By - AAPNEWS
While the real world has interest rate rises and cost of living pressures, the fashion festival has the dreamy looks of the Utopia runway show.
Designers Aje and Nevenka were the crowd favourites at the event at the Melbourne Fashion Festival on Monday night.
Aje's opening looks featured structured vertical pleating and bright splashes of colour, carried through to the model's woven tote bags.
Athlete turned model Amy Pejkovic, who attended the runway show in a muted tan outfit, said the palette had her rethinking her autumn/winter wardrobe.
"I loved Aje, there was a lot of colour, usually I'm in neutrals but maybe I will go for some colour this season," she told AAP.
Melbourne designer Rosemary Masic's Nevenka was an inspiring mix of full length flowing pieces in complex layers of diaphanous fabric.
There was lacework and crochet, delicate embroidered details, and necklines were embellished with oversized blousy flowers.
Lest anyone think the collection overly feminine, several looks were anchored with leather gloves.
Label Ginger & Smart was on board with the flowing maxi dresses too, but models were sent down the runway in running shoes.
It was a move the models may have appreciated, but members of the audience did not.
"The ASICS were stupid," one fashion watcher told AAP.
"The clothing was beautiful, but it was brought down by the shoes," said another.
"I got distracted - was she going to the gym?"
Van Der Kooij went for jewel tones with big heart pendants, while Maara Collective's more monochrome collection featured inventive string detailing.
Most of the designers featured a sleepwear-as-daywear outfit, evidence that trend is going nowhere fast.
The Melbourne Fashion Festival is on until March 11.