Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia is a fortnight away and the off-schedule action has begun. This morning, under the spectacular raw concrete arched ceiling of the Utzon Room inside the Sydney Opera House - directly across the harbour from MBFWA's Overseas Passenger Terminal base - Bridget McCall and Nicholas van Messner presented the Spring/Summer 2012/2013 collection of their LIFEwithBIRD label, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
Launching initially with accessories only in 2002, McCall and van Messner introduced ready-to-wear three years later and have built a fanbase for their minimalist aesthetic, that is often punctuated with picturesque digital prints. But then, whose aesthetic hasn't been of late?
In this season's collection - entitled 'The Distance Between' - their digital prints riffed off an Australiana theme, inspired by ghost gums, rugged cliff faces and sea spray. Some, with an opalescent effect, deployed on softly draped silk trousers and singlets with sporty racerbacks, were very pretty. Others looked like so many other collections.
Another far more structured series of futuristic microdresses, skirts and tabards was fashioned from textured jacquards. The sport theme continued in an interesting lilac T-shirt dress with an intricate, cutout back detail, that would have been nice to see developed a little further.
A tightly-edited collection - just 16 pieces - it nevertheless ticked all the current trend boxes. Shorts. Maxidresses. Long, trapeze-line singlet tops. All worked back with a signature shoe: a dove grey ankle boot with a sharply-defined wedge heel and cutout detail.
McCall and van Messner had an exclusive with Chic Management on the models, showcasing some of the new faces frockwriter previewed last week in the MBFWA showcard series. Montana Cox (above), who opened the show, of course needed no introduction. In March this year, Cox walked straight off the winner's podium of Australia's Next Top Model Cycle 7 into a stellar first international show season, walking for Bottega Veneta, Christian Dior and Chanel, among others.