A Review of Telstra Perth Fashion Festival’s ‘New Generation’ Show

Set against the backdrop of the (glowing pink) Matagarup bridge, Perth’s fashion elite file into the runway set. Clutching the ever trendy aperol spritzes and Campari sodas, the youthful energy is pumping. Graphic fonts and a sleek jet black runway punctuate the room. This is the New Generation.

The show began with a retrospective of Perth fashion. Underscored by a beating drum, we saw the last twenty years of the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival (TPFF) played back on the screen. Celebrating its 20th year, TPFF is pulling out all the stops.

The showcase opened with a collection from Porterhouse. A resonating tone filled the room as designer Rina Qiuan Chen’s collection of deconstructed workwear unfolded. Every look struck a balance between ethereal draping and boxy tailoring. From the contrasting tulle socks and Doc Martens to the green plisse accents on angular tartan blazers, Chen created incongruity in every look. The muted palette was complemented by fresh-faced models with graphic lined eyes. Easily a standout of the show, skilful construction made a fantastic first impression.

The next collection, Elementary, from designer Beth Moseley, focused around experimental textiles in a fresh and unique way. The standout looks – a white, ruffled shirt dress printed with sketches of faces, a drapey dress constructed with a mishmash of prints and a vest of patchy tartan, demonstrated Moseley’s unconventional use of textiles. The looks were accessorised with Teva’s, upcycled bags and iconic sparkly Poppy Lissiman glasses. Perfect asymmetry and raw hems added to the organic and softness of the looks. Another brilliant collection, showcasing youthful innovation.

Then, So Young Shin’s ‘So Young’ gently unfolded out on the runway. The first looks, understated and angular minimalism were set to a soundtrack of shamisen. Like the first blossom of spring, a subtle pink ruching on a blazer and pops of yellow flowers in the models’ bags signalled the explosion of colour and innocence. Structural shorts created a canvas for flowing satins in baby blue and pink. A circle motif carried throughout the collection and not once did a harsh line interrupt the organic flow of the collection. A pink satin culotte jumpsuit was a highlight – blurring the lines between femininity and masculinity.

The show then took a brief detour into activewear with Harris and Hunter, by designer Tahnee Harris. Models carrying mesh bags of pastel coloured fruit, wearing illustrated denim and bold pink sunglasses strutted out onto the runway. Futuristic ski goggles and metallic joggers pushed the collection into modernity. These were dream athleisure clothes you’d wear anywhere expect to work out – maybe to take a stroll to get gelato. Not the strongest collection of the show, however, it felt like a fun and exciting from boring black activewear.

Finally, pop art met fashion with Testaferrata from designer Gabby Olivier. Loud, bright and colourful – this collection embodied how fashion is supposed to be FUN! Rolling down the runway like an oversaturated cartoon, every look created intrigue and excitement. Graphic manga prints, rainbow tulle and sparkly fringe, the clothes were part rock and roll, part princess dress. The most outstanding look of the collection was a jacket (or perhaps a piece of wearable art), made up entirely of colourful condoms. Olivier’s use of texture and bold colours shook the room awake.

Aside from some minor issues in construction and a couple of unpressed pieces – the New Generation collection was an overall delight. Breaking away from convention through inventive design, construction and tailoring, it was refreshing to young talent flourishing. The Perth fashion scene needs youthful eyes and bold moves to take it into the future and this show did exactly that.

Ava Cadee

Ava Cadee loves the thrill of tap dancing in the shower

Photography by Lilly Smeulders