I first spoke to Toni Maticevski about sitting for a cover portrait the day after his runway show at Australian Fashion Week a few months ago, and quite rightly, the designer was exhausted. “If you’re going to photograph me,” he said, “I want to look dead. Not morbid dead, but beautiful dead.” It got me thinking about the creative cycles that we go through, and how the highs can have lows, too. For Mr Maticevski, he looked to his past as a way of looking forward. With a major survey exhibition currently on display at Bendigo Art Gallery and, as I discuss in the issue, a glossy monograph having been released, he has spent the past year journeying through his 20-year archive, and in the collection he showed at fashion week, you could see how he evolved many of his earlier ideas, fusing techniques and details from early collections with the more modern silhouettes and fabrics for which he has become known and much loved.
On our alternate cover, Emma Balfour appears motionless, as though at rest beneath the tepid darkness of a moonlit pool, carrying on that same theme – those visual allusions to Ophelia and the beauty of passing time – as those of Mr Maticevski’s portrait. Ms Balfour, of course, experiences a creative rebirth on a daily basis, her work as a model commanding shifts in her character for every shoot – sometimes imperceptible, sometimes immense. What struck me most when journeying through Ms Balfour’s Instagram feed was an image, in which she collates years and years worth of tear sheets from (“Consolidating all the different versions of me,” she writes. “Weird”.)
As you have no doubt noticed already, we at Manuscript have been through our own creative rebirth with this issue – which, incidentally, marks five years since we put out our first edition, in 2011. Indeed, our format has changed, we have a new masthead, and for the first time we’ve dedicated an entire half of the magazine to womenswear. In fashion, nothing remains static, and the greatest shift to have occurred in recent seasons is the gender fluidity embraced and celebrated by designers across the globe. No longer creating collections for specific genders, and thus free of the restrictions that so often come with clothing, there is a certain freedom at play in the fashion right now, and it’s incredibly exciting. In putting the issue together, we embraced that spirit of openness that we’ve been seeing on the runways, pushing ourselves to explore new stories and to celebrate existing ones, and I hope you’ll agree that it makes for a richer offering.
Issue XIII of Manuscript is on sale today.