Some of the biggest highlights of VAMFF isn’t always the premium runways. Case in point, the National Graduate Showcase. Putting the spotlight on some of the country’s best and brightest young talents, the next wave of Australian fashion took to the runway to share their unique points of view.
Opening the show was Monique Duggan and her collection OPTIC. Digitally altered floral prints were matched against stripes and geographic shapes, all with a little bit of volume. Inspired by optical illusions and modern art, the collection felt bold, engaging, and very Melbourne laneway ready.
Megan McGrath and her collection, meg&n was unapologetically inspired by 90s hip-hop and rap culture. Think primary colour blocking with heavy doses of gold embellishments and chunky chains. Innovative silhouettes and clever remixes of patterns (spot the dollar bills!) added extra interest and a sense of fun.
April Yap and her collection, CTRL-C, went meta, bringing textures and techniques from Photoshop onto the runway. With patterns inspired by the appearance of the transparent layering tool and signage from China Town, the two seemingly unrelated inspirations were connected with the theme of “there, but not really there”. This idea extended into the clothing, with large areas of fabric cut out, or featuring cropped layers.
Erica Deluchi entitled her collection, Holonymy (defined as “the semantic relation that holds between a whole and its parts”), and showed oversized, minimalistic layered looks – made a bit more eye catching with splashes of reds and unexpected fabrications.
Alexandra Louise Champion Hackett and her monogrammed collection, A.L.C.H., took inspiration from surveillance and security, creating fashion out of the technology that protects it. The pieces were incredibly intricate, with one jacket completely fabricated about of label tags, and one out of security tabs.
Vanessa Emirian went full circle (pun intended) with her eponymous collection, with spots in ranging sizes covering capeletes, knits and full Dior-eque skirting.
Sofie Teh took inspiration from the Hmong people and the sounds and sights of Vietnam. Accessories ranged from traditional floral garlands to interpretive patterns – all a nod to her heritage and all fashionably accessible.
Rachael Zheng found beauty in simplicity, showing tied waist tunic dresses with details of oversize squares and circles.Easy wearing the collection was easily translated to the street, with the collection encompassing the idea of office to bar.
Donald Chung’s collection, influenced by the army uniforms of North Korea, was on trend in utilitarian silhouettes, epaulettes , and clean crisp lines, but pledging allegiance to fashion – not communism.
Felicity Gleeson was flowing and feminine, with mint green and neutral colours forming the base of her collection. Loose shift dresses and capes made up the basis of the silhouettes, making this collection one for the woman who wants fashion forward pieces, but with usability.
Lauren Acciarito was a standout, moulding the idea of florals with femininity in a brand new way. ‘Petals’ were formed from the specifically printed neoprene, creating new silhouettes and a brand new dynamic for girly, soft, and flirty fashion.
My personal highlight, and closing collection, Natalie Kieleithner’s all red brigade gave the runway the drama it was calling for. Peaked shoulders and layered fringe, her crimson vision was the most haute couture and the most interesting. From her first showing at MSFW 2014, there is no doubt that her star will continue to rise.
Images by Jacob Medina