Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Runway Report

You can never have too much style in your life and you can’t deter a true fashionista from getting their fix. At least that’s the belief held by the flocks of Sydney-siders who, defying the ominous clouds and drizzling skies, eagerly made their way to the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival over the past few days.

Thursday 24th through Saturday 26th September saw the iconic Sydney Town Hall converted into a fashion mega stage for a powerhouse of Australian designers to showcase their new season work. Opening night began with red carpet arrivals and plenty of glitz and glamour. Among those sitting front row were Canadian supermodel and MBFF ambassador Coco Rocha, who came to Australia specially for the event;  model Nikki Phillips, who wore a racy Rodeo Show lace dress;  and digital influencer Sjana Elise, wearing a sophisticated black Bec and Bridge midi dress.

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The triplet of fashion shows covered everything from smart-casual looks and beachwear, to power dressing and full-blown gala attire. In ‘Ready-to-wear Runway’ strong animal connotations were woven in by a number of designers, where cutesy chic was the name of the game. Dyspnea perpetuated this aesthetic, sending models out in their brightly coloured signature look with fluffy bunny tails and pom-pom adorned pieces. The eye-catching display was epitomised by pink cropped pants suits and box-style blazers that were paired with boudoir slippers and sheer embellished tops. Alice McCall also showcased her designs with Easter-inspired accessories; the models sporting twisted black bunny ear headpieces to compliment the leggy garment offerings, such as a musk pink jumpsuit and glittering, structured cropped top and miniskirt ensemble. Meanwhile McGraw featured sweet lamb prints on pastel pink fabric in what could be a nod to Little Bo Peep, keeping the animal kingdom theme flowing.

Oriental influence was also paramount in the ready-to-wear offerings, with Kimono-esque silhouettes in the Easton Pearson and Lee Matthews collections, Chinese necklines at Zhivago, and Akira’s oversized peony prints and waist sashes making a mark. Other showcases included an Aztec-inspired colour palette and knee-high gladiator sandals at Bec and Bridge, and a subtle twist on classic black and white dressing through clever use of asymmetrical stripes in Ten Pieces designs.

The ‘Australian Luxe’ show was all about sleek sophistication and polished silhouettes. Models marched down the runway  in elegant pieces by Dion Lee which had everyone talking: think deep teals, high-sheen fabrics, with signature folded and rouched detailing. There were striking geometric patterns in pieces by Romance Was Born and Ginger and Smart, while Carla Spetic sent models out in statement colour-block red pieces alongside giant prints of a hand with a glossy red manicure, juxtaposed on a crisp white background. Bianca Spender showcased garments that echoed soft romanticism, with feminine shapes, flowing hemlines and sheer panelling.

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The ‘Red Carpet Runway’ was the grand finale of the festival, cementing the event as yet another spectacular display of Australia’s fashion talent. One highlight was Betty Tran’s attention-grabbing, red and black glamour dress, which featured a full-skirted hemline that fell above the knee at the front, then elegantly made its way to the floor at the rear in a series of elegant waves of the luxurious fabric. Completed by an asymmetrical neckline that finished on one shoulder in a daring point and a beautifully embellished floral motif, it was a real showstopper. The centre piece spectacle was a beautiful white gown designed by Steven Khalil; with a plunging v-neck, silver floral detailing and a princess-style skirt that dropped out from the waist, it was a dress for the modern Cinderella.

And after all the lights went out, one thing’s for sure: nobody let a bit of bad weather rain on the parade.

Lolita Walters

Lolita is a lover of words and the world. With a self-confessed case of wanderlust, passion for writing and addiction to all things fashion and wellness, you will often find her adventuring around the globe. Since quitting her office job, Lolita has chased summer for the past three years, working as a professional lifestyle writer and sometimes model, based out of Bali. If she's not reading, writing or blending up a matcha green smoothie, you'll find her at the beach or dancing the night away.