I overheard an international fashion blogger tell a colleague today that he found the work of Australian fashion designers interesting but that their shows at Fashion Week tended to lack a certain “wow” factor in terms of runway presentation.
Unfortunately, talented as many of our designers are, very few can afford the budget that goes along with a big bells and whistles show, which means that presentation is often fairly stripped back and minimal.
But I’ve always felt that elaborate props and sets don’t mean much if the work itself is not solid. One designer in particular proved that you don’t need all the extra accoutrements to experience that “wow” moment.
Today, perhaps for the first time this week, I saw people put down their phones, their iPads and their need to instantly engage with social media to actually stop, pause, and really watch with intent what was coming down the runway.
Toni Maticevski’s collection was quite beautiful, taking its cues from 1950s and 1960s-era Balenciaga in terms of volume and silhouette but giving his full-skirted looks a futuristic, sportswear-inflected edge.
The reception he received after his models had taken their final walk-though, with floral blooms spouting from their mouths, was ecstatic. Instead of the usual polite clapping there were whistles and shouts of appreciation.
Maticevski took fashion week to another level, creating a beauty and romantic mood that may be difficult to surpass this week. And that was all down to the clothes, with a little additional help from a dreamy, atmospheric soundtrack. Nothing else.
Christopher Esber’s presentation was similarly stripped back. While double-breasted, nautical-inspired catsuits featuring extremely short shorts looked pretty fantastic on the models, I’m not sure how easily these looks will move from runway to reality.
However, his silky dresses and skirts, with their fluid ease and asymmetrically placed cuts, were both beautiful and wearable.
Esber has always been a minimalist, but it was especially so with this collection. No embellishment, no embroidery, no sequins or beading.
Just clean, simple lines, elegant shapes and breathable, wearable fabrics. Much as we all love a stop-the-press fashion moment, sometimes less really can be best.