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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Murmur of Gail Sorronda

So I know I promised it weeks ago and this blogger has been very slack indeed. I have no excuses except that I was temporarily consumed by an extreme dose of post fashion week fever.

The other day I was reminded though of my promise to blog my love for Gail Sorronda's SS1011 collection Murmur when her look book complete with my pre-order form popped up in my Inbox and the tumultuous decision of which pieces to add to my own ever growing collection of Gail began to plague me into the night, much like the irrepressible Murmur that inspired the collection.
So here it is, finally, my ode to Gail Sorronda in the hopes that by reviewing the whole collection my decision might somehow become easier. 

My love affair with Gail Sorronda began long ago when I was just a naive trend obsessed Brisbane teenager, who never dared to to step outside the compulsory uniform of skinny jeans, singlets and havaianas. I stumbled upon Gail's graduate collection at QUT, in a show of support for my model friend, and her dark romance seeped into my veins. I knew then and there that I would wear an armour of tassles, beads, feathers and ruffles that dripped from my decolletage to my knees and bounced in all the right places in between and today I am proud to say I do.

So it goes without saying that Gail's show was on of the most anticipated shows of RAFW for me and she did not disappoint. I was pleasantly excited to find gold amongst her usual strictly black and white ensembles and I was delighted by her latest line of exotic instrumental inspired accessories. The crimped beehive buns and tightly braided contrasts in the hair were also a stand out beauty look of the week.

Murmur, was reminiscent of the drones of continuous modern noise and the collection was weighted with the heaviness of this concept. Silk Georgette, organza and tuelles were twisted, pleated, tucked, folded, ruffled and draped, moving from form hugging to voluminous plumes in a nip, a tuck or a flourish of delicate ruffles.

Murmur was a textural textile metaphor for the verbal babble of daily routine and the constant call of our primitive instincts and desires. And evoke desire it did indeed.

Gail has often described her designs as bi-polar and the extremes of difference, the contrast of the unrestrained and the contained and the addictiveness of the unpredictable were certainly deeply cemented in Murmur. Her's is a subtle sort of craziness though, one that oozes sophistication and exults in materializing the childish anticipation of surprise. 

Like all good surprises it didn't fail to delight me, so completely, that like that child I am left longing for more...
The list has been closed but is sadly still far to long and one more design will have to be struck off. Another pain staking night of the Murmur of desire awaits. 
Which pieces should I get?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day four and five RAFW

There is no excuse for this extra delayed blogging except that exhaustion caught up with me and the after parties stole me away into the early hours this morning, so here it is, better late than never, the highlights from the last two days of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week.

Yesterday dawned as a beautiful day, nothing at all like the threatening vision of the Apocalypse that has been so present in the cinemas over the last year and Kirrily Johnston’s collection Apocolypto, despite its name was nothing like that either. Her vision for the future was not one where the modern world as we know it is thrown into devastation and chaos, but where humanity returns to its modest naturalistic origins and the compelling aesthetics of the collection made that future far from terrifying, it was enticing.
Since her first collection stripes have been a signature element of the Kirrily Johnson look, along with knitwear and draping and all three were present yesterday in all their glory. They were spliced with two other tribal prints and accessorised with tribal printed armbands and towering turbans that completed the Apocolypto vision. The tribal feel was apparent from head to two and layered back with her new line of KJ basics. Kirrily's show was relevant in reference and outstanding in aesthetic.

The next show, that cannot go without a mention, was the TAFE show that unveils the fresh talents of the industry every year. Each designer showed great potential across a broad range of styles from tribal to overt tailoring. Elliot Ward Fear was undoubtedly a standout with his conceptual broad shouldered and voluminous shapes. His daring proportions were also worthy of mention because of the dizzying height of his wedge heels, which almost had half the models on their knees and managed to succeed in derailing a few completely. The audience was literally holding their breath waiting for disaster to strike and I swear I could actually hear the sighs of relief every time a model returned backstage safely, but then what does fashion exist for if not to take a risk and push the boundaries.

Next was Gary Bigeni, whose collection was not exactly boundary breaking, but noteworthy nonetheless. It was clean, smart and simple tailoring and draping completed with his signature circular hemmes and seamless sewing that means there is in fact no visible lines or boundaries in his garments to be pushed.

Dhini's show in the afternoon delivered one of my favourite prints of the week, it was graphic and geometric all at once and was striking emblazoned on leggings and sheer shirts and dresses throughout the show, enhancing the softly draped and tailored pieces that composed the rest of the collection. 

