Reflection -Akira Isogawa
Stop!! take a breath, a moment and do yourself a favor..just go through this collection and let it sink in.
Now where does one start when reviewing a show that showcases 20 yrs of a designer’s work. Akira Isogawa in his and MBFW’s 20th year took a step back showcasing and reflecting on what has transpired within all these years. For a designer that sings to his own tune, is loyal to his aesthetics and Akira is one of those designers who’s passion shows within his clothes.Because I have worked with him, he displays same kind of excitement for every collection he designs and works with. Reworked archival pieces showcased shibori prints, boleros, shrugs, dresses, jackets, separates, floral prints to romantic dresses, the wholesome journey of the brand and the man himself was out on the runway. Appearing on runway were embroidered belts, layered tunics, hand painted tops, printed tees added the cool factor while the teddy backpack was that touch of fun that I really enjoyed. I also loved the wooden sequin embellished leather jacket that was absolutely lust-worthy. Deconstructed and orgimai-esque ensembles were meticulously worked on as well as I loved the fact he brought back the red socks of his first show on runway (apart from refurbishing them as red trainers)….takes a genius like him to do that which showcased humility and the fact he hasn’t forgotten his roots. Even the oversized floral theatrics complimented the ensembles rather than going into the OTT drama territory.. he knows what he wants and how will it work within a presentation. Being an intern at Akira, I had the opportunity to see these pieces up close and trust me everyone is a piece of artwork in construction and fabric treatment. You could just learn sooo much just by looking through them. One of those shows you could just watch again and again. Truly a masterclass!!
Of the new guns three of the six were definite standouts in the fashion design THE INNOVATORS section…
Jack Huang exploring the androgynous and unisex aesthetic within his ensembles, presented a collection that was steeped in contemporary futurism. Clean lines and experimental shapes made up for most of his pieces that seemed like an ode to the sci-fi movies. However his deft control and restraint over the exaggeration was quite commendable, a skill that even sometimes veterans struggle with.
Worn by Catherine Conlan presented a collection that rested on “thoughtful proportion to design and the strong development of the concepts.” Using digital prints and interesting shapes, she took an interesting approach towards layering. The collection with its headbands and sporty vibe paid a perfect ode to her muse – Bjorn Borg
The personal favorite of the lot, Matt Lee was a delight. Big shapes, big prints and even bigger statements, the designer’s collection was fun and cheeky that made fun of the usual. With fun proportions, relaxed tailoring and quirky prints, it showed that he had fun while putting together this concoction of bursts of color. Inspired by modern art and experimental patternmaking, the collection wasn’t easy to digest for many. I for one, loved every bit of it.
Fluid Flight -Bianca Spender
Fluidity is one difficult feat to achieve, especially in clothes within a runway presentation where every flaw is easily highlighted. Of late, I have seen only a veteran like Maheen Khan succeed at doing so during her last show of her eponymous label. Fluid shapes in sombre tones, Spender’s inspiration from dancers and birds hinted at a romantic tragedy of sorts. Clean and simple presentation accentuated the mood that had silken ensembles make their way on the runway. Punctuated with tailored details for a much more younger audience to silhouettes for a much more sophisticated woman, Spender’s collection was quite the study in restraint (it may appear boring to many… just dont pay any heed to them). I loved the last piece in rusty tea rose with punched out fabric that ruffled up with movement. The languid language of her collection combined with soft feminine silhouettes exuded a smart, demure and sophisticated little charm that had more to do with clothes sans any fussy dramatics.
Bang on point in walking the tightrope of being creative within commercial constraints, The Manning sisters stirred up quite the collection. Prints, solids, sheer, pops of color, chambray, prints on print… the range was overwhelming but rather very impressive. Sleek but relaxed high street silhouette inundated the whole presentation showcasing the mass market the brand loves to cater to. A bit of denim jacket brought the 70s nostalgia, a bit of sportyness and the variety of prints from polka dots to fractured geometric lines to ikat-ish squares to Islamic geometric tile patterning, it was quite the feat how competently they used every print to their advantage and in silhouettes that enhanced the whole ensemble. A graduating square print also caught my eye and so did the tailored aesthetic in many of the pieces…. those were some good white pants paired with a print bra let top. The circular rose fabric pieces however, though good on their own could’ve been edited out for a much more sharper viewing. Having said that the variety the sisters presented in a multitude of separates including layered dresses, jackets skirts, tops, pants, catering to many people, coupled with an universally appealing aesthetic made sure thhey had a winner on their hands.
Probably Australia’s answer to Elie Saab, the mother-daughter designer duo’s couture presentation clossed day 3. Glitz and glamour was in full swing at Galanni’s presentation of head turning gowns. Galanni has grown to be one of the go-to designer for a glam garment and they know their market well. Lace and sequin embellished pieces as well as rope detailing ran throughout the collection. The figure hugging gowns, some to the floor, some with thigh high slits, and some midi length, were a picture of sophistication and glamour. The collection was further complimented with cut outs, plunging necklines, and sheer panelling. While the collection was punctuated with solid structured pieces here and there, (and they were oh-so-good on their own) they were a bit of a contrast to the demure and soft vibe of the embroidered pieces. For those who love and appreciate this sort couture drama this was just the lust worthy collection for them.
*images belong to their respective owners