Australia — not the sporty surf of Bondi or the soaring curves of theSydney Opera House, but the country’s more romantic and distant past —informed Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s fall collection. “We had a huge storyto tell about the history and the landscape and the way we viewed whereeverything came from there,” said Laura postshow. The designersfollowed a savvy arc that indulged the misty-eyed sentimentality thatfuels their creative intelligence while making an effort to feed thecommercial end of a business, albeit a very niche one.

The dusty blues and rust tones of arid inland Australia coloredthe clothes, beginning with soft circle skirts and cropped blouses withdolman sleeves. These offered a wistful nod toward homely innocence thatseemed rooted in the Thirties. In today’s world, their obviousdiscretion demands a certain fashion bravery. For those who prefer toswim with the current stylistic tides, there was the Outback. TheMulleavys molded the idea of rugged terrain into outstanding fishermansweaters and patchwork aviator shearlings, which are having a momentright now, though these were a clear cut above what can be found in astore near you. The leather work continued on sheaths, nipped at thewaist and sporting Aboriginal patterns that moved the lineup in anedgier direction. That tension between somber, old-world femininity andmodern moodiness was pitch perfect in the Victorian-inspired gowns thatcame two ways: a hand print on tiered chiffons, and loose columns, theirblack lace collars connected with tulle for a strapless effect.

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