AFF 2017: Couture Culture Runway

As the lights dimmed on the Couture Culture runway last night, the florists from Studio Botanics put their finishing flourishes on their opening stage step up. A ladder, adorned with elegant flowers, stood in front of the crowd, nothing joining it other than the provincial couch next to it.
The models entered the catwalk, each taking their position in the set, whether on the ladder, couch or simply standing, and we caught our first glimpse of Eliza French. As the models began to glide down the runway, the movement of the smooth, well-chosen fabrics flowed and rippled, similar to a calm ocean in the height of summer. The spring colours were bold and purposeful, featuring a palette reminiscent of a field of a fresh flowers in the height of spring. The strapless necklines accentuated the lines of the models’ shoulders and collarbones, and kicked off the show with a regal air.
As Jaimie Sortino’s collection began flowing out, we felt vibes similar to those of Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab, where the slender fit accentuates the models’ curves, and the lace and beading is woven through the collection in just the right amount. The structured bodices and the billowing layers were effortlessly elegant and fit the models like a glove. Sortino’s attention to detail on each outfit was impeccable, never missing a beat, whether it’s a mountain of ruffles that accentuate the model’s body rather than drown her, a sheer lace neckline that hits the perfect spot to highlight the model’s long neck, or a giant tulle bow on the shoulder that cascades behind the gown like a cape.
Couture+Love+Madness brought gasps from onlookers. The first piece, an impeccably fitting sheer, floral gown with colours you would only see in the depths of the ocean or on the wings of a butterfly was a beautifully designed piece that moved perfectly with each kick of the model’s step. The rest of the collection did not disappoint, with a range of stunning lace gowns and more controlled, structured pieces, designer Cristina Tridente did not discriminate on length. The pastel tones – including those of pale blues, pinks, creams and crisp whites – were juxtaposed by the eye-catching floral patterns and glitter that is injected throughout the whole collection, tying it together.
The entry of Varacalli Couture’s first dress onto the runway signified a strong change in course. The dark, layered gown was punctuated with almost Japanese-influenced floral patterns, the wired layers in the skirt gave it a teardrop-like shape that was unlike anything we’d seen on the runway prior. The rest of the collection followed in this same vein, even the lighter colours, such as champagnes and lavenders, seemingly dark. The feathering tassels that accentuated the model’s powerful, yet feminine, strut brought a bounce to the garment that seemed organic and fleeting. The thought behind the collection was evident, with even small details such as the colour of the models’ undergarments tying in as a whole.
When Caleche’s Natural Beauty collection hit the runway, the music became more intimate and the lights seemingly more natural. While much of the show had a similar feel, the Caleche team, lead by Liz Foubert, put their own individual stamp on the evening, making the audience take notice. From the raw edges, use of natural fabrics which often were indistinguishable from the artificial fabrics, and the native-looking flowers that accompanied the models, you could tell this earthy collection was inspired from the Australian landscape. The sustainable approach was clearly a driving force behind the collection for Foubert, and a less careful designer could have missed the mark, but not Foubert.
Greta Kate and Sylvy Earl showed off a wide variety of styles, influences and trends. Their use of textures, with a skirt that looked like a field of roses cascading down from the model’s waist juxtaposing the smooth fabrics, only further highlighted their diverse range. Through the diversity, the element that tied the collection together was not only the halo of gold leaf adorning the models’ hair but the way the pair played with opacity of the fabrics. The sheerness of much of the fabric, alone, inspires awe at their craftsmanship and patience.
Overall it was a mesmerising showcase full of contemporary glamour and delicate South Australian designs. We can’t wait to see what the year holds for each of these talented designers.
Take a look at the official Couture Culture gallery…


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