Fashion Week in Australia Means Surfers and Keg Parties

Photo: Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images

“I was thinking about heat,” said Christopher Esber, in a bit of an understatement. The designer chose a hot yoga studio in Sydney’s Potts Point neighborhood for his presentation venue, causing one model to wilt briefly. But his resort lineup had a more concrete reference point than just temperature: the pools in Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses desert. The collection played with weathered, woven fabrics (Esber said postshow that the loom figured largely in his process) but mixed them with delicate netting accents that were studded with Swarovski crystals, almost evoking water droplets. And like true desert travelers, his models were barefoot, clad only in ribbons that arched around their toes.

“Memories” is a bit of a generic title for a collection, but in Karla Spetic’s hands, it had weight. The Croatian designer was recalling her hometown of Dubrovnik, which she hasn’t returned to in a decade. So there were slightly faded prints that recalled pressed flowers and scalloped “postcard” squares covering sheer tops. But the literalism didn’t feel gimmicky, and Spetic’s latest chapter was in line with her sheer, muted, and street-style-friendly signatures.

Richard Nicoll hasn’t occupied a slot on the London Fashion Week calendar for two seasons now, and even such a short absence is lamentable. However, the designer had a hand in an exciting new line, Double Rainbouu — very much sic — shown Tuesday night in a gallery that abutted a somewhat dingy alley. Crowds of beer-clutching cool kids were waiting to see the models — all of whom looked like they definitely surf — lounge on a pile of sand wearing their best “judging u” expressions and then walk out nonchalantly into the street. The night had the feeling of a beachside keg party.

Ksubi alumni Toby Jones and Mikey Nolan started Double Rainbouu in January as a local brand; however, it will be going international starting this month, and you’ll be able to find it at Opening Ceremony. In their show notes, Jones and Nolan called the majority of beachwear brands “either kinda poxy [which loosely translates to “gross”] or really bland and [lacking] any cultural focus or personality.” With the help of Nicoll, the two worked on non-poxy selections like Hawaiian-style shirts, but in Matisse-like prints, or an oversize cream hoodie that was like a Down Under answer to Baja East. The clothes were for both men and women; the only requirement seemed to be that you be Aussie, fit, and cool. Attempt at your own risk.

Surfers and Keg Parties at Sydney Fashion Week