Menswear hasn’t really had much of a look-in at Australian Fashion Week over the years, so it was a refreshing change to see two excellent shows this year that focused primarily on directional menswear.
I wrote about the very good Strateus.Carlucci show earlier in the week, and the final show of this year’s event, by Song for the Mute, was also one of its highlights.
Song for the Mute designers Melvin Tanaya and Lyna Ty are not ones to loudly proclaim their talents, but ever since establishing their label they have been quietly accumulating awards and accolades.
Last night, literally less than an hour before their runway show kicked off, they were announced as one of the finalists in the menswear division of the prestigious Australian division of the Woolmark Prize.
There was an intense buzz of anticipation before the show, partly because it had been announced that hip-hop star Lupe Fiasco had flown into Sydney specifically to take to the runway for Song for the Mute, but also because the fashion flock were curious to see just what all the fuss around this label was about.Like Strateus.Carlucci, it is possible to say that Song for the Mute have very little to do with what most Australian men would think of as “Australian menswear”, which has historically veered between classic suiting and surf-inspired casual wear and sportswear.
The aesthetic shared by these two labels is much more European in feel – darker, a bit more directional, with colder climate fabrics dominating.
There’s no doubting that both design duos have been metaphorical students of Rick Owens, but each bring their own unique signature to their collections.
Song for the Mute use the finest virgin wool blends, mohair, alpaca and resin coating on jackets, knitwear, drop-crotch pants, leggings, shirting, coats and bombers.
The clothes take their cues from alternative streetwear but the quality of fabric and the intelligent detail in the design takes Song for the Mute into more luxurious territory.
They are already showing their collections to menswear buyers in Paris and are already stocked at high-end boutiques such as Harrolds in Australia and the Lane Crawford department store in China and Hong Kong.
With its streaming smoke machine, pulsating minimal electro soundtrack, and colour palette restricted to black, white, and various shades of grey, this show was deliberately gothic and mysterious in feel.
As the smoke cleared, intense-looking models powered towards the photographer’s pit, with painted white hair that made me think of The Damned’s Dave Vanian brought into the 21st century.
And at the show’s close, after Lupe Fiasco had taken his last exit, a certain sense of mystery still lingered. This is a brand that makes you want to find out more.