Hand-picked from a hot bed of fashion design talent, four graduates: Charlotte O’Carrigan, Leah Hibbert, Emma Mulholland and Anna Westcott showcased their wares at RAFW’s most exciting show…the TAFE Innovators last Thursday.
A coveted seat at RAFW, the industry bore witness to debut collections that surprised, moved and excited us. The future of fashion looks bright as each graduate showed a collection of great design approach, vibrant creativity and eloquently executed vision.
Most notable were the collections from graduates Emma Mulholland, whose work has already been featured in Oyster magazine and show finale graduate Charlotte O’Carrigan whose cockroach leggings had fashionistas crawling in their skins. Mulholland’s presentation started with a fashion film (trending all across the fashion world) starring catwalk sensation Rachel Rutt set to music which alluded to invoking some Hindu water goddess. It was later revealed that Mulholland’s inspiration came from 90’s surf culture and how the designer group up in such an atmosphere. With an eye similar to her contemporaries Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales of Romance Was Born, Mulholland’s collection of atheltic ‘surfwear’ created silhouettes that were bold and captured the eye. If the way she cut her fabric didn’t captivate you it was her application of digital print, tie dye, sequins and extreme accessorising upon traditional ikat fabrics and tribal prints that would have.
On the other end of the spectrum, Charlotte O’Carrigan’s collection saw the interface of nature and humankind. A relationship that has known aeons. A collection rendered in woollen knits, heavy leathers, hair (yes hair!) and silks saw texture become centre stage. Reminding the fashion crowd of Ovid’s Metamorphosis the collection of leather bodices, cockroach leggings and hair skirts spoke of a journey calm and exotic. At what first seemed totally unwearable became wearable that pushed the boundaries of what one could consider day-to-day wear. Belts with protruding horns and shoes applied with cockroaches completed the looks that could become one’s second skin. And to consider that O’Carrigan’s collection was void of the zeigesit would be to ignore that McQueen or Westwood ever existed.
This new generation of Australian fashion is exciting. As overheard in the surroundings of the OPT: “This generation of designers is Australian, it’s an Australian aesthetic, it’s inspired by this ancient land and it’s something we can call ours”.
Photography coutresy of Minh-Thu Elizabeth Nugyen at MTEN