The style isn’t new – pencil dresses, suits, vests – but in fashion, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel: it’s more about making the wheel perfect.
“The styling of the resort is very well done here and as a brand there is a limited contribution we can make,” said designer Pereira. “I want to position the brand internationally; Australian identity should be there, but not overt. I want it to appeal to women in London, New York.”
For Hicks, there is a desire to bridge the gap between the “feminine Australian aesthetic and the sultry sexy look”.
“I think there’s a third woman who doesn’t fit both prints,” Ms Hicks said.
“She’s not open about her sexiness, but she’s comfortable in her skin. She wanted to dress in a strong and refined way. And that’s the woman I designed it for: she’s super confident.
Women, Hicks adds, want “reliability” in their wardrobe. “Women like to wear brands to the office on Mondays and then wear them on weekends too. They want to know that it fits their whole life.”
This stripped-down energy isn’t limited to the runway, with most of the audience – a mix of media, shoppers, and influencers – also wearing suits.
Bridget Veals, general manager of womenswear, footwear and accessories at David Jones, said she was struggling to keep Esse Studios in stock, and planned to start stocking Beare Park.
She says a return to polished sewing is in full swing, although she doesn’t see Australia’s more famous aesthetics – bouncy, colorful and feminine, as popularized by the likes of Aje and Zimmermann – going anywhere.
“We see both trends,” said Ms Veals. “We are a department store, we are for everyone. So we see customers who want pure, neutral colors, we have customers who want fun and color. And we see designers experimenting with both. Bec+Bridge is usually very sexy and feminine, but on Monday we saw a more masculine side.”
Veals says he “hates to say it’s a either-or” situation, with many customers shopping for both trends.
“I don’t think shafts for sewing replace femininity,” she says. “That adds to it.”
She admits that the trend feels “less Australian” than traditional resort wear.
“Brands like Aje and Zimmermann do feel more Australian. Beare Park and Esse feel cooler, they don’t resonate easily. They will find an audience, but it will be interesting to see how broad it is; I don’t think feminine and bold is going anywhere.”