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14/03/2016
So underground.

Words by

Leah White

With a sore head from last night’s Diesel World wrap party partially remedied by a quick pre-show souvlaki, I was semi-ready to tackle the Oyster Runway. 

On the way down I overheard someone asking why the whole week wasn’t held in the carpark? Good question, it was super cool down there.

But then again, so was the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum. Big props to VAMFF for the top notch and varied runway locations. It made the week feel really unique and added an element of soul that was lacking at the Docklands. 

Enough gushing, here's how the runway went down.

Kingkang Chen 

Pre last night, I wasn’t overly overly familiar with Kinkang Chen. The NZ designer opened the runway with an epic tinsel/Christmas tree-inspired number. It was super festive and really got me in the mood for a killer show. The label’s designs were varied and even slightly contradictory. But I think this was the point, which added to its appeal. 

Elissa McGowan

I was impressed by Elissa’s ’70s inspired yet modern designs. The white suit (image 14) was a standout and really sums up on-trend power dressing. So much so, that I’m inspired to wear a suit to my next semi-formal function. Anyone wanna invite me to their wedding or 21st? 

Pageant 

The styling for Pageant left me a little confused. The ribbons, the hijabs, the masks. Was it hinting at female empowerment? It was most definitely ‘cool’ but I’m not sure what it meant (if anything). If you have any ideas, please let me know (seriously). My summation: Arabian Nights meets dominatrix (I’m not sure if that’s a thing?). 

Emma Mulholland

Mulholland’s signature aesthetic was undeniably on show: sequins, colour and flair as well as on-trend sukajan jackets. Styled with fishnets, 3D glasses, Vans and mini LED lights, the accessorising really complemented Mulholland’s trademark style. 

Eugenie 

Also hailing from NZ, Eugenie was impressive. Like Elissa McGowan, the collection said ‘woman in charge’. I wish I had the confidence to wear the maroon pants (image 36). I’m working on it. Note to self, dress like more like this in 2016. 

P.A.M.

P.A.M. had their name in lights to close the show (read: a big LED display at the end of the runway). Surprisingly, it was their first time on an Australian runway. Fitting that it should be on the closing night of the 20th anniversary of the Melbourne Fashion Festival. I think this made it a little bit spesh. 

An army of models stormed the runway with literally the fastest walk I’ve seen in a fashion show. Accompanied by some hectic and hypnotising tunes, I kind of forgot to look at the clothes. 

After a post-show analysis, I was impressed (as always), although the label doesn’t seem to have strayed far from its signature aesthetic. But with a cult following, both in Aus and overseas, why should they? All in all, even though I totally missed most of the ‘fashions’ due to the frenetic pace, it was a fitting way to end the Oyster show.

The styling for this show was bang-on the Oyster brand. It did however leave me a little confused at times, and perhaps detracted from some of the more subtle design nuances. I was also a little surprised by the presence of two NZ designers (1/3 of the show’s offerings), but I guess Oyster is really vibing the work coming from our neighbours at the moment. NZ does seem to know where it's at. 

Words of the night: underground, power dressing, cooler than you (and by you, I mean me. And probs you too). 

vamff.com.au

Photography: 
Madeleine Roux

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