Lines We Love: Manning Cartell

- By Thomas Dai -

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As the fashion industry grows increasingly more global, design talent is flourishing even beyond the traditional style axis of New York, London, Milan and Paris. In Australia, the biannual Mercedes Benz fashion weeks have been steadily growing in size and scope, and consequently, down-under labels such as Sass & Bide, Lover and Dion Lee are attracting buzz (and customers) far beyond the sands of Bondi Beach.

The next Aussie fashion export of note may be Manning Cartell. Sydney based and designed by three sisters, Vanessa, Gabriella and Cheryl Manning, the line has been showing at Australian fashion week since 2007 and has garnered a bevy of fashion forward international fans.

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The sisters of Manning Cartell, Cheryl, Gabriella and Vanessa Manning after their Spring/Summer 2012 show.

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Cartell’s quirky, yet elegant spring-summer 2012 collection has caught our eye this season. Titled ‘Pearls and Men,’ the collection is about the “curious dichotomy that exists between men and women,” mixing “vintage glamour” with “sporty elements and masculine tailoring.”From glancing at the brand’s look book for spring, I get the sense that part of this dichotomy they are referring to is about taking the traditional tropes of femininity—pastel shades worthy of an Easter Egg basket, silken fabrications and dense surface decorations—and making the overall look harder, not necessarily edgier but more serious, with sleeker lines and finessed tailoring. Suit jackets are stripped of fussy buttons and lapels and turned out in powder pink and orange dreamsicle hues. Dresses and blouses either come in loose, T-shirt silhouettes or intricately draped around the body. The simpler, baggier styles seemed ironically more flattering and on-trend for the modern woman, imbued with a summery sense of ease women seem to expect from Aussie designers–they of the perpetually sun-kissed skin and beachy waves.

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