On the weekend in Melbourne, RMIT University presented the collections of Chris Ran Lin, Vlad Kanevsky and Blake Barns. As the first three students to graduate from the institution’s new Master of Fashion (Design) degree – a five-year undertaking – the three male designers have set a new standard for training in Australian fashion and are well-armed to enter the industry given their additional years of education. The runway show was hosted at MPavilion, the interactive architecture installation in the city’s Queen Victoria Gardens, in this instance designed by Amanda Levete, the Stirling Prize-winner behind AL_A, and it proved a fitting backdrop for the innovation shown by the designers.
In his signature style, as previously documented by Manuscript, Mr Ran Lin showed a collection of mind-bending knitwear, but integrated it with architectural tailoring, such as wool coats and wide-legged trousers, that gave it more commercial viability than his previous collections. Mr Kanevsky, meanwhile, showed one of the greatest menswear collections to emerge from Australia in many years, with an aesthetic that seemed to fuse the traditional styles of Karlheinz Weinberger’s Teddy Boys, American cowboys and the British music scene of the 1970s. It’s a collection that, so complete in its product offering and conceptual underpinning, that would be well received at the international collections. Lastly, Mr Barns showed a womenswear collection that used performance as its presentation, with models dressing and undressing before the show’s audience in printed fabrics that showed great artistry.