Fashion files

Photo: Peter Haskin.

As the latest trends hit the runways of Melbourne Fashion Week just in time for spring racing season, last week Rebecca Davis found the Australian and international Jewish designers of the catwalk.

CAMILLA + MARC

Camilla + Marc pieces. Photo: Peter Haskin.

Camilla Freeman-Topper and Marc Freeman are the Sydney-based brother and sister duo behind the well-loved label, Camilla + Marc.

They presented items from their Spring/Summer 2018 collection in both the David Jones Opening Runway and Runway Two of Melbourne Fashion Week (MFW).

In a nod to Camilla’s creative roots, the collection was inspired by Florence, Italy, where she first studied design.

It was bold and confident, with power suits featuring checks, heritage tweeds and crest buttons juxtaposed against bright pops of colour. There was hot pink, purple and a burnt orange reminiscent of the dome that adorns Florence’s iconic Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.

Interspersed between the strong and structured pieces were the flowy and feminine, with a touch of floral – perfect as we enter the spring racing season.

MAJE PARIS

From the Maje runway. Photo: Lucas Dawson Photography.

Shabbat is central to the week of Judith Milgrom, “a quality time” that she loves to share with her family.

Founder and artistic director behind the Parisian label Maje, Milgrom mused on the importance of the day of rest with The AJN ahead of her collection being shown in the MFW Closing Town Hall Runway.

“Not using my phone, car, not working allows me to meditate and to take some time to read,” she told.

And then there is an opportunity to act on her passion for cooking, especially “the simple and traditional dishes”.

“My grandmother gave me all her best recipes, which remind me of my child- hood in Morocco.”

Family is not just at the epicentre of Milgrom’s home life – it is reflected even in the name of Maje: “M” for Moyal, her maiden name; “A” for her brother Alain, who assisted with establishing the brand; “J” for Judith; and “E” for her sister Evelyne Chétrite, founder and artistic director of Sandro Paris.

“Evelyne is my mentor. We’re sisters, but above all best friends. After almost 10 years [of working with her], I felt ready and confident to start my own brand and to write the chapters of my own story.”

And so, in 1998 Maje launched.

“I remember that when thinking about the foundations of the brand, the fashion landscape was full of minimalism; plain colours, lots of blue, grey, black and white. Therefore, I wanted lots of colours and bold prints that you can easily mix and match,” Milgrom reflects.

Judith Milgrom. Photo: Lionel Gasperini.

The result is a label which offers understated pieces at the intersection of where glamourous and bold meets cool and casual Parisian chic.

Milgrom’s main source of inspiration comes from the women she meets in
the street, “the women I can look at when I’m seated at a café terrasse” – but for the collection shown at MFW it was all about “creating a clash”.

There was a distinct interplay between day and night attire, tailored and loose lines, and athleisure and formal dressing.

It was also quite textural: chunky knits topping delicate skirts of whimsy; leather and faux fur are offset against lighter materials.

Monochrome was a focal point, ever-current checks a highlight, and there was the occasional eruption of bright pink, green and red.

Milgrom explains how she wanted women to “feel feminine [and] beautiful while still modern … in a very urban way.

“I also wanted women who live several lives in a single day to have the opportunity to feel beautiful, confident and on trend at work; but also to be able to go out in the evening without changing their whole look.”

SANDRO PARIS

Sandro Paris at MFW. Photo: Lucas Dawson Photography.

Evelyne Chétrite’s love for fashion was born in her native Morocco; the vivid colours which contrasted with the ochre earth of the villages, and the simple yet elegant white caftans worn by her mother. Her grandfather owned a clothes shop in Rabat, and she remembers piles of impeccably crafted shirts. In her teenage years, she moved to Paris where she would meet her future husband Didier Chétrite. In 1984, they established Sandro Paris.

An easy and unfussy femininity is the essence of her designs, and was seen on the MFW Closing Town Hall Runway last week.

There was layering, with structured pieces contrasting against the more relaxed – and a hint of athleisure also creeping in. Think blazers paired with track suit pants, or loose floral skirts.

Speaking of floral, skirts and dresses were often set against a tweed or check blazer, in this show, and several others of MFW. It’s a look that we will see more of as we head further into spring. Another look? The headscarf. It was on the Sandro runway, and it has been a popular accessory on the runways of Tom Ford, Kate Spade and Anna Sui in the current New York Fashion Week – undoubtedly another spring racing fashion trend to watch.