11 things I learned at Fashion Week

11 things I learned at Fashion Week 2013

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty, Fashion 26 Comments

Ahh, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia* you seem so far away now.

There was the build-up, the anticipation, the excitement, the outfit planning, the organisation at home.

And then I was there. Doing it. Treating each day like a new adventure. An adventure with some of the most serious people watching served up on the side.

Fashion Week is indeed a world of its own.

For those not in the fashion world, it can seem kind of strange.

For starters, we may be waiting for it to cool down so we can embrace our winter wardrobe; MBFWA was all about showcasing what’s being released by Australian designers for spring-summer 13-14.

For seconders, Fashion Week is very much about the “show” and the theatre of fashion. It’s an event meant to excite the media into including Australian designs in their editorial pages, on TV and on blogs. And it’s an event that’s meant to help attract new business for those designers presenting.

As someone who writes here about wearable and accessible fashion and beauty, it would be all too easy to get caught up in all of the showy aspects.

Anytime I found myself thinking that way and seriously considering a neon paint-splashed bomber jacket as an acceptable wardrobe addition, I’d give myself a mental slap and switch back to viewing only with the intention of translating what I saw for the everyday fashion and beauty consumer.

Because I know that’s what the majority of us want … a simple understanding of the trends ahead and how we might incorporate them into your style-robe.

Thanks for coming along for the Fashion Week ride. I’ll leave you with a round-up of the stuff that I learned.

11 things I learned at Fashion Week

The industry

1. Peacocking is the art of walking slowly in the vicinity of the entrance to a fashion event in the hope that someone – anyone – will take your photo. I opted instead for a sprint to avoid noticing the lack of cameras pointed in my general direction 😉 … because anyone over a *ahhem* certain age and/or size is blessed with an invisibility cloak! Fine by me. I was very comfortable in my outfits.

2. Fashion is not punctual. Have a ticket to a night-time show that’s due to start at 9pm? Don’t be surprised if you’re still lining up to get in at 10pm. Where else is this acceptable?

3. Models DO eat. Well, I caught some of them tucking into breakfast one morning (above right). Many are very thin. The shoulders are the test for me – skin and bone and teeny tiny arms smaller than my seven-year-old’s? Those arms scare me. What pleased me? Seeing that the shoulders and arms on the models chosen for the Elle Australian launch were indeed of the more realistic kind.

4. Designers make very small samples. The whole vicious circle around the size of models starts with the designers and continues with the fashion magazine editors. They collectively believe that the clothes look best on young, super skinny, very tall girls without bosies (how do we change that thinking?!) With only super small samples at hand, the designers obviously go for girls who fit those samples. I heard the term androgynous used a lot during the week. Can’t we return to the 1990s’ heyday of the super model … models who were revered and sought after for their feminine beauty? Please.

5. Hair, makeup and nail artists are some of the hardest working people. I spent a lot of quality time backstage last week and witnessed teams of amazingly creative people working together in a pressure-cooker environment to deliver a unified look to complement the designer’s vision for his or her collection.


6. In general, expect to see a paring back – a simplification – of outfits that you wear. Except if you are a Camilla or Romance Was Born fan. Then simplification to you is a four-letter word.  Think distinct lines and patterning that brings moveable structure to the garment. It’s this structure that makes the garment a statement piece.

7. White will be the non-colour of choice for summer. Have your Napisan stocks at the ready and your drycleaner on speed dial. Need a splash of something else? The hero colour of the week was blue, from a soft powder blue through to cornflower.

8. The two strongest makeup trends couldn’t be more polar opposite. Think ’80s excess (bold lip AND bold eye) or minimalist (the no-makeup makeup).

9. Nail art will continue to be popular. It may have seemed like a small addition to a show but it really did add the icing on the cake for the entire look.

10. Hair will also mimic the polar opposites of the fashion coming through for spring. There’s a geometric, architectural edge to some styles; contrasted with bouncy, not-too-done curls in others.

How to sit

You’ll be pleased to know that I got it right this year. No more chicken legs. No siree.

Christina Butcher (Hair Romance) and Nikki Parkinson (Styling You)

With the lovely Christina Butcher from Hair Romance at the We Are Handsome show.
Photo: Getty Images

 Are you proud of me?

PS. Like to get up close and personal with spring-summer fashion and beauty? Maybelline NY is once again official makeup sponsor for the consumer event, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Sydney in August. You can stay up to date with the festival here.


* Maybelline NY engaged me as its official blogger for MBFWA 2013.

2 FW_Fall_2012_Colors_Logos_REVISED-AU-07

Business Relationship

Comments 26

  1. I didn’t attend this year due to last minute personal reasons, but I’ve loved catching up on things through your posts. I noticed peacocking last year, but yes, as you mentioned if you’re over a certain age, or size you tend to be ignored. I tended to just walk through. But I admit to thinking “well hellllllo, it’s not like you can miss me, plus size with bright blue hair!” 😛

  2. You ask: “Can’t we return to the 1990s’ heyday of the super model?”. Yet I distinctly remember the Body Shop having a marketing campaign around how genetically blessed those supermodels were. Extraordinary how we now look back on Cindy Crawford and co as realistic. I just don’t understand who the fashion industry think they are selling to.

  3. Very! Well done – love the wrap up but not quite as much as the fact you have matched your shoes to your drink! Well done!!

  4. Thanks, great reading over the least week, love those red shoes, could you share? I agree re: models, with two gorgeous daughters, I do not want a designer’s manufactured stereotype ideal size determining their choices. Though I also believe, it is our generation of women who can lead the way for choices, ie we have the brains and cash!

    1. Janet, I know, I know … and this is where it gets really frustrating. Think about it … we’re also of the age that is likely to have more money to spend too. It’s a world gone mad when $1000 day frocks are being marketed to 18YO impressionable girls.

  5. I loved that you sat ‘chicken-legged’ last year. LOVED! Comfort over style, I say! (And if the chairs were at a more ergonomic height, you would’ve been able to sit ankles together, feet flt on floor. Blame the chairs.)

  6. Thanks Nikki for your behind the scenes and the front row version of Fashion week,I loved it all ,it is very theatrical and it looks a lot of fun as well.Yes i agree with you about the models I am not big but I am in proportion but some of those poor models are so skinny and yes it is scary about their skinny arms it is sad that fashion trends are shown on an unrealistic body shape,but that is fashion I suppose,when I worked in fashion I used to help get the models ready and they were very skinny back then in the 80s,but as you have shown us with your model and me posts clothes look good on everyone if worn the right way.
    I like how you have given us the heads up on S/S 13-14 I like white but last time i wore my white Zara pants I spilt coffee on them and yes Napisan comes in handy,I like the natural makeup look,the curls which I have naturally and I love blue.You did sit very lady like and I love those shoes the pop of colour,well just pops,great wrap up of fashion week, Very much appreciated!

  7. Nikki it has been fun to go along for the ride with you. Thanks for all your hard work in keeping us posted – btw you look fab in that outfit!

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