THERE was no raining on the parade of runway star Jen Hawkins as the fashion retail ‘store wars’ came to a spectacular head overnight.

Myer presented what they have in store for the new season with an innovative, fresh and very cool way to show thrift new season fashion collections and designers.

Myer ambassador Jennifer Hawkins concluded the show with a spectacular experience as rain (complete with Jen holding an umbrella) sprinkled on cue as she showed off major Myer designer, Toni Maticevski.

Instead of doing the usual, big time, plenty of people runway show, the retailer opted for a more intimate approach and invited 100 hand-picked guests.

They all experienced a new space — The Cutaway — at the much-talked about Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney.

Taking inspiration from international fashion players, Myer redefined the traditional launch experience by hosting their exclusive, black-tie dinner with Australia’s most influential fashion identities and celebrities in an extraordinary first time setting — the first of a series of new events for the retailer this season.

A striking vertical sandstone cutaway backdrop, 18 metre high linear pillars and a vast open space set the scene for guests who dined in cavernous surrounds.

Crushed grey linens, burning candles and autumn floral arrangements in sandstone wax chalices adorned the lavish, endlessly long, high dining table styled with black stoneware plates and gold cutlery.

Once seated, guests were treated to a delicious menu prepared by prominent Sydney caterer Cook & Waiter with four courses punctuated by two high fashion moments. The menu was filled with light and tasty seasonal produce including yabby tail, foie gras mousse, with plum, crisped rice and basil.

A dessert of valrhona chocolate mousse, caramel crème, Pedro Ximenez fruit, nuts and cherries completed the dining experience.

The fashion-minded crowd sipped Mumm Cordon Rouge NV Champagne and a selection of vintage wines then capped off the night with a refreshing Espresso Martini.

The styling of the show, by fashion director Michael Azzollini, delivered a strong 60s and 70s baroque tone, with luxurious renderings of distinctive ladylike silhouettes contrasted with masculine styling.

Hip-hugging flared trousers, bell sleeves and fringing dominated a monochromatic palate mixed with bright prints.

Instead of one long fashion show, just two fashion ‘moments’ saw 30 models walk the length of the sandstone cutaway between the dining guests to showcase 100 of the top new season looks by 15 leading Australian and International designers.

The Cutaway of Barangaroo’s is the newest cultural space and created a scene of dramatic proportions as the choreographed designer moments made the most of the vast scale of the environment.

The fashion moment finale by Maticevski saw models kissed with falling rain symbolic of the approaching autumnal months.

Myer also officially welcomed talented womenswear designer Georgia Alice to its fashion stable.

Collections from Australian and international designers including Alex Perry, Aje, WHITE SUEDE, Peter Pilotto, MSGM, Balmain, Oscar de la Renta and Self Portrait impressed guests as Jennifer Hawkins starred on the red carpet wearing by johnny. Jennifer then closed the final fashion moment wearing a stunning bright orange Maticevski creation.

The Melissa Hoyer Verdict:

It is inevitable and essential that big retailers adapt and change with the ever-moving and fast pace of fashion. With that in mind, the way Myer produced and presented their new season collections was a great tonic and proved that fashion shows do not just have to always be on usual catwalks or runways.

While guests were perched on high stools at one exquisitely decorated long table, viewing of the clothes wasn’t easy for everyone. But that aside, a fresh way of presenting a new season of clothes was very much appreciated by the guest list who are always on the lookout for the current fashion zeitgeist.

As a new way of doing a fashion show, Myer certainly did a great job of it.

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