Photos by the one and only Rachel Kara
The particular talent of Dion Lee, the one that makes him exactly the kind of designer that Australia (maybe even the world) has embraced so spectacularly, is that he knows exactly what women want to wear. It's a talent that not every designer has: most designers just know what women want to buy. Dion knows what women want to wear: he knew it when he first started making sexily slashed - yet never distressed - mini dresses, perfectly tailored jackets, crisp shirting with the pleats just so, he knew it when he started line II, with its credo of underwear as outerwear and sports-luxe detailing. And he knows it now. His debut runway show for Line II was a revelation. It was one of the only shows of the week that wasn't beholden to the fads of international fashion. Which isn't to say that the show wasn't trendy: there were midi skirts, and the luxe, languid lines of 90s-style dressing, flat sandals and deconstructed tailoring. But it was done Dion's way. It was done with the deft, light hand that has come to characterise a Dion Lee design: effortlessly cerebral, ingeniously constructed and wholly, almost breathtakingly wearable. His skill and talent as a designer is writ large across every collection: crisp suiting slashed open along the back, pleated midi skirts tucked just so, so that a slash appears, wrap-like, up the leg, the perfectly calculated deep V of a little black dress. And everything to fit so seamlessly into your wardrobe it is as if it has always been there. Everything a nuanced, carefully orchestrated balance between edginess and chic, between confidence and comfort, between masculine and feminine. This is his particular talent, the ability to understand what women want to wear, and to make clothes that speak to how we dress now.