Sunday night concluded L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival – a week of style, scenesters, and hardcore blogging for many. I was lucky enough to go along for the ride, and was looking forward to it for a few reasons. I wanted to taste the sweet and sour of the fashion scene: the models, the bloggers, the designers and the fans. Secondly, this was the night of the Independent Runway show – the event of the festival for menswear, with four designers showcasing what you guys should be wearing this winter. And finally, this was the night of the wrap party, baby! The night I hoped a bunch of ridiculously good-looking people would be celebrating with a bit of ridiculously hard partying.
BITCHES & BABES
Lines of girls and guys snaked around the dock in the bluey darkness, lit only by a few spotlights against the billboards, and the glow of cellphones. Hundreds of eyes flicked up and down at the fresh arrivals, while fingers pulled on seams, flicked ponytails, and rapidly texted and Instagrammed. I am the product of two hours of getting ready, and I’ve still managed to look completely unremarkable, but I guess this is the kind of crowd (models, socialites) that is bound to make you feel slightly less remarkable than normal. Indeed I overheard one glamorous bitch make the gamble that ‘60% of this room is totally wearing the same jeans.’ I’m pretty sure I was wearing said jeans.
Inside, an expansive industrial space where lasers flash overhead in time with the music, bloggers and socialites got in to rank along the rows of the runway. One woman had no care for the civilities and unwritten rules of the runway, and decided to get herself horsed and spill bubbly on festival chairperson Laura Ferguson. I liked how she defiantly knocked back her drink before being escorted from the show by two bouncers (with what looked like more than her fair share of goodie bags, I must say).
BUCKET HATS & BAGGY PANTS
Coming down the runway to a combination of live music from World’s End Press, a long remix of Clique, and some bass-heavy electronica were men’s A/W collections from Ksubi, Strateus. Carlucci, Pageant, and winner of Designer of the Year award From Britten P/L. I’ve summarised the key looks so that you can look as sharp as a meat cleaver this winter.
A continuation of what we’ve seen over summer with print shirt and shorts combos, we were reminded not to be afraid of being matchy-matchy with your tops and bottoms. If you want to wear your baroque-print t-shirt with your baroque-print shorts (Ksubi), go for it. And if you want to wear your teal sweater with your teal tailored track pants, please, go right ahead (Pageant). Which brings me to my next point.
Baggy pants are cool. This doesn’t mean you’re gonna look like a slob – more like the perfect combination between relaxed and meaning business. You can do this well in From Britten, who do a sort of loose tuxedo pant, bound to make you look like and feel like a boss.
Keep it simple
Don’t feel like you need to over-do it this winter. You can rock a few items in quality fabrics and look really put-together. A basic colour scheme can help: mostly black, white, and grey, with a dash of primary colour here and there. For example, your crisp white shirt with your cobalt-blue From Britten trench. By the way, make like Blade and invest in a good trench. I spoke to some dapper guys after the show and they told me it’s all about the trench. If you are going to rock an accessory, make it some classic kicks, or invest in a bucket hat.
BAD BEHAVIOUR AND BRITTEN BOYS
I don’t have anything very salacious to report from the afterparty, and, trust me, I was rigorous in my search for free champagne and badly-behaved models. First stop was the Woolshed, where the models had stopped off after the show. However they were not dancing on tables or doing lines a la Kate Moss, but cavorting soberly in an exclusive circle of good looking people.
Once the bar had shut, about five minutes after my arrival, we mosied down to Alumbra, but here we had an equally exclusive group of party people writhing on the dance floor to remixes of remixes.
Unshakeable in our search for fashion-world decadence, we progressed to The Liberty Social, where our show bands allowed us entry. In the blackness of the bar our senses were heightened to the smell of vomit permeating the dance floor. Meanwhile, a group of revellers thrashed around in the darkness.
While our hunt for debauchery was largely fruitless, we did get the chance to catch up with charming National Designers of the Year, Tim and Alex Britten-Finschi, founders of menswear label From Britten. You can read my interview with Alex coming soon.
Photography by Melissa Cowan.