It’s been a week of glamour, of inspiration, of sometimes overwhelming hedonism, but as the champagne bottles dry up and LMFF draws to a close, we are nothing but delighted with the increasingly sustainable direction in which the festival is heading. The LMFF Cultural Program kept us well titillated with its busy schedule of up-and-coming and sustainable designers, workshops, exhibitions and industry forums discussing the new, more conscious and intelligent consumer. Meanwhile, on the catwalks, Australian design creativity was in full force – with a range of ethically-aware and eco-minded designers holding their own amongst the big guns of the industry.
ECA-accredited Ginger & Smart were one of the first out of the blocks, exciting the new season with daring colour blocking and digital print pieces, mixed with more classic tailored blazers, coats and suits. In fitting with the 80s soundtrack of the night, fingerless gloves in bright reds, oranges and blues accessorised every look.
New Zealand’s Kate Sylvester kept to a sophisticated, tailored chic, combined with plenty of playful sheer and elegant, girlier pieces. Polkadot jumpsuits surprised alongside bold lingerie and Jackie Kennedy-esque retro glamour.
The always-impressive Gorman overtook the runway with bold colours, geometric prints and their trademark cheetah spots. Bright oranges, yellows and greens were the palette of choice, accompanied by vintage-look knits and cosy pom pom scarves and beanies.
Kuwaii showed off a softer palette of pinks, ochres and a touch of black sophistication, each girl traversing the tepee-dotted runway with a glorious foliage-enwrapped handbag, leading up to a magnificent finale featuring a floral and fern headdress by the magical Cecilia Fox.
Melbourne-made Jolet was a standout of the Independent Runway, with intricate cityscape prints featured across dresses and suits of various cuts and styles. Sheer blouses and pencil skirts were accompanied by chunky knit cardigans – some of the first pieces on the runway which actually looked satisfyingly warm!
But the highlight of a festival already full of highlights had to be the spectacular Graduate Showcase, which introduced the debut collections of twelve talented young designers from around the country. Excitingly, sustainable thinking and new ways of approaching fashion seems to come naturally to this new generation, and many collections featured conscious fabric choices, recycled elements, intricate handiwork and zero-waste techniques.
One-to-watch Anna Langdon opened the show with her colourful, crafty collection inspired by Australian bird life and the German kitsch of her childhood.
Chris Ran Lin’s Conflict and Fusion showcased knitted sculptural pieces for men, sliding down the runway like beautiful underwater sea creatures. Hand-knitted embellishments over suits seams, as well as intricate laser-cut jackets, proved the more wearable – but nonetheless impressive – pieces.
Sally Edwards paid homage to tartan with a unisex collection which morphed into various styles, while Stephanie McPherson’s Fragments experimented with amplified, petal-like prints illuminated like pressed flowers over white.
Meanwhile, Rica Hardian’s Geogami wowed with masterfully-structured dresses, geometric capes and tulip skirts comprised of a seduction of folds and pleats, while Tayler Ainley drew on space and aeronautics for an incredibly futuristic collection featuring recycled elements and impressive mechanical design.
Anisha Byhoro’s Precious Threads demonstrated skillful (and delectably pretty) ‘no seam’ design; each piece a tapestry of pulls, pleats and detailing, while Natalia Grzybowski’s Hybrid brought the catwalk into full bloom with a bouquet of Japanese gardens and birds of paradise.
The structure of flowers was also the theme of fellow graduate Ju Young Seo, who studied petals in intricate, scalloped detail, while Laura Huishan Li and Courtney White couldn’t be further removed with spectacular sculptural pieces and Russian-inspired knits respectively.
While structure was something successfully experimented with by all the graduates, it was none more so visible than in Amelia Agosta’s Engineered Distortion. Full of form, line and repetition, garments were like beautiful pieces of architecture in and of themselves; models dwarfed under small cities of tunnels and turns.
The caliber was high, the design intelligent, and (yes, possibly biased) the sustainably-inclined produced some of most creative and buzzed-about collections of the season. Check out the full gallery of images here and see for yourself why we’re proud as punch by the creativity and integrity of those with a more considered and holistic approach to fashion. Well done to all – we can’t wait to see what future collections behold.
All photos courtesy of Lucas Dawson for LMFF.