Saint Augustine Academy was pristine punk, juxtaposing traditional suiting and rambunctious rock aesthetics to create a new smart street style with attitude.
Michael Lo Sordo followed with a collection that was anything but hard rock, instead it was romantic, clean and crisp, with a dynamic print in a vibrant array of summer colours. The collection was one of the most cohesive classically contemporary collections of the week.

Fernando Frisoni started the evening off late but in stellar style. My favourite thing about this collection was the strong colour blocked structural layers in opposing pinks and reds. Models came out in quick succession, which was nearly enough to put the night back on schedule, but not quite, it did however; personify the strength of his garments. The Frisoni girls and boys were nonchalantly sophisticated and fearless in their layered style statements.

The final show of the evening was Gail Sorronda, a personal favourite of mine, (I've been sporting her divinely dark form of textile romance all week,) she is such a favourite that I am not even going to mention her any further in this blog because I just don't feel I could do her justice in one paragraph so stay tuned for the full blog on her SS1011 collection Murmur next week. 

And so that brings us to Friday, the fifth and final day of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week 2010. My day began with the debut solo collection of a Le Black Book favourite designer, Miss Unkon. The Brisbane turned Sydney based designer, Courtney Meyer, did not disappoint when it came to her penchant for girlie romance so of course I loved loved loved her collection, A Journey of Young Love. Frills, and lingerie style pieces were a dominant feature in soft sumptuous fabrics. Dresses ranged from short and sweet to long and lavish in a colour palette reminiscent of the creamy pastel icing on cupcakes and the whole look combined was so sweet you could almost taste the icing, not just visualize it. Miss Unkon was dreamy, innocent and charming and as unforgettable and irreplaceable in it's style as the emotional experience of young love. 

The New Generation show, where Courtney made her RAFW debut last year, produced another few gems this year namely Garth Cook and Flowers for a Vagabond, whose collections were both dark and conceptual. These two are both definitely worth watching.

My final mention for the week is Annah Stretton, whose collection had a strong underlying message about animal cruelty that was communicated through Annah's contemporary take on the style of her moral and aesthetic muse, Brigitte Bardot. For my full interview with Annah about the message sewn into the garments head to Tangent.

So there it is another fashion week over and my verdict is in. The week was an eclectic representation of Australian style. Each collection had its own gems and if you plucked them all out and combined them you would have a very fine wardrobe indeed. Romantic tailoring, dark and detailed, structural and sleek, printed and punchy, splice them and combine them however you want to, the runways, after all, are where the trends emerge, but style is what happens in the wings after the lights have gone down and the communal buzz is silenced by individual interpretation and fearless flights of everyday imagination.

My imagination is certainly a buzz with them now so keep your eyes peeled for what eventuates over the coming months, but for now I am resting my weary eyes ready for another day of fashion frantic work tomorrow before my Sunday Sabbath of peace.
So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day Three RAFW

