As an Australian fashionista hailing from Sydney, it comes as no surprise that I'm eager to champion some homegrown designers. But when I got a glimpse of the schedule during New York Fashion Week, I couldn't help but get even more excited than I normally do (blame it on my shopping addiction, but each fashion week brings a frenzy of I-want-runway-look-#14-now! hysteria).
For spring/summer 2014 there were not one but five designers making a splash on the New York catwalk. Zimmermann, a beloved Australian swimwear label that recently launched their first store on Mercer Street, showed at Lincoln Center for the first time. "In some ways the customer here is no different than our girl in Sydney—they appreciate a casual, sexy aesthetic and they value a point of difference on what you do," said designers Nicky and Simone Zimmermann. Wunderkind Dion Lee, who is known for his abstract use of digital prints and superbly cut body-con designs (consider him the Aussie version of Alaïa with a penchant for innovative fabrications), also made his debut, choosing to display his clothes amongst avant-garde light projections.
Next up was New Zealander Karen Walker, a beloved fixture at New York fashion week who collaborated with up-and-coming Sydney-based accessories label Benah on a line of bags. Currently only available in Australia, Benah's creations will remain a permanent collaboration with Walker, available in boutiques and on KarenWalker.com. We couldn't take our eyes off the lust-worthy pastel-hued confections (pictured above) that strode down the catwalk with Walker's easy collection of loose pants, patterned knits and cool polka-dot beanies.
Not to be outdone was Tome, another Australian label launched by two designers eager to bring a stunning yet wearable collection to the New York market. Inspired by artist Ana Mendieta, designers Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin presented a collection of pencil skirts, silk shirts, and oversize culottes (a standout silhouette in the presentation) in light-as-air sheer, tulle, and lace made all the more beautiful by the pastel-hued color way. "Australia represents perhaps the influence of ease and lightness that always permeates the collection," said Martin. "We always think of our woman as having a strong idea of her own identity. She knows what she needs and wants to be inspired by fashion, not dictated by it."