion,” the only response that could be mustered.
Hands down belonged to the presentation offered in palms outstretched by Desert Designs, whose Together, Towards The Water set was punctuated with restorative, healing crystals and overhanging chrysalis sculptures befitting some of the show’s cocoon-ish shapes, like exaggerated #normcore bucket hats and A+ anoraks.
The casting, zen-like monastic pacing, incredible prints on a vast range of garments, Bernhard Wilhelm x Camper Himalayan sneakers and laid back vibe were a welcome respite from waiting for things to happen and refusing flavoured mineral water. Full marks.
This chic child at Bec & Bridge, where easy Cool Girl separates were rendered predominantly in stripes on an epic runway.
BEST DESIGNER TO WEAR TO A MATADOR-THEMED CABARET EVENING
No BS, Phoenix Keating, who showed himself once again to be one of the week’s foremost showmen with a collection that balanced high-impact, editorial looks with wearable separates in seersucker stripes, neoprene and plaid.
BEST VENUE FROM WHICH TO MAKE A SPEEDY EXIT TO WATCH GAME OF THRONES
EORA Pool and Gymnasium was the perfect venue for Karla Špetic’s serene, high-sheen slip dresses printed with pearl motifs, and bibbed smocks laced with tulle like the lip of an oyster, and beaded double breasted tuxedos paired with #sportsluxe Reebok sneakers. The result was a highly-polished, fast-paced exercise in Spectic’s signature cleanliness.
BEST GIFT BAG
All of them, if hairspray and more hairspray is your thing.
BEST STREET STYLE
Here are some photos of attendees wearing clothes on the street that I’m fairly certain were their own, which is something of rarity at an event where dozens loiter in packs on the periphery of the venue – limbs akimbo, hair on point – their jackets hung over their shoulders, precariously balancing a crippling burden they alone must bear.
More to come.