Constantine Lace Jacket \ $295
In her first ready-to-wear collection for the Mariana Hardwick brand, Rebekah Hardwick, 28, (she’s the daughter-in-law of the fashion matriarch, who is one of Melbourne’s finest bridal designers) brings new life to lace and gets edgy with leather. She has created diffusion line Hardwick with Anneliese Bridgman.
The cocktail collection debuted at Mercedes-Benz Australian Fashion Week in May, and the response has been fabulous. There’s interest from overseas buyers, but the collection – in shops August/September – is all about bringing quality garments to the stage. It’s up there with Collette Dinnigan and Toni Maticevski when it comes to glamour.
It’s also the first time the brand opens up to a new market and urges women to embrace lace in the cocktail hour. Hardwick is all about mini lace dresses and some longer for grander lines. There’s high-waisted leather skirts, laser-cut leather, georgette silks, Chantilly lace and metallic shades that are electric and warm.
“Doing a fashion range is something we have always talked about,” says managing director Rebekah, who started as a 19-year-old assistant and became marketing manager after completing her university degree. “We knew there was a demand for this sort of thing because people who love the Mariana Hardwick brand have often asked if we would ever expand to include something like this. When our creative director Anneliese went to Paris she was inspired to buy some lace, and that started the process of releasing the fashion range. I got right behind her on the idea.”
Ethereal Lace Evening dress in nude \ $545
According to Rebekah, the ready-to-wear collection is about realising lace doesn’t just belong in the bridal department. It’s all about co-ordinating pieces with your work wear – from tailored peplum jackets for chic silhouettes to lace riding jackets as well as beautiful dresses that work for after-hours functions.
It helps that the folk at Hardwick are comfortable with lace, working with it and taking it from the catwalk to the high street. Rebekah says the new collection is all about flattering lines, embracing curves and making women feel sexy in silk, lace and sequined numbers.
Hardwick will be available in selected boutiques and the flagship shops as well as online. Rebekah says the lace riding jacket is an instant winner – it’s versatile and can be worn over an event dress or paired with leggings and layered accordingly.
“The collection is all about juxtaposing lace and letting her own the modern world,” Rebekah says.
“Lace has changed so much since it was first used in fashion. It was seen as quite traditional but with so many fabric developments and modern techniques out there now, it’s brought it back to life.”
Laser-cut leather skirt \ $2495 <>Bustier top nude \ $155
Embrace lace in the cocktail hour with a new diffusion line making its debut for spring 2012. Titled Hardwick, the brand is also right at home with Chantilly lace, georgette silks, cropped lace riding jackets and laser-cut leather from Italy.
Melbourne designer Jane Dixon has been making jewellery since 2006. Her pieces have been featured in Marie Claire and Cleo and she’s all about modern and feminine styles. Her brand Liberte is big on cuffs, long necklaces, sparkly pendants and chunky, bold rings.
Staccato Shoes has its heart set on spring/summer 2013; this earthy-green sandal is taken from its forthcoming collection. We love the spirited summer stripes – which hint at Missoni and embrace European summer shades for the warm days ahead.
This series of guitar-pick pendants by Hannah Chambers has been inspired by key musical moments – think Purple Rain by Prince and Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in The Wall. Handcrafted in sterling silver with amethyst and Australian sapphire.