Melbourne Spring Fashion Week RMIT show review
Touted as the most exciting show of the week, the RMIT student series ‘Dangerous Goods’ had so many talented students to showcase that organizers were forced to present two separate shows. Team Vine was present at the first show of the night which was welcomed with a roar of support from the large crowd. Applause and even tears were littered throughout the high energy and innovative show which demonstrated the continuous and high degree of talent that emerges from RMIT year after year.
Jason Hewitt’s tribal collection of printed chaps, leg length exposed zips and vibrant clashing colours set the dynamic pace for the night. Themes of proportion, shapes and colours were also exaggerated by Raine Taylor. Her textured range of jagged edge seams, leather fringing and aggressive shapes created a uniquely prehistoric and yet futuristic vision. Renee Bock also looked to the future focusing on industrial exposed zips for her collection. Playing to the concept of exposing and unraveling items to reveal their core, Rene hung long zips off a vibrant orange draped dress and cropped jacket.
Where some students played to futuristic and conceptual themes, others presented wearable collections that incorporated subtle forward thinking ideas. Most notable was Holly Simpson’s collection ‘Foldaway.’ Taking modernist design principles, Holly’s range of interchangeable garments fused both the bag and the garment – a clutch purse subtly folded into a skirt, a handbag links to a blazer. Her designs married both function and aesthetic, flawlessly.
Unique and artistic prints was another theme from the night. At a time when established designers are learning that an exclusive print can help them stand out amongst the racks, the new generation of designers are cleverly creating their own from the get go. Ema Hewitt let the audience in on the technique behind her print – a hula hoop adding paint to a plain dress in a circular motion was projected on a video screen before her designs took to the stage. Jane O’Callaghan took inspiration from the milkweed bug, adding soft hand painted brush strokes to the lower leg of a pant, while Cindy Wei Zhang utilized a Royal Doulton like porcelain print in her collection of circular shapes and volume.
Intricate velvet brocade and twisting seam panels was key to Jessica Slade who took inspiration from the wallpaper found at Versailles. Upholstery fabric in a bright marigold colour added another facet of texture to the range of feminine full skirts and tailored blazers. Eutichia Drakopoulos’s collection ‘Synthesis’ focused on the relationship between the hand and fabric, telling a story with a range of textures and embroidery in natural tones.
The magic and innocence of Peter Pan played as inspiration for Stephani Melisa Krisna, who livened up the show with cheerful designs and floral headwear. This joyful theme followed through into Kasia Gorniak’s ‘Body Impressions,’ a harlequin collection of pastel ruffles which aimed to fuse theatrics with reality and challenge the notion of clothing as costumes for everyday life. Ruffles and vibrant fabric twists continued with Jane Bunn’s collection. Her delicate construction techniques were the result of a fascination of the tension between states of dress and context of garments.
The night’s theme of ‘Dangerous Goods’ rang true at both Blanka Pociask andAshleigh Robertson’s collections. ‘Woven Shell’ saw Blanka challeng the traditions of male dress by putting her leather clad warrior men in hounds tooth skirts that appeared just as masculine as the double breasted leather jackets and woven pieces. Where the danger appeared aggressive at Blanka, Ashleigh evoked a similar emotion with a collection that pinned both the dominate and submissive against each other. A bionic woman strapped with fetish-like-leather and constricted with metal corsets was softened with sheer pleated floor length skirts. This combination of theatrics paired with glimpses of wearability summed up the show. The future of Melbourne’s fashion may appear dangerous, but it is also very happy and bright.