A lot of people could be forgiven for thinking that “Australian style” is all about bright, sunny colours, breezy casual wear and vivid prints.
There are certainly Australian labels that cater to that concept – think Camilla Franks or even Zimmermann.
Although they are essentially conceptual designers, even Dion Lee and Josh Goot have some link to this idea of Australianness, with their surfwear-inspired neoprene and beachy colours.
Kym Ellery’s show today might have nodded in the direction of Australian surf ‘n turf, but in location only.
She staged her parade at Bondi hotspot Icebergs, where the fashion crowd gathered to sip champagne and listen to waves crashing on the beach below (shame it was a little overcast).
Inside, at least thematically, it was a little grey too. Or make that punky black. The first models stormed out to punk band Dead Kennedy’s song Holiday in Cambodia – the first time I’ve heard that tune on a runway soundtrack.
They had chains hanging from nose to ear and punkish little quiffs attached to the tops of their heads. This is Sydney, and this is evening wear, but not necessarily as we know it.
All of Ellery’s signatures were there – the witchy flared sleeves, the peplum tops, construction that makes the clothes sit away from the body. There were tunics over pants, tailored blazers, long-line vests and strapless dresses with abstract black and white prints: so far, so Ellery, but this season everything seemed just that little bit more refined.
The materials had a beautiful lustre and sheen, and while there was structure in the corseted tops, there was also lightness in the delicate silk grosgrain and foamy satin.
Strateus.Carlucci also has a distinctly European feel. Their menswear and womens wear is dark, androgynous, beautifully cut, and made of quality leathers, wools and flannels. There was nothing particularly summery about their collection, and that was a defiantly good thing: it’s a refreshing alternative to the sexy, sunny, strapless, bodycon look that can tend to dominate the runways here.
Not everyone wants to dress like that. Strateus. Carlucci are already showing in Paris and this is without question a label that already feels international: I can imagine these clothes on the streets of Melbourne, Paris, Hong Kong or Berlin. Oh, and maybe even sunny Sydney.