The rain may have poured in buckets outside, but inside the Hall of Industries at Fox Studios, Australia’s fashion elite gathered in a far more arid atmos.

Against a red sand backdrop designed to say ‘Australian Zen Garden’ but also gave off Mars Rover landing vibes, the brand founded fiften years ago by siblings Marc Freeman and Camilla Freeman-Topper opened Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2018.

Their Camilla & Marc runway set might have been wildly conceptual – as befits the prestigious, celebrity magnet event kick-off slot always supported by key sponsor Mercedes-Benz Australia – but what their models stepped out in was pure commercial cleverness.

Alongside the giant boulder settled in centre, Victoria’s Secret model Georgia Fowler was the star attraction
Credit: Getty Images

While the slightly futuristic backdrop toyed with the concept of proportion extremes – from gritty red sand pebbles to giant rock boulders – so too did the collection, which saw box jackets worn over both bare legs and billowing maxi skirts. Sexy lurex cocktail dresses were layered over collared business shirts buttoned high.

Natural tonal hues in khaki, rust, stone and black were pimped up with jewel tones in emerald, ice pink and citron. There was even a triple denim look consisting of logo-printed jacket, jeans and over-the-knee boots. As you do in the Australian desert.

Triple denim tones had their moment too
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While a tasselled pencil skirt, gold lurex bomber and pant combo and floor-length metallic cape dress verged into eccentric territory, other pieces had golden mainstream appeal. Notable mentions: a very wearable white trench coat, khaki pants suit (styled cheekily over a bright green lurex high-neck jumper) and yellow chiffon dress that offered a rare classic accent to an otherwise edgy range.

Driving the mini-maxi-clash message home were the outrageously enormous tote bags hauled by several of the models, either over shoulders or carried as the largest folded clutch ever witnessed on an Antipodean runway. They might not catch on for regular punters day-to-day but offer limitless carry-on luggage potential.

The luxe neutral palette was zested with emerald, ice pink and citron
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Does my bag look big in this? Making a statement at Camilla and Marc Resort 2019
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While there was plenty to look at in terms of A-list front row action – Jessica Gomes, Elyse Taylor, Victoria Lee, Pip Edwards, Claire Tregoning, Amy Pejkovic and Elsa Pataky, who brought her current BFF and Luciana Barroso (aka Mrs Matt Damon) – all eyes were on New Zealand-born Victoria’s Secret model Georgia Fowler, who closed the show in a green lurex dress with voluminous sleeves and thigh split that was congruently classic and sexy.

Elsa Pataky and Luciana Barroso both in dresses from the Camilla and Marc Resort 2019 collection
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While the knee-high socks and sandal combo that cropped up a handful of times were the subjects of much like/loathe debate post-show, there was plenty of love for the ‘70s-style, square heel ankle boots sported by most of the runway talent.

The overall tone of this Resort 2019 collection might have been modern-day Barbarella than Australian bombshell, but the former still ticks boxes for the designers’ overarching intention to “imagine the future through the lens of women throughout time who have shaped our notion of beauty”.

And who wouldn’t fancy a future that featured this delicious two-tone pink look? It seems even in the arid desert it doesn’t pay to take fashion too seriously.

Camilla and Marc Resort 2019
Credit: Getty Images