Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia – Day 1


My first day of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia was the finale to many-a mid-sleep wakes worrying out about what fucking shoes went with that fucking dress/coat/skirt. You can’t imagine my delight knowing that the forecast for Monday was going to be delightfully Autumnal and that I could cover a multitude of sins with some clever layering (that I had lucidly dreamt of).

Anyway, the first #MBFWA confidence hurdle was the staircase decent to main venue, Carriageworks. Photographers and leggy beauties everywhere – white neoprene, studs, sparkles and loads of tanned flesh pricked my eyes at every angle. My socks/sandals combo and general approach to cover my entire body with assorted dark cloth was my first MBFWA mistake – d’oh. Arriving un-fashionably early was my second. One would think that if a show was scheduled to start at 2.15pm that you’d be in, happily seated sipping  candy flavored fizzy water by at least 2.10pm. After slight teething problems with ticketed receipts and general tardy fashion tendencies, I was sat for my first show, Strateas Carlucci an hour or so later.

I had no sense of entitlement though and was still relishing in the fact that I was there to freely catch shows for the week. Happier still when Fever Ray began to blast and static visuals fuzzed on the walls as the models began their duties on the runway. The Frac/ture collection was sleek, hair neatened in glossy ponytails, fabrics light, palette neutral in assorted hues of black and navy, with blips of stark bleached white. I adored the thick, super boxy leather jacket with enormous lapels in a navy/green. I would wear such an item until it was more recogniseable to others than any other personal trait, or, until it fell apart.

Following this show I eagerly waited for Desert Designs. The young label creates such a unique offering within the Australian fashion market (handmade, limited pieces) with such an interesting and truly Australian background involving criminals and anti-heroes. I was excited to see what their collection, Together Towards The Water would look like. The presentation space was littered with stones, fossils and hanging wooden structures in front of the crowd. The motley crew of models, paced slowly in trace around the circular space to the drones of local outfit, Dreems.

Highlights of their show were the plastic akubra hats, excellent patterned backpacks and that sheer billowing beekeeper ensemble. I liked that the models were unconventional looking as a set with their personal features highlighted, also, that some of the big fashion names, like Samantha Harris and Rachel Rutt were walking alongside awesome newcomers, Ollie Henderson and Something You Said’s own Elfy Scott. The show was a demonstration of the incredible level of progression that the brand has made in their short existence, the backstage cheering and love-in of designers at their final thank you showed their sense of acknowledgement of their massive achievement. It was big stuff, appreciated by everyone in the room.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia

Next up was N.L.P, a luxe swimwear label. I hadn’t expected such an active show. Forgoing traditional models, the label had rouged chicks throwing some serious shapes on the runway, with their matted cornrows flinging about and blue body paint smearing the catwalk (insert Arrested Development joke here).

I found the choreography impressive but distracting from the runway’s purpose – to see the details of garments. The collection was sports-focused – multi-strapped and layered crop tops and mid length briefs, made interesting with fluro colours, lazer cut details and non-subtle brand name placing.

It seemed the local residents were already fed up with the fash pack invading their territory by mid-evening, I overhead one family man nursing an infant in one arm say “fashion fucking shit cunts” then slam the door of his home as I and others walked to the next show, at the EORA pool in Redfern.

mbfwaI got a strange sense of pleasure from watching these glamorous beings push through the pool’s entry turnstiles to the Karla Spetic show. Spetic’s collection was overtly feminine, cute shift dresses in pale pinks and marbled prints were embellished with ridiculous frilled bibs and giant pleats. Looser fitting garments were assisted with sexy sheer inserts, revealing a thigh, midriff or even a cheeky nipple.

I loved the blocking and use of shape – white sheer dresses with big cut-outs were censored with thick bars of black fabric. Can I also mention that I will pay any sum of money for the custom made, pristine white Karla Spetic Reebocks?

So that was that, day one complete, with fuzzy hair and faded makeup, I made it to Freda’s (which had become Desert Designs’ post-show party grotto) and the long day was well and truly written off.

A non-sartorial sidenote to finish with though. It was hard to avoid the politics on many-a persons lips and chests throughout the day. Carriageworks had acted as a platform for Ollie Henderson‘s political campaign #STARTTHERIOT. Models, designers and punters were sporting slogan tee’s created by the maverick model, with anti-Abbott slurs- “I AM A FEMINIST’, ‘REJECT RACISM’, and the like. An excellent, relevant punk act, creating conversations that were assisted through the heightened media activity  of the event.



Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia review and pictures by Carol Bowditch. See heaps more photos from day one here.