Going to fashion week is much like seeing your favourite band or singer in concert. While you love the singer and have all their albums in your current playlist, you don’t just go there to see a bare stage and a single microphone; you go to see them perform. You go for the experience. Much like a concert, a fashion show is multifactorial. It is not as simple as clothes being displayed down a runway; it’s more complex than that. A fashion show is a presentation and a method of communication for the designer, so every detail matters. This year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia has used the models, hair, makeup, music, location and stage design to elevate the show, making it an unforgettable, theatrical experience.
Dion Lee set the scene flawlessly. This renowned Australian designer is truly deserving of the Sydney Opera House. The experimental construction of the Sydney Opera house complimented the designs perfectly and had the audience mesmerised. Even from the opening of fashion week, Dion Lee had set the tone and highlighted the importance of location to transform the fashion show to a production.
Ten Pieces transported us to yet another iconic Australian location, the Bondi Ice Burgs. Don’t be fooled, designers don’t sit around a big marble table taking turns to pick classic Australian location names out of a hat. The choice of location is made with purpose and precision. Question; How many young adults go to the Bondi Ice Burgs and don’t Instagram a photo? Answer; None. The Bondi Ice Burgs symbolise a cool, carefree, spontaneous lifestyle, highly coveted by young adults today. This ambiance is embodied in the urban, street style designs presented by Ten Pieces. As though living by the sea wasn’t enough, Dyspnea took things up a notch and showcased their designs on a boat. Throughout the week, the bold choices of location cannot be overlooked, thus, highlighting that the synchrony of both location and design create an unforgettable atmosphere.
It’s not just the location that turns a show into an experience; the style of presentation can send a strong message too. Joshua Mullane presented an experimental, unannounced riot-styled runway, after Dion Lee at the Sydney Opera house, to bring light not only to his designs but to an important issue for all creatives. Fashion week is about fashion, and while we have our all time favourite designers, we also need to make room for new talent. Creativity is not dictated by age or years of experience thus, the designs of a well-seasoned designer are not necessarily “better” than those of an emerging designer. The style of Joshua Mullane’s show emphasises the lack avenues available to emerging designers to showcase their work to a wider audience, including industry professionals and press. An emerging designer’s scheduled show at fashion week is unable to send this message; it was the method of presentation that made Joshua Mullane’s point loud and clear.
While art is known to influence fashion, this year art was a focal point in many shows. Ginger and Smart held their show at the Australian Art Gallery of NSW. The designs featured a mix between printed materials, with bright geometric shapes, and single colour bold garments. The pieces themselves embodied the notion of wearable art. The models emerged from an art installation by Emily Floyd. The mix of bright colours and shapes in Emily Floyd’s artwork made the runway multidimensional and intriguing. It was the combination of art and design that ensured fashion came alive in a sea of colour and it made for an incredible runway production.
The one word used to describe this year’s MBFWA is bold. Designers confidently chose locations to enhance their collection further. The lack of opportunity for new designers to showcase their work has pushed designers to change the style of their runway shows to grasp the attention of industry professionals. The revolution in which fashion is not just influenced by art, but instead incorporates art to transform the runway show into an unforgettable experience, has begun.