A celebration of fashion: MBFWA 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia is one of my favourite weeks of the year, last week's was my sixth and despite missing some of my previous favourite labels, it was definitely an inspiring week of fashion.  It's always really hard to narrow down the shows to my favourite ten, as there are always so many contenders and this year was no exception, the only thing that makes it a little easier is that there were slightly fewer shows again this year.  As per usual I was covering the event for FashioNZ.co.nz, you can check out my daily reports from the shows co-written with Mr Fashion Man Craig Lawson here.

One of the things that makes fashion weeks so great is getting to spend the week with a huge group of like-minded people who are just as into fashion as I am, that collective joy and excitement is palpable at MBFWA's venue Carriageworks and aside from a few egos, it's always a good time.  The waiting around, sore feet from hours standing on concrete floors and general tiredness from late nights and early mornings is entirely worth it the moment the lights dim and the anticipation sets in of what will come down the runway next.  As much as there were many looks and collections that caught my eye during the week, these are my top 10 collections:

Aurelio Costarella

It's not secret I'm a huge fan of beautiful gowns and Aurelio Costarella ranks very highly on my list of amazing designers who create utterly covetable evening wear.  His collection was a rainbow of gorgeous gowns featuring luscious fabrics and intricate embellishments, I loved the clever complementary use of colour (as you can see above) and the wonderful drape and flow of the garments.  This range was definitely one for getting noticed in and it was really difficult to pick just three images to use as I could have cheerfully used them all, every look was really strong and a celebration of the feminine silhouette.  It was my first show of the week and a fabulous start to my MBFWA 2014 experience.

Bec and Bridge

Sydney's Bec and Bridge have nailed that cool, modern look that has a fresh Australian feel but is internationally relatable, with unexpected takes on feminine looks.  Their latest collection was a sea of blues in varying hues complemented by monochomatic looks and neutrals with accents of terracotta.  The look was chic and sexy with cut-out details, mini-length skirts and plunging necklines featuring on body-con dresses, the loosely draped pieces added an effortless  feel.  I loved the hook and eye details, clever use of stripes to flatter and the fringed trims, the texture and contrasts in this collection really caught my attention. The perfect way to accessorise this collection would be a great tan and nonchalant attitude this summer.

Phoenix Keating

After an impressive MBFWA debut last year, I was really interested to see what Phoenix Keating would bring to the runway this year and he certainly didn't disappoint.  This season's collection was inspired by the drama of the Matadors and he worked that theme beautifully into a range of structured pieces that played with modernising vintage silhouettes.  His theatrical style meant the collection featured exaggerated shoulders, sweeping skirts and a finale dress that had led lights along the neckline for effect.  A gold bull motif also ran through the collection which was a great use of his theme although for me it was the gorgeous silhouettes and detailed panelling of the garments that were the real highlight.  These glamorous looks are now high on my wish-list for summer.

Ginger and Smart

Known for their clever prints and sophisticated aesthetic it was a real pleasure to see Ginger and Smart's latest collection 'Dualism' take to the runway.  This season they've used multi-layered and multi-dimensional prints to create richly detailed looks that are strong and textured.  I adored their beautiful use of delicate lace and clever structuring to create evening looks that are feminine but spirited, the scarlet outfits were utterly covetable.  The midi-length hemlines and use of rose gold made this collection feel very much of the moment and it's not hard to see that these pieces will find many fans this summer.

Michael Lo Sordo

It's such an overused term but it's hard not to describe Michael Lo Sordo's captivating collection without using the phrase 'breath of fresh air', his stunning designs really did breeze down the runway and had us all sit up and take notice.  Softly tailored and so luxurious in a pretty gelati colours it was love at first sight for me with these flowing garments.  They reminded me of a modern take on a seventies aesthetic in the best possible way with the sexy draping and pushed-up sleeves making for effortlessly chic looks.  I've never wanted to casually drape a trench over my shoulders so much in my life.


Dubbed by many as one of the top shows of the week, Maticevski's use of experimental fabrics like neoprene contrasted with more luxurious fabrics made for a clever collection of glamorous looks.  The full-skirted silhouettes were oh so pretty and felt classic and timeless, but it was his addition of sport luxe looks, mesh and graphic prints that reminded you that this was very much a modern collection.  I loved his use of crystal embellishments and of course those glorious full skirts, I'm so excited that this favourite look of mine is returning again to the runway.

Surface Too Deep

It was such a pleasure to see kiwi label Surface Too Deep return to the MBFWA runway again with a collection that was a bit more sophisticated and elegant than previous seasons.  Designer Sarah-Jane Abraham's flattering high-waisted creations were enhanced by sequined embellishments, soft ruffles and a sweet flamingo print which made for a really strong offering.  The well proportioned swimwear was perfectly complemented by great use of mostly warm tones in a range of mix and match styles that will make for lots of chic choices come summer.

Lan Yu

Chinese designer Lan Yu made her debut at MBFWA with an exquisite collection of couture gowns inspired by the twelve zodiac stars.  A mix of live models and mannequins displayed her divine collection with incredibly detailed looks that brought a fairytale charm to the event.  Each look was created entirely in white although many pieces were diaphanous in nature and looked very delicate.  I loved her ethereal use of lace and sheer fabrics, the detailed embellishments and intricate structure of her garments was pretty jaw-dropping up close.  It's very easy to see how her designs have found favour on the red carpet in China and it will be very interesting to see how successful she is in Australia.

Alice McCall

It was clear from the confetti-filled invitation that Alice McCall's show, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of her label, was going to be something special and it was a capacity crowd that packed into a huge warehouse space to see it.  Her collection was inspired by lucid dreaming, which was referenced in the all-white sculptures suspended in the middle of the space and she did indeed open the show with a succession of all-white dreamy looks.  From there her collection progressed into pastel hues with her signature embroidered accents and sweet silhouettes which then gave way to bold digital prints and glittery looks.  I loved everything about this collection from the more elegant midi-lengths to the super-cute lip print and scalloped hems, it's a great progression for the label and I can't wait to shop this range in summer.


Bringing an easy charm to the runway, macgraw's MBFWA debut was one of the most cohesive collections of the week.  Entitled 'sail bomb' the range had a chic summery feel that incorporated great prints, stripes and block colours with sweet little details like the collar (above right) to create a collection that was fresh and feminine.  I loved the really wearable silhouettes and carefully considered colour palette, this collection felt crisp and effortlessly cool.  Something tells me this label will be very popular this summer.  I already wish I could wear it all immediately but will have to make do with adding the whole collection to my wishlist for summer.

It's hard to believe another MBFWA is over already, but I'm so very grateful for the opportunity to have experienced so many fantastic shows even though my shopping list for next summer is now much longer than my arm.  I'm returning to the northern hemisphere for a while in a few days time really inspired by my Australian adventure and can't wait for next year's MBFWA already.

Images from: MBFWA

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