Toni Maticevski spring-summer 2011 at Australian Fashion Week

AUSTRALIAN Fashion Week saved the best for last with Toni Maticevski's nature -inspired collection being declared show of the week and almost bringing the audience to tears.


Maticevski has been absent from the Fashion Week schedule for the past five years but returned this morning with a breathtaking collection of soft, feminine, flouncy evening dresses and wearable day wear.

Vogue editor-in-chief Kirstie Clements said the highly anticipated showcase didn’t disappoint and she declared the collection, ‘’show of the week’’.

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"Toni is one of our important designers, and we were all really looking forward to this because he hasn’t shown in five years," Clements told The Australian.

‘’He has always been a Vogue fashion favourite and he is one of Australia’s major players and I would suggest that this was show of the week.’’

Clements said Maticevski’s spring-summer collection for 2012, presented at the Eveleigh Markets in inner-Sydney Darlington, proved that designers can still create wearable clothing while maintaining their artistic vision.

‘’What we have seen this week is designers pushing their vision and being very elaborate, which is great, but a lot of them I think are losing sense of wearability and how they are actually going to work into a woman’s wardrobe: for comfort and ease and femininity and all that stuff that attracts us to buy pieces,’’ she said.

‘’But I think Toni achieved that because as it came out - while I don’t need one of those big dresses - there was a beautiful pair of black pants and a lovely jacket and that bustier with the coat over the top at the end. ’I just think that within his vision there were pieces there that were valid for real women.’’

Simon Lock, founder of Australian Fashion Week, agreed. ‘’It was unbelievable," he said. "Toni hasn’t shown here for five years and now we know why: because it took him five years to put this collection together.

‘’It was just so delicate and so embellished and beautiful, and I think (his stockist) Myer are going to do so incredibly well out of this collection. He is such a talented boy and a lot of people are already saying this is the show of the week.’’

Models arrived at the market space at 4.30am to prepare for the runway show, which combined Maticevski’s couture pieces with his ready-to-wear collection.

At 9am the models paraded down a runway strewn with silk organza petals, wearing evening confections with flouncy gathering, silk rosettes and necklines with large organza petals in fabrics of sand wash silk, pleated chiffon and silk-wool blends.

There were also Helmut Lang-inspired daywear pieces such as calf-length skirts and long-line, relaxed jackets that were tied at the waist.

Maticevski told The Australian he put the show together in four weeks. "A lot of it is about nature and how beautiful nature can be and how intricate and amazing it is," Maticevksi said.

"So I was looking at flower life quite closely and then breaking it down into the individual elements, so I was looking at it more as a starting inspiration point."

Maticevski was humble when told the show had been the highlight of many people’s week. "That’s really sweet, but I am sure there are other people who are more amazing," he said.

Makeup king Napolean Perdis dressed the models’ faces and said after a busy and tiring week, he was glad to be involved in Maticevsi’s show.

"I can tell you this morning I was struggling to get up, I wanted to put on a face mask and an eye mask but I didn’t have time to do it," Perdis said.

"But then when I got here . . . I just felt amazing and thought this was going to be fantastic. ’When I saw the trial run and I was sitting there with (fashion magazine editors) we were all blown away. It was so good, and that is when I thought I am glad I did this."