Words by Matt Huxley
Do you remember that scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Miranda Priestley is at James Holt’s atelier and purses her lips at the catastrophic dress that he had designed specifically for her? Well it unfortunately happened today at Steven Khalil for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.
That probably makes it sound like the collection as a whole was bad. It really wasn’t. There were some truly standout pieces. A burgundy 50s silhouette dress was well structured, a cream dress had an elizabethan twist with a high ruffle neck, a boat-neck silver dress had exquisite shoulder ruffling reminiscent of an elegant cornice, and a peppermint tulle gown would’ve been loved by Frances Hodgson Burnett in all of her secret garden glory.
My ultimate fave was a thigh slit silver 90s style dress with a wrap sleeve. It clung to the stunningly curvy model with aplomb and was definitely my highlight of the night. Whilst it was clearly there as a buyers piece, it’s one that was successful and that I think will fly off shelves.
But. There was one catastrophe. A 50s style black and lemon creation with a gigantic cerise bow on the back. Unfortunately it was just irredeemable.
There were a few other misses; a drop waist wasn’t quite executed as well as hoped, one or two necklines were taken into J-Lo level of neckline plunge and a leotard with a lone strand of tulle went a tad too far into ice skater territory.
That being said, the entire quality of the collection was top notch. The fabrics were all of a beautiful quality and the cutting is always of the greatest precision. I’m a real fan of collections that have reference points, and this collection did have that, misdirected as some of them were.
Overall this wasn’t Khalil’s strongest showing, but it’s a showing that proves he’s trying to step out of his comfort zone, and that’s a step in the right direction.
All images provided by Getty Images exclusively for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.