The setting of Aje’s resort 2020 show was enough to set the mood: two Australian icons, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, bathed in a wintery sunset light while the entire Australian fashion industry looked on. It was a fitting place for Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris to open Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia’s resort season, cementing both their status as upcoming icons themselves, and proving that Sydney really does have the most beautiful places for a fashion show.
The collection was as varied as it was consistent. Balloon sleeves, topstitching and ruffles were abound — not a surprise, given Aje has a reputation for making perfectly pretty party dresses filled with personality — while oversized takes on suiting and utility-packed pockets were on-trend additions to Forest and Norris’ cache.
The styling was strong, with cinched white trousers and pocket-filled pants paired with cropped, tiered tops and wide, printed tops. Models carried baskets of native flowers and strode down the runway in strappy sandals. Every look felt right at home on the Sydney boardwalk — and you could imagine any one of the women in the audience striding off into the sunset with their Aje-approved outfit — from the maxed out printed dresses to the classic mini shirt dress, adorned with flowers.
It was a collection which paid tribute to the Australian land and people. A personal favourite, the thick red cotton shirt with road sign patches including Perth and Alice Springs, was an obvious ode to the Australian bush, while native flora was more discreetly plastered over some of the more punchy, statement-making dresses and separates. With the suitably iconic backdrop, it felt like the natural extension.
While the opening show is almost always a show of just that, showmanship, Aje pulled it back. Reigning in the prints, amping up the silhouettes they’ve become loved for and refining their signature styles, Forest and Norris felt confident in what they were trying to say. It felt clean, concise and best of all, it felt like home.