So day three dawned, less than bright and sunny, adrenalin kicked in some where after my second long black in an hour and Kate Sylvester bought all my senses back to my life.
It began with a charming invitation style card on my seat referencing style makers such as Loulou de le Falaise, Proust, Alessandra Colombo and Scott Schuman and of course Chanel. Ahhh what a breath of fresh air and Kate's simple tailoring and subtle colour palate was very refreshing indeed. The look was effortless chic and timeless simplicity, knotted with leather belts and finished with large pristine pressed white bows and checkered collars around the neck. Her collection A Charming Man was contemporary gentlemanly ingenue.
The next show to vibrate on my aesthetic radar was Manning Cartell, a label I have come to know and acknowledge as one of great texture, elaborate detailing and finely fitted forms. Their hand crafted lace and heavily beaded bib style tops confirmed this for me today. Outfits ranged from suiting to runway sweeping dresses all threaded together by their underling inspiration of old tales from the Scottish Highlands. Manning Cartell certainly has a unique point of difference and an armour of strong aesthetics.
The following show, was Bianca Spender's RAFW debut and her inspiration and overall look could not have been further from the deep history of the Scotish Highlands. Avatar style characters once again made their entry on the catwalk. Feather eyebrows and braided and teased hair were a strong beauty look that contrasted the finesse of her garments perfectly. Draping and folding featured throughout in silks of all shapes, lengths and styles. Bianca had the apparently simple yet deeply detailed look down to a fine art.
Ready to Wear was a mixed bag of mens and womenswear with an overall dark ambiance. The standout for me was a Concept whose designs were exactly that, conceptual. They varied from the strong to the outwardly daring with striking jackets that took the power shoulder to a new extreme. Overall it was a fashion editorial dream.
The evening began with Australian favourite, Jayson Brunsdon, who delivered his structurally theatrical forms at his usual high standard. There were strong elements of fifties style, which were spliced with contemporary cuts and alternate detailing. Jayson Brunsdon proved once again he is a master when it comes to refreshing, richly embellished, pure elegance.
Next on my agenda was one of my personal favourite designers Karla Spetic, who won me over with her dreamy style garments at RAFW last year. The look was once again, much to my delight, quite dreamy and dominated by the colour flavour of the season, pastels. Karla Spetic is one of those labels that has radical cuts with a classic simplicity sewn down to a T. Karla is definitely still in my good books and getting better all the time.
The final show down at Circular Quay and yes, once again, the best in my opinion, was Konstantina Mittas, who had me captivated from the moment I read the press release on my seat. Her inspiration included two of my favourite things surrealist art and mythical characters. The lights went down and the sound of sirens rose up, rock sirens, Jared Underwood vs. Flutter Lyon and Jessica O'Donoghue, who were staged in the back corner filling the OPT with strangely endearing sound. Models glided out with masses of teased and tightly tucked ringlets on their heads and splashes of colour around their eyes, the only colour to be seen. Konstantina's designs were a modern day myth turned textile art to wear. Textures were vast and varied and scintillating gold pieces added a notch of rock goddess charm. The one shoulder silhouette, traditionally associated with goddesses, was overarching throughout the show but was given a contemporary and unique structure in each garment. Konstantina delivered a collection, where no piece out did the other, even the one pair of jeans was armed with their own characteristic style and coming from a girl who is renowned for never wearing jeans that is saying something. The final line of her press was release was "The Night of Enitharmons Joy alludes to the awakening universal strength, beauty and mystery of all women," and her collection was certainly a pleasant awakening of each of these for me, both artistically and stylishly.
And it is with pleasant thoughts of this collection, which has been my favourite so far (although Aurelio still leaves me stunned,) that I bid you, so long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day two RAFW

So day two and the weariness is starting to set in already, which means unlike yesterday I am not saving the best till last, though my last show was the highlight again.
Nicola Finetti, or as we so fondly nicknamed him on Tangent Digital tonight, "The King of Techno Chic," and in my opinion there is no better way to describe his designs. I would like to take credit for the fitting name, but truthfully it was my creative director Emmanual Giraud who came up with it, but there was no dispute from me or Nicola when we offered him his new title.
His dresses were indeed chic but the techno part is where it becomes ambiguous for me, his sculptural and embellished accentuation certainly had a mod-culture feel to them but the 'tech' part of it went even further.
I was, once again, as I was last night at Aurelio Costarella, blown away by the sheer craftsmanship of his garments. Accordion pleats that stood on their own legs, whether they were on the back, hips or most outstandingly the ribs and decolletage, showed a sheer devotion to the shape of the female form and its movement. Detail was abundant and no matter what the colour, nude, white or black mainly, these dresses had a motive all of their own, that when placed on a living being became a persona of confidence, sensuality, sophistication and modern femme power. We didn't call him a king for nothing
Other highlights of my day, ( keeping it short my bed is mocking me as I type,) were Flannels pristine, sophisticated, effortless chic outfits with stand out pieces in, yes you guessed it leather and Zimmermann whose prints took on a fresh structured form of geometric cut up layering and high waisted figure hugging ingenue elegance.
I also embraced the return of the cropped bodice at Sara Phillips, with loving open arms and the knit lingerie style pieces of New Zealand label Sabatini White.
The standout at the Ready to Wear show, one of my favourite catwalks to discover the next big thing, was Sally Koeswanto, whose pieces persevered beyond strong into the hard edge of rock fashion. Needless to say, yes, there was more than enough leather for my liking.
So there it is, day two in short, there was plenty of print and tailoring but for me the structure and embellishment took the cake again.
Day three looms slightly closer than I would like it to be, with work still yet to be done and so it is with tired eyes, risking becoming exhausted that I leave you once more.
So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night

