It’s nothing new to build suspense before the models appear on a catwalk. Thursday’s Grand Showcase saw a string orchestra do just that. But last night’s Premium Runway 6 sought to do this a little differently. Lights were out and the only audio was a sample of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘We should all be feminists’, It's a powerful speech that, if you haven’t heard yet, you should take halfer and listen to it now.
Now let's proceed. The evening’s lineup was well-selected, showcasing six female designers who have each worked to push the boundaries of womenswear.
What followed was a runway that championed rebellion and celebrated women entirely.
Anna Quan opened the show with several inspired interpretations of a men’s shirt. Her signature exaggerated cuffs were of course present, this season extended further, to the cuff of pants. Backless shirts were easily the crowd favourite.
Kuwaii followed, delivering a lineup of the label’s signature boxy shapes. In this context, Kuwaii’s silhouettes can be perceived as an act of defiance, working against the social construct that women should show off their curves.
Ryder showed us skinny jeans. Skinny jeans! Of all the things. In a climate where the headline “skinny jeans are officially dead” comes to be expected, Ryder told us to dress how we damn well want to. The collection had a relaxed, weekend vibe, with ribbed tees, corduroy jackets and a leather shearling number that felt as easy as it looked cool.
Viktoria & Woods opened with an oversized pinstripe suit that read like a giant ‘fuck you’ to the patriarchy. What followed was an entirely easy collection of relaxed fits and snug fabrics.
Bùl pared it back for the new season with raw hems, a neutral palette and more traditional cuts. The inclusion of emerald green, however, ensured it remained a timely collection.
Kasey/Devlin closed the show, winner of this year’s National Designer Award. It wasn’t hard to see why she was selected. To a remix of Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’, she delivered an understated yet romantic collection, with the devil in the draping at the back of each garment.
The show finished defiantly, as models joined together to thunder down the runway in an entirely unexpected way. Branding strong and inspiring messages across House of Riot tees, they chanted, ran, danced and cheered, ending their lap with fists in the air and the words:
“We are strong. We are united.”