New Zealand brand Zambesi returned to Australian Fashion Week on Friday after a two-year hiatus, with a stripped back collection that played to the fashion house's strengths.
Each Zambesi collection is a continuation of those past, but this was the most elegant it has been for some time. Opening with six all-white outfits, the show notes talked about the collection's minimalism and pragmatic clean lines - the simplest white sheer shell dress worn over a black lace shift and white nylon boiler suit embodied that concept - but there were other ideas running through the range too. Like lightness, with sheer taffeta and silk chiffon, swingy silhouettes and great oversized blazers, and the faintest 1990s feel: a green plaid print, models with dark lip liner care of M.A.C. make up artist Amber D, and INXS blasting from the speakers.
Every season or so Zambesi refreshingly pushes their unique take on sexiness, and it was so in Sydney with the simplest black floor-length gown with keyhole cut out at the bust, and legs galore with thigh-length shorts and wrap dresses. A glamorous blush-coloured floor-length shift adorned with oversized tassels - an update of the tassel apron in the winter collection and a frequent Zambesi motif - was a highlight.
But the heart and soul of Zambesi is the fabric, which frequently forms the basis of their collections: this season the selection was as diverse, and at times unexpected - stretch denim? - as ever, with taffeta, metallic Lurex, lightweight nylon and an exclusive green plaid.
Despite quietly closing their Sydney boutique last year, there was a buzz about Zambesi's return to the Australian runway. The final show of the week, front row were top blogger Susie Bubble, street style star Candice Lake, photographer Tommy Ton and the Vogue Australia fashion team - who came backstage after the show to congratulate designers Liz Findlay and Dayne Johnston, and to borrow the white boilersuit straight off the runway.