Monday, May 3, 2010

RAFW Day one done and dusted, permed, printed and sculpted

So day one of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in it's 15th year...How did it end up? Permed, printed and sculpted, with outstanding splashes of ruffles, fur, feathers and sumptuous leathers in between.
Sydney's Circular Quay was a buzz of stylishly dressed individuals, armed with computers, iPhone's and Blackberry's this morning when I arrived and the up to the minute texting, uploading typing and camera flashes continued the whole day.
The day held many a juxtaposition and many a new direction, whether it was the old turned new or the new purely out dating the old.
Oyster said it first on their front cover earlier this year "Print is dead." That statement was very much true and very much not at fashion week today. On the runway print was well and truly alive, with the first three shows at the Overseas Passenger Terminal delivering exactly that.
Ginger and Smart, The Seventh Wonderland and Camilla all had their fair share of vibrant graphic prints but the front row..the front row on the other hand was all about the internet. Laptops rested on specially installed trays and images streamed live onto the internet so if you weren't there you my as well have been.
And so it is, that this delayed blogger, can only offer you this, my personal reflections and favourites from the day.
The Seventh Wonderland did indeed deliver a wonderland fantasy, as a long time lover of the label and loyal wearer I may be slightly bias, but every season this swimwear label seems to blur the boundaries of beach and day wear more and more.
Models meandered out in clean cut, hand sculpted, hand designed prints that offered a sophisticated chic to modern day swimwear. Designer. Bonnie Coumbe, did not disappoint when it came to her background in customized prints, graphic lines and a myrid of vibrant colours interacted in a mesmerizing display of swimwear fantasy.
The next not to be missed, with an equally vivid array of colour and prints, was Camilla, who deserves a special note for her showcase, which began with the beginning of the ground breaking digital movie Avatar and ended somewhere between its success and it's enormous scale production. Camilla successfully encompassed both.
Models stormed out in vibrant prints complete with headpieces, colourful make up, permed hair and in the end wigs and plastic helmet style hats. No stone was left unturned and no colour was ignored.
After that, with eyes spinning in colour, it was time for the harder style of Lucette where crimping and braiding still ruled supreme in the hair but with an entirely different wardrobe and state of mind. This was one of my favourites of the day.
One of the increasingly consistent trends to emerge so far made its debut, corseting and leather bodices and suspender style waist adornments. Body harnesses and rock style 80's pieces were softened with flowing print skirts and dresses creating the perfect juxtaposition of soft, hard and no where in between. It was a delightful visual sensation to be apart of, with multiple pieces that can be de-constructed and re-constructed to speak a thousand different words. In short a stylists dream.
The first ready to wear show was a pleasant surprise unveiling the talents of Uscari and Carly Hunter, two labels that are definitely worth watching. Carly Hunter's polka dot sheer dresses were certainly a favourite of mine and the construction and simplicity of Uscari won me over within a heartbeat and the first wave of music.
Zambesi, was Zambesi at its best delivering wearable pieces in an androgynous style, with strong elements of each gender splicing up the aesthetic. Always a show not to be missed and a style not to be underestimated.
The final show on my setting first day of fashion week horizon was Aurelio Costarella, a designer who has caught my eye and my admiration ever increasingly over that last year. His show confirmed my feelings that he is one of the finest designers in Australia today, with an attention to detail that is second to none.
Pleats bounced under cascading ruffles and sculptural corsets and leather bodices bound them at the their routes. The colour palette went from dark to light seemingly symbolic of a journey into the light and indeed his collection was like the sigh you breathe when you finally reach the end of that journey. His was a painless journey though, one where your breath was not stifled by the darkness, but by the sheer magnificence of the beauty of the light that dances amongst the shadows along the way.
Without getting to metaphorical and romantic on you, the collection was a work of art where not only the detail stood out, but the simple elements, that framed them, which took on a life of their own. The textures were so vivid it was hard not to leap onto the runway and touch them. It was simplistic, sculptural, delicately detailed design divinity, that hugged both the body and the heart of fashion as an expression of beauty at the same time.
Nothing more needs to be said.
That is where day one ended for me and it couldn't of ended on a higher note.
In summary the favourites were all there, the prints, the colours, the fluid tailoring and the sculptural dresses and of course the leather. Loving the leather.
The hair and make up was above and beyond and it seems any of us who threw out our crimping irons may have to hunt them back down. Hair is big, crimped, braided, teased and twisted, it has a textural personality of its own! I'm calling mine back in right now...though I think the 2005 multi-styling model might not suffice for such a smooth crimped style. We will see.
Day two holds new promises of pattern, print and textural magic, be it white or dark magic, it's magic nonetheless so lets hope tomorrow is even more magical than today. The standard has been set high though.
So for now, so long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night.
For more of my more up to the minute coverage head to Tangent Magazine and Le Black Book