When Rebecca Vallance first launched her namesake label, she was living in London. At the time, the designer remembers women in Australia wearing “cut-off jeans and t-shirts”. The initial response to the brand was one of surprise: “I remember other people thinking why are you doing structured dresses?,” she tells GRAZIA.
Since then Vallance recalls a number of career highlights; picking up two accounts with Harvey Nichols following her first collection; showing on schedule at New York Fashion Week, twice, and the first time a celebrity wore her designs (of course it had to be Halle Berry). Now, on day one of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, the lauded designer has celebrated her 10-year anniversary at Carriageworks in Sydney. And a large guest list filed into the space to celebrate too.
Inspired by singer-songwriter and political activist, Annie Lennox, Vallance described the show with simplicity: “80s rock chic vibes”. “Holiday is about a girl being at a party having a rocking great time,” the designer tells GRAZIA. Via the hallowed halls of the Carriageworks space, models stormed the runway to party anthems such as “Altra” by Adam Szabo.
The absence of travel to the brand’s overseas mills directed Vallance to look into archival designs and fabrics with design cues pulled from the 1980s era. A more creative spin on those signature pieces.
Polka-dot prints collided with subtle rhinestone embellishments and feathers. Full velvet looks were modernised by way of long sleeve mini dresses and gathered seams, while voluminous bows lent a sense of femininity to an otherwise edgy collection. The welcomed addition of tailored separates and flouncy off-the-shoulder tops also assured the garments were wearable outside a glamorous soirée.
The shoes deserved their own spotlight; think knee-high glitter boots and sweet velvet pumps.
“I’m somebody who likes to look forward, likes to look back, and take the good from the last 10 years,” Vallance says. “But I really wanted to look beyond that [to] where we are going to be in the future and how I want the brand to look in years to come. So I think it was more about being creative but also showcasing what we do really well.”
Vallance struggles on how to exactly pinpoint the classic “Rebecca Vallance girl” (after all, the brand is loved all over the world by women of all ages). But in the same sartorial spirit as the choppy waves and black eyeliner seen on today’s runway, Vallance gives it a go: “she’s somebody who wants to look elevated. I always say our girl is done in an undone way.”