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Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester glitter and pop at L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival


NEWS
Filed by Devin Winter/March 22, 2011/1.12


Tonight’s L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival runway, sponsored by Frankie, featured Kiwi darlings Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester and stirred up a little home sickness before I had even arrived at the event. Luckily, as is always the case, the ‘rah rah’ quickly distracted me from it.
   My accomplice and I had arranged a PR escort to take us backstage. We found the models in a small sweaty room with with the maximum amount of hair and make-up people and lights on as bright as they go. I stood buy conspicuously as some special pre-show pics were snapped. We found a gaggle of nervous volunteer dressers downstairs from hair and make up busy steaming outfits and double-checking everything! Twice!
   Eventually, after some batting around between PR people, I had my pass, my ticket, and a third-row seat. Settling in early allows me to take some serious people-watching. The ladies were as tall as a shoe will allow and saunter in in packs, the few men in the crowd wore hats, slacks in printed fabrics and bow ties. I noted least two fluoro hairdos, one male (pink) and one female (orange).
   A montage of Frankie imagery alerts the crowd to the nearness of the show’s beginning, punctuated with a ‘We’re worth it’—thanks L’Oréal.
   First up, Dhini. The colour-shy collection brought in interesting details in the form of baroque motifs and surprise volume on the shoulders of their dressmaker-form-style dresses. The trouser trend this time emerged in harem form.

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   Alpha 60’s collection reminded me of the Robin Hood-style peasant of stories from my childhood. The garments were blanketing and basic. Excess chalky fabric of simply cut dresses cinched with a plain leather belt. Box bags dangled from the hip as the models marched with their hands free.

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   Brights and prints still reign supreme at Limedrop. The dress–blazer twinset got an update with some OTT shoulders and dizzying bluey-green patten. Many looks feature capes over shirting matched with big wool pants, a surprise visit from a plasticky-looking batwing body suit added some cheek and humour.

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   Alice McCall used dungaree hooks on her clothes, where they don’t usually go, to fun effect. Tops were cropped and fluid. She seems to be perpetuating the super-trend of blouses with cut-out shoulders. Shirting was sheer and colours black and nude. There were plenty of corseted bra cup outfits to keep the party girls happy.

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LMFF   Super sports-inspired Kate Sylvester sent her girls out in raglan sleeves with their player numbers painted in glitter on their shirt fronts. Sparkle was the hot ticket. Shorts glittered, long-sleeve shifts sparkled, all in sorbet fresh hues.

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LMFF   Nevenka’s collection promised sweetness from the beginning with an assortment of pale broderie anglaise frocks and glittery knits. The collection became confused with the introduction of a navy satin fabric with multi-coloured brush strokes midway through the set. From there, the sherpa vest and slick black parka–hoodie only added to the muddle.

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   An orange ‘pop’ worked wonders for Karen Walker in her latest collection. True to form, she reinvented some signature pieces, a bucket hat, and oversized blazer, a bright rain coat. The remainder of the girls wore a variety of pale prints and looked as though they were on their way home from a most stylish pajama party.

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   To close the show Gorman supplied prints for Africa! And Trade Aid inspired accessories, too. A multitude of shirting and animal print, glitter, colour blocking, fluoro pompoms rounded out the Gorman ‘anything goes’ look for a spectacular close to the show. Always fun-filled and a crowd-pleaser.
   The hordes filed out of the building and congealed again at taxi ranks. A little weary but excited to do it all again tomorrow.—Devin Winter

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