From the 23rd to the 29th of November, Melbourne Fashion Week for 2020 went ahead despite the state of Victoria being the hotbed of COVID-19 in Australia. MFW mainly relied on digital formats for runway debuts and talks however, still had live events like pop-up runways and fashion capsules.
With Victoria’s 15-week lockdown ending in the last week of October, it didn’t leave much time to fully confirm if the in-person aspects for Melbourne Fashion Week could go ahead. Luckily, on 27 October at 11.59pm, restrictions eased.
This year, Melbourne Fashion Week boasted an itinerary of digital shows, conversation, pop up runways, films, and exhibitions, with almost all events free or available for later digital viewing. Although the pandemic undoubtedly had a toll on the fashion business, MFW demonstrated how the industry creatively adapted to unforeseen circumstances and made things more accessible to a wider audience.
ARID GARDEN RUNWAY
This live runway show was held at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne but was also filmed for digital viewing. It showcased looks from an amalgamation of designers like Akira, Alice McCall, JOSLIN, and nevenka to name a few.
This look was one of the highlights of the Arid Garden show: an ombre maxi dress paired with a woven ‘fishnet’ tunic on top. MAARA collective has the luxurious resort-style aesthetic but its distinct look comes from collaboratively working with Indigenous artists and creatives on their designs.
JOSLIN focused on fresh linen looks with feminine silhouettes and details. This is from their new resort ‘Maiden’ collection but luckily even during COVID-19, Australia’s weather means you can wear this without having to be on your Euro Summer trip.
The beloved Australian womenswear brand Alice McCall, recently announced on 9 November that the brand was going into voluntary administration. The brand’s aesthetic is known for being feminine and festive, often with sparkles and tulle. This look is no different with its tiered tulle silhouette with polka dot detailing. Hopefully, this latest collection is a sign that Alice McCall will survive administration.
This look from nevenka was paired with dramatic florals and vegetation, complimenting the Royal Botanic Garden runway. The brand prides itself on their one-of-a-kind designs handcrafted by their own atelier as well as their ready-to-wear collection. The dress is an ankle-length collared dress with ornate detailing that is reminiscent of traditional Balkan clothing, which is the inspiration behind the brand.
MEYERS PLACE RUNWAY
In contrast to the natural scenes of the Arid Runway, the Meyers Place Runway was in the heart of Melbourne’s bustling city centre. Meyers Place is a popular laneway filled with restaurants and bars, which allowed a limited number of attendees to prebook a a restaurant package to watch the show whilst eating alfresco or simply a free runway seat out in the open.
Rains, as the name suggests, is a waterproof lifestyle brand that takes inspiration from Scandinavian aesthetics. The brand is definitely appropriate for Melbourne, as the city can have four seasons in a day with random bursts of rain. This neutral toned look featuring a grey poncho and black waterproof pants would be acceptable to wear simply as streetwear not just for rainy days: definitely not like your parents’ daggy raincoat.
HoMie is a brand with a difference: drawing awareness to homelessness in Melbourne and the stigma that homeless people face. REBORN is the premium up-cycled garment line from HoMie, so the brand not only donates 100% of the profits from REBORN, but also tries to minimise its environmental impact by reusing materials. This acid-wash meets pastel look, like all the REBORN pieces, is a unique, one-off design due to the up-cycled nature.
REMUSE is a Melbourne-based brand that uses low-impact dyeing technology and slow-fashion principles to be environmentally conscious. Tie dye is a recurring theme in REMUSE’s designs as well as unisex, comfortable clothing.
The cult-favourite brand Scanlan Theodore, premiered their new collection digitally with a campaign video and photos. The looks were quintessentially Scanlan: elegant, clean and well-constructed. The largely monochromatic looks compliment any wardrobe and are timeless, ensuring they’ll be wearable for many years.
Maticevski is renowned for its sculptural, complex designs. On Melbourne Fashion Week’s website, Maticevski released a video featuring a futuristic, alien-like scene with a lone model inside a sphere. On their actual website, you can see the new collection and the ethereal, otherworldly nature from the campaign video continues on in the designs. Many of the looks are floor-length gowns with plenty of drama, making it suitable for upcoming black-tie or special events.
To accompany the live and digital shows, there were a variety of other must-sees to fill the itinerary and delight viewers. It was refreshing to see MFW have these free events and make it a more interactive, open experience compared to the exclusivity of other Fashion Weeks across the world.
This is the Queen Victoria fashion capsule–1 of 7 capsules dotted around Melbourne CBD. They showcase the best works of designers, stylists and other creatives:
Melbourne is known for its street art and made-to-measure fashion. It’s home to over 140 cultural backgrounds and its diversity continues to support these two characteristics of the city. Inspired by the market’s fresh produce, works include oversized corsages and elaborate bejewelled pieces from esteemed accessory makers and milliners.
Pop Up 3: Festive Season
In addition to the Arid Garden and Meyer Place runway shows, there were six Pop Up runway shows that took place across the city. Models showcased new collections on the streets walking past everyday people. The ‘Festive’ show featured looks from C/MEO Collective, DIIDA, Keepsake the Label, Manning Cartel, Marimekko, Morrison, Oroton and Swensk. Most of the looks had bright colours and festive patterns, all on-theme for the upcoming holiday season.
Pop Up 6: Modern Tailoring
Pop Up 6 was ‘Modern Tailoring’ and featured well-loved brands like Jack London, Neuw Denim, Reiss, Seed Heritage and Witchery to showcase timeless looks. They kept things fresh with pops of colour and more relaxed designs, which made it different from Pop Up 4 ‘Back to Work.’
MFW Conversations: Talks
Melbourne Fashion Week has continued the ‘M/FW Conversations’ series, with talks like ‘Reimagining Local Manufacturing’ and ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fashion.’ A highlight this year was ‘Meet the Designer,’ featuring Brian Huynh (MNDATORY), Fatuma Ndenzako (Collective Closets), Ema Hewitt (HEW) and Giulia Brugliera (Fashion Journal). It provided insight into how they dealt with COVID-19 this year as they “share the challenges, opportunities and how they’ve adapted to a new way of working during the pandemic.”
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