Fashion Week

Future of Fashion

Highlights from AAFW Day 1

Mon 31 May • 

Highlights From AAFW Day 1

The future of fashion is looking bright, with Afterpay Australian Fashion Week kicking off in-person in Sydney and virtually at today. And while Melbourne’s lockdown tempered plans for some, an inclusive, come-as-you-are spirit defined day one, with a fresh focus on diversity, sustainability and accessibility.

AAFW—presented in partnership with Afterpay for the first time, with shows open to the public—began with a Welcome to Country curated by First Nations Fashion and Design, which showcased designs commissioned for the Museum of Arts and Applied Sciences. 

Jordan Dalah’s Debut

The opening show belonged to emerging designer Jordan Dalah, who is best known for his trademark pillowy, oversized silhouettes—think cocoon-like dresses, puffed sleeves and bright hues. Dalah, who is the recipient of Afterpay’s Future of Fashion Scholarship, looked to “theater, history and costume” for inspiration for his show. 

With a bass-heavy soundtrack by 3NDLES5, Dalah’s directional show, which was closed by frequent collaborator Georgia Fowler in a voluminous floral creation, set the tone for a forward-thinking, high-energy week

An Optimistic Outlook

“After a challenging year of lockdowns and being unable to travel, we wanted to transport our audience to an idyllic place—a place of beauty and optimism,” says Beth Macgraw, one of the sisters behind Macgraw. In their Resort ‘22 collection—presented on the rolling lawns of a heritage home in Darling Point—the duo delivered on exactly that with pretty, porcelain-inspired prints and embroidered tulle accents presented via video at 

Bondi Born’s show at Circular Quay was equally uplifting, full of vibrant pinks and yellows in front of an iconic Sydney backdrop. A-listers and influencers were out in force to celebrate the Aussie swimwear brand.

Personality Plus

The rules for street style at AAFW? There are no rules! Whether you’re a fan of fun prints or modern minimalism, there was something for everyone outside the shows. Don’t forget to check out our full round-up of favourite looks from day one. 

Party-Ready Pieces

Forget staying home on the couch: for her See Now, Buy Now show, Alice McCall created disco-ready, high-shine separates perfect for your next night out. Sequinned prints, shimmering suits and 70s-era minis filled her show—and it was a similar story over at Rebecca Vallance. There, models in figure-hugging dresses, with plunging necklines, backless cuts and lush fabrics like velvet stalked the runway to a soundtrack of ‘70s rock. 

Romance Was Born

True to their name, the duo behind Romance was Born presented a show that was mixed fashion and fantasy. In what felt more like an elaborate piece of theatre than a runway show, models walked the perimeter of the cavernous hall—decorated with light beams, flowers and a carnival carousel—wearing feathered confections, crocheted dresses and beaded dresses that clinked as they moved. After a year of on-and-off lockdown, it was the perfect reminder of the magic and creativity of fashion, and its power to transport.


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