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3 Style Insiders On The Top Pieces And Trends From Fashion Week

We asked three stylish women to pick the standout moments and looks from Australian Fashion Week.

By PRIMER writers

By the time you read this, fashionistas around Sydney are breathing a sigh of relief; after a six-day marathon of runway shows, late-night events and endless Uber rides, fashion week is finally over for another year.

These days, much of the coverage – on social media at least – is dedicated to influencers and what they wore. (Which is hardly surprising given that, increasingly, most of the street style photographers at fashion week are on commission from brands and influencers themselves rather than fashion media.)

But if you can get past the tables-as-outfits and front row shenanigans, there’s another side to fashion week: the clothes.

We spoke to three fashion insiders – The Australian Financial Review’s fashion editor Lauren Sams, brand consultant Zara Wong, and stylist Nicole Bonython-Hines – about the pieces they’re adding to their wishlists and the trends that dominated the runways and the street style set.

(Bottom line? Get ready to bare some skin because sheer everything was everywhere.)

Zara Wong, brand consultant and former editor at MECCA and Vogue Australia.

The show that surprised me: Romance Was Born – maybe surprise in the conventional sense isn’t the right word, but their showmanship continues to surprise.

I’m sad I missed the show this year but they merged their intergalactic set with their signature vintage touches, whilst still keeping it very beautiful and even with some really key wearable pieces – that’s a bit of a surprise!

They are still such a standout in Australian Fashion Week, and to see them do it time and time again is a marvel.

Romance Was Born's show merged intergalactic theatrics with their signature vintage touches.

The one piece I want to buy: So hard to pick one: I loved Beare Park’s denim and cashmere look featuring a classic longline coat on top, worn with sheer rumpled socks and ballet flats. Perfect. Beare Park just continue to make clothes that you want to wear right now and in the future. I also like Rory William Docherty’s sheer black skirt with the draped ruffles.

Rory William Docherty's sheer black skirt (left) and Beare Park's denim, and coat that Nicole also loves.

The emerging trends: Sheer: after being on the international runways, it’s still very much present from Albus Lumen’s diaphanous pieces to Anna Quan’s coloured ruched lace, and Viktoria Woods’ crochet and chiffon pieces, and Mastani and Carla Zampatti.

PE Nation did a cooler, sportier take on it with sheer stretchy skirts; I particularly liked it layered over leggings. Sheer was everywhere and it was fun to see how each designer interpreted it within their own brand codes.

Anna Quan's coloured and ruched lace dress was one of many sheer looks at fashion week.

Modern girly: I love the vibe of minimalist ‘stealth wealth/quiet luxury’ (even though I don’t love those terms) like everyone else, but I want to see something new and fresh. I like this modern girly spirit, from Romance Was Born’s embellishment and lace to Blanca’s sequin coats, which I loved and I think are a secret dark horse in one’s wardrobe.

Blanca's sequinned coats were a standout piece for Zara Wong.

Drawstring ruching: A bit of a mini trend that’s been around for a while but it’s interesting how it’s the merging between the more feminine with a bit of sporty, and even with a little of that Antwerp kind of vibe. This was at Verner, PE Nation of course, and even in the waistbags at Anna Quan.

Lauren Sams is the fashion editor of The Australian Financial Review

The show that surprised me: Mastani. It’s not the kind of clothing I wear (I tend towards black and hate anything too fussy) but this Melbourne brand knocked it out of the park for me.

I often find designers simply crib from international shows – hello, everyone who was “inspired” by Miu Miu this year – but Mastani (designed by Kudrat Makkar) is truly unique with a very singular focus and customer. The clothes were exquisitely made (I have honestly seen hems falling apart on the runway, so well-made clothes aren’t always a given) and they are really something different.

Organza, silk satin, pleating, embellishments – it’s not my energy but I can appreciate their true beauty.

A look from the show by Mastani, from designer Kudrat Makkar

The piece I plan to buy: Just one?? I’ll have to pick two, apologies. I loved the gold maribou pencil skirt at Carla Zampatti (I know I said I don’t like fuss, but this was just​ the right amount) and the fringed dress at Anna Quan (one of my favourite designers and, in fact, people. Anna is so cool and smart and lovely).

A gold maribou pencil skirt at Carla Zampatti's show

Anna’s dresses are exactly the right amount of feminine for me – not too showy, but they flatter and feel highly original. The one I love has a rib knit bodice with a drop-waist skirt and feels perfect for a summer night (I’m dreaming of them already).

The emerging trend: Sheer. Get ready to get your legs out – there were so many sheer skirts and pants at Beare Park, PE Nation and Albus Lumen, and I saw plenty of people at the shows in Viktoria & Woods’ lace pants. Fun!

A fringed dress (left) and sheer tights (right) at Anna Quan's runway show

Nicole Bonython-Hines is a stylist whose work has appeared in a range of titles from Vogue to Sunday Life and Elle. 

The show that surprised me: I didn’t have any idea as to what Rory William Docherty’s work was and therefore had no expectations, but I thought his work was sophisticated and well constructed.

Sometimes when you see new designers at fashion week, they’re in a very early stage of their careers, and it can feel quite raw, like a student’s work rather than something that could be sold on a rack and feasibly be worn – but this was definitely not the case here.

I also really loved Alix Higgins – he did this fab thing where he deconstructed polo shirt and sports attire in a very clever and slightly humorous way. I also love his prints. I think he’s come along so much and I expect big things from him.

A sheer look from Rory William Docherty

The piece I’d like to buy: There was a great pinstripe double-breasted coat at Beare Park that would be a keeper for me. Could wear it during the day dressed up or over jeans and sneakers, and then in the evening, belted, and with sparkly earrings.

I also really liked the white belted jacket and pants at Albus Lumen, I would definitely wear this look frequently.  I love how it’s slightly distressed.

Backstage at Albus Lumen

Trends I spotted: There were lots of trends, hard to say just one. Sheer was everywhere – especially sheer skirts. So were slip dresses, pastels and suiting.


BY PRIMER writers

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