Fashion week was an important festival in Melbourne as it linked commercial images to the consumer. It enabled us to find out what's available for the forthcoming season – the trends, colours, shapes, accessories, styles.

Spirit of the black dress

11:10:AM 28/04/2011
James Razos

Images courtesy of The Spirit of the Black Dress
Images courtesy of The Spirit of the Black Dress

Fashion week was an important festival in Melbourne as it linked commercial images to the consumer. It enabled us to find out what's available for the forthcoming season – the trends, colours, shapes, accessories, styles.

The Spirit of the Black Dress exhibition was organised by a group of independent recent graduates committed to raising the profile of emerging fashion and increasing international appreciation for Australian design. It aimed to promote a sense of community and networking in the industry. Each of the designers stressed the importance of sustainable eco-fashion and rejected the current churning machines that dominate commercial fashion.

I have listed my four favourite designs of the exhibition. Each of these fashion designers embraces diversity and change. With their talent and creativity, they are responsible for taking Australian fashion to a whole new level.

» www.thespiritoftheblackdress.com.au

Alyana Eau & Priscilla Lim

Using traditional concepts but applying contemporary perspectives, this unique design (top) is my favourite in the parade. The whole image looks like it is inspired by the ’90s film The Fifth Element. With dramatic shapes, it’s somewhat Jean Paul Gaultier but with an Australian edge. It has many borrowed and appropriated styles, such as the tubular shape of the dress, which could be linked to tribal Africa. The hair has been allowed to sit in a free-form manner. It has many kinks and waves and the designer has made a decision to keep the dramatic long fringe. Like a veil, the fringe reveals mystery.

Look out for: Space elements, tubular shapes, big accessories.

Images courtesy of The Spirit of the Black Dress
Images courtesy of The Spirit of the Black Dress

Katherine Hamer

On the catwalk, this dress looks impressive. With two prominent square-pleated frills sitting neatly over a tight-fitting pencil skirt, it looks like many of the vogue designs of the ’80s. Although it has a classic high neckline, it’s tapered at the waist, making it sexy and young and very flattering for the female figure. At the parade, this design also had a dramatic shadow, which created an interesting silhouette on the catwalk.

Look out for: A return to the ’80s, shoulder pads, pleats, layering.

Images courtesy of The Spirit of the Black Dress
Images courtesy of The Spirit of the Black Dress

Melina Hollway

With a love of period fabrics and forgotten treasures, this designer has chosen a vintage fabric mini dress. She has also added an exaggerated long train that begins at the shoulder. The complicated detailing on the garment alludes to a dreamy, whimsical look suggesting a return to the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Look out for: Vintage wedding dresses, sequins, hand beading, craftsmanship.

Images courtesy of The Spirit of the Black Dress
Images courtesy of The Spirit of the Black Dress

Cristina Tridente

This design by Cristina Tridente is influenced by Spanish traditional dress. With a keen interest in fabrics, the dress has a series of tapered frills that beautifully measure from the thigh to the ankle. It looks similar to a flamenco dress. The asymmetrical neckline is very couture and matches the exaggerated wedge shoes. The hair is down and has been lightly razored at the ends, allowing a contemporary take on the design. This dress can be worn with the second model, who has highly gelled, lacquered, bleached hair. The cement-like hair allows a strong jaw and a total revealing self to come forward.

Look out for: Ballroom gowns, frills, wedge shoes.


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