In an underground car park at Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne Fashion Week delivered a cutting edge menswear showcase that could have taken place in Milan or Paris.
This is the era of the dandy who hangs at the gym but prefers geek bod to a buff one, a tailored millennial who prefers sneakers to brogues and ditches public transport for skateboards instead. There was a gentlemanly nod to military influences while the safari traveller had his bags packed ready for a holiday.
Colours and contrasts
It's time to put aside your fixation with all things black (it's still there, don't panic) and think in terms of colour and texture this year because there's plenty of it – from blues to khaki, neutral linens to bottle greens.
From Amxander's lilac velour tracksuit (which could easily have stumbled from the tracks of the film Trainspotting) to oversized coats in black and grey checks worn with cropped, elastic cuffed pants, the innovative local label provided plenty of contrasting fabrications.
The duo behind the brand opted for stripes, logos and silver coated denim while saluting the rebellious romantic along the way.
Tailors hit the streets
In keeping with the 20-something pitch on the night, Dom Bagnato put his best street style foot forward in a major shake-up on the runway.
Models all wore sneakers with suits, were adorned with punk rock key chains, gold lapel pins for a modern gangster bow and silk scarves for the poet among them. It was edgy, risque and showed us that you can keep tailoring on the casual yet smart side.
While the '70s and '80s informed Bagnato's choice of accessories, tailoring got cozy under the Tuscan sun with shades of sky blues, sun-kissed, pomegranate-red checks and large check blazers worn with contrast pants.
Aquila looked conservative by comparison, leaning on traditional suiting their spring/summer message. A key look was a taupe suit worn with a bottle green shirt that hinted at military in all its single-breasted salutation.
Young guns of style
Jack London rose to the occasion with a Cuban-inspired theme juxtaposed with French berets to remind us we still have all things French on the brain. Their story revolved around striped short-sleeve shirts worn with cropped dark denim jeans. And apparently linen suits in neutral tones worn with socks and sandals is a real thing in Melbourne – not just found on a European runway.
There were shirts in floral and vintage Hawaiian prints while print on print proved popular – think same suit and same shirt fabric for a new take on keeping it tonal.
The athletic and avant garde
Melbourne label Autonomy opted for sporty with oversized spray jackets, hybrid trench coats and occasional stripes. Elasticised waists and cuffs is still king for this collection that had safari wanderlust meets sporty geek written all over its sartorial face.
Since launching his brand in 2013, menswear designer Chris Ran Lin sees no reason to stop putting his tailored avant-garde creations to the test. It was military camp, dandy wannabe and dom-voyeur at once. We saw oversized mohair knit jumpers others with metal ring details, tailored pants with cutouts above the knee and long and cropped jackets worn with long peasant style shirts.
If this was the equivalent of a fashion army coup, Lin delivered the bravest collection of all those on show. He recently returned from showcasing at Pitti Uomo in Florence and showed us there's plenty of room for sportswear mesh material for sheer tops, motorcycle boots worn over tailored baggy pants and army green collarless jackets that softened the two piece suit for a casual fling.
This year's MFW's menswear runway delivered on creativity and political statement – the gender inclusive runway swerved from straight to dandy, transgender and punk to show us why Melbourne's fashion voice goes above and beyond just the clothes you wear.
Check out the gallery above to see a selection of the best looks from this year's Melbourne Fashion Week.