Say what you want about the black dress, but you can’t deny the importance it holds. It’s entry into the English language as the black dress is a dead giveaway: how many other items of clothing hold that status? The black dress is, collectively, an institution. This year the Melbourne Fashion Festival calendar sees the black dress rightly celebrated by 10 designers in The Spirit of the Black Dress. Four years running, it’s an event that showcases black dresses, sustainably made, by different designers.
And the thrill is in how each designer reinterprets the black dress. Seemingly, they never run out of ideas.
At last night’s Gala Launch the 10 dresses were shown first in a video production directed by Christian Blanchard, then on the runway. It started with a puff of volume and architectural detail by Lisa Taranto. Then came craft-like floral details from Emmarose Kinsman, sleek floor-length and backless with a single perspex strap by Misty Belvidere, lace from Bhalo, ethereal draping from Slow Palette, and divinely delicate beading from Bento. Gabriella Ferrante’s fringed leather frock – made, she tells us, from recycled leather bar for its cleverly built-in bodysuit replete with gold zippers – drew whoops from the crowd. Berri Drum injected a beachy sensibility with crochet, Sonya Kraan and Christina Exie brought 3D texture and intricate draping respectively.
You can see all the dresses as shown on the runway by visiting the gallery above. To see the Spirit of the Black Dress exhibition, which is free to attend, simply head to The Trust on Flinders Lane, Melbourne, between Wednesday 7th of March and Tuesday 20th of March.