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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Australia Spring/Summer 2013.

Mercedes-Benz and DAZED & CONFUSED
have created a digital platform for
emerging fashion talent - FASHION BROADCASTING.

Author: Nicole Urbschat

Fresh Talents.

Milan, Paris, London and New York: these are the foremost stops and stages of the world‘s leading fashion designers, out to cement their fame and fortune among the international style community. At the same time, fashion keeps thriving and moving in leaps and bounds beyond these major metropolises, exemplified by the fertile scenes explored by the new short film platform Mercedes-Benz FASHION BROADCASTING, curated by Dazed Group’s fashion director Cathy Edwards. The resulting blend of fresh innovative talents, captured by local filmmakers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks in Australia, Germany, South Africa, Mexico, Russia and China, makes for a global, modern and timely document of the latest, exciting crop of designers.

Haute Couture meets Pop Art: Romance was Born.

When an entire continent decides to host a fashion week, the result promises to deliver distinctive design, dazzle and plenty of drama. Take the creations of Australian duo Anna Plukett and Luke Sales. Their label, Romance was Born, continues to delight the cognoscenti with strong, stark and imaginative looks reminiscent of surreal haute couture. Firm favourite of bold stars and style icons like M.I.A., Debbie Harry or Cate Blanchett, the duo’s detailed and meticulously crafted collections are perfectly offset by their spectacular and opulent runway shows. Romance was Born’s current Spring/Summer 2013 collection, for example, inspired by the iconic Marvel comics of the designers’ own past, transformed the label’s models into female versions of Spiderman & Co. – peddling their heroic wares on the catwalk with flaming hair-dos and hand-held speech bubbles.

A modern Pop Art fairy tale, the show and collection challenged the latest slew of streamlined trends with an unabashed “Fashion should be fun!”

Back to the roots: Jenny Kee.

A fashionable creed – and one that also applies to seminal designer Jenny Kee. Kee, who considers her fabrics a canvas for her art rather than mere apparel, likes to conjure up vivid sartorial images reminiscent of in-your-face Pop Art meets gentle Zen culture. At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia she showcased a retrospective of her stylised looks from 1980 to 2012, including the seminal black opal print she designed for Karl Lagerfeld’s first ever Chanel collection in 1983. The result is a free-spirited homage to the indigenous art of her country’s Aborigines as well as her own private passion, the continent’s breath-taking natural beauty.

With this beautifully odd overview and summary of her tailored art, the self-confessed eccentric provided her native fashion week with just the right dash of rooted authenticity – far from the industry’s polished after show parties and champagne receptions – to signal us and a new, young generation of Australian designers just how national idiosyncrasies can help to shape unmistakeable looks.

Future Fashion and Fashion’s Future: Fashion Design Studio.

For a glimpse of upcoming delights, the Sydney Institute’s Fashion Design Studios’ six graduates shared their final presentations with the public. Here, Stephanie Goerlach combined artisanal prints with natural materials, while Kaylene Milner allowed her severe, yet feminine creations to play with different textiles (fabrics) and leather. Yuliy Gershinsky, whose eminently wearable men’s collection confronted the latest technological advances, soon segued into Carlie Waterman’s sculptural shapes and landscape-inspired forms with hints of her architectural background.

Finally, Cynthia Tai explored the contrasts between delicate embroidery and heavy wool while Christopher Baldwin pitted the textures of leather and silk against man-made materials like cellophane or cable straps. A varied mix? Certainly, and yet there is something that unites them all: Despite their fresh and contemporary design approaches, all six rely on traditional craft and hands-on studio work.

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