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Dion Lee kicks off Sydney Fashion Week with an iconic Opera House show

Akubras, R.M. Williams and the Opera House.

Last year’s MBFWA opener show with Maticevski (featuring diamante ball gags) was a pretty spectacular showstopper. So I can understand why Dion Lee felt inclined to take his time in the spotlight straight to the big boss: The Sydney Opera House.

However, the location wasn’t ONLY about pimping the attending bloggers’ and socialites’ Instagram feeds (although it definitely did make for some dramatic imagery). It was actually thoroughly reflective of the theme. And that theme was Australiana.

Thankfully, far from the obvious agricultural references of days gone by, Lee created a vision for modern Australia by way of something much more subtle. Of course, we saw repeats of a few Dion Lee classics – laser cut netting, riffs on classic suiting – but it was in the new ideas that the now-iconic label really shined.

You had to look closely for the genius details here. A deconstructed red Akubra was sliced through the brim, providing thoughtful commentary on modernising an Australian classic. A foray into menswear saw Stockman’s coats were lacquered and delivered to the runway in Ikea/Balenciaga blue. R.M. Williams were paired with woolly, textural knits, hinting at our agricultural heritage.

The humble thong even received an update, although this writer still isn’t sold on the “ugly shoe” runway trend.

The only thing missing from his Australian inspiration? Any mention of our indigenous history. That also goes for Indigenous representation on the runway. It was an Aussie theme that felt at best narrow and at worst whitewashed. Hmmm.

In terms of the design talent, however, it was a thoughtful runway. Befitting of an opening show at the architectural jewel in our Aussie crown, it certainly achieved Lee’s aims of providing us something inspired by “identity, reflection and optimism.”

And, on a lighter note, you know your runway is the hottest ticket in town when bloggers in elaborately-constructed outfits – bloggers who weren’t invited to the runway – do drive-bys in a desperate attempt to be photographed simply circling the orbit of such an event. 

They all disappeared before it started, however. Weird, considering the public could watch from the sidelines. But hey – it’s all about priorities, right?

Follow Bianca’s MBFWA journey through way too many runways and way too few outfits over at @_thesecondrow

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