Sunday night shows

The Brisbane Arcades sits demurely, legs folded at the ankles, in the heart of the Queen Street Mall, surrounded by hipper, younger shops and skirted with rowdy outdoor pubs.

Yet the grand old dame of the city’s retail heart remains unruffled; like Coco Chanel, she knows that fashion fades, but that style, born of good taste, lasts forever.

So it was with the same spirit the arcade’s prominent merchants paraded their wares at the Brisbane Fashion Festival last night.

Pia du Pradal turned out yet another flawlessly tailored range of suits and dresses in an array of colours in keeping with the mode’s shift back to the technicoloured days of late last century – a retrospective perspective echoed, albeit with a more youthful step, in Deanne Maiocchi’s picnic and Cadillac ready collection.

Perpendicular to Pradal’s polished, ladies-who-lunch ensembles was the deconstructed chic of Julie Tengdahl’s new season collection, delivered to the beat of tribal drums and feathered with shades shared with the paradise birds of New Guinea.

Rounding off the juncture was Brad Webb’s stridently bridal Darb Couture collection which had all the puff and frou and floor sweeping elegance Brisbane has come to expect from one of its favourite big-day dressmakers.

The second group show for the evening featured a mix of designers and retailers, including markets favourite Nelson Molloy and the crowd pleasing mistress of form flattery, Sacha Drake.

Like a homegrown alternative to Diane von Furstenberg mixed with Leona Edmiston, Drake’s summer offering was about maximum lengths and maximum colour, extremes reflected in the shoes from Jock Fairweather worn during Nelson Molloy.

Something completely different presented by South Bank boutique Lylah, stockist of very cool labels from New Zealand.

Mostly all black (no pun), the parade featured Zambesi, Kate Sylvester, Nom.D and more, and provided breath of fresh air to an evening otherwise awash with very girly garmentry.

Hair varied from slick, one-sided sweeps to masses of messy curls which were brushed out, teased up and pinned back, while make-up contrasted heavy contouring, smoky eyes and relatively nude lips with alabaster powder and red mouths.

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