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MFW’s Opening Town Hall Runway was unashamedly luxurious

IMAGES VIA LUCAS DAWSON PHOTOGRAPHY

WORDS BY BIANCA O’NEILL

The opulence of the runway has us asking, what recession?

Though the news cycle threatens us with a looming recession and retail sales continue to dwindle, it seems fashion hasn’t received the memo quite yet.

Opening night at Melbourne Fashion Week was unashamedly lavish, delivering a combined retrospective/new collection showcase of some of Australia’s longest-standing designers. Sandwiched in between each presentation were intimate and emotive performances from the Victorian State Ballet, dancing across the runway lit by sparkling chandeliers.

Feminine and delicate, Nevenka ran the couture gamut from classic lace embellishments through to high-detail embroidery, and beyond. Signature layered elements added sophistication to undoubtedly traditional inspiration – and although many of these techniques are old world, the styling was thoroughly modern.

Thurley’s presentation was delightfully opulent. As another brand with a rigorous cult following, it was unsurprising to see such a strong (and decidedly non-minimalist) aesthetic celebrated for its unique and meticulous design details. If there was one thing you should take away from any Thurley runway, it’s that sometimes trends don’t really matter.

Martin Grant’s visions of luxurious, well-heeled femininity were a delight – particularly a series of shimmering black sheaths from his Autumn/Winter collection, one topped with ’20s-style pillbox. Whatever Great Gatsby-style party those women were going to, I’d like an invite please.

J’Aton Couture’s famous over-the-top couture dresses were also on display, luxurious and intricate in every aspect. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the pure talent on show here in the flurry of red carpet WAGs and Brownlow attendees – but J’Aton’s timeless and masterful pieces will stand the test of time, even if the WAG marriages don’t. A highlight was ambassador Adut Akech, regal in a bridal rendition of luxe modesty.

Opening night was concluded with an explosion of gold, glittering confetti raining down upon statuesque models draped in the best of the best in Aussie fashion. It was a finale quite worthy of a Baz Luhrmann movie.

Yes, it was just what the willing crowd needed to lull them out of a bad-news winter, full of political drama, retail woes and cold weather. If there’s one thing I know about fashion, it’s that the industry understands the creative opportunity in a looming economic downturn.

Follow Bianca’s fashion week over at @bianca.oneill

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