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Ready-to-wear

Date

Luke Malone

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From runway to retail - what can the average guy take away from Sydney's annual fashion fest?

When Sydney stepped up to host its annual fashion fest last week, the usual throng of editors, buyers and bloggers crowded the runway with iPhones at the ready-to-snap outfits seemingly designed more for spectacle than street wear.

But while menswear was better represented at this year's show than in previous years, many guys outside the fashion glitterati would still struggle to identify with the Chesty Bonds-jawed models strutting their stuff in a male maxi dress or metallic body armour.

A look behind the bright lights and bold colours, however, did offer up some trends that are destined for the retail racks in coming months.

Deborah Foreman, general manager of menswear at David Jones, said behind the theatre of fashion week were more commercially viable designs headed to the shop floor.

“When the clothes come out we look at the overall appeal: who is the customer? We look at the silhouette, the fabric, the detail, the construction, the colour, the overall trend.

“Sometimes what's on the catwalk is overemphasised ... but we don't change the brands ranges, they just go to the runway with a bit more theatre," she said.

So here's what to expect in stores soon:

Bold and bright
For the bolder gent, labels like Kalb & Etiw offered up some fashion forward choices for guys who want to stand out among the sea of black and grey suits currently choking up the CBD. From their gold-threaded jackets to a modern take on an old classic by teaming traditional suit jackets with an office short – light hues working best on this front – a bit of colour will brighten up your day. Though, obviously, these looks are more suited to creative rather than corporate environments.

Traditional flair
For those who need to keep it a bit more traditional but still want to stand out in the boardroom, From Britten P/L are by far one of the most user-friendly Australian design teams out there. Their cropped and collarless jackets might not be everyone's taste, but their subtle two-toned suits – especially in a grey and light blue combination – are sophisticated and just classic enough to work in an office environment.

One of the common threads among the labels was the use of tomato red. While not an easy colour to pull off, those with enough charisma can get it over the line. Favoured by fashion house Mils, From Britten P/L once again delivered it in an instantly wearable style.

Local talent
Overall, the fresh looks coming from within our own borders are a promising sign. With the focus long fixed on women's fashion, the guys are finally getting a bit more wriggle room.

“I think there is a lot of talent here in Australia and I feel as we are becoming more interested in men's fashion there is most definitely no doubt Australian designers easily compare to the rest of the world," said Janelle Jefferies, head stylist at Eye For a Guy.

Do it yourself
When adapting fashions directly from the runway, the only rule of thumb is to go with what feels comfortable, said Jefferies.

While this may oscillate between the bland and the swish, nothing compliments an outfit better than a healthy dose of confidence.

“There are no shoulds when it comes to finding inspiration,” she said. “You can look anywhere. . . as long as men don't get intimidated by how easily the models can wear just about anything and understand that if they're not a classic model shape they will need to make certain modifications.”

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