SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: A welcomed sense of patriotism filled the air on Tuesday as Australian designers Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris of Aje became the first in the world to present their Resort 2022 “Scent Of Summer” collection to a full audience.
In a world still void of the hustle and hassle of a spectator-lined runway, the Lucky Country’s fashion set reacquainted themselves with such a sartorial convention at The Calyx in the Royal Botanical Garden in Sydney; shoulder-to-shoulder, mask-free, and grateful. The collection, an opulent ode to a long summer escape – and a rhapsody of sorts to the bygone beauty of the 60s – saw Aje’s heart-thumping signature silhouettes reimagined into 39 looks for the circular lemon runway.
“We were inspired by capturing the mood and the feeling of summertime; experiencing summer as a metaphor, I suppose, more than being confined to a location or a seasonality,” explained Forest backstage.
Cascading ruffles, balloon sleeves and cut-out blazers arrived in bursts of wild watermelon and citrus orange, while a new overblown floral print nodded to an olive and fuchsia palette. Hand-beading, the Aje-old way, made a comeback in a feminine white organza dress with hand ruched flowers and hankerchief hemline. “We returned to hand-beading but in a more sophisticated and grown-up way,” says Forest. “I guess in some senses, we returned to how we were doing things ten years ago.”
“Things got bigger this season,” she continued. “We’ve always had a devotion toward artisanal detailing – the metal hardware is all hand-carved, for example – and this notion flowed onto the accessories as well. There are a lot of voluminous sleeves; we dropped some sleeves off one shoulder which felt new for us as well. We also developed a new in-house braiding technique.”
In this state of flux, countless fashion journalists across the globe have grappled with the same elusive question – what will fashion look like post-pandemic? Aje kept their heads down and kept moving.
“We didn’t pivot per say with our designs [during 2020],” says Norris. “I think what we did was lean more into what we were really good at – and that was making incredibly unique and beautiful dresses that people want to wear, and are easy to wear. That’s the biggest thing we realised: you don’t have the luxury of creating things that people aren’t actually going to wear. No one knows what an event looks like anymore, the idea is to give women an amazing piece and they can decide how they want to wear it.”
Peruse Aje’s Resort 2022 collection below, as captured by Chester Lewis. And welcome back to the runway.
Video footage by Harry Glassborow. GRAZIA Gazette edit by Kimberlee Kessler, narration by Edwina Forest.