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Myf Sheppard and Abbey Ashton in Emma MulhollandPolaroids: Megan Cullen. Creative Direction & Styling: Abby Bennett. Styling Assistance: Anna Santangelo.

Ten designers making waves down under

Black Sabbath and ‘Working Girl’ serve as a backdrop for Sydney Fashion Week's most exciting designers

From collections inspired by brat pack movies and Working Girl to those based on ‘50s Canadian pop culture, this season has seen a string of young designers making waves down under at Sydney fashion week. Here, we chart the ten names that caught our eye…


What’s more Australian than a bunch of bronzed Aussie babes in high-cut swimsuits parading around outdoors with a dangerous looking animal nearby? We Are Handsome showed their latest instalment of digitally printed swimwear in a walled outdoor garden space equipped with a real life python ‘worn’ by the bravest model.


Emma Mulholland’s RISQUE BUSINESS collection drew inspiration from John Hughes eighties ‘brat pack’ movies and the likes of Melanie Griffith’s character in Working Girl. Blending surf and street culture, this season was a continuation of Mulholland’s signature playful candy-coloured prints and stand out accessories. The show climaxed with an energetic finale, in which the models danced down the runway to Dolly Parton – “Nine to Five”.


Phoenix Keating’s La Diosa de Oro collection was dramatic and strong, whilst utterly feminine. Translating to ‘Golden Goddess’, the nickname for the first ever female bullfighter, the collection which saw models wear oversized bull rings in their noses had a definite Spanish undercurrent.


Marking her fashion week debut, Hayley Elsasser’s Redneck Nostalgia collection was an ode to good girls gone bad. Referencing ‘50s popculture and her childhood in Canada, models wore playful neckchiefs, duck-egg blue and tangerine leather, digital palm tree prints, pastel pleats and of course, swimwear.


Discount Universe’s off-schedule debut show was touted as being a must see and it did not disappoint. Turning the catwalk into a glitter-fueled frenzy with their fully embellished extravaganza, they made a powerful first statement. From metallic snakeskin leather, studded jackets and embellished corsetry to hand illustrated bodysuits – the models walked to a playlist of Black Sabbath and Iggy & the Stooges played at heart pounding volumes.


Located at Sydney’s Iceberg restaurant, overlooking Bondi Beach, Ellery SS14 saw Julia Nobis both open and close the show. The sophisticated, elegant designs in the collection were juxtaposed with punk inspired hair cuts and metal cuffed jewellery draped from the ear to the nose.


Toni Maticevski’s Orchid Metamorphosis collection offered an array of signature voluminous dresses, modern cocktail dresses and tailored separates in contrasting fabrics. Wearing structured neoprene and mesh, the models carried orchids in their mouths whilst walking down a digitally printed runway to an atmospheric soundtrack.


Sticking with their distinctly Australian aesthetic, Desert Designs merged references taken from indigenous stories and art with youth culture to create something thoroughly modern. Their spring-summer 14 collection Together, Towards the Water, inspired by Aboriginal artist Jimmy Pike, explores the universal sacredness of water and the effects that this natural element has on our emotions.


Renowned for their elaborate and incredibly memorable shows, this year Romance Was Born launched "Reflected Glory" an exhibition in collaboration with Perth-based artist Rebecca Baumann which showcased a kaleidoscopic world of colour and light.


Karla Spetic made sure that the location of her show complimented her collection this season by taking her guests to a local swimming pool in one of Sydney's indigenous cultural centres. Combining her timeless trademark tailoring and prints with a distinctly feminine palette, the collection was cool, crisp, soft and strong in equal measures.