“We reimagined man-style shirting, oversized tailoring and denim, presenting these classics with dancer-off-duty appeal,” says Aje creative director and co-founder Edwina Forest on her new collection. The result? Longline blazers cast in white: “A modern update to a tried-and-tested classic.” And sky-blue denim worn two at a time. “Find balance within the layers for it to feel and look easy,” Forest advises.
Aje polyester and rayon blazer, $495, cotton denim shirt, $255, and cotton jeans, $295; ajeworld.com.au. Sophie Buhai gold-plated metal earrings, $397; at matchesfashion.com. Max Mara canvas boots, $1,320; au.maxmara.com
“For me, the most important part of a wardrobe is for it to have personality,” explains Christopher Esber, who has pieced together texture and incorporated his signature deconstruct detail to refresh a go-to sweater and A-line skirt. By focusing on time-honoured shapes, Esber makes sure to leave his clothes open to interpretation. “I design for the everyday more than any trend or occasion.”
Romance Was Born
Making a mighty impression is as easy as slipping into Romance Was Born’s high-impact outerwear. “A cape is a great, versatile piece that can be worn occasionally for a dramatic statement, but also on those days where you just want to feel fabulous,” says co-founder Anna Plunkett, who collaborated with artist Samuel Hodge on this flourishing floral print.
“This season I was really inspired by the feel and form of the fabrications to create the perfect foundation wardrobe for the modern woman,” says Bassike creative director and co-founder Deborah Sams of the light linens and languid lines that let traditional tailoring glide between work and play. “Everything has a drape and ease...And longevity beyond a single moment.”
Michael Lo Sordo
With the starting point for his collections always anchored in fabric and colour, you can trust Michael Lo Sordo’s chocolate-toned leather look to read considered. “Keep it simple and go monochromatic,” is the designer’s advice for feeling confident in a sumptuous set, and he suggests sticking to the same pared-back principles when wearing the pieces one at a time. “Team the pant with a ribbed tank or a white shirt [and] the blazer with a white T-shirt and denim shorts—sophisticated but fun.”
Michael Lo Sordo leather jacket, $1,290, and pants, $1,290; at brownsfashion.com. Reliquia gold-plated metal earrings, $139; reliquiajewellery.com. Brie Leon gold-plated metal necklace (top), $169; brieleon.com. Thomas Sabo gold-plated sterling-silver necklace (bottom), $299; thomassabo.com.au. Tibi leather heels, $1,080; tibi.com
“Sequins are a great way to breathe new life into a classic print like houndstooth,” notes Rachel Gilbert, whose latest lifestyle range applies the dazzling technique to ’80s-leaning silhouettes. On maintaining an of-the-moment aesthetic while wearing throwback shapes, the eveningwear expert says balance is key. “For example, look for shoulder detailing, but make sure the rest of the design is sleek and modern,” she adds.
Bec & Bridge
“We love the tension created by mixing more feminine and floaty pieces with strong silhouettes,” say Becky Cooper, who together with her co-founder Bridget Yorston, make a major case for the pussy-bow blouse. “[It’s] such an iconic piece that balances the masculine and feminine,” adds Yorston. “Paired with a tailored pant, it’s a strong, sexy and playful look for 2020.”
Bec & Bridge viscose blouse, $240, and cotton and polyester pants, $390; becandbridge.com
Reflecting on her childhood growing up in Sydney in the ’70s, Nicky Zimmermann delivers a contemporary update on era-defining styles. And while her boilersuit skews oversized, “the styling and silhouettes are very dressed, sophisticated and feminine,” says the designer. Simply cinch with a belt and slip into a pair of ladylike heels to achieve outfit equilibrium.
Macgraw’s new collection may celebrate cherry blossom flowers, but black sequins imbue the pretty motif with a moody undercurrent. “Although we are unapologetically feminine, we always like a hint of darkness,” agrees label co-founder Beth MacGraw. Her advice for tackling the translucent trend? “Definitely make sure your undergarments are worthy of display! I’m more comfortable showing my legs, so I wear highwaisted knickers or a mini black slip and throw on a blazer or wool coat.”
“I’ve always loved suede leather, [it] feels very luxurious and compliments the body,” says Albus Lumen founder Marina Afonina, whose signature simplicity—in shape and tone—lets the texture speak for itself.
Photographed by Jesse Lizotte. Styled by Lucy Wood. Hair by Pete Lennon. Make-up by Samantha P.
This article originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of InStyle.