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Words by

Giulia Brugliera

Crowd reviews were glowing after last night’s Premium Runway Three presented by Harper’s Bazaar. Labelled “the best show of the Festival by far” by the person next to me, the verdict seemed to be unanimous.

It was unsurprising, as the lineup read like a who’s who of Australian talent. Dion Lee, Macgraw, Carla Zampatti, Romance Was Born, Ginger & Smart, Yeojin Bae and Manning Cartell were all responsible for the acclaim that followed.

Dion Lee opened the show, reminding us why he’s king. He expertly toed the line between understated and exaggerated, feminine and modern. Opening looks embraced Lee’s signature design elements, which grew increasingly more daring as the show went on. We finished on a decidedly playful note, with a faded neon pink spray jacket and sequins. Lots of sequins.

Manning Cartell was met with a murmur of approval. The Melbourne label clearly holds pride of place in the eyes of many. Turning back the clock, the design duo delivered showstoppers in the form of burnt orange velvet and embroidered leopard print. Of course, bestsellers also made an appearance, reworking past season styles for AW17.

Ginger & Smart opened with a voluminous feather mini that was undoubtedly the label’s showpiece. From there, a touch of metallic was about as playful as got. The remainder of the collection was largely pulled back – keeping tidy, true to Ginger & Smart’s brand DNA.

Yeojin Bae delivered the perfect balance between feminine and flirty. Elements such as lace and cap sleeves were met with form-fitting shapes and just the right amount of skin. It was an entirely ladylike collection and yet, was far from reserved.

Macgraw was the curve ball on the evening’s runway, but the little label turned up in a massive way. It seemed to blend classic school boy elements with something more matronly. While this obviously sounds terrible, the execution was spot on. There was an innocence yet discipline to each look, with romantic and nautical undertones throughout. Five stars.

Carla Zampatti opened with a dramatic, floor-length velvet cape, as the words ‘Darth Vader’ and ‘Dracula’ were thrown around. It set the scene for a dramatic collection. Velvet, lurex and exaggerated ruffles all featured, alongside a selection of ’80s prom-style dresses and elegant silhouettes.

Romance Was Born closed the show, as a whimsical soundtrack and ‘snow’ set the scene. The audience anticipation was palpable. What we received was a heady combination of whimsical and cool. Pleats, embellishments, ruffles and lace were in surplus, yet masterfully saved from being too ‘girly’. There’s something about RWB that is undeniably cool


Lucas Dawson

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