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Maticevski fashions drama for grand show


Models walk the Gala Runway 2 wearing Toni Maticevski outfits during Melbourne Fashion Festival at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AAP Image/James Ross)

One of Australia's most celebrated fashion designers will have a home crowd advantage when he showcases his latest collection in Melbourne.

After debuting his last few collections in Paris, Toni Maticevski will return to the Royal Exhibition Building on Thursday night having earned the Melbourne Fashion Festival's highest honour for 2020, the Grand Showcase.

The solo show is bestowed upon one designer each year by organisers, with previous recipients including legendary Australian designer Carla Zampatti, Ginger and Smart, and Camilla and Marc.

The Melbourne-based designer says it's a great feeling to be back staging his biggest runway show to date in front of a "home audience".

"It definitely feels different showing in Australia versus showing in Paris ... it feels warmer and more engaged," he told AAP ahead of the show.

"It's where my customer has developed with my aesthetic and unique style. They understand and embrace it probably more so because they have seen and understood its evolution.

"This makes showing in Australia more humbling and an honour."

Careful not to give anything away, the designer says this year's show be more forward-looking, with "a fair bit of drama and extravagance".

"There will definitely be a few surprises in there. A mix of beautiful models and styles. Some extreme looks and a heightened vision of the brand."

Festival CEO Graeme Lewsey said Maticevski's work is an "exhibition of creative and original Australian design, on which the foundation of the festival was built".

"With his experimental approach, eschewing mainstream trends, Toni's collections demonstrate somewhat of a creative utopia, and has continually shown how one can quietly achieve global success through a genuine talent and a dedicated approach to the fashion business," he said in a statement.

Maticevski's ready-to-wear collection was chosen to open the David Jones autumn-winter show at the festival on Tuesday night, with model Victoria Lee leading the charge in an asymmetrical ruffled gown.

Since launching his label in 1999, Maticevski has become renowned for his high-glamour mix of structured, architectural silhouettes and fragile flourishes of tulle, silk and draping.

The designer has grown his portfolio from ready-to-wear into bridal gowns, costumes for the Australian Ballet and Sydney Dance Company, and bespoke pieces for celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria and Mindy Kaling.

Maticevski won Australia's National Designer Award in 2002 and in 2012 he staged a retrospective show at the Melbourne Fashion Festival.

© AAP 2020