2013 was a big year in Australian fashion, find out how our designers fared in the past 12 months.
News that Australia’s most internationally successful fashion designer Collette Dinnigan was closing most of her business was a sad development for the industry in 2013.
It was also the year Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton stepped down from the board of the label they invented, sass & bide.
The pair began selling jeans at London’s Portobello Road markets and went on to develop a fashion label worth more than $50 million.
Blame it on the high Australian dollar and internet shopping, but it’s been a tough year for Aussie designers. Lisa Ho, Kirrily Johnston, Allanah Hill, Kit Willow and Bettina Liano have closed up shop.
Dinnigan, the undisputed queen of evening luxe, announced on October 29 that she would be winding down the majority of her operation – not because of financial reasons but to spend more time with her young children.
“Oh my goodness, I cannot believe what I’ve done in my career. I realise I have achieved a lot. I have a great team. But when I’m here I realise it’s not easy (for fashion designers),” Dinnigan told AAP from Paris immediately after her Both Sides Now show in September. It was the 18th and final time Dinnigan plans to show in the fashion capital.
It will be up to Kym Ellery, who was this year the third Australian designer ever to be invited to show during Paris Fashion Week. The other is Martin Grant, the man behind the new Qantas uniforms, who is based in the City of Lights.
Toni Maticevski and Johanna Johnson are among designers with a growing international following.
Perth-based Aurelio Costarella headed to New York Fashion Week in September.
And there’s no stopping young Sydney-based designer Dion Lee, who made the shortlist of six global nominees for the inaugural International Woolmark Prize in February.
His sculptured collection was judged by a selection of fashion royalty including Victoria Beckham, Donatella Versace and Diane Von Furstenberg – but Belgian designer Christian Wijnants took the prize.
Global fashion brands Topshop and Zara continue to cement their place on the Australian fashion scene, with the former opening its first Brisbane store in December.
Swedish retail giant H&M is scheduled to open its first Australian store in the middle of 2014 and is expected to occupy three floors of Melbourne’s heritage-listed GPO building.
Japan’s Uniqlo is also slated to set up shop in Melbourne in 2014.
On local runways and in stores, monochrome was the ultimate in chic and digital prints also dominated.
White on white looks were the trend of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, favoured by designers Carly Hunter, Akira and Josh Goot, while Manning Cartell and Thurley were among those serving up colourful digital print dresses.
Designers such as Alexi Freeman opted for pops of neon yellow on the runway, and Bae celebrated feminine elegance with glorious fuschia cocktail dresses.
While Ellery may have been sipping champagne at cafes on the Champs-Elysees in September, earlier in the year she was in court.
The catfight started when the 30-year-old defected from rival Myer to join the David Jones family of Aussie designers – with the case heading to the Supreme Court in April.
Ellery apologised to Myer, and was allowed to supply both retail giants after settling a breach of contract dispute.
David Jones and Myer seemed to spend the year battling for designer labels, even over men’s labels including Hugo Boss, which is now at DJs.
Miranda Kerr was dropped by David Jones in March, and Jessica Gomes stepped into the stilettos as the store’s new ambassador.
The struggling retailer just couldn’t afford the girl from Gunnedah, as Kerr’s profile has grown significantly since she signed in 2008. Last year Forbes ranked Kerr as the world’s seventh highest-paid model.
It wasn’t only DJs that let her go. Kerr was dropped as a Victoria’s Secret angel and lost her Mango contract. And in October came the news than her marriage to Orlando Bloom had ended.
Meanwhile girl-next-door Jen Hawkins re-signed with Myer in a multimillion dollar deal that ties her to the department store for another three years. Hawkins also married her long-term beau.
London-based, Greek-born designer Mary Katrantzou opened the Melbourne Fashion Festival with a colourful bang.
In Sydney there were plenty of sky-high heels and kisses all round at Australian Fashion Week in May. Fashion label Camilla and Marc kicked off the festival – a perfect birthday present for the brother-and-sister design duo of Camilla Freeman-Topper and Marc Freeman as they celebrated a decade as a label.
Other Aussie designers making waves include Christopher Esber, Romance Was Born, Easton Pearson, We Are Handsome and another sibling duo, Alexandra and Genevieve Smart, aka Ginger & Smart.
Kaftan queen Camilla took the award for biggest budget show of the week.
There was rock’n’roll glamour with Georgia May Jagger, who led the 35 models all draped in bright summer colours as they paraded through seven huge teepees at Centennial Park while Peruvian pipers played, and cauldrons of fire burned among huge tropical flower displays.
And after 46 years in the business Carla Zampatti, 70, hasn’t lost her touch – she was spot-on with her white perforated leather look.
Bikinis may be itsy-bitsy but it’s the one area where Aussie designers are doing OK.
Zimmermann has has a shop in New York, Megan Gale’s time on the Italian Riviera was good homework for her Isola brand, and Hawkins is happy to model her own brand – and even Lara Bingle is diving into the market.