At the opening morning of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, sisters Beth and Tessa MacGraw revealed their latest opulent collection, Porcelain. But unlike years gone by, the runway was not housed at the iconic Carriageworks and instead was presented virtually from a lush garden in the heart of Sydney. Models are seen winding through freshly groomed hedges and playing croquet along the lawn.
“Old world meets the new world, macgraw embrace this new world order and everybody has a front row seat,” the show notes read.
Much of the fashion industry has been forced to grapple with this notion of a “new world order” and according to the two designers, it meant throwing out the rule book and speaking to customers directly. When the forthcoming collection was conceptualised during the peak of the pandemic, it began as “dark and witchy” says Tessa. But after a difficult 12 month period, the women (and their customers) were yearning for a sense of optimism instead.
The result sees macgraw‘s signature ornate prints reimagined into an elegant colour palette of soft blues, pinks and rich greens juxtaposed against black and white ensembles. The design duo’s penchant for voluminous sleeves and layered ruffles is ever so slightly pared back. Feminine tailoring arrives in the form of mini dresses, button-down shirting and strong double breasted blazers.
“The starting point was actually the bleu de roi porcelain which we’re fans of,” says Beth. “The blue and white, the fragility, the strength, we’ve got them peppered all throughout the office and our homes. That’s where it started so you’ll see that in the ornate prints. But really, the collection kind of developed a bit further when we found the location for our shoot and show and – you’ll see in the pictures and video – it’s this extremely beautiful and imposing mansion and it has the most magical garden.”
The looks are finished with much of the same attention to detail. Scarves and drooping sun hats are adorned in the same intricate print, while sparkling brooches in a number of shapes and colours are stacked onto garments. Perhaps the most eye catching piece is the glitter-embellished candy shoes in green, gold, pink and red – Dorothy could only dream.
As the women note, it’s the accessories that have made the collection far more accessible than years gone by. In partnership with Afterpay, the collection will be entirely shoppable following the presentation.
“We’ve always said the macgraw woman has somewhere to go,” says Beth. “She wants to walk down the street and people notice what she’s wearing and the ultimate goal for us is someone, more than one person, walks up to her on the street and pays her a compliment because they just couldn’t walk past without doing it.
Beth continues, “It’s considered fashion. We’re not here to pump out the numbers, we’re here because we actually enjoy doing it and I think our customer gets that.”
“It’s the hand-touched element,” Tessa adds.
LOCATION: Lindesay House, The National Trust of Australia (New South Wales)
HAIR & MAKEUP: Rory Rice (Hair Director), Claire Thomson (Makeup Director)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Esteban La Tessa
VIDEOGRAPHY: Gemma De Maria
AERIAL VIDEOGRAPHY: Ken Butti
GRAZIA Gazette Video Edit: Kimberlee Kessler