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:: Spotlight :: Mercedes Australian Fashion Week (MAFW) 2005 wrap

By: Sarah Willcocks (pictures by Jess Lo)

Another Mercedes Australian Fashion Week has passed by recently in Melbourne showcasing some great Australian designer talent. A slightly more limited than usual list of designers participated this year parading their autumn and winter collections for industry guests, buyers and media.

Wayne Cooper returned with a less showy parade than typical and let the clothes speak for themselves. His two labels ‘Wayne’ and ‘Wayne Cooper’ were on display, the former being a younger version which showcased more casual looks. The Wayne label took inspiration from fashion eras ranging from Edwardian to the 80’s. However the Wayne Cooper ‘When Darkness Falls’ collection was the statement maker. A dark and romantic collection of sexy evening gowns was impressive. While the designer stayed fairly safe the clothing displayed so many well shaped silhouettes and cuts that the dresses could become classics.

Charlie Brown also produced a commercial collection of Victorian pieces in cream, white and black with the occasional burst of rich red for some much needed colour. Incorporating plenty of lace and high necklines into her work, the collection was practical yet attractive for winter.

Some labels seem to prefer the warmer months though. Mad Cortes and White Suede showcased mostly short little, flippy dresses. White Suede in particular went impractically tropical with sheer halter dresses in bright animal prints continuing a theme from their summer collection.

For the men there was much of the same as the men’s fashion industry continues to evolve more slowly than the women’s. At the menswear parade featuring the Bowie, Leopold and Sevn labels distressed printed tees, boxy jackets and treated jeans were again a wardrobe staple. The coloured blazer over t-shirt look surfaced again as did the preppy trend for dressier occasions. However the casual, street wear image ruled again for the boys.

But the most successful collections to stick in the mind after the shows were over were those from designers following their own path rather than designing to fit a current or upcoming trend. Duo Easton Pearson made use of almost overwhelming patterns and prints in a vibrant collection of gypsy inspired pieces. They created some gorgeous shapes including a very regal long collared coat in a busy stripy fabric. Tina Kalivas also stuck with her own vision using bold bright primary colours. Her collection, shown via an installation in the Atrium at Federation Square, seemed both futuristic and retro at the same time. A bright, blue coat was the favourite piece - with classic lines but enough button and pocket details to be interesting and modern. The blue colour itself was eye-catching and would be a lively addition to a dull winter wardrobe. Another interesting piece was her white dress scattered with sewn on shapes and circles of colour creating a patch-worked effect. The dress looked like more like artwork than fashion.

Camilla and Marc appeared to be one of the favourites, at least with the buying public afterwards. The sibling duo presented some cute shapes with lace details. Plenty of bows were present, wrapped around the waist which made the collection both girly and lady-like at once. A couple of coats to throw over the tiny dresses for winter completed a highly likable collection.

There appeared to be no overwhelming fashion trends appearing for the coming season as there was for the previous summer collections. Instead we have a range spanning gothic 80’s prom dresses to regal Victorian lace trimmed blouses. On display was great variety and choice for winter which means there should be something for everybody rather than the singularity recently experienced with the longevity of the ‘boho’ trend. It should be interesting to see what trends the public will eventually embrace for the cooler season ahead.

Here are some pictures of the White Suede collection

Here are some pictures of the Mjolk collection