The Designer Runway 4 featured some of Melbourne’s most loved designers and national design legends. The likes of Gorman, Above., Honor Among Thieves, Alpha60, Bul, Carly Hunter, Jolet, Kings of Carnaby, Kuwaii, and Limedrop presented collections with elite design aesthetics and contemporary silhouettes. The feel of the night was a little bit of rock ‘n roll with a slick modern edge. And this was seen throughout the collections.
The opening act saw Gorman continuing its obsession with print, as abstract fabric detail triumphed in clashing colours and prints. Lisa Gorman brought the pop colour and fun, with paint splattered denim, pineapple prints, and a more hieroglyphics and holographics inspired by her travels to India. Reflecting on ancient symbolism with a focus on future, the Sun over Corn’s tribal markings in sunset hues of baby pink, blue, and fluorescent green created a vibrant fusion of historical elements of colour, texture, and print. Always a huge part of Gorman’s aesthetic, this year’s collection is a continuation of hand painted and screen printed geometric designs in block prints and bold colours celebrating an earthy vibrancy.
Meanwhile, Above., brought their unique perspective through a study in pairing, an exploration of pattern, proportion, and scale. Seeking to create a new hybrid category of garment, with an aesthetic centred on unisex, versatile pieces, the proportion of garments were subtly defined by the ever-shifting check pattern. The beautifully crafted yet whimsical larger-than-life cut-out hats in white paired with deep navy dresses with sharp silhouettes created a perfect symbiosis of the classic shapes and unique pattern layering.
A surprising spin on fashion was delivered by more or less by a newcomer this year. After 25 yearsin fashion and a three-year hiatus, designer Roy Christou, is back on the local fashion scene with his new label, Honor Among Thieves. Equal parts dashing and dis-sheveled, the Honor Among Thieves label pioneers a return to easy dapper that plays to the scoundrel in all of us. The designer’s mischivious attitude in the pursuit of luxury without pretense and in advocating a smart interpretation of casual was evident in the collection. Inspired by a 1967 novel, The Outsiders, where the notion of ‘honour’ is explored as a pint of pride and loyalty, the perfect shapes, cuts, and lines crafted from fine fabrics sourced from Australia and Japan, have definitely been designed to be worn either stripped back or piled on. Roy jumbled fashion timelines to suit his mood, with current pieces presenting obvious 50’s aesthetics. The collection was as playful and reckless as you wanted it to be, without neglecting the timeless fundamentals of style. And we applaud his strong point of view, after all who doesn’t like a little bit of mischief in their closet?
Alpa 60’s collection had us admiring the architectural design of the clean, organic shapes that epitomise the label so much. The pieces highlighted soft separates in shades of cream, navy and mint but of course, there was still a lot of black. Inspired by minimalism of artists like Donald Judd and Dan Flavin, the must-have piece this summer will most definitely the cropped shirt.
Dedicated to creating beautiful garments with refined silhouettes and detailing, Jolet, the final act, took a close-up look at the dreamy beauty of the cherry blossom. A less literal approach to this season’s print, the imagery was almost unrecognisable as a blossom. Jolet’s digital prints were impressed upon various fabrics and styles and have become a signature of the label. Blended waves of colour created a cloud-like print, that was dreamy yet detached in mood. Contrasting elements were a highlight of the collection. The muted colour blend of the bloom print contrasted beautifully with the strong lines, structured silhouettes, and black leather pieces. Printed soft semi-sheer silk and cotton gathered skirts and pleated tops teamed with a leather top or bottom added a bit of a hard edge. And tailored jackets and waistcoats in silk and linens, reminiscent of 1990’s power suits, presented a slightly masculine feel. With all pieces designed and made in Melbourne, the balance between Jolet’s aesthetic and impeccable craftsmanship had us wanting to run to the store and snatch all the pieces for ourselves. The designer knows what women like, wearable art that is both practical, wearable, yet artistic and this collection has achieved precisely that. We left feeling inspired and uplifted by the designs from Runway 4 filled with a quiet pride to be able to witness such creative forces behind the best of the best of the local fashion scene.