Fashion Week 2011 Wrap: Top Trends and Best In Show

Pedestrian’s Fashion Week guest blogger Thea Basiliou – the incomparably stylish owner of Brisbane boutique Blonde Venus and one of the more influential people in Australian fashion – wraps up her week with reviews of the final day’s shows, and her pick of the best collections from the week as well as a breakdown of the season’s biggest trends. For more information about Blonde Venus see the bottom of the page. Thank you so much to Thea for generously lending us her expertise, entertaining words and a unique insight into Rosemount Australian Fashion Week from the perspective of a buyer…

Hi Everyone!

Sorry I’m late getting this last post to you. I had a melt down after having a nightmare that I was being swallowed up by a giant pair of digital print shiny leggings.

Seriously, it’s just so exhausting keeping up with it all.

Runway – Toni Maticevski
We were up bright an early again for a 9am date with the dashing Toni Maticevski at the lovely old Eveleigh Markets site.

We stocked Toni for a quite a few years in his early days but it has been some time since he has shown on the Runway in Australia and since he has sold his mainline RTW collection.

Toni has been concentrating on private couture clients and his mainstream collections for Myer. I think this was a good move to reacquaint himself with the public as I spoke to some younger girls a the show that didn’t know of his background and his earlier work.

The first time Toni showed at Australian Fashion Week, it was simply the hottest ticket in town. The venue was packed to capacity and Toni’s collection was red hot – a mixture of skimpy avant guard shapes shown with vampy tailoring. Very sexy. For his runway return, Toni presented a mixture of RTW and couture pieces that were mostly dresses which I guess are his market.

My first recall of the show is feathers and embellishment. The feathers were used lavishly even extending to a giant pair of wings. There was a lot of embelishment in textural fabric flowers, layered belts and milinery tulle tied around the wrists with sparkly finishes. There was even ruffles around the ankles and shoes with bows. Fuschia pink was the highlight colour amongst blush, nude, black and white.

This was not a fashion forward collection but more a collection of extravagant evening pieces for a particular occasion. The crowd seemed to like the drama and I was sitting next to Carla Zampatti who was really loving it.

My favourite piece was an (un-embellished) gown in nude with draping and another simple shift dress also in nude with angel flared sleeves.

We finally got back to the hotel (it’s always a nightmare getting cabs back from some of the off-site shows) and it was time to check out and tried to catch up on some of my emails and orders.

In the afternoon, I headed back to The Rocks to toast the latest well deserving recipient of the Australian Fashion Laureate Award, Simon Lock. Simon originally founded Australian Fashion Week back in 1995 and if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog.

Simon’s work and concept gave our industry some grounding and a focus for the year. A time when we can all come and meet each other to talk crap and do business. I’ve been to every single fashion week so have seen the change and development in the industry. I remember meeting “new generation” labels like Lover and Gorman and the excitement of Akira‘s debut runway show. We actually had gift bags and after parties,”famous people” and wannabes, camera crews and media and international guests. We all felt awkward but somehow important – and maybe still do.

So thank you Simon for your extraordinary effort. It was nice having you around again this year – you make it feel like it should be.

Simon’s reception was held at the Rosemount Botanicals Wine Bar, where all of the waiters were neatly decked out in Dr Denim “limoncino” Lemon Chino outfits. So fresh and so Sydney!

Runway – Christopher Esber
So, I was lucky enough to already see most of this in the showroom earlier but naturally, Christopher would have been sewing through the night to finish the full collection so there were extra surprises.

I loved this collection – avant garde without being too uptight. A fresh colour palette of white, linen, red, sky blue and a dash of pale grey, pink and black.
Christopher used an amazing four way pleat expanding fabric in this pink piece.

So, I bid farewell to all of my wonderful fashion friends, some whom I might only see once a year – Susie Lau (stylebubble – interview here), Phil Oh (streetpeeper), Georgina Safe (SMH), Glynis Trail-Nash (SMH, Rescu), Damien Woolnough (The Australian), Meg Gray (Vogue Australia), Lucia Labbate & Graeme Lewsey (IMG), Simon Lock (big Kahuna), Karen, Victoria & MIchaela (Alice Euphemia), Tania (Pretty Dog) et al…

In a year when creativity was perhaps low but optimism was surprisingly high, my favourite Runway show was Lover – a collection that covered edgy and commercial in one. Who wouldn’t want to wear nearly every piece in that show that channeled the 70’s without being too vintage. Very sexy.

My other favourite was Christopher Esber – a well balanced collection of very contemporary pieces that didn’t go too extreme. It wasn’t too masculine or too feminine and Christopher showed us that avant garde can be understated and sexy. Top marks.

Trends through the week best avoided were the ones that have already been done better by someone else – digital prints, Jil Sander colour schemes / shapes and of course Celinism.

The white theme was huge which of course is perfect for our summer. There was also lots of colour, in fact every that you can think of with the noticeable return of pink in many shades including neon.

Other top trends were the continuance of the longer length from midi to maxi, the importance of the trouser from soft pyjama style to tailored and the resurgence of the flare.

The blouse shape continuous to be a basis for many pieces and there was still a lot of sleeve exploration – caped, flared, ballooned, pleated etc.

As I head home, I push the thought of digital prints behind me and snooze off dreaming of lace dresses and super flares…

Thanks for having me.
Thea x

Blonde Venus:

ph: +61 7 3216 1735


707 Ann Street
Fortitude Valley
Brisbane Queensland
Australia 4006

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday
10am – 6pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm

Main image via Street Peeper