Tuesday, May 10, 2011

RAFW S/S 2011-2010. Super-long final round-up

If post-modernity has taught us anything, it has taught us that it is impossible for a work to claim objectivity. It will always represent someone's point of view, even indirectly, because as creators, we work from out of ourselves. So you're going to have to humour me today as I run you through my recap of RAFW from a purely subjective perspective with all judgement values informed by my own tastes. And you're going to like it.

Disclaimer: The shows I attended this year were Bec&Bridge and Kate Sylvester. I was invited to others that I couldn't attend because I had to work and I also had to fit some study in somewhere. So most of the following are not shows I attended but thanks to the internet (blessings upon it) I can talk with authority as if I were front row and that's all that matters. (I'm really dictating at you today, huh. I think it's because I'm ensconced in the austere, Gulag-esque PG-ARC which brings out the Soviet-era Russian deep inside me. Comrade.)

And without further ado-!

Alice McCall.
There are girls who wax lyrical about Alice McCall the way I wax lyrical about Lover. I am not one of these girls. It's not that I don't like her designs- I often do- but I have always felt frustrated by them because they seem to be cut for girls with little to no curves. That's okay, girls with little to no curves need clothes too, but every time I bought an Alice McCall item I had to almost convince myself that I could style it to make it look flattering (instead of gapey or tight or flicking out in weird places) yet I could never quite look myself in the eye as I did so. So the item would come home with me, only to languish in my wardrobe... then be resold.
So okay.
Bringing my emotional baggage to the table, I look at these clothes and I want to give Alice McCall another whirl. Because whilst they're true to her girly aesthetic (lots of handworked lace, short and "flirty" hemlines (is that an unfeminist thing to say?), and cut-out shapes in the mid-section) they are a little more adventurous, a little more womanly. As if her pretty-gypsy-girl muse got a job in the city and traded up her crochet yoke for a sheer blouse. Here are my two favourite looks from the collection. You will note the gorgeous print on the matching pants and top ensemb, and also the lovely contrast of the sheer under the camel blazer.  
 Just look!
This drapery is nice too. I'm all for a little drape which brings us to...

Alistair Trung!
Now, I already wanted to like Trung's collection because I know he does drapey- oh, he does it well- and I spent about an hour in his store trying on tens of items last year, all of which were beautifully constructed and can be worn about fifty (hundred) ways each. Which takes dressing- already a fun, challenging activity- and amps it right up. 
And then he had to go and show a collection like this-
 If I could reach through the computer screen and tear this crushed, loose loveliness off the model's body you know I would. I actually would.

 It's like she went to the footy and wrapped her team's flag around her in a post-goal euphoria. But instead of being two colours that should never be seen together (Hawthorn yellow and brown, take a bow) her flag is white with a dash of grey, her flag also becomes a fetching hood/cape- her flag, in short, is bitchin'.

 Sorry what? You want construction, as if the garment is being worn inside out? You want visible tape to ground the sheer and to provide line to the tailored shape of this jacket? You want to imagine your spine as a zipper? He ticked all of the above.

You can't see much detail here but I'm all for the knots. 
And if you weren't checking Oh Jamie's posts on a daily basis during RAFW, what were you doing? He has an eye for detail and shape that reminds me of Tommy Ton but his images have an edge, a sharp aesthetic that's all his own.

You know who else has an aesthetic all her own?  
Magdalena Velevska.
Although I recognised shadows of Givenchy's Spring 2010 Haute Couture collection, Versace's Spring 2011 and the shoes of YSL Spring 2009, these influences were reworked with a lightness of step, with an ease that rendered this collection fresh, precise and (dare I utter the words?) utterly wearable.
Oh, those shoes. 
In the words of Wayne Campbell: "they will be mine. Oh yes- they will be mine."

And on that note here follows the rest of my RAFW wishlist:
 This Dion Lee sumptuosity makes me a little heartsick it's so perfect.

It's like Gary Bigeni dreamt up heaven, coloured it in and sent it down the runway. Mesmerising. 

I could easily find a new home for these two Michael Lo Sordo looks in my cluttered wardrobe. Once, in his feedback on one of my undergrad essays, a lecturer warned me not to 'over-egg the cake' the meaning of which I then had to ask him to explain. 
But I will brave his displeasure and say that the only apt description for this collection is rich and evocative, and that description is 'diaphanous etherality.' Which actually sounds like a name Anne of Green Gables would invent for a pond. I can't imagine Anne in MLS but I can imagine her in this...

Puffed sleeves!
  How Gail Sorronda took puffball and bows and white and avoided making a wedding dress is beyond me. But it's a vision in white and a vision I want wrapped around my limbs asaps.

The work on this outfit is actually ridiculous, is what it is. There is a cluster of Australian designers who are doing really exciting things with shape and Gail Sorronda is found firmly amongst their number. 
 See also: Dion Lee, Alistair Trung, Josh Goot.

And there you have it! My almost-complete, not-really-comprehensive "edit" of RAFW.
The overarching themes I saw coming through were Bianca Jagger in the Seventies, white, colour blocking, mid-thigh length shorts (WHY? Please stop), white, sheer, floorlength, colour blocking, and white. 
A lot of what was shown was very wearable in that kind of Australiam summer-y 'throw it on after a day at the beach' kind of way. Which, for my international readers, means something simultaneously light enough to skim the newly sensitive sunburn and sheer/short enough to show off the tan you've already got. 
The stand-outs for me were Romance Was Born (as if you didn't know!), Michael Lo Sordo (because his clothes were beautiful, unusual, and I'd never encountered him before) and Kate Sylvester, mainly because I wanted to storm the dressage ring and tear the collection right off the models as they walked past. 
It would be cool to see more innovation across the board and a tighter edit of what hits the runway- sometimes I found myself looking at nondescript singlets paired with skinny trousers and thinking 'why?'- but it's also heartening that our industry is so robust, so peopled with designers who, even if they're not always breaking the mould, reinterpret international trends in a way that is fresh and makes sense to an audience with their own particular, Australian aesthetic.

images from oh jamie and fashionising

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