Fashion / Fashion News

AAFW 2023 highlights: All the best moments from the week

All the best moments from this year's Australian Fashion Week 2023.

Australian fashion's most frenzied week is upon us once again, and the RUSSH team is here to keep you abreast of all the most important shows, looks and moments from Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2023. From AAFW debuts to fashion week old hats, here are the week's most talked about moments...


Day one

10am: Alémais kicks off the week with their AAFW debut

Carriageworks was a vibrant and colourful affair this morning, as fashion-goers congregated for the debut AAFW runway show from contemporary Australian womenswear brand Alémais.

Creative Director Lesleigh Jermanus pulled from decades past, weaving together bold 70s-inspired prints, mystic appliqués, structured shoulders and fantastical fringing to create a collection of garments that would look just as at home on the dance floor of Studio 54 as they would on the next season of The White Lotus. A highlight: floral sets made from regenerative orange peel fabrication, and a hand-beaded silk organza gown with an exaggerated ‘Catherine Baba bow’. Keeping the vibes immaculately high, models finished the show with a curtain call walk to Bowie's Let's Dance.




11am: St Agni takes us on a piloted journey of futuristic minimalism

St Agni's signature elevated minimalism was punctuated by liquid-look chrome bralettes, underwear as outerwear, pleated boxy tops, backwards businesswear, raw and natural hems, and paired with oversized and undersized leather accessories - either clutched under arms or tied around waists. The show was a masterclass in untroubled elegance.



12:30pm BONDI BORN's harbour-side show places focus on the archetypal tropical idyll

Contemporary Australian swim and resort-wear brand BONDI BORN debuted their Resort 24 collection LEVIQUE at an ex-industrial heritage-listed site in the afternoon. Twisting roped sandals grounded billowy looks of silk and linen, alongside sleek swimwear made from eco-certified, Italian-milled fabrics. Inspired by the saturated colour palette of North West Australian coastlines, the show was a nod to the long summer days and nights we've spent sun-soaked and waterside.


7pm: Michael Lo Sordo celebrates a sultry decade in fashion

Celebrating a milestone ten years in the fashion business, Michael Lo Sordo's 14th runway presentation at AAFW unveiled his highly anticipated Resort 24 collection. Paraded under ambient red mood lighting, and set to the soundtrack of a live orchestra, the collection explored sultry French ideals through silken lounge sets, plunging lace necklines, leather trenches and crystal-knit minis – all grounded by sleek footwear from Charles & Keith. Audiences were grouped at small tables, where they were served refreshments upon arrival in sparkling Waterford crystal glassware.


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Day two

8:30am: Aje are an early-morning vision of ethereal elegance

Aje brought to life the new Sydney Modern art gallery bright and early this morning in a cavalcade of jewel-toned gowns and garments that simultaneously paid homage to the brand's signature puffed sleeves and ruched gowns, whilst also nodding to its future. Australian fashion darling Gemma Ward led the march, donning an ethereal, petal-like skirt, pared-back with a simple white singlet – a look that felt like a perfect encapsulation of Aje's vision of undone elegance.


11am: Bianca Spender offers a moment of reprieve amidst the chaos

The brand's eponymous lead designer said in relation to her Summer 23 zero-waste runway show this morning, that she was looking to reflect a sentiment of ease. Entitled FIFTEEN, the collection accentuated softness, contrasting natural forms with sharp tailoring, complimented by a muted palette of icy cool blues, earthy golds and reds, and vibrant greens. Goldwell was the offical hair partner, sweeping tresses into sophisticated styles with a 90s rock and roll edge.




4:30pm: Bec & Bridge riffs on 90s minimalism and grunge nostalgia

Bec & Bridge brought the afternoon alive with the pound of music, models swaggering to the tempo of Janet Jackson to Prince for their collection Hot Thing. Designers Bec Cooper and Bridget Yorston reminisced on their teenage years, reimagining the candy-coloured lace, bubble hemmed skirts and understated sex appeal that earmarked the fashion of the 90s. The collection focused on the interplay between femininity, grit and frivolity, with sea-life motifs and palettes punctuating the brand's classic slinky silhouettes.


8:30pm: Jordan Gogos x Akira Isogawa transport us to an avant-garde fantasy

A synergy of innovation and imagination was at the fore of the evening's Iordanes Spyridon Gogos runway. Lead designer Jordan Gogos collaborated on this collection with fellow contemporary fashion wunderkid Akira Isogawa to create a series of looks donned by an eccentric cast of characters that navigating a surreal runway landscape of strewn textiles and Gogos' signature trojan horse motif.


9:30pm: Wynn Hamlin shift into top gear 

How is it that we found ourselves on the top floor of a parking-lot-turned-go-karting-track this late in the evening? For New Zealand designer Wynn Hamlin's show of course. Track-side attendees were treated to a pounding techno soundtrack at the aptly-chosen venue that featured a runway lined with tires and a lit-up neon facade. A fitting backdrop to the collection's weather-worn Moto jackets, heavy denim looks and flamelike knitted sleeves.



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Day three

10am: Ngali makes history as the first Indigenous standalone show at AAFW

Wiradjuri woman and lead designer, Denni Francisco, spotlighted and sartorially re-contextualised First Nations Australian art, and sought to honour the creativity and rich culture of Indigenous communities with her collection, entitled Murriyang (which translates to 'skyworld' in Francisco's native language). Artworks by Gija man Lindsay Malay, Ngarrindjeri Wirangu man Keedan Rigney, and Muruwari Kamilaroun woman Laura Brown, adorned all types of garments, millinery, hand-painted footwear and accessories. The show was a maximalist dream, not shying from colour, pattern or bold accessorising.

