Home » Australian Fashion Week kicks off with a return of the old, and the new

Australian Fashion Week kicks off with a return of the old, and the new

As the mercury starts to drop with the commencing of autumn in Australia, the country’s fashion industry is heating up for the biggest week of the year.

Australian Fashion Week kicked off on May 13 its latest edition — a five-day calendar event that sees the awaited return of local fashion veterans, as well as the debut of several other brands, to the official Resort 2025 lineup.

This year, Danish jewellery brand Pandora is the major sponsor (replacing Afterpay) of the annual fashion event, which takes place once again at Sydney’s Carriageworks (with a select few offsite shows scheduled around the harbour city) until Friday, May 17.

With the official calendar shortened a little to around 25 designer shows, plus a handful of group shows this season, here’s a look at the key fashion shows from day one and two of Australian Fashion Week.

Albus Lumen: Apocalypse new

Albus Lumen – Spring-Summer2025 – Womenswear – – Sydney – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Luxury brand Albus Lumen on Monday opened the Resort 2025 season in front of a 600-strong crowd, made up of local and international media and buyers, and local fashion elite including Aussie supermodels Victoria Lee and Montana Cox, and a possie of actors from the hit Netflix series reboot ‘Heartbreak High’.

Under the creative direction of Marina Afonina, the fashion brand’s ‘Rebellion’ collection looked to its past collections and archived pieces – with this notion of bringing new life to what is old, and was staged in what felt like an abandoned city, serving up a new apocalypse to guests. Garments came ‘worn’, by way of colour dying fabric and deconstructing older pieces and adding new elements, in a palette of mostly earthly tones adding to the dystopian theme.

Viktoria & Woods: Elevated day-to-day

Viktoria & Woods – Spring-Summer2025 – Womenswear – – Sydney – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Surprisingly, it was 20-year-old Viktoria & Woods’ first-ever AFW this season, with the marque, founded by Margie Woods, choosing to explore the wardrobe of singular woman as she navigates her day-to-day

Showing off-site at The Cove Apartments, tailoring and relaxed silhouettes were key takeaways from this co-ed collection, which featured silks and cupro (in mint, lilac, metal and navy) contrasted against the sturdy structure of linen and bamboo. This year, the sustainability-focused brand also extended its use of leather, particularly in ready-to-wear styles. Standout looks from this season included tailoring, both sleeveless and not, and specialised knitwear — the category the Melbourne-based brand launched with, in 2004.

Carla Zampatti: Australia’s fashion matriarch returns

Carla Zampatti – Spring-Summer2025 – Womenswear – – Sydney – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Australian fashion veteran Carla Zampatti returned to the AFW schedule after a five-year hiatus, and some three years after the sudden death of the 78-year-old namesake designer; the show taking place on the recently named Carla Zampatti Runway, and closing out day one.

“This is our first show on the biggest stage in Australian fashion since 2019,” said Alex Schuman, CEO of Carla Zampatti, and daughter of the designer. “It’s an opportunity to honour Mum’s memory on the runway that carries her name. It’s an exciting look at how the brand has evolved and refreshed over the years since she passed away, without forgetting the brand’s history and values.” 

Under the creative direction of designer Karlie Ungar, the new ‘Dinastia’ collection tapped into the Sydney brand’s classic heritage codes and female empowerment, while introducing into the mix new elements such as coin jewellery with bespoke faces in pewter; Italian maps printed on silk; and petal-sculpted tailoring and gowns. 

Opening with a short film by Claudia Rose and set to the backdrop of a bespoke music score by Gary Sinclair, the show was as grandiose as the Zampatti gowns themselves, which this season were mostly, and sombrely, in black. It felt like a true matriarch moment.

Liandra: Honey bee by the sea

Liandra – Spring-Summer2025 – Womenswear – – Sydney – ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

Kicking off day two, indigenous designer Liandra Gaykamangu presented a very summery collection that riffed on the bee for her AFW solo runway debut. Specifically, this year also saw the designer expand into ready-to-wear for the first; no longer called Liandra Swim, but just Liandra. 

Sunset-coloured prints inspired by native flora and fauna, especially the bee, were a leitmotif to this fun collection, with jewel greens and blues added to the colour mix of printed cottons and chiffon. Not forsaking her swimwear roots, bikini tops and one-piece bathers were layered under clothes that could be worn from the beach to the street, or vice versa.

Bec + Bridge: Denim and metal

Bec + Bridge Resort 2025 collection – Indigital

Sydney fashion duo Bec Cooper and Bridget Yorston took their premium women’s fashion brand Bec + Bridge offsite to Sydney’s Overseas Passenger to showcase a Resort 2025 inspired by the craft of metalwork. The former uni pals sent out wrap dresses and slouched woollen trousers paired with millennial racer back tanks and skivvy-style tops, elevated by Paris-worthy tucked shirting. This collection also saw the relaunch of denim at the brand, seen zhuzh-ed with silver metallic detail and corresponding with silver slouchy knee-high boots or metallic skirts. The 90’s oval shades were a very on-trend touch.
 

Acler: Undulating shapes in space

Acler Resort 2025 collection

In the evening of day two, womenswear luxury brand Acler also returned to AFW after a five-year hiatus, with the likes of supermodel Gemma Ward and former Australian deputy prime minister Julie Bishop sat front row. The Adelaide-born brand’s latest collection played with undulating shapes and tapered volume, think saccharine-hued organza and tulle, contrasted against metallics, alongside intricate beadwork; a new venture for the South Australian brand. 

A new capsule collection of footwear and handbags — metallic slouch knee-high boots and oversized crescent moon bags – adding another design arrow to Acler’s bow.

All set against a maze-like white stage that made the floating shapes, metallic boots and moon bags feel extra galactic.

 

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