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A model showcases designs on the runway at the Aurelio Costarella show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in Sydney. Picture: Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images

Fashion designers rarely want to look backwards - they're too interested in projecting forward, suggesting fashion ideas that hopefully the consumer will take up in six months' time.

PHOTO GALLERY: Aurelio Costarella

But this year's Australian Fashion Week got off to an unusually retrospective start this morning. Sydney brother-and-sister design duo Camilla & Marc celebrated the 10th anniversary of their label by opening the week's events at Carriageworks, an industrial-looking warehouse and gallery space that has taken over from the harbourside Overseas Passenger Terminal as the central venue this year.

The Camilla & Marc show was followed by an exquisite presentation from West Australian designer Aurelio Costarella. He has a few years on Camilla & Marc - this presentation marks the designer's 30th year in fashion.

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Like Camilla & Marc, Costarella used the occasion to showcase some of his design signatures - the styles and silhouettes that have remained consistent over the year.

For Camilla & Marc, that meant military-style suiting mixed with sporty silhouettes - a "luxe casual" feel that has gained them something of a celebrity following (Lara Bingle, Laura Dundovic, Phoebe Tonkin, Kate Waterhouse and Gracie Otto were all spotted front row.)

Four shows in and a trend is already emerging - lots and lots of white. Camilla & Marc showed an amazing white leather bomber jacket and some well-cut leather skirts - even a white leather shift dress - that are sure to sell well once they hit the shelves.

Aurelio Costarella doesn't really "do" trends; he sticks to his refined, elegant gowns and cocktail dresses, experimenting with drape, texture, embellishment and colour to freshen up the look each season. This time around, the colour palette was very subtle - pale greys and washed-out peaches mixed up with more dramatic blacks and blues.

Costarella adorned his mostly Perth-based models with chic headwear from local milliner Reny Kestel and posed them in front of painterly backdrops by Waldemar Kolbusz and to the accompaniment of live music by singer Grace Woodroofe (wearing a dramatic and slightly witchy black gown from a previous collection).

It's early days, but Costarella's exquisite presentation has offered up an early highlight.