Nipple tassles aside, Aussie Fashion Week strikes serious notes

Fri May 7, 2010 3:12am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Feathers stuck on eyebrows. Men in skirts. Pink nipple tassles. Models painted blue who could have come straight off the set of the movie Avatar.

Australian Fashion Week did not disappoint those who love -- or loathe -- the extravagant flourishes on the catwalk with the bizarre standing out from a sea of more muted shows that consisted mainly of black, grey and white.

But the aim of the 15th annual Australian Fashion Week was serious -- to promote both established and a new guard of Australian designers locally and overseas in a market that is strengthening after last year's global financial crisis.

Many of the 160 plus international buyers and media who descended on Sydney for the week-long show agreed the collections weren't so offbeat and added to the image of Australian designers coming up with wearable, unique fashions, and not just swimwear.

"The bulk of the designers showing at (Australian Fashion Week) beat to their own localized drum, hardly touched by the major shifts that the northern hemisphere fashion capital shows have prompted," wrote blogger Susanna Lau of

"The (Australian) designers have developed their own aesthetic ... and their home fanbases regularly buying these brands proves that."

With London, New York, Paris and Milan securely placed as the world's four fashion capitals, Australia is trying to position itself as the main fashion center in the Asia Pacific region.

Founded 15 years ago by Australian PR and marketing consultant Simon Lock, Australian Fashion Week has grown over the years to be bought in 2005 by marketing and management company IMG whose portfolio also includes fashion events in New York, London, Milan, Berlin, Miami and Mumbai.   Continued...