SYDNEY - Great weather, Insta-friendly show venues and a plethora of new faces set the scene at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, which wrapped up at Carriageworks venue in Sydney on Friday, showcasing the resort 2024 collections. With the exception of the #WeWearAustralia finale, where 88 brands were exhibited, approximately 54 designers took part in a total of 43 shows. The public purchased tickets for seven shows through organizer IMG's two-year consumer initiative, AAFW The Experience. Some participating brands celebrate milestones midsize retailer Cue, 55 years in business; Aje is 15 years old and Michael Lo Sordo and Anna Quan are both ten years old. However, the show was brimming with new names, with 10 of them making their solo debuts on the podium, surpassing the event's traditional entry-level group shows. These included the prestigious inauguration Alémais. Launched during the curfew in 2020 by Lesleigh Jermanus, Zimmermann's longtime former chief designer, the brand has around 200 stockists in around 30 markets. Drawing attention with her bohemian-patterned daily dresses and separate pieces, Jermanus dared to wear colorful evening dresses for the first time for the resort 2024. Nathalie Constanty, London-based consultant to Le Bon Marché, who discovered Alémais in a showroom in London and introduced the brand to the retailer, said "It was the first show and the 'Woo-hoo!' a private Paris store. "It's been a magical week to be here and discover more about feminine ready-to-wear trends and Sydney," she added. "I was very pleased with the shows overall. I think the lifestyle here, the beauty of the weather, the nature. People are more relaxed than we are in northern Europe, so the style fits that. It's understated luxury… also noticed all the tailoring, how they do it in an informal way. "Because we're more used to formality. That's really cool. And brands are getting louder with prints, too." Le Bon Marché owns half a dozen Australian brands, including Zimmermann, Oroton, Sir the Label and Blanca, a shirting specialist who made her fashion week debut with a collection of flowy tailoring and daytime pajamas. Constanty also liked Bondi Born, which showed off brightly colored maillots, crop tops and bulky gowns and tent dresses at The Coal Loader at Waverton, a repurposed industrial beachfront venue. Additionally, Joslin, shown at Clovelly Beach at sunset, and Maggie Marilyn of New Zealand, showcasing a luxury sports pod at the Royal Australian Naval Sailing Association's The Navy Bear cafe overlooking Rushcutters Bay. Constanty especially liked the so-called "beach-to-bar" aesthetic that Australian brands are famous for . “The brands we have in Europe are more about dressing up around the swimming pool, but not [about doing] the transition [from the beach to dinner] - and it's stylish. This is a very interesting trend for us.” Michael Lo Sordo was both Net-a-porter market director Libby Page's favorite collection and show. Lo Sordo staged a presentation reminiscent of a dinner club to showcase her signature minimalist evening look and unveil her first menswear collection. Led by Sydney music director and composer Dan Fontaine, it featured small tables instead of the front row, and a photogenic orchestra seated in a single row in the middle of the rink. “I love how [Lo Sordo] was able to create such signature DNA with a simple piece - he's known for slippers, a staple of his wardrobe, but he gave it an iconic makeover,” Page said. He also liked Bondi Born, Joslin and Maggie Marilyn. “Places that embrace Australian features really put clothes in context. The nature-inspired collections are enriched with a multitude of linen and neutral color palettes that create a cozy feel, along with small details such as drawstring, waistbands and fine fabrics.” "Effortless sensibility is a key element that emerges. We've seen a lot of layers that Australian designers have done very well, whether it's wide-leg pants over swimsuits or long tunics over trousers. The designers really think about versatility, so because of the climate here they can switch layers on and off and have a complete look. They bring the swimsuit to life by styling it with rtw products to achieve the look. It's more about comfort and wearability than we've seen internationally. The fabric they use is much lighter, airy and airy. Even tailoring offers slouchy suits and oversized trousers with wide legs. Browns chief purchasing officer, Holly Tenser, liked Alémais, St Agni, Aje, Albus Lumen, Blanca, Michael Lo Sordo as well as Christian Kimber, a menswear brand from Melbourne making its AAFW debut. “We really enjoyed the variety of shows this season,” Tenser said. “There was a lot of new designers to explore until 'NextGen' which was contemporary, party oriented, emerging and supporting Native designers and models. We loved seeing how the designers transformed the Carriageworks space and made it theirs through the live band [Don West] at Christian, through set designs, lighting and music, which are the focus of amazingly beautiful violinists and brands like Michael Lo Sordo. Kimber. There were also some incredible styles this season, and we really loved how each designer took the job of layering and accessorizing, with Blanca doing an incredible job with that with her shirts and Christian Kimber showing off sophisticated cool layers for menswear." There was a strong emphasis on transparency, whether it was fully sheer dresses at Michael Lo Sordo, embellished see-through dresses at Anna Quan, or playful layers of sheer details at Mariam Seddiq. We especially loved the sheer layering on Bondi Born and Albus Lumen. It was sleek, flowy, and layered in an incredibly wearable way for those who don't want to bare everything. Tailoring was everywhere and the all-white look dominated almost every show. On the other hand, the contrast of the strong bursts of color seen with pinks, citruses and blues in Bondi Born, Yousef Akbar, Asiyam and Alemais. Moda Operandi buyer for rtw Kelsey Lyle liked Alémais, St Agni, Albus Lumen, Bondi Born and Joslin. “Sydney Fashion Week showed a constant emphasis on high draping, strapless column gowns, sheer fabrications and gender-fluent fashion,” she said. “St. At Agni, the use of earth tones, clean lines and renewed style has created a cohesive and harmonious collection that epitomizes contemporary elegance. Albus Lumen's collection exuded a sense of relaxed sophistication and elegant simplicity with a blend of natural textures and flowing silhouettes. It felt like a calming breath of fresh air during the busy week.” Other AAFW debutants included avant-garde labels Youkhana, Wackie Ju, and Nicol & Ford. All couture experts have created fashion moments with their beautifully curated theatrical productions. Meanwhile, Caroline Reznik, a much talked about former professional ballerina who graduated from Sydney University of Technology in 2020, presented her third collection at one of AAFW's largest venues. Reznik's signature embellished body-con look caught the attention of stylists Dua Lipa, Cardi B, Rosalía, and Kendall Jenner, where she dressed up for music videos and festivals. The Resort 2024 collection offers wholesale for the first time. Due to the absence of the First Nations Fashion & Design collective focused on a new incubation program with Australia's largest fashion e-commerce player, The Iconic, nearly a dozen Indigenous Australian brands have been featured – fewer than in recent years. However, Northern Territory-based Aboriginal art collective Ikuntji Artists and Melbourne-based Ngali, which had previously participated in group shows staged by FNFD and Indigenous Fashion Projects, respectively, switched to their own solo exhibitions this year. IFP is a Native business acceleration program run in collaboration with the David Jones mall chain. Bridget Veals, general manager of womenswear, footwear and accessories, David Jones selected Alémais, Michael Lo Sordo, Ngali, IFP alumni Liandra Swim and Haulier. Haulier was launched in Sydney in November 2020 by Jeremy Hershan, former creative director of R.M. Williams and Alfred Dunhill, formerly designer at Aquascutum, and Gieves & Hawkes in London. Launching the brand as a collection of handy bags made of canvas and suede, Hershan has recently expanded into a stylish unisex rtw. "It's good to see some creativity for the week," said Veals, of all the new names on the show. “Some people may have been disappointed by the fact that some of the more established names weren't there. But overall we thought it was a good fashion week, a good atmosphere, almost a celebration. I felt like you took over the job of making the week.