You can also read our full review of the Ngali show online.


11am: Gail Sorronda's dark Gothic fantasy finds the light

Amongst the swathes of resort wear, Sorronda's In Dreams collection was an intriguing change of energy. Her signature layered Victorian-inspired blouses, darkly romantic gowns, and textured, monochromatic minis walked the line between mysterious and celestial, thigh-high leather boots from Charles & Keith and body-length veils completing models' transformations into gothic angels.


12:30pm: Henne gives a lesson in 80s power dressing

Henne's 80s-inspired dressing was met with Y2K sensibilities on the runway, complete with Sarah Connor-style aviators and silver briefcases. Some notable looks included denim-on-denim fits, chocolate brown leather trenches with matching gloves, and sheer floor-length gowns and skirts that shimmered in crystal applique.


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3pm: The Innovators serve a taste of fashion's next gen

Fashion Design Studio TAFE NSW is at the forefront of fashion education in the country, nurturing once-young designers like Dion Lee, Zimmerman and Akira. The Innovators showcase was an opportunity for fashion insiders to get a taste of whats next, featuring a lineup of six graduates from the school, each presenting their own collection of 12 looks.



4:30pm Joslin underscores both side's of Mother Nature's beauty

Joslin might have had to battle Mother Nature to begin with, but their runway was a spectacular homage to the power and beauty of the natural elements. Presented at the foreshore of Clovelly beach, the collection was a sea of off-the-shoulder silhouettes, maxi dresses in lemon linens and coral laces, knitted two-pieces and, of course, the most appropriate all-terrain footwear choice, Crocs.


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6pm: MARIAM SEDDIQ is a neoteric, textural dream

Australian-Afghan designer MARIAM SEDDIQ took us into the evening, a stark white runway leaving little distraction from the handmade prêt-à-couture looks on show. Semi-sheer, ruched chiffon gowns and monochrome floral appliqués added dimension to what was otherwise a masterful lesson in minimalism; form and tactility taking centre stage. Hair was largely slicked into place with precision – the odd ponytail sculpted into a gravity-defying bolt of hair – and liquid-look mixed metal accessories encircled wrists, necks and ears to complete the futuristic styling.


Day four

10am: Blanca eases us into the morning with taste

Blanca's Resort 24 collection entitled A Sumptuous Summer was indeed the picture of ease and elegance. Models lounged on lush mid-century furnishings, sourced by prop stylist and interior designer Kirsten Stanwix-Bookallil, setting the scene for the looks that featured complimentary warm tones of gold, orange and blue. Garments were layered with textural stylings like oversized sack-like bags and fuzzy sweaters tied to waists in order to complete the laid-back sartorial attitude.


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2pm: Albus Lumen ushers in a new era

Albus Lumen's signature wools and crocheted garments levelled up for the brand's Phase II unisex runway show in the early afternoon, retaining the intricate craftsmanship they're known for, while returning to categories like bridal wear.


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6pm: Nicol & Ford dial up the theatrics

The sophomore collection from duo Katie-Louise and Lilian Nicol-Ford brought the drama (the good kind) to the fore, leveraging their backgrounds in costume design and history to create a triptych of looks inspired by The Great Comet of 1811 and Tolstoy’s War and Peace. A community-cast selection of models donned slinky slip dresses, Grecian-inspired gowns and ruffled sleeves befitting of any number of Regency-era royals, accessorised by dramatically large jewels and towering stacks of hair.


7pm: Speed perfects new-age tailoring with edge

Sydney label Speed held their debut AAFW runway show tonight, with lead designer Alvina Chung crafting a collection that harnessed the power of contemporary tailoring and silhouettes. Pops of red – in the form of silky gloves, sheer bandanas and long leather-look scarves – punctuated the collection, culminating in a particularly noteworthy head-to-toe crimson ensemble that included a patent red trench with matching boots, and a metres-long red mesh veil.


Day five


10am: Alix Higgins is grounded in the mystical

In his second ever runway show, Alix Higgins Resort 2024 collection picked up right where he left off. Letting his signature stretch fabric garments take centre stage once again, we were presented with striped rugby jerseys and mesh asymmetrical dresses printed with phrases – printed in Higgins' signature Arial font of course – from the humorous ("I was late to the party but I still drank the most") to the opaque ("In the dream it was all right"). Bare, dirt-smeared feet and printed cloth bags accompanied the looks down the runway, styled by RUSSH's own Charlotte Agnew.


4:30pm: Haulier

Sydney's Haulier International staged their debut in the afternoon, emphasising a cohesive palette of vibrant reds, oceanic blues and punchy yellows, garments practically crying out to be taken on a summer European vacation. The vibe felt very sporty-chic, an ode perhaps to the frequenters of your local yacht or country club – think button-down oxfords paired with shoulder-slung knits – but with a rock and roll edge, mesh tops, dark tint sunglasses, and black denim perforating the presentation. Makeup Director, Kristyan Low, kept complexions fresh and natural using The Ordinary products to prioritise healthy, radiant-looking skin.


6pm: Caroline Reznik closes the week with a lasting impression

Caroline Reznik's show opened with a choreographed pas de deux on the runway, perhaps a nod to her own former life as a professional ballerina, before segueing into the presentation of her latest collection. Closing out what has been a long and somewhat frantic week, Reznik showed exactly how you close out AAFW with a bang. Masterfully balancing the delicate with the dark, the collection felt something akin to a twisted fantasy that enmeshed brutalism and softness, enlisting distressed leathers and knits, but coexisting alongside lace lingerie, tulle tutus, and intricately beaded fringed dresses.


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