There was a unified intake of breath as the first ivory silk, floor length, matrimonial gown entered the runway. A mass of adoration for a garment that can turn even the most cynical of fashionable critics into a pool of warm buttermilk. The ‘wedding dress’ has been known throughout its long and varied tenure to be the only fashion statement received by both polar ends of the spectrum – inciting grotesque fear or heart-warming romance. Thankfully, the Harper’s Bazaar show at L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival provoked the latter.
Colette Dinnigan’s brides were adorned with shimmering nets floating across their faces with bare shoulders a key focal point. Strapless gowns with bead embroidered bodices accompanied plunging silk Georgette and tulle to create an ultra-sophisticated silhouette.
Akira exhibited Australiana flora brides, complete with overgrown bouquets of ferns and eucalyptus. The splash of green was an incredible contrast against the white of the dresses, which featured dainty cobweb-like headpieces and subtle fabric embellished flowers throughout. Intricate and layered, Akira’s designs were soft and natural.
Gwendolynne Burkin’s innate and flawless ability to create wedding gowns that are not only a fantasy come true, but a testament to her craft was on marvellous display with her latest collection of romantic garments. With exquisite hand beading and fabrics of silk and satin, Gwendolynne’s brides were straight out of a fairytale tome. Plunging yet demure necklines, beads strung across bare shoulders, intricate detailing on each and every piece – it was an extraordinary collection; one tantamount to a finely crafted dream. With radiant chapel veils catching the light and floating behind the models, partner-in-millinery-crime, Richard Nylon, outdid himself with a towering headpiece straight out of the renaissance period. A true head turner, this extravagant concoction was thrilling and pleasantly out of the ordinary.
Rachel Gilbert also presented bare-shouldered brides, with adorable flowered pom-pom headbands and heavily beaded boned bodices; some with the gorgeous detail trickling down onto the full bodied silk skirts for a unique and elegant touch.
There were sheer beaded bandanas from Aurelio Costarella, whose models fluttered down the runway with ostrich feathers trimming their shoulders or collages of deconstructed material in the shape of flowers. A King Triton worthy headpiece was also on display, accompanied by flowing silks gathered at the side for a regal touch.
And finally, the master of allure, Toni Maticevski showcased a phenomenal collection of gowns that were both minimal and embellished; deconstructed and finite. With elaborate heart shaped décolletage and layers of fabric and tulle juxtaposed against dramatic yet simple full bodied skirts of scratched silk – fit for a princess. The piece de resistance was the finale gown. The model bride was flanked by two handsome gentlemen in black tie tuxedos, as she walked down the aisle with layers of exquisite ivory tulle and a lengthy train and cathedral veil following her. It was dramatic, it was romantic, it was breath taking, and it was amazing – capping off what was undoubtedly the best show of the week.