WA labels share limelight with Kiwis

The theme of exchange between local and international designers continued at Perth Fashion Festival last night, with local labels One Fell Swoop and Morrison showing their summer collections along with New Zealand brands Zambesi and NomD at Fashion Paramount.

Zambesi designer Liz Findlay, who established her brand in Auckland in 1979, said New Zealand cities and Perth had something in common - a geographical isolation that fostered creativity, independence and a refusal to slavishly follow the mainstream fashion trends.

Silk georgettes and soft cotton dresses featured hand-beading and dramatic split sleeves, while a subtle sportswear influence and a hint of 1970s bohemia came through in halterneck jumpsuits and sequinned bra tops.

Findlay's sister Margi Robertson designs the dark, street-inspired label NomD out of Dunedin. Known for their use of black, the two labels also included surprising accents of colour and print, from rich reds to tartan and plaid.

One Fell Swoop designer Daniel Romanin said it was a privilege to show their collection, Serendipity, alongside two brands that had influenced him and co-designer Nina Ergic when they launched their own label.

"It's just really nice to be included on the same spectrum as them," he said. "We've always been great admirers of what they do."Romanin said their collection was based around the idea of "spring cleaning" and eradicating clutter to focus on weightless fabrics, flattering draping and ease of wear.The colour palette ranged from block colours of blue, pink and brass to jet black and white and a textured, gravel-inspired print."We wanted to go a bit brighter for summer," Romanin said. "We wanted it to be simple, elegant, light and beautiful."Opening the parade was WA label Morrison by designer Kylie Radford, who said the new collection, created exclusively for the parade, was inspired by WA's coastal and desert regions."We've done a new hand-painted watercolour print for this collection, which we printed on to sheer and solid silk," Radford said."From that watercolour print we've pulled out two distinct colours, a beautiful terracotta and a sand tone."We wanted a real mix between simple pieces and some layers, ruffles and a bit more volume."Radford said she was excited about showing her collection to the contingent of Asian buyers in town for this year's festival."That's our goal for the next few years, really, to step into that area," she said."We would love to start those relationships happening and learn more about the Asian retail market."Tonight the festival will honour the late Ruth Tarvydas with a runway show A Celebration, followed by the group show Galvanised - The Ultimate Show Stoppers, both at Ascot Racecourse, the first time the venue has been used for TPFF parades.

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