Few Australian fashion brands have exploded onto the scene with quite as much gusto as Jordan Dalah. Having graduated from the prestigious British fashion school Central Saint Martins in 2017, Dalah returned to his native Australia to launch his namesake label, and quickly amassed a slew of fans, from models (Georgia Fowler, Lara Worthington) to musicians (FKA Twigs, Benee), to fashion editors and writers, who scrambled to place his avant garde creations on the cover of magazines. In two short years Dalah has become one of the most-hyped names on the Afterpay Australian Fashion Week schedule, and his Resort ’23 outing, which debuted in Carriageworks yesterday evening, was hotly anticipated.
So, how does one manage such fanfare? By subverting expectations, of course. Rather than lean into the (occasionally pretentious) exclusivity that defines the traditional fashion show, Dalah replaced the front row with a slew of foldable camping chairs. Aside from offering editors and A-listers that rare comfortable seat, the decision was metaphor for Dalah’s aspirations for the new collection, as per his show notes the designer wanted to “offer a new perspective on his world, look beyond the breathtaking theatrical volumes and discover the structural mechanisms that support it.”
Experimentations with volume and structure have always been Dalah’s calling card, and Resort ’23 saw more play between the dichotomies of construction and deconstruction. Little asymmetrical dresses were finished with full, structured skirts, some crafted with sheer material and filled with colourful plastic pegs which gathered at the hemline. Off-the-shoulder shirting came with super-exaggerated sleeves, suiting was finished in heavy tweed and offset with a modern cuts like a super-cropped jacket and low-rise skirt. The show included a collaboration with the whiskey brand Glenfiddich, with the collection’s closing look—a body-hugging dress with a full skirt—finished in a blue and red print inspired by the gold filigree that adorns the Grande Couronne single malt whiskey (pricetag: a casual $815 per bottle).
“Whilst continuing to hark back to costume and performance, this collection has been almost ‘tainted’ or ‘misled’ through a journey of rediscovery,” explained Dalah after the show. “As if random and mundane objects and paraphernalia have somehow crept into the design process of this collection, there is an unexpected shift within my work that I feel breathes new light into my signature silhouettes. Inspired by the structural support mechanisms of everyday objects like umbrellas, camping chairs and laundry lines, my collection this season utilizes similar mechanisms to give shape and life to the garments themselves.”
In short? Australia’s rising star continues to rise.