After viewing a powerful contemporary ballet performance, guests at tonight’s Melbourne Spring Fashion Week Designer Runway 2 were presented with the word “In Melbourne, fashion is all around us”; a motif that resonates throughout the entire week. Designer Runway 2 presents sharp silhouettes and clean design aesthetics from a selection of both well-established design darlings and a few more recent industry favourites.


Manning Cartell’s spring summer offering was awash with romantic metallics (light golds, silvers and roses) interspersed with hints of lilac and wisteria. Romantic sheer netting and buttery soft textures softened the harder-edged pieces, while a mix of close-to-the-body and sporty, boxy silhouettes stayed true to the label’s edgy style.


Laser cut silks were key for Livia Arena. Cream on cream ensembles draped effortlessly over the body, and basket woven, slightly utilitarian olive separates brought a daytime sensibility to the collection. These rich, earthy tones gave way to a number of cool toned grey blue pieces featuring meticulously detailed cut outs, adding a delicacy to otherwise highly structured garments.


LIFEwithBIRD presented a visually stunning collection with a clear nod to the 90s; slip-style dresses, reworked tie-dye prints and oversized outerwear that would look perfectly at home on a young Kate Moss. Prints in lime, moss green and black are amped up for spring via a touch of cobalt, one such example in the form of a blue leather jacket converted from the classic black biker into a fresh, modern wardrobe staple.


The Tettmann.Doust duo dazzled with a collection heavy on galactic references. Prints derivative of fractals are worked into figure hugging bodysuits, draped trousers and thigh skimming sheath dresses. The collection is dark, raw and utterly beautiful, with black sheer gowns, leather crops and heavy embellishment (a previously untouched element for the label) complemented by more classically feminine pieces in shades of lilac and lemon.


Crisp whites and sweet sorbet hues were the order of the day for Alice McCall, pronounced in the form of weightless silks and cottons. The collection is overtly feminine without being frivolous, featuring shell tops with architectural frills, trumpet skirts and exaggerated shoulder details that almost took on the shape of tiny wings. The collection was not without a plethora of appliqué and cut-out lace work; something of a calling card for McCall of late.


Neo Dia’s summer collection was an exercise in precision. Working from expertly cut white silk dresses and separates, moving on to a series of pieces in a rich paris blue and finishing with deep emeralds, each piece was cut with the female form in mind. The collection was all on-trend high necks cut to show a subtly sexy flash of collarbone. One exception to the rule, however, was a highly structured bustier positioned firm on the waist and sat at an angle away from the chest, paired with a sheer black silk skirt cut right up to the thigh; this particular look was a stunning juxtaposition of stiff, wearable architecture and slightly romantic femininity.


YB J’aime’s spring summer offering opened with a workable take on animal print. This season, the print is slightly oversized and various animal prints collide to create more of a graphic pattern. This print takes place in tailored separates before moving on to a number of cobalt pieces; a recurring motif throughout the entire show. Bae’s work is feminine and immaculately tailored. A beautiful cream cape is a throwback to the original Chanel era, while a boat-necked lace midi dress celebrates a womans curves.


Closing the show was designer of the moment Christina Exie with a collection all things sexy and futuristic. Split are cut almost to waist height and allow skirts to move seamlessly with the body, metallic leather is key and midriffs are bare. The entire collection is captivating. Geometrically printed trousers sit high on the waist and skim the ankle, and black leather separates feature hexagonal punch-holes. These pieces are structured but entirely wearable; futuristic without being intimidating.

MSFW Designer Runway 2 was structural, intense and highly innovative.

Images by Wanda Chin for Couturing

About The Author

Gemma Watts

Gemma Watts has worked in the fashion media industry since 2012, writing for and being headhunted by some of the country's leading fashion and beauty companies. With a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing and a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) under her belt, Gemma is able to combine her two greatest passions as Couturing's Fashion Editor- fashion and writing.

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