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:: Spotlight :: Mercedes Australian Fashion Week - November 2003 - Showroom 724

By: Esther Choo

On Wednesday, we were invited to meet with several New Generation Sydney designers, from Showroom 724, for a private showing. They demonstrate much talent and there were some beautiful offerings that should see them grow with their businesses. The labels to watch are: Alexandra Nea, Emmanuelle, Saviour, Sensei, Shona Joy, The Love Project, UsvsU, and Victoria & Timothy. They come under the banner of Showroom 724 and this collective is sure to deliver some distinctive and edgy clothes and accessories. Alexandra made a good impression at the Next Generation parade on the final day and Saviour and UsvsU showcased some terrific designs too.

Making its debut at the Mercedes Australian Fashion Week, Sydney-based Showroom 724 is a fashion impresario to new emerging fashion labels and designers. An offshoot of Lenna & Raech PR, Showroom 724 exists to provide support and resources to young fashion designers, like sponsorship, event management, advertising, sponsorship and marketing. Taking time out from the main shows, they staged an independent exhibition at the Adelphi Hotel in Melbourne. Here are some of the labels that Mediasearch reviewed:

Alexandra Nea’s second collection at MAFW combines vintage glamour of the 40’s and the colour and minimalism of the 60’s. Silk georgette, slippery satin and vintage wool defined by drapes and folds in caramel, turquoise, dusty mint and pinks silhouette the body in leggy minis, swing coats, lounge pants, halter necks tops and dresses. The definitive look is modern with Old World charm. Signature pieces include the Caramel Slice Dress – stringy shoulder straps that give way to pleats at the torso, caught in place with a contoured waistband, cascading in satin from the hips. The Swing Coat makes a welcome comeback in ‘straw’ wool while slinky silk Lounge Pants with textured silk georgette overlays provide the perfect wardrobe partner for the Swing Coat. Needless to say, Nea’s halter neck tops and lounge pants are one hot combination!

Alexandra Nea is available in a select group of exclusive boutiques across Australia & is also stocked in Elizabeth Charles, New York.

Think back to the 50’s where tailored shapes and soft pastel colours reigned. Shona-Joy’s T-shirts, sash tops, kimono tops are in lemon, mint and pink, and come with her signature screen-art prints. The candy floss colours are combined with structured pieces in solid classic colours of black, beige and charcoal in drills and knit-look cottons. It’s a fluid collection that shouts comfort but looks smart and groovy. Standouts are the capri pants, the ‘Eddie Falco’ trench – a classic cut with belted buckle and tabbed sleeves, and the ‘Love, Honour and Obey’ jacket – styled like the collarless Chanel jacket, fully reversible, solid block colour on one side, graphic prints on the other, with white contrast piping in stretch cotton. Strong yet feminine and functional, Shona-Joy’s pieces are hard to resist.

Shona-Joy is currently stocked in Australia, and is also available in select boutiques in the UK, New York, San Francisco, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Would you wear a sock on your elbow? Timo Rissanen, upcoming men’s fashion designer of UsvsU, has done just that on his hand-finished T-shirts with details of ribbon embroidery and snake motifs in apple green, black and white. His latest collection, Nummela, underscores Timo’s fun and quirky approach in design. Timo eschews the current distressed in look in denim, preferring solid dark colours, a look reminiscent of the industrial punk era. The Juha black denim jacket features a detachable lining in hand-made felt – useful and warm when visiting his native Finland. Timo makes his debut into women’s wear next season, alongside his trademark menswear in Spring/Summer 04. UsvsU is sold in Italy, Russia, Belarus and Australia.

If you’re into British post-punk or mod music scene, then you’ll love Saviour’s latest streetwear collection. The Decay features acid-burnt cotton T-shirts with suede detailing, ‘brogue work’ finishes, hand printed granddad collar mod shirts and dark workmen denim jeans and jackets. Mortality showcases Saviour’s definitive style in screen printing on cotton T-shirts and shirtdresses. The range also includes bomber-style slashed leather jackets. Thieves Like Us embraces the industrial and the working-class with wide leg jeans and denim jackets, flocked heavy work-wear shirts and stone-washed screen printed T-shirts. Grotesk is a special limited-edition of 50 original handcrafted and screen printed T-shirts at $140 a pop, complete with a re-sealable pack that also doubles as a collectable bag. Saviour’s works are at selected boutiques in Australia, News Zealand and London.

:: Mercedes Australian Fashion Week - Showroom 724 - UsvsU / Saviour