Fashion Week 2018: Day 1 Highlights

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia day one was all about women. At Bianca Spender, femininity was given free rein. Soft suiting and fluid slip dresses celebrated the curves of the female form without playing into the male gaze. Then, Lee Mathews’ presentation gave a whole new meaning to the words ‘sack dress’. Her marvellous maxis came in a girly ginghams and flouncy florals fit for a country belle. These frocks looked perfectly at home on the fresh patch of green grass that acted as a runway for the show. And finally, Alice McCall put on a flirty celebration of femininity. Her models were ready to party and ruffled to the brim. Let’s hear it for the girls!

Bianca Spender

“A hundred years ago, women used their dress as a political statement, abandoning the corset and introducing pants to prove their equality,” Bianca Spender’s show notes read. Her collection reimagined the pantsuit for the modern – and thoroughly liberated – woman. Just like women, these suits did not fit into one neat category or box. A sand-coloured blazer with slouchy sleeves looked office appropriate from the front, before the model turned to reveal a provocative cut-out detail at the back. There was also an apple green boiler jumpsuit that could definitely stop traffic. Spender’s evening dresses were just as soft and feminine as her suiting. The designer draped silk around the body – ruching it here and twisting it there – so expertly that it looked like a second skin. The tropical colour scheme felt as natural and relaxed as the garments themselves. Spender’s collection, in a nutshell, was a celebration of what women really want: comfort and freedom.

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

Lee Mathews

From the first misshapen bucket hat, which was frayed at the edges to look like straw, we knew Lee Mathews was going to tell us a story. The designer’s Resort 2019 collection was her most sustainable yet and this showed in every element of the presentation. Models looked like members of a new-age cult in wholesome gingham dresses, austere button-down shirts and modest floor-length skirts, their bum bags presumably filled with flowers from the forest floor. Pieces of fabric waved from the waists of dresses and the sleeves of jackets, looking as lively as the grass the models walked across. In the name of reducing waste, this grass was gifted to a local primary school following the presentation. “We are refining our design and manufacturing practices to create our most beautiful, timeless and environmentally conscious collection to date,” Mathews told Vogue after the show. Mathews uses uses organic cottons and linens to make her clothes, minimises waste during the production process, and produces as many products as she can in Australia. This season she also made a swimsuit out of salvaged fishing nets. This vision of femininity that Lee Mathews promotes is a vision based on care.

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

Alice McCall

Day one finished on a high with a defiantly energetic presentation by Alice McCall. The show had more ruffles, bows and tulle than a wedding dress store. The candy pink, lilac and peppermint collection looked good enough to eat and there was even a layered dress that reminded us of an enormous tiered cake. Yum. A less experienced designer might’ve got lost in all this sweetness, but McCall managed to give it the perfect amount of edge. Black tulle dresses were finished with sheer lace panels and puffy white tops were worn off the shoulders. In impossibly ornate pleated gold gowns and flouncy floral pantsuits, the models looked like rebellious ladies in waiting who’d raided the Queen’s wardrobe for a night out on the town. Watching them stomp down the runway to a danceable Frankie Knuckles track was the perfect way to end a perfect day.

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

MBFWA Day One: The Future Is Female

Stay tuned for our coverage of MBFWA day two.

MBFWA 2018 Camilla and Marc

See our wrap up of Camilla and Marc’s opening show

Image credit: Getty Images