There must be something in the water down under, because Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia has a way of producing some of the best up-and-coming designers. With alma mater brands like Dion Lee and Zimmermann, MBFWA has made Sydney a breeding ground for fresh faces. After transitioning to a resort-only season in 2015 they’ve learned to play to their strengths: elevated beachwear, consumer-focused ready-to-wear, and an innate understanding of effortless sex appeal. Read on for our roundup of the top designers and brands of Resort 2020 making their transpacific jump.
MBFWA opened with Aje, a womenswear brand designed by Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris. With the Sydney Opera House looming in the background, their beautiful collection seemed to float past you. Entitled “Bloomscape,” the collection featured delicate floral prints, sculptural silhouettes imitating bedrock, and koalas. You can’t get more Australian than that.
Christopher Esber may have shown at NYFW and PFW—but his roots will always remain in his hometown. His collection, titled “On Holiday,” is the vacation wardrobe you dream: moody swimsuits that wrapped around the torso, gauzy sundresses you wouldn’t mind steaming in at an AirBnb, and basket-woven suits that bring a summery feel to tailoring.
Stateside, Matteau is known as one of the hottest swimwear brands on the market, but their fashion week debut proved they are firmly situating themselves in the ready-to-wear space. Their vision of beachwear is intended to match their sophisticated bikinis, which reads as ’70s-printed florals and heavy linen coveralls. Beyond their suggestion that a maxi blazer is the perfect coverup, who knew an elastic waistband could look this chic?
Fact: Lee Matthews makes a really good sundress. Her joyous collection was a beautiful combination of all your summer faves: watermelon pink hues, sheer watercolor prints, and an army of floral and gingham dresses. Interspersed between feminine looks were heavy utilitarian numbers that can be mixed and matched together in a modern woman’s closet.
Alice McCall is a brand for a girl who’s unafraid of ruffles. Her playful collection would not look out of place at an ’80s prom, but it still makes sense with today’s penchant for camp. It’s maximalism for the feminine type: tangerine lace trimmed with marabou, rhinestone heart belt buckles wrapped around velvet mini dresses, and the show’s closer, a metallic pink dress for the homecoming queen. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Australia’s it-girl.
The boys behind Instagram’s favorite Hawaiian shirts are growing up, but that doesn’t mean they’re leaving their kitschy globetrotting aesthetic behind. Mikey Nolan and Toby Jones elevated their brand into to comprehensive men’s and women’s collection that included fun knits and marbled sets alike. Their standout look is surprising: a chambray robe that’s sure to make a scene on the street style circuit, but could move seamlessly between the boardwalk and the city.
Bec + Bridge
Despite Sydney having their own famous beaches, Bec + Bridge pulled inspo from another oceanside community: Southern California. Set to the tune of The Beach Boys, their runway looks were for a refined Betty. They paired mock wetsuits with ’70s floral brocade and made a strong case for formal surfwear. We’re stoked to see the brand evolve from a Kendall Jenner-loving dress label.
Aussie’s are known for killer bikini lines, and Bondi Born is yet another Sydney-based swim brand that is make waves for their minimalist silhouettes. Founded in 2015 by Dale McCarthy, their sustainable resort collection is more Maldives getaway than a Bondi hang, but we’ll take either location if that means we can slip into one of their roomy linen sets.
Spectacularly staged at the iconic Bondi Icebergs Pool—you know, the one everyone Instagrams—was Ten Pieces’ contemporary sportswear collection, ‘Cosmic Runner’. Designed by a co-op of creatives, their fifth collection is streetwear meets hippie meets punk. Maurice Terzini, one of the brands designers, stated in their press release that the show is “inspired by the attitude and styling of the disco freak eras gone by.” This amalgamated concept was perhaps most prominent in a sporty maxi gown that was, expectantly, the perfect shade of an actual iceberg.
The closer at MBFWA was Carla Zampatti, a legendary Italian-Australian designer who has been in the game for over five decades. Still, her collection felt as fresh as a rookie’s. The designer explored statement shoulders, polka dot eveningwear, and satin tailoring that reads more Girls Night Out than workplace attire.