Dion Lee was a sorely missed name from Sydney's Mercedes Benz Australian Fashion Week. It was an absence felt by many show goers but of course I had the fortunate position of having seen his London Fashion Week debut back in February as well as going over to Australia to see his showroom. Lee has all the intentions of making his presence known in London and somehow his most recent resort 2013 collection, which I saw purely in the showroom, made that point far more emphatically than his main A/W 12-3 show. For whatever reason, Lee has carved out a vastly diverse resort collection that pushes his fascination with novel fabrication techniques to a new level. With about four or five ideas in one pot, they could have come off looking like hastilyhashed experiments but actually the results are fine-tuned and more precise and focuse than ever.
There's no precedent for it but it's funny that in this instance, how a resort collections has suddenly become the better forum for Lee to eke out and develop his ideas from the previous mainline. The collection centres around the forces and phenomenon of nature. We have neoprene woven to mimic the gills of the sleekest fish one can think of. The incisions into the neoprene are sharp and exacting. We have the lines of topography maps of the Earth distorted and simplified, looking like sound waves or water ripples in different instances. I like it best when the lines are spare with less Photoshop-esque effects applied and especially effective when used with light reflective or rainbow iridescent print techniques. Or when the lines are echoed in panelled dresses which are held together with the thinnest of netting, a technique that was used in his last A/W 12-3 collection but is better seen here in bright white and vivid aqua.
Another idea that has got more welly now is the light reflective surfaces. From the last collection's eveningwear, it's now used in day-appropriate knits, which for some reason goes mental when photographed with an iPhone or even my hulking Samsung Galaxy Note (I love how people still give my phone the death stare because of its size). The light reflective yarns' dulled grey colour is mixed in with subtle shades of peach, lilac and green so that even if there isn't a flash environment, the knitwear is still interesting in its own right.
By bonding the thinnest of neoprenes to sheer fabrics, Lee presents us with a very enticing and easy method of wearing what can be an uncomfortable, if aesthetically pleasing material. It's all very well going scuba if neoprene makes you sweat and not bend your limbs properly. On the other end of the scale though, Lee has created some pretty magnificent neoprene knits, shredding up the material into strands and hand knitting them into a jumper and a sleeveless dress.
Maybe it was the moon. Maybe it was timing. Lee definitely raised the bar on a collection that may not be the most visible but I guess it's the time they spend hanging on the rails that will ultimately make the impact on unknowing, soon-to-be-converted Dion Lee fans.