The West

A model wearing designs by Jayson Brunsdon. Picture: Getty Images.

So often, the success of a fashion show rests not only on the clothes, but the atmosphere created around the collection.

Venue, mood, and presentation can contribute to a show either falling flat or creating a genuine sense of excitement.

On day two of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in Sydney, the most memorable shows were the ones that have avoided a basic runway show and gone for something a little special, a little different.

Magdalena Velevska presented a collection of deceptively simple clothes as the sun set over Darling Harbour.

She chose the Australian National Maritime Museum as her location, and the Sydney skyline as her backdrop, and it proved a worthy setting for her spring-summer collection, aptly titled Phosphorescence.

Velevska has made a name for herself in recent years by creating fluid dresses with unusual pleating detail, embroidered surfaces and asymmetrical silhouettes.

This year she went out on a limb by showing a series of neon-bright yellow dresses and pure whites that positively glowed in the sunset and against the glare of the photographer’s flash.

Circle motifs, bugle beading and cross-stitching added detail to an otherwise minimalist look. If acid-bright yellows aren’t your thing, Velevska also provided more neutral options of grey, mint and beige.

Extra edge was added with occultish face masks threaded through with neon phosphorus thread designed to glow in the dark.

Jayson Brunsdon’s collection, The Lady Is A Tramp, was presented like an art installation, with models posed, tableaux-style, within a suite known as The Box.

As people poured in to the space to look at – and photograph – models reclining languorously on chairs and chaise longues, you could literally feel the temperature rising. You could actually see beads of sweating forming on the models’ limbs, but it only added to the atmosphere of sultry decadence.

It was wonderful to be able to get up close and personal and really look at the clothes. Models stayed static, or occasional fanned themselves, seemingly oblivious to the surrounding hordes.

Brunsdon did what he does best – high glamour, retro references, ladylike chic and vampish Hollywood style.

There’s a reason why he’s a red-carpet and event-dressing favourite. Think silk shantung cinched-waist jackets worn with a flared skirt, lace cocktail dresses, a black satin evening gown with a plunging back, plaid taffeta party frocks and a slingback pump, and you’ve got the picture.

While we’re on the subject of glamour, red carpet favourite Johanna Johnston upped the week’s wow factor with a highly anticipated inaugural Fashion Week presentation.

Johnson rocketed into the spotlight when Mad Men star Christina Hendricks wore one of her gowns on the red carpet, thrusting her from relative obscurity to the front covers of the celebrity magazines.

Her collection, called Luxor, didn’t disappoint - it was an extravaganza of Art Deco, 1920s-inspired Gatsby glamour.

These are evening gowns fit for a modern-day Cleopatra – shimmering with gold beading, exotic leather and fabulous feathers.

The West Australian

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