Winter is here — well winter fashion, at least. And we summer-scorched Sandgropers could surely be excused for giving it a slightly chilly reception. Apart from the extremely forward-planning fashionista, it’s nigh on impossible to covet the feather coats, chunky knits, leather leggings and scuba trousers on show at last month's David Jones autumn/winter fashion launch when the weekend demanded little more than underwear and a sarong.

It’s always seemed a little strange that the launch of a political party’s election campaign is usually held long after the campaign has begun. In the fashion world, the reverse is true. Winter fashion launches are rolled out long before we’ve had a sub-30C day and contemplated anything that involves sleeves. Indeed, winter wear has undoubtedly always been a bit more of a hard sell in WA. A woollen coat, jaunty hat and a pair of leather driving gloves may be mandatory in Bourke Street Mall but not so much in Hay Street Mall.

Still, there is something delicious about winter fashion that, despite our lack of genuinely freezing temperatures, makes it impossible to freeze out. It’s effortlessly classy, there is loads more leeway to be a little adventurous and put your own stamp on an outfit and, for those of us who prefer not to flash too much flesh, it’s significantly better for body confidence. Oh, and did we mention boots? There is something exciting about the first opportunity of the year to don a pair of boots, be they ankle booties, knee-high boots and even over-the-knee boots. With skirts and dresses, over jeans and under pants, they are the timeless go-to item in any girl’s winter wardrobe.

If you are thinking about updating your style or even contemplating investing in a trans-seasonal piece such as a leather jacket, a dress or a tailored suit, the launches are a tantalising appetiser of this season’s sartorial smorgasbord.

The DJs’ launch was a suitably stylish affair full of colour and contrast, capes and culottes — and Carla. It was something of a tribute to fashion doyenne Carla Zampatti, who is celebrating 50 years in the biz. Her dramatically retro, ageless and ultra-feminine clothing opened and closed the show. The voluminous blue crepe flares with broad-brim hat and cape that a magnetic Jessica Gomes rocked in the finale, along with the ivory feather “In-vest-ment” coat at the beginning of the show, conjured Bianca Jagger doing Starsky & Hutch.













COOL: Jessica Gomes in a citrus Dion Lee dress.   DRAMA: Jessica Gomes in Carla Zampatti.



Zampatti’s daughter Bianca Spender also channelled a 70s vibe with lust-worthy lurex and cherry twill, as did Rebecca Vallance with slinky leather. The sexy, flouncy frocks by Zimmerman were magnificent.


EDGY: Bianca Spender’s structured elegance.

Luxe sportswear got a big run on the catwalk, which is ideal for ladies who like to work up a glam glow as well as ladies who lunch on Napoleon Street. Jodhi Meares’ The Upside workout range was a little bit spin class and a little bit street, which complemented the New York subway/Melbourne laneway set, replete with a graffiti artist and mock power poles with band posters, on the department store’s seventh floor.

Sydney’s Jac + Jack is a godsend for those who are yet to master the art of “in-between” dressing, with its relaxed knits and utilitarian-yet-elegant cotton co-ordinates. It reportedly has a big following in Perth and plans on opening its next store here.

While there were plenty of loose fits and monochrome, designers such as Romance Was Born, Dion Lee, Ginger & Smart and Nicola Finetti added glamour, colour and structure.

BOLD: Nicola Finetti.


For those of us who don’t live and breathe fashion, Melbourne label Strateas. Carlucci was an exciting discovery. The guys, Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci, who won last year’s Australian final of the prestigious International Woolmark Prize, made a huge impression with tailored suits and floaty silks contrasted with leather.

For the men, if David Jones was any indication, fashion-conscious fellas will conjure both sides of the warring fraternities in Revenge of the Nerds, with geek-chic and preppy style both big. The less sartorially adventurous will be pleased to know there was plenty of sportswear and fancy tracksuits. Audacious chaps may want to check out Jack London’s range: there was also a scene-stealing leather suit, gold lurex jacket and special poncho.


© The West Australian

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