one to watch. gabriel lee.

Captured backstage at the Raffles show by Christine Ai

I contemplated for quite some time about not attending fashion week. The queueing in uncomfortable shoes, waiting around and the pretentiousness and strict hierarchy of the industry improved little from last year. But then I saw Gabriel Lee's collection as part of the Raffles runway and remembered why exactly it was so satisfying. It wasn't the it names in fashion that were the most memorable, it was discovering the newcomers, the rising stars who will take over the reins over the coming years. And I'm relieved to tell you, the future of Australian fashion is in good hands. 

Gabriel Lee isn't new to the Raffles lineup. Last year he presented a sweet selection of flowy feminine pieces and sleek tailoring in dusty pinks and creams that resembled the wardrobe of a young Judy Garland circa the Wizard of Oz. Still focusing on the fragility of the female character and his fixation on bygone eras, Lee made a statement this time around with his striking monochromatic print, contrasting textures and bold (and unexpected) accessories to match. But seriously, a cap with a clear brim and fake flowers on it? Groundbreaking (no I'm not being sarcastic). Cai and I are having dreams of taking plenty of selfies wearing these.

Taking inspiration from the wears of a housemaid in the Victorian era (ah now you see it), The Daughter of a Maid artfully modernises romanticism (delicate silks, lace sleeves, frilled headbands, voluminous sleeves, high waists and long skirts) with hints of the now sports luxe trend (baseball caps, muscle singlets and boxy sweatshirts). An innovative fusion of two very separate and distinct periods really set his collection apart from the others I saw during the week. And I'm even more impressed with the accessories he's designed - the leather clutches emblazoned with his label logo, the statement jewelled earrings, the floral embellished caps and of course that insane floral headband that just trumps everything Lana Del Rey has ever sported. The only problem with new designers is that their pieces are hardly stocked anywhere. Gabriel, please open up your online store. Those sweatshirts, hats and clutches are mine!