A crowd of glamorous people in suits, gowns, and eye-catching outfits was building outside this year’s AFF16 hub in VIctoria Square. It could only mean one thing. That it was finally time for the sold-out, and highly anticipated, ‘Couture Culture’ runway at Adelaide Fashion Festival 2016, presented by Mercedes Benz.
The stage was set for Jaimie Sortino to launch the night, with gowns that looked like they floated from the pages of fairy tale books. To be side of stage was a true privilege, as it allowed me to witness first hand, the hours of intricate work, stitching and textural embellishments in this collection – the work of a true artisan. The models were styled with ethereal grey hair and mesh head pieces from Sylvy Earl, wrapped around their entire face. Each dress had a distinct theme, almost seasonal in colour and evocative in its detailed embroidery. All combined, the collection was quite simply and flawlessly graceful.
Couture + Love + Madness allowed the audience to continue the fairy tale, with a dark forest-like theme. This year’s collection opened with a stunning maroon, velvet dress. The models all had short, cropped black hair, and the simple yet edgy styling allowed for the audience’s attention to be directed towards the garments themselves. Boat necklines and slim capes over stunning sleek dresses, contrasted with the heavy-weighted velvet dresses, with long back zip lines and big eyelet details. Designer Cristina Tridente used this show to unveil a new direction, signifying her coming of age as a designer. with this particular. This new direction, filled with rich, passionate, dark and emotive influences, showcased her versatility and ability to evolve, as she looks to a very exciting and glamourous future.
Greta Kate bedazzled with lustrous satin white dresses accompanied with tops decorated with glistening embroidery. The finale piece was a showstopper. The only black piece in a sea of white. Black mesh top, flowy satin bottom that opened out to give the illusion of the model flying down the runway. It was visually arresting, theatrical and truthfully hard not be swept away in; a fairytale born of every bride’s imagination.
Delicate floral prints on black satin skirts and dresses was the set up for the Caleche collection. Exquisite bridal gowns were to follow. Three tiered soft tulle, off the shoulder, all white finished with a simple veil that blended seamlessly with the dress.
Red and white like strawberry cupcakes. Flowers bloomed on the dresses designed by Eliza French. The standout piece was a ball gown, with hips the width of the runway, the dress was an absolute dream. The collection was rounded up with an extravagant bridal gown consisting of a tie back shimmering corset and a heavy layered train.
Stephanie Chehade redefined couture by combining lacey shorts and tailored long coats with powerful black jumpsuits and bodysuits. Wide legged pants with high slits and overlapping shorts turned skirts with a chiffon drop added to this fierce line.
Crowd Adelaide favourite, Liza Emanuele brought along with her a secret weapon… adorable little flower girls dawned in her very own designs! Her collection is an exercise in balancing classic and modern styles, combining luxurious laces and intricate embroidery. This was also a new direction of sorts of Liza, with dramatic new styling that wouldn’t be out of place at the Oscars or on any red carpet. Liza Emanuele concluded with a grand bridal gown with a matching veil and lace edging detail to utterly die for.
Alexis George wowed the crowd with a sparkling metallic number to open, a high collared dress with an open back cape. The rest of the line was quite daring. Mostly transparent, if not naked, fearless pieces that would make Kim Kardashian proud. The centre piece was a full body, long sleeved, sequinned dress with a gathered mesh hooded cape. The look was fantastic.
An international guest, Madame Zhou, completed the show tonight with her porcelain doll collection. The blue and white garments dominated the runway with a delicate and graceful presence. The traditional Chinese prints were paired with modern day designs to transport the past into the future.