There was a lot going on at last night's Myer parade, between the palatial setting (Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Centre), the large scale jazz band and the coiffed, cultivated crowd in cocktail attire, the department store almost didn't need the catwalk presentation.
It's rare that an audience will play perfectly to theme at such events, but there were plenty of parallels to be seen between the catwalk and the front row, particularly when it came to label choices. Perhaps the presence of Myer's flagship fashion designers informed people's wardrobe choices, because there were a lot of girls wearing Wayne Cooper, Ellery and Nicola Finetti to name a few.
Having designers present for an event like this can be a big blessing, just before the show Fernando Frisoni ducked backstage to do some last minute restyling (the result: an effortless boy-chic untucked white shirt layered over drop-crotch tuxedo pants, and under a sharp, cropped dinner jacket) while later in the night one designer lent a cold model a big, fluffy stole.
The show itself featured choreography that felt elegant and simple, perhaps deceptive since it was nailed by models only after two intense days of rehearsal. The breakdown of looks involved a complex taxonomy of trends and labels that would make any fashionologist proud.
The show opened with 23 looks from recent Myer acquisition Arthur Gallan AG, before launching into the meat of the parade. Built around three key themes: Urban Army, Country Club and Ladylike Chic, the show slowly amped up the glam factor, starting with a youthful, street appeal courtesy of Yeojin Bae, Aurelio Costarella and Manning Cartell before progressing through to more grown up take on girlishness with looks from Kate Sylvester, Arabella Ramsey and Cue. Finally the evening wear crescendo came courtesy of Toni Maticevski, Jayson Brunsdon, Ellery and Matthew Eager.
The 'Set the Scene' slogan that dictated the trends was expressed through a current of late fifties-early sixties Hollywood glamour that was a little bit Mad Men and a lot Audrey Hepburn, right up to the tightly teased up do's that transformed all mods save Jen and Jess into a glamourous army of conical clones. While femininity was expressed differently in each of the sections, there was a definite femme factor that carried through, from nipped waists and flared skirts, to ruffles, stoles and a generous glint of glitter.
Standouts looks included a floor length, chartreuse satin, fishtail skirt by Toni Maticevski placed on the Hawk and teamed with a black jersey crop top, and twinset in miss-matched, shine-shot brocade from Cue.
All these ladylike looks were supported by a sharp, manly showing from the mens department, with three piece suits, horn-rimmed glasses and powerful shoulders all in abundance.
Backstage Arabella Ramsey's casual floral jackets and flirty skating skirts proved a hit amongst models, while other girls praised Yeojin Bae's louche separates. After the show, one gushed about her frothy Simona evening frock. "I love wearing that really girly glamourus stuff because its so different from my regular style."
The girls were also full of praise for the star of the evening, with seasoned walkers and new girls all gushing about what an backstage bless Jennifer Hawkins was. "I love working with Jen because she comes to every rehearsal, she talks to everyone. She takes her job seriously and she's never a diva," Tiah Eckhardt told me this morning.
"Yes! I love love love Jen! She's my favourite," added Sonya Kukainis.
After the show had wrapped up, guests lingered on in the expansive space, listening to the band (which by this point had acquired a singer) and sipping cocktails, before a brave few struck out to the Carlton Club for the after party. Here crew-members, guests and models, including Hawkins and the host for the evening Vince Colosimo, stayed on until the early hours, drinking on the balcony and dancing to eighties music, proving a few decades can go by in an evening.