Things aren’t quite back to normal, anyway. Perhaps just the new normal. Last week, days before Australian Fashion Week was due to start, a COVID-19 flare-up in Melbourne locked out some editors, buyers, and influencers. Some made a last-minute sartorial mercy mission to make it into Sydney, before the state borders were shut. Others, like a pregnant friend who lamented that she was missing her “equivalent of the Super Bowl,” stayed put. There are mandatory temperature checks and QR code check-ins using the government apps before shows, a now commonplace post-COVID-19 tradition across the country. A housekeeping email sent around the weekend before the shows began discouraged kissing hello. Can Fashion Week without kissing even be the real deal? Some attendees wear masks, but largely it’s a mask-free event.
Everyone, it seems, is thrilled to be there and to not be FaceTiming into another market appointment or watching an atmospheric fashion film on the couch in their sweatpants.
You sure could save a lot of everybody’s precious time if every show was a video, but then you wouldn’t have the magic. The inimitable fashion editor Diana Vreeland once said of a Balenciaga presentation that it had “everyone…going up in foam and thunder.”
I’m reminded of this with newcomer Jordan Dalah’s beautifully challenging puffed-up proportions and the Commas show held on Tamarama Beach just as the sun was coming up, with models wading through the water in dreamy silk shirts. I felt this especially so when Romance Was Born, their show always a riot of joy, introduced that most hopeful of ventures: a bridal line.
The dresses, tiered and lush, were modeled by diverse and nonbinary models and made with upcycled fabrics, including duvet covers and wedding veils. What could be more hopeful than a reminder that despite everything, life and love will go on and that it’s for everyone? Experiencing this with the fashion pack and being dressed for the occasion, well, that felt like a cherry on top.