Maticevski's epic presentation for MBFWA was a celebration of unchartered territories. Vivid space-age allusions met wistful, raw nature in Carriageworks' cosmic hall, Bay 25. The square runway was high-sheen in white and accompanied by a floor-to-ceiling white backdrop, which together added to the otherworldly mood of the show. Things kicked off with the echoes of a distant rainforest, as models strode out wearing romanic looks in full-figured skirts and muted florals. Then the music cycled through to Chris Brown and the clothes reflected this shift with dramatic effect. Broad shouldered, sequin-covered creations made quite the statement, while gold breast plates signalled a futuristic sort of armour. Then, with the reverberation of sonic sound waves somewhere in the background, we saw more pastels parade the runway in high-glamour silhouettes. It was an unusual trajectory, but one that seemed to suit the collection's own narrative arc. Indeed, there was method to the madness at Maticevski, perhaps even more so than at any other shows we have seen here so far.
The twists and folds of Maticevski's abstract silhouettes were undeniably romantic, but the designer's manipulations of cloth at the same time signalled there was something a little more sinister at play. It was future romanticism through the lens of evolution. Though there was little doubt in the first place, this collection certainly solidified Toni Maticevski's status as Australia's king of couture. Meanwhile, orb-like jewellery was created for the show by Maticevski and Dinosaur Designs, arranged asymmetrically on a model's single ear or wrist. Strict ballerina buns were softened, but also made futuristic by being covered with high-shine pastel fabrics that fluted out like petals. The collision of nature and space was apparent on all levels.
As expected, there was an impressive technicality to Maticevski's fabrications, which has become something of a signature for the designer. High tech visualisations called to mind Star Wars' C-3PO, as top-to-toe gold pantsuits sauntered down the runway behind elaborate gowns with three-dimensional detailing. There was a sense of the scientific, too, as models clutched onto crystal balls that each contained its own individual floral flourish. Elsewhere on the clothing, nostalgic florals were delicately veiled by an additional sheer layer, which gave the impression of viewing nature as if through a microscope. There was a hint of asylum references in there too, through use of whitest whites in some of the earlier monochromatic looks, as well as off-the-shoulder creations that bound models as if by a straight jacket. These elements were thrown into direct contrast alongside futuristic metallics, rendered in high-vis gold and reflective silver. Viewed as parts of a whole, though, these contrasts seemed to slot together like pieces of a beautiful puzzle. The romantic florals seemed representative of nature in its purest form, while outerspace references symbolised a new form of nature — the future frontier. Finally, science acted as the common link between the two atmospheres, tying everything together expertly.
Overall, this collection came across as an exploration in the temporality of beauty and, indeed, of all things. With this collection, designer Toni Maticevski has created an interstellar time capsule, through which we can observe the pure beauty of the clothes, while appreciating their inherently ephemeral nature.
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