“You don’t have to expose everything, you don’t have to compromise on feeling confident,” she said. “You can wear beautiful fabrics and fantastic prints and that is the statement.”
Similarly, Oroton creative director Sophie Holt introduced a small amount of evening wear to her usually resort-heavy collection.
“There was a real clamour for evening wear from our clients,” said Ms Holt. “There is a backlog of celebrating, and I think when people are celebrating now, they are dressing up more.” The capsule will be sold initially at Oroton’s flagships in Armadale and soon-to-be-opened Paddington.
“There was a real sense of support among the designers and their agencies,” said Holly Tenser, buying manager for women’s ready to wear at Browns in London. “People celebrated one another and there was a lack of competition. It was joyous.”
“We work with some of these brands already [Aje, Matteau, St Agni]. I can’t confirm anything but there are a few on my radar who I’ve been able to catch up with to see the collections in closer detail,” said Tenser, name-checking Esse Studios, Aaizel, Wynn Hamlyn and Beare Park.
“This season was a real mix. There was a lot of sophistication but also some more conceptual collections that weren’t so focused on commercial success. Erik-Yvon stood out to me for its joy, fun and inclusivity, and so did Wynn Hamlyn for its nod to Y2K dressing.”
With a packed schedule – some shows began at 9pm to accommodate all designers – there was a sense that the week was trying to do too much, too quickly. Runways dedicated to adaptive fashion, plus-size fashion, the metaverse and NFTs were on the bill, and while each received accolades, they have not represented sweeping change at the event. Most models are still smaller than a size 6, a fact the week’s trend towards extremely low-slung pants only highlighted, and most are very young, though it was heartening to see a few models with grey hair. And while racial diversity was a feature of most runways, First Nations designers were still relegated to their own collective shows, rather than standalone runways which would, arguably, better spotlight their work.
Despite this, Afterpay’s head of markets in Australia and New Zealand, Katrina Konstas, said she felt the event was successful.
“There was a lot of creative licence, but what we saw was also very wearable,” she said. “And it’s great to see designers who challenge the status quo.”