It was golden hour, and the city was a balmy 29 degrees as Melbourne amassed at the Queen Victoria Market for 2022 PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival’s Gala Runway presented by David Jones. With CBD skyscrapers the backdrop, industry people and fashion lovers alike gathered at the E Shed for a night of colour, creativity and connection. There was a sense of bold optimism heading into the city landmark. It’d been twelve months since Melbourne Fashion Festival’s last runway show and two years since the festival hosted an event of this scale – a cool 1000 guests – maskless. Ahead of the show, the excitement was palpable. Street style photographers snapped. Volunteers darted between crowds. VIPs shared a drink in the delicatessen. A new crop of fashion enthusiasts was born.
A Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung smoking ceremony kicked things off. A Wurundjeri Elder was joined by a younger Wurundjeri community member carrying a portable tarnuk (wooden dish) containing coals and wet leaves. The ceremony cleansed the land on which we gathered, a former gravesite for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
The tiered stands – abuzz with a flurry of people fanning themselves from the heat – were momentarily still as Aje opened the runway. It was a roll call of bold silhouettes and vibrant colour from the get-go. A blue-gradient tiered mini dress with raw cut ruffled edges and lower-back cut out detail leads the charge. The blue – representative of open spaces, freedom and inspiration – a fitting reminder of how far the world has come since 2020. What followed was hit after hit of ready-to-wear, autumn-winter pieces from established and emerging designers including Acler, Anine Bing, Anna Quan, Balmain, Balenciaga, bassike, Bec + Bridge, Bianca Spender, CAMILLA AND MARC, Carla Zampatti, Ganni, Isabel Marant, Jac + Jack, MATICEVSKI, Scanlan Theodore, Shona Joy, Viktoria + Woods, Calibre, Politix, Armani and more. These are the collection highlights – and the trends to know – this season.
Bassike’s turquoise crepe pants – with a wide leg and high-waist silhouette – carried the blue thematic. So too did Significant Other’s Parrish dress which features adjustable sleeves and a collared neckline. Copenhagen-based fashion house Baum und Pferdgarten debuted this crisp, organic cotton shirt dress with pussy-bow detail. The subdued colour a calming presence on the runway.
First there was silk slips, then silk pillowcases and now the light-weight fabric has taken the form of the enduring two-piece set. Designer Lesleigh Jermanus brings 20 years of fashion experience to her label Alemais, which last night sported this relaxed shirt silhouette and pant. Viktoria + Woods’ Underground shirt is rendered in a soft brown gingham print with matching skirt; and Camilla’s floral take on the trend can be worn from day to night.
Often associated with feelings of resilience, dependability and security, brown was the unlikely hero of this year’s Gala Runway. The warm colour abound in tailored two pieces and maxi dresses by Bec and Bridge.
The tailoring trend shows no sign of slowing down – The Frankie Shop and LEO LIN debuting relaxed, oversized blazers for the cooler months. Local label Clea – a finalist of the festival’s National Designer Awards – made its debut on the runway last night, too, with the showing of its first ever collection of tailored suits in army green and dove grey.
Anna Quan’s purple and red crop. LMND’s signature button-up shirt in turmeric. Baum und Pferdgarten’s electric purple knit. Jac + Jack’s cashmere sweater in acid apple. The colours rolled down the runway like Skittle lollies. And the staunch confidence didn’t stop there –Euphoria-inspired make-up looks were aplenty with daring glitter eyes stealing the show.
For more collection highlights and a curation of the must-have pieces from this year’s festival, shop the runway at David Jones.