Designers Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris of the label Aje have kicked off Fashion Week in Sydney’s Campbell’s Stores with a collection celebrating the beauty of the Australian landscape.
Nestled between the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House at the historic Campell’s Store in The Rocks, Sunday’s open-air show had a distinctly Australian feel before the models even hit the catwalk.
But when they did, it was clear where the design duo drew inspiration for the 2020 resort collection, titled ‘Bloomscape.’
Earthy colours including wattle yellow, gumnut green, salt lake pink and rock red featured prominently – as did hand-painted prints inspired by native flora and fauna.
Voluminous silhouettes, flowing trains and exaggerated ruffles were juxtaposed against androgynous safari suits, washed-out denim and shirts embellished with kitschy Australian souvenir patches.
The designers, who hail from Queensland, say the collection is devoted to the natural wonder of Australia “from the desert to the bush to the ocean”.
“I think ultimately for us this year it was really important to celebrate where the brand is at but also to celebrate this extraordinary country we live in, which has been an endless source of inspiration for us,” Forest told AAP before the show.
“Adrian and I grew up here and we’re really proud to be an Australian brand.”
Their previous collection, which just landed in stores, is inspired by the Gold Coast in the 1980s, Norris adds.
“Some people would shy away from that but that’s where we went on holidays,” he said.
“Inspiration just comes naturally, when we come up with an idea or concept then it just kind of explodes.”
A 600-strong crowd of celebrities, artists and fashion bloggers, including Olympia Valance, Megan Washington, Kate Waterhouse and Wendy Whiteley, brought the star power to the front row, while Australian supermodel Emma Balfour closed the show.
Aje was handpicked by the event’s major sponsor Mercedes-Benz to kick off the week of fashion festivities in Sydney, following in the footsteps past openers Camilla & Marc, Dion Lee and Toni Maticevsiki.
A host of other Australian designers will showcase their resort collections during Fashion Week, including alice McCALL, Bec + Bridge, PE Nation and Tigerlily, with Carla Zampatti set to close the week.
* Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia runs until May 18
This story originally appeared on sbs.com.au