For emerging designers the spectacular runway debuts of Jordan Gogos and Jordan Dalah at Australian Fashion Week last year showed that dreams of fashion spreads in Vogue can come true.
This week the pressure was on the Jordans to carry the country’s creative torch, kept alight by Romance Was Born, Akira Isogawa and Zimmermann, but new talent in the wings eased their burden.
A fresh batch of brands trod carefully on the final day of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, letting pure presentations celebrate their design signatures, rather than follow the blueprint of Gogos’s artsy approach, a mix of Andy Warhol’s collaborative technique and the aesthetic of Willy Wonka from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryor Dalah’s high concept stab at luxury.
At a 9am show an exhausted Alix Higgins looked ready to collapse backstage following his runway debut filled with dresses that clung to curves, stuffed bike shorts and bodysuits emblazoned with slogans. Rather than screaming for attention the technical prints soothed spirits in the front row, frayed from four days of model stomping.
“I was feeling very overwhelmed by the process of making this collection,” Higgins said. “It’s quite religious, like it was guided by something. There are words such as serenity, prayer and God. There was a feeling of something else driving me to make this collection. It’s very dreamscape and mystical. I am not a religious person, but I felt a push. ”
Higgins’ disciples in the audience demonstrated how to wear the pieces with the ease of a crisp white shirt, layering the futuristic styles beneath T-shirts and jackets or just being bold and letting dresses do the talking before the first coffee of the day.
The Next Gen show, which celebrated the work of four emerging designers and their labels Clea, Phoebe Pendergast, Asiyam and Not A Man’s Dream, demonstrated further hope for Australian fashion’s future.
Pleated dresses from Asia Hassan, reminiscent of Mario Fortuny and Issey Miyake showed strength in modesty, Clea offered commercial corporate cool as well as Sunday spring staples, while Samantha Saint James borrowed from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Korean culture to explore the love story of Romeo and Juliet through pieces that blended the urban with the esoteric for her label Not A Man’s Dream.