Aje opens MBFWA with an ode to the unique Australian landscape

Words by Bianca O'Neill

Images via Getty Images

Set against the backdrop of two Aussie icons – the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House – Aje took a surprisingly understated approach to being graced with an opening show spot at MBFWA. Instead of opting for the dramatic staging of previous years’ openers, the brand delivered a pared-back runway devoid of props, in order to let their collection shine.

This was a collection of fairly obvious references to the Australian landscape; delicate wattle prints offset punchy rosella reds, as we worked our way through the natural rainbow – soft marbled pinks, muted eucalyptus greens, sandy neutrals.

According to the show notes, Aje designers Adrian Norris and Edwina Forest wanted to focus on sustainability, Australia’s natural diversity, and the growing distance between humans and their natural environment. Excellent then, that their show notes and invitations were all digital-only. And yet also perplexing, as we all sat snapping away on our smartphones, backs facing the view, watching models walking a concreted runway topped with a low metal ceiling, disconnected from the beautiful harbour that lapped softly mere metres from the runway. I suppose there’s only so much a designer can do…

Opening with soft, masculine tailoring in crisp whites and sunny yellows, it was clear from the outset that the focus of the collection would be on the unique and beautiful prints to follow. We moved our way through golden wattle laid softly across billowing skirts, to soft gumnut greens splattered amongst salt pinks, through to rich red bottlebrush and kangaroo paw prints. The standout for me was a voluminous trained gown, with a casual open-shirted neck, in a vivid, swirling pink and midnight blue pattern. Glorious.

It’s unsurprising, really, that a brand harking from Queensland would develop a design identity that seeks to instil a stronger connection to our natural world. What was extraordinary about this show, however, is that a brand known for its laid back glam and prolific logo tees could deliver such a sophisticated and dramatic take on what it means to be a modern Australian woman.

Follow Bianca’s coverage of MBFWA at @bianca.oneill


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