If edgy and black is considered the Melbourne standard, then Sunday night’s Urban Upbringing parade didn’t try and fight the fact. Rutledge Lane was lined with metal kegs for seating, the typically graffitied laneway (“God protect us from what’s coming” one overhead poster implored) transformed into a gritty backstreet runway for the occasion.

The setting was all very fitting. We were greeted with a soundtrack of Personal Jesus accompanied by a stream of models in black, black, leather and more black. But black does not have to equal dull where Melbourne’s design scene is concerned (not to mention the odd pop of colour courtesy Hunter’s bight red wellington boots). We saw black leather dotted with sophisticated details like a tan leather panel on the back of a dress, or a full leather dress shirt for men. Later the limits of fashion-as-fetish were pushed with leather harnesses, hooded robes and futuristic corsetry.

lauren aitken in mly black label

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Next we were greeted with a uniquely distressed effect on sheer fabric that made for an eye catching minidress and longline jacket and some black net pieces for both the boys and girls. The black theme continued with Lyndel Yeo‘s MLY Black Label, the usual feast of femininity, frills, and sheer skirts (including her black sheer maxidress which I myself have and, by pure coincidence, was wearing that night). Lyndel’s pieces have a certain versatility that takes them from day to night, a fact also evident in the laneway show.

Lastly the black theme was finally broken in brilliant style with an embroidered cream floor length dress that had a strict, religious quality to it, its thorny heart motif reminding me more of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Julier than anything else. Following it were more intricately detailed pieces that were ruffled or fringed or scattered with tiny bows. The best way to get a feel for the detailing of these pieces, and indeed all of the designs mentioned above, is to peruse the gallery below.

Hosted by La Carte Blanche, the designers featured were Joseph Jang, Kosta J. Peters, Geoffrey Haining, MLY Black Label and Luisa Fernanda.

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