Finally, we’re at the business end of the Melbourne Fashion Festival, with six nights of parades and plaza action at the Melbourne Museum precinct.
The action kicks off on Tuesday night with the David Jones Gala Runway, and ends on Sunday with one of the highlights, the National Graduate Showcase.
With more than 200 designers taking part, we’ve picked five who are worth a closer look.
Before winning the National Designer Award on the opening day of the festival, it’s fair to say 28-year-old Kacey Devlin had a loyal yet small following. But that’s about to change.
With an emphasis on draped pieces, Devlin said this season’s collection focused on the evolution of the “Kacey/Devlin woman”.
“[She is] strong and brave yet sensitive and vulnerable,” she says.
“Like every season, the main aim of each collection is to empower women while also redefining and exposing parts of the female body. Starting with the symbolic reference of the kilt as a symbol of battle, protection and belonging, deconstructing and readdressing these elements through our signature soft tailored aesthetic. This season saw the emergence of a new modern classic, our own interpretation of the contemporary every day uniform for the modern woman.”
With a starring role in the David Jones Gala Runway on Tuesday and buyers asking where they can sign-up, this is one designer worth investing in before she gets too big, or Australia loses her to overseas.
Gala Runway, Tuesday, March 14, 7.30pm and 9pm.
Premium Runway 6, Saturday, March 18, 9pm.
Designer Kacey Devlin.
She was the talk of last year’s Fashion Week Australia event in Sydney for splashing out on model-of-the-moment Bella Hadid for her show. Now it’s Melbourne’s turn to see Misha on the runway, albeit without a supermodel in tow this time around.
Still, that doesn’t take the shine off Misha’s stranglehold on the party dress market, which has only been reinforced by the conga line of celebrities (Miranda Kerr, Kylie Jenner and Gigi Hadid to name but a few) spotted wearing her stuff.
Designer Michelle Aznavorian says ticket holders at the festival will be able to get a close look at the label’s Gold by MISHA limited-edition range.
“The collection draws on opulence and extravagant glamour, with references to 1970s and 1980s high fashion and classic vintage shapes,” she says.
Think intricate beading, metal fringing, cashmere coats, shimmering metallics and weighted mesh.
“We’ve branched out from the classic Misha colour palette of black, white and nude, and introduced our first bold red colour story, as well as a glam leopard print story.”
Premium Runway 5, Saturday, March 18, 7.30pm.
Myer Fashion Runway, Friday, March 17, 5.30pm and 7pm.
Michelle Aznavorian of Misha Collection.
Lukas Vincent’s surf-inspired luxury label Exinfinitas has built on its success at last year’s International Woolmark Prize – it was the Australian menswear finalist – with a finals berth in this year’s National Designer Award, which Devlin won.
This year is set to be equally big for the label, which will collaborate with iconic brand UGG to create refreshed versions of the sheepskin boot in a new palette of colours.
Vincent’s oversized aesthetic, which has been hot on the runways of Europe thanks to cult label Vetements and others, has also earned him overseas success in Italy and across Europe.
“The [new] collection was an exercise in evolving the brands ‘sartorial surf’ codes into an arctic winter space,” Vincent says.
Lukas Vincent of Exinfinitas.
While much of the focus of the festival is on women’s wear, the GQ Australia Menswear Runway on Friday night is the place to see the hottest labels in Australian menswear.
One label creating buzz is AMXANDER, by design duo Jason Pang and Jake Chen, which has drawn inspiration from the Oscar-nominated 1939 adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, juxtaposed with the 1950s glamour of Japanese biker gangs.
The pair has used Japanese raw selvage denim, wool denim, alpaca and cashmere to create reworked streetwear classics such as the down jacket and the coach jacket.
GQ Australia Menswear Runway, Friday, March 17, 9pm.
Jason Pang (left) and Jake Chen of AMXANDER.
Most designers have to learn business skills on the job but not Roni Cross, of Kaliver.
Cross, originally from South Australia, got a business degree from Bond University before studying design at the Whitehouse Institute in Melbourne.
With strong, functional pieces that reflect Cross’ love of the outdoors, especially snowboarding, Kaliver appeals to women who want to express themselves through their clothes and aren’t slaves to trends.
Premium Runway 2, Wednesday, March 15.
Roni Cross, of Kaliver.
The Melbourne Fashion Festival runs until March 19. vamff.com.au.