Style File: Australia Fashion Week: Day 1

Style File
thumbnail Australia Fashion Week: Day 1
Apr 8th 2013, 23:29

Australia fashion week kicked off today, and’s special projects editor, Maya Singer, is reporting back on the most exciting shows. To view our complete Australia fashion week coverage, click here.

People in Sydney are really, really fit. One thing even the most jet-lag-addled first-time visitor to the city can’t help noticing is the runners: People run to work here, they spend their lunch hour jogging, and on a balmy evening, legions of the spandex clad crowd the roads. Then there are the cyclists, and the morning surfers, and the women doing boot-camp classes in the park—in every park. It’s no wonder that girls here have incredible legs, and the strong backs and shoulders of swimmers, and once you’ve spent a day in Sydney noticing all that, it’s also no wonder that the designers here make such a fetish of the athletic female form.

That sense of athletic sexiness has been one of the distinguishing features of Camilla and Marc (left). The Sydney-based brand opened fashion week here with its tenth anniversary show; the collection was overtly self-referential, with designers Camilla Freeman-Topper and Marc Freeman sending out lots of updated takes on their signature silhouettes: notably flared skater skirts, racer-back tanks that looked especially fine in gold jacquard, and super-slouchy drop-crotch trousers. The Freeman siblings are very good at finding ways to distort or exaggerate silhouettes without sacrificing the essential sexiness of their clothes—those drop-crotch trousers are a case in point, and so too the show’s razor-sharp white leathers, a reiteration of pieces the brand showed in its Northern Hemisphere collection for Fall.

Christopher Esber is not yet a familiar name outside the Antipodes, but this emerging designer has a ton of promise. Though the silhouettes in his new collection were straightforward and accessible, Esber found various ways to give them an unexpected twist, whether by patterning his clothes to have a hang that was ever-so-slightly off, or integrating a sculptural flourish. Esber also has an interesting taste in textiles—a see-through check was particularly nice, as was a squishy technical fabric in royal blue. Occasionally, Esber revealed a tendency to muddle his looks; his talent really shone in the pieces that were simplest, like a gossamer white T-shirt dress or a wrap skirt with an off-kilter drape.

The final show this evening was from the highly theatrical Romance Was Born (above), designed by Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett. As the candy-colored mushrooms on the catwalk suggested it would be, this collection was a journey into a particularly girlish psychedelia. The designers’ technical abilities proved remarkable—their short bubble dress had the controlled volume of a beach ball freshly pumped with air, while the ruched pieces that concluded the show had a couture-like fineness. And it was easy to be charmed by Sales and Plunkett’s puckish sense of humor, notable especially in their hallucinogenic prints. But if you looked past their aggressive styling, you could see that the Aussie sensibility was there in spades—this was a collection with no shortage of abbreviated hemlines, the better to show off a pair of fantastic legs, and bustier tops suitable for women with sinewy swimmers’ shoulders.

—Maya Singer

Photos: Courtesy of IMG Fashion/div>

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