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The Dress Collective Runway: Delivering Australian fashion to the VAMFF Offsite Runway Series

In-the-loop Melbournians and the trendiest of fashion fans from interstate coveted the limited amount of tickets available to the recent The Dress Collective Runway, and those who were lucky enough to secure a seat to the sold out show were treated to a grand showcase of collections from 21 emerging and established Australian designers on February 13th, 2016.

Claire Goldsworthy, Creative Director and CEO of The Dress Collective proudly promotes only 100% Australian made fashion and accessories, and all of the designers featured on The Dress Collective e-boutique are conscious of production processes and environmental impacts of their own lines. Alongside the event’s main message of supporting local industries, The Dress Collective Runway also raised funds for the Black Dog Institute, a world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and research of depression, bipolar and mood disorders.

From a diverse list of Labels, The Dress Collective Runway covered all areas fashion, from swimwear, couture, ready to wear and accessories across men’s and womenswear categories. Feminine floating pieces from Kabel Apparel resounded with a softer side, and a preppy, sophisticated look from Orocéo Castro in plaids and crisp whites caught the attention from all in the front row, with daringly sexy side slits and figure extenuating silhouettes. Punchy and dynamic street style designs from Black Mob The Label surprised and intrigued, with mesh, sheer fabrics, contrasting linings and bold printed statements. Don’t Do Pretty followed suit with bold slogans and strong leathers, and identifYYourself delivered a cool and casual ethical and sustainable range of men’s tees and tanks.

Keeping in line with the typical Melbourne colour palette, most designers showcased monochromatic collections, with minor pops of colour and prints to accentuate details. Cameron and James released the label’s first womenswear collection with signature marble prints and studded details, while Leigh Duffy delivered an architecturally inspired collection of strong lines and shapes with artful attention to detail through pleat work and dart manipulation. Standout vibrant printed scarves adorned Letitia Green’s models, bringing a splash of fun and colour, playfully draped and tied in experimental ways.

Curvy collections from Mici Jay and Harlow made sure all shapes and sizes were appreciated, and Gabdala filled the active gap with a bright and bouncing collection of workout wear. Riding the resort wear wave, Blaauw By Monica, Sets of Seven, Annabelle and Eve, and AlcieMay released swimwear sets in unique prints and new cuts, and Jadewood Design transported us to an exotic island with fresh whites, linens and pops of hand woven multicoloured accessories. The Prodigal Daughter’s collection stood out in strong African-inspired prints, and Vincent Li’s menswear collection brooded with subtle earthy tones and relaxed draping, accompanied by unique hats and matched footwear. That Dapper Chap’s handmade bowties and neckties added a touch of class, and Moreno Marcos stole the show with a Victorian-inspired collection, lavishly hand finished with gold trim, ruffles and handmade matching heels.

An intermission between runways made good time for mingling with industry leaders and designers, as well as to enjoy Clever Polly’s pop-up bar with local wines and craft beer on offer. The good vibes were furthered by the VIP gift bags, filled with Australian made treats from The Bearded Chap, De Lorenzo, TKs Lashes, Fashion Equipped, Sira Designs, Carmen’s Kitchen, Clean Slate, The Chia Co, Smooth Sam, FOS Melbourne, Tea Drop, Digital Fabrics, Pana Chocolate, Annabel Trends, Honest Gum, Face of Australia and more.

-Elizabeth x