Every salubrious runway show printed on the annual MBFWA calendar is exciting, but there’s one in particular that fashion editors and buyers wait impatiently for each year, scratching for clues and news until its big reveal: the opener.

Last year it was Toni Maticevski who started proceedings on the Sunday evening with a spectacular show held in a mesmerising underground space at Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve and presented by Mercedes-Benz Australia. This year, Dion Lee has been given the lofty honour of that same MBFWA pole position.

“Its extremely exciting to be chosen as the designer to represent Mercedes-Benz Presents this year in 2017,” says Lee. “It’s something that I’ve always really wanted to do, to be the opening show for Australian Fashion Week. The timing is fantastic for me this year in terms of the other projects I’m launching and we’ve got some really exciting things to present.”

For more than 20 years, Mercedes-Benz Australia has supported the Australian fashion industry and the great talents like Lee and Maticevski, that it boasts. So to celebrate another MBFWA milestone and Lee’s show, which the luxury car brand will present, it has produced a campaign called Shaped By Desire. Shot at Carriageworks, where the majority of MBFWA will be held, the images stars international model Montana Cox atop an equally chic and edgy Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé.

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Behind the scenes on the campaign shoot ahead of MBFWA
Credit: Lester Jones

Mid hair and makeup: Montana Cox on set for Mercedes-Benz Australia
Credit: Lester Jones

Thirty-one-year-old Lee, whose last runway foray was at the New York Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2017 shows, will unveil his Resort 2017 range inside the Sydney Opera House on Sunday May 14. It’s a fittingly dramatic location for an Australian-made label that’s been worn by a host of Oscar-winning performers, including Cate Blanchett, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence. 

“I think the concept for the shoot really does capture this idea of modern luxury,” says Lee in the behind-the-scenes video below.

Cox agrees. “I think the concept was really cool… I loved every minute of it,” says the 23-year-old. “Dion Lee’s designs to me are like a Mercedes – they’re very well made and they’re beautifully designed, so I think that collaboration goes hand in hand.”

The similarities between the luxury brands isn’t lost on Lee either. “The Mercedes-Benz design language really does have a sophistication that really does speak to my brand,” says the designer. “There’s a lot of architectural references in my collections… [plus] the focus on developing unique hardware and fabrications [that] are really slick and create interesting silhouettes.”

MBFWA runs from Sunday May 14 to Friday May 19, 2017.



Produced in Association with Mercedes-Benz Australia