A Bec + Bridge mini has long been a rite of passage for any Antipodean twenty-something. Since its inception in 2003, the brand has parked itself firmly within the social feeds of the Instagram generation, each flinging on a statement go-to for any event where the brief is to stand-out: Birthday parties, hens parties, Splendour. To wear a new Bec + Bridge mini is to pocket a compliment from every girl at a soiree. A single party slip can be a talking point in the bathroom queue – “I saw Kendall Jenner wore that last week” – and whether the dress itself takes the name “Disco Inferno”, “Lady Sparkle” or “Slick Rick”, it’s spirit-lifting. Liberating. Confidence wrapped up in a one-zip, two-strap wonder. Today though, at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and on a shaggy carpeted runway that resembled white wash, the tide had seemingly turned on the mini as we knew it.
Inspired by the “glassy swells of SoCal’s legendary beaches and the backdrop of their local Sydney shores”, designers Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston showed their Resort 2020 collection at Carriageworks in Sydney. “A juxtaposition of proportion reveals short, fitted styles pared with oversized and louche silhouettes, emulating the curves of a wave” read the show notes. Yes, there were a few shorter, figure-hugging styles in the mix – all streamlined one-shouldered pieces – but for the most part, this collection was for those whose micro-mini days are done.
Late 60s and early 70s surf culture dictated the relaxed fits and mellow vibes. Ochre-hued palm prints crept onto micro shorts and high-waisted, skin-tight flares – and remember that mini with the “Coco Cabana” bubble sleeves last season? The burnt orange palms are on that too. The “Caroline Midi” dress that everyone is wearing at the moment – in burgundy or silver – has been given an upgrade; the cowl neckline has gone high and it’s now one-shouldered and lilac.
In fact, the wet-look faux leather “Disco Inferno” dress made famous by Jenner is now lilac as well. (Whether the reality star and model wears the new colour-way remains to be seen and Cooper and Yorston probably won’t get a heads-up. “Sometimes a celebrity’s stylist will email us and tell us someone like Kendall has requested pieces from the range, and it’s amazing when they actually request it,” Cooper told GRAZIA. “But otherwise, we literally find out on Instagram along with everyone else. It would be great if we knew beforehand, because often the day after we quickly have to put the piece back into production because it sells out so quickly!”)
Blazers were oversized, blouses were billowy and skirts were pleated and asymmetrical. Yes, Bec + Bridge Resort 2020 today gave the party girl a real taste of what the cool girl has known for years – the freedom of eating a long lunch without worrying about a tummy. Striding instead of tottering her way across a cocktail party. Never understanding the dull shoulder and back ache of maintaining the perfect posture in a tight dress. The list goes on. To borrow from Mariah, the show today should have been themed “The Emancipation Of Mini”.
“This season, Bec + Bridge brought a Beach Boys gone south to Cronulla/Puberty Blues vibe,” says GRAZIA’s Fashion Director Aileen Marr. “I loved the 70s references with high-cut flared micro shorts, the wallpaper palm printed top and flared pants combo and the sheer blouses. I think this collection was more grown up than previous seasons. But Bec + Bridge still have that sassy, fun and flirty edge that fans love. It’s perfect to dress up Friday night cocktails, hitting the promenade or packing for a summer vacation.”
Just as the show wraps, there’s one more mini for good measure. And like a good party trick, it’s reformed party girl Bambi Northwood-Blyth walking it’s bronze rouging down the runway. During fittings yesterday, the model told GRAZIA she ordered for the dress to be fitted “tighter and tighter and tighter”.
This Bec + Bridge season, even if only for a temporary reprieve, comfort is taking precedence. But the label’s mini, in all it’s seasonal iterations, will live forevermore in the heart of the party girl.