Dion Lee has such cachet in the Australian fashion industry that even his “diffusion” label, Dion Lee II, gathered a massive audience this morning on day three of Fashion Week Australia.
Lee now shows his main line overseas, so this is the first time that Line II, which retains many of the main lines’ signatures but at a lower price point, got a formal runway airing at fashion week.
It was something of a street style circus outside the venue as photographers circled around Vogue fashion editor Christine Centenera and blogging stars Margaret Zhang and Nicole Warne.
Inside the venue, glamazons Rachel Finch, Shanina Shaik and Kate Waterhouse lined up alongside the designers from Zimmermann and Camilla & Marc (neither of whom are showing in Sydney this year).
The collection looked deceptively simple, but as you would expect in a Dion Lee collection, there were subtle details that gave otherwise casual-looking clothes a twist of added interest.
Lee took something we actually don’t see that much of on the runway anymore – denim - and wrapped it around the models’ waists, matched denim skirts with striped knits, or turned it into soft multi-hued shirting.
There were relaxed striped pants, cross-backed pleats on summery white dresses, shirts with slits at the back, soft black anoraks, even leggings and sandals on the runway. It was all effortlessly cool and weekend-wearable, but there were also a few pieces in there (a black leather jacket, some pale blue suiting options) that would work equally well for day or night.
Particularly lovely were a series of multi-coloured striped three-quarter length skirts matched with vibrant red turtleneck sweaters.
Earlier in the morning Haryono Setiadi showed his latest collection. Last year his digital print dresses received praise, although it was felt by many that Dion Lee’s work had perhaps been too much of an obvious influence.
This time around Setiadi presented something quite fresh, feminine and cohesive, showing sunset-hued dresses that were layered, diaphanous and extremely pretty.
A little later Suboo sent out a charming collection of swimwear and casual resort wear. There was one particularly lovely floral print that was worked into white sleeveless dresses, tunic tops and skirts, and which I can imagine flying off the racks come summer.
On the swimwear front, printed and cropped rashie tops were paired with bikini bottoms, or worn under light-as-air bomber jackets.
Bandeau tops were matched with boyleg briefs and printed sun visors, and some two-pieces peeked through semi-sheer strapless dresses that could quite feasibly be tossed on after a day at the beach, paired with some chunky jewels and sandals, and worn to a party on a balmy summer night.