Having arrived early to beat the crowds, I set myself up in the perfect position to watch Imprinting Wild – a Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program fashion show featuring designers who utilise bio-mimicry. As I leaned nonchalantly at the end of the runway, my commanding view was ruined by a seven-foot obelisk in the form of a beautiful boy with fabulous braids.
He squeezed in front of me, apparently oblivious to my presence, which was dwarfed by his gargantuan frame, and no amount of stretching, leaning, huffing or puffing seemed to alert him to my distress. I grudgingly settled down to watch the show from my obscured vantage point – mulling sorrowfully over the cruelty of Darwinism.
Nevertheless, as I peered minutely through the gap between the boy’s waist and the crook of his elbow I got a colourful view of Maia Lillford’s neon-tastic, futuristic collection Bejazzled Beetles. An array of garishly fun pieces inspired by the caddisfly, Maia’s collection focuses on the combination of practicality and what she refers to as ‘hyper aesthetics’. The result is a sharp, sporty collection with an interplanetary feel that raises it beyond typical ‘sports luxe’ and into a dimension of its own.
Despite describing her work as ‘an oil spill of fluorescent hues’ Lillford’s designs actually focus heavily on the environment, with emphasis on reuse, recycling and reworking. Comprised of dazzling, structural garments there is no hint of thrift or vintage in her collection, nevertheless, her concern with sustainable fashion is just another reason that Maia Lillford is one to watch.
Similarly, the designer behind the second collection The Never Never Picnic is equally invested in ethical fashion design. Mimi Zikki, a recent RMIT graduate, uses sustainable materials ‘such as hemp and organic cotton’ to create her tribal street wear.
Inspired in general by nature, specifically the Northern Queensland Rainforest, Zikki’s latest collection came into being after the geometric patterns of a palm seed pod became the catalyst for a design collaboration between herself and Swedish/Spanish jeweller Ana Ostrom.
The ‘scale-like shapes’ of palm seedpods echo the textural skin of reptiles that became the basis for the designers’ collaboration. Ostrom’s tactile jewellery paired with Zikki’s kooky prints and 90s inspired look creates a collection that is both very current yet suitably unique in its flair and foundation.
The bio-mimicry in the collections shown at the Horse Bazaar was subtle, yet it gave the designs an intrigue and individuality that might otherwise have been missing in the works of these fledgeling designers.
The Fashion Advocate x