Thea’s RAFW Fashion Week Diary: Day One

This is the 15th anniversary for Australian Fashion Week and I can proudly say that I’ve been to every single one – and still loving it!
The event has given us an industry benchmark. A place, date and time that we can meet and discover, on sight or off sight, on runways or in hotel lobbies – it is crucial to our industry and should be supported.

Outfits were a little disappointing in general with lots of (yawn) black, harem pants, studs and fringing but thank goodness for shining lights like Meg Gray from Vogue Australia with her lolly pink locks and creative style.
I am also continuing my “less black” campaign. Let’s give it a break to regain it’s glory.

AFW Wonder Woman, Lucia Labbate and I do our annual catch up

I don’t go to every show because I am damn picky – If you are waiting with baited breath to hear all about the Lisa Ho show or frothing over a Camilla caftan, you’ve got the wrong girl.
I’m looking for the hottest and the coolest, the creators rather than the followers.
Today there were some clear winners…

The group show is always a difficult beast, but Perth’s Carly Hunter took it on and won.
We have been stocking Carly since she started a couple of years ago and were so excited to see her Australian Fashion week debut.

Her competition was on a different sphere – a couple of collections that took the RAFW retrospective too far by referencing Sass and Bide and Tina Kalivas of fashion weeks past, and a swimwear collection that repeatedly featured the camel toe as the look du jour 🙁

Carly set the mood by opening her show with a beautiful short film by young WA film maker Alex Goddard and soundtrack by experimental musician Kane Ikin.

Carly re-worked some of her already signature shapes with sophistication like her twist back bodices and her origami folds. The freshness was in her soft colour palette of pale grey, nude and ivory with only a hint of black and also her stand out polka dot tulle pieces.

…with Carly Hunter back stage after her show

I ran into Kerry from All of the Above who was taking some time out from showings to see a couple of shows.
I’m not generally into nail art, but I LOVE Kerry’s new STERLING SILVER nails…

Designed by Melbourne jeweller Lia Tabrah under her label OTT by Lia T, these nails are such a new and conceptual take on luxury.

In the afternoon, we visited our friends Dan and Clarissa at Dr Denim for the latest in Swedish jeans, chinos and totally sexy CORDS!

Then it was off to girl heaven at the LOVER headquarters to preview their Spring/Summer collection, called “Untitled”.
It’s been quite a few years since Lover showed at AFW with their Black Rose Army Collection, but now in their 10th year, the brand is entrenched as an Australian cult label.

Now too, with international success, Lover haven’t sold out to the department stores by remaining a boutique brand, they still manufacture in Australia and I still love what they do every season.

I swapped my Richard Nicoll dress for a Mary Katrantzou, had a bite to eat and whipped back to The Rocks for another much anticipated debut show from Christopher Esber.

Christopher graduated from Ultimo Sydney TAFE in 2007.
I got a taste of his work in the flesh about a year ago – half a dozen pieces of exquisite work with the promise of something more to come.

Last night’s show was immaculate from start to finish: Each model finished the walk by lining up against a bright white wall that flanked the runway, meaning that we had ample time to scrutinize each outfit and garment and they looked immaculate.

Sure, not all the pieces will translate to reality but this was a strong collection that you could visualize happening on a Belgian or London runway. I loved the leather pieces, his sheer silk shirt shapes with opaque blocks and off course this gorgeous baby blue skirt and immaculate shirt.

We were lucky enough to be invited to the Vogue Magazine Cocktail Party which was hosted by Editor-in-Chief Kirstie Clements and the editor of Damien Woolnough.

The party was to welcome fabulous fashion writer Tim Blanks from

Kirstie announced the 10 year anniversary for and also released their new June issue with Samantha Harris on the cover who was at the party too.

Girl talk with Geoffrey J Finch from Antipodium

We sipped drinks overlooking the harbour and debriefed (i.e. gossiped) on the day which included:
– too many bare nipples in too many shows
– the cargo room is a smelly, sweaty hotbox
– the Bec & Bridge show had a malfunctioning smoke machine that rivaled a Jesus & Mary Chain concert – well you couldn’t actually see the clothes

More champagne and macaroons!
Thea x