The opening night of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival always brings with it palpitating excitement. As Melbourne’s fashion elite mix with A listers and consumers alike, no one is ever quite sure what to expect. Yesterday’s unveiling of a brand new fashion week Arrivals Precinct allowed every guest to feel like a star, and the L’Oreal Paris Powder Room ensured we were treated like one too. The David Jones Opening Runway, supported by Vogue Australia, surpassed expectations and matched the level electricity and excitement felt throughout the Central Pier Precinct.

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Opening the show was David Jones ambassador and international hot-property Jessica Gomes in fresh Scanlan Theodore. A collection of neutrals and blacks in the luxe textures we’ve come to expect from the label made way for a line of sultry red numbers. A fire engine hued floor length gown rounded off Scanlan’s offering, setting an undeniably high standard for the evening.

Femininity was pushed aside to make way for a collection of men’s streetwear by Calibre. Featuring a palette consisting of navys, browns and forest greens, our old faithful “Melbourne black” appears to be taking a back seat as we approach autumn winter- a refreshing change. Nicola Finetti’s winter offering, lead by Montana Cox fresh from Paris Fashion Week, is a celebration of the female form. Featuring digital prints and a splattering of colour blocking, the collection is form fitting with a throwback to a slightly vintage silhouette- both feminine and highly structured all at once.

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Heavy embellishment and bohemian prints were favoured by Camilla, whose signature kaftans have inspired a line of matching two-piece sets. Beginning to move ever so slightly away from a voluminous silhouette, Camilla has created a versatile collection printed crops, flowing jackets, skirts and cropped pants, allowing you to mix print into your wardrobe one piece at a time. Mimco’s AW14 offering takes shape in jewel toned palette of rich plums, emerald greens and burgundys. Taking a slightly more mature approach to accessories this season, embellishment is minimal and shapes are exaggerated.

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Another designer known for her penchant for beading, Rachel Gilbert, kept things classic this season. Working in a predominantly monochrome palette, the designer paid tribute to the female figure in fitted cocktail dresses and sexy bustiers, all expertly cut to show off the body. While Bec & Bridge’s neon splattered prints were certainly a scene stealer, our collection pick is an oversized black leather sleeved coat- the perfect layering piece to see us through a Melbourne winter in style.

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Ginger and Smart’s autumn collection features bright prints on black bases, enabling the wearer to work back each piece with the solid basics we see as our winter wardrobe comfort zone. The jewel toned metallic of Ginger and Smart’s collection were a brilliant contrast to the minimalism of Christopher Esber’s collection. In black, white and navy, Esber’s line of mesh spliced cap sleeved dresses are versatile and sleek, each with a point of difference.

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Camilla and Marc favoured a modern silhouette this season, teaming boxy and structured separates with a line skirts and drop crotch trousers. Michael Lo Sordo’s collection followed suit as far as modernity, with a line of fitted dresses in bold digital prints and sexy monochrome cut-out party dresses.

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Bassike have deviated from their usual sports luxe look this season, instead creating luxury loungewear. The palette is rich and creamy, splicing fresh neutrals with deep navy knits and leathers. Viktoria + Woods have created a line specifically designed to be layered. While each piece is a standout on its own, any head to toe look from this collection is guaranteed to work.

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Couturing favourite Dion Lee again proved why he is the master of intricate cuts and innovative design techniques. Layers of mesh appear effortlessly chic under cropped layering pieces, while a liquid look digital print may just be the look of the season. Lover’s offering is, naturally, a celebration of femininity. Featuring delicate lace work in romantic greys, blacks and burgundys, this collection is a directional alternative to the more structured party looks of the season.

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Willow’s collection began with crisp whites, moving through to deep Paris blues, black leather and modern tweed. Jac and Jack’s line of neutral toned loungewear fused comfort and fashion, while Nicholas’ nautical influenced party wear will be on high rotation throughout cocktail season. If Jack London’s winter range is anything to go by black is not the new black, making way for slim separates in navy, wine and a hint of bright red.

Bianca Spender’s range of suiting separates in paris blue, soft grey and bright white was voluminous and modern, marking a fresh new direction for the designer. Ellery’s predominantly monochrome collection was broken up by exciting silver metallics, while Romance Was Born’s autumn line was an injection of fun and life- something we’ve come to expect from the design duo.

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Each piece featured on the runway is available now from David Jones stores nationally.

Images by Wanda Chin.

 

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