Jayson Brunsdon’s Rio affair

Past muses for Brunsdon have included Audrey Hepburn but this season it’s the city of Rio that inspired his spring/summer 14/15 collection unveiled this week at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

Instead of elegant frock coats and dresses there were bare midriffs and ra ra skirts though in rich fabrics of course, and in vibrant colours – rich browns and rusts, “inspired by gleaming bronzed skin”, the green of palm fronds, fruity colours orange, tangerine and lime, and “beautiful turquoise from the waters”.

Brunsdon has been spending his recent summer holidays in Rio and he’s fallen in love. “It’s quite a personal odyssey this collection because it’s such an amazing city and it’s very youthful and it is a sexy city,” he said. “I love way they dress. They wear little rara skirts and hoop earrings and their hair is wet when they go out for dinner because they’ve just been swimming. It’s just a really beautiful sexy culture.”

Brunsdon admits it’s a very different collection for him but it was a deliberate move.

“After 10 years last year I thought I’m bored with doing ladylike and nobody wants to dress like a lady anymore. And it’s a different world. I don’t think we are living in an elegant era anymore. I think we are living in a pretty cutting loose time where anything goes and I really wanted to mix things up and have a bit of fun,” Brunsdon said.

Commoners fashion is a winner

The brand beat finalists fashion label Blak and jewellery brand Meadowlark for the title.

Commoners founder and designer Jae Mills of Auckland said the label focused on simple, well made basics for men and women. You know, that favourite T-shirt that you love to wear and just can’t part with? Many of the styles are unisex, and have been embraced by the Australian market as well as locally.

Mills said he will use the award, which includes $10,000 worth of export with DHL, to grow the business in Australia.

A shocked but clearly delighted Mills had no speech prepared when he accepted the giant cheque at the awards ceremony in Auckland on November 12. “We really didn’t expect to take it, being up against more established brands Blak and Meadowlark,” he said.

Margi Robertson, judge and designer of respected label Nom*d said the competition was very close between the three. In fact, so close, they awarded an equal second place to Blak and Meadowlark who each won $1000 worth of international freight with DHL. “There is no third place this year,” said Robertson.

Robertson praised Commoners and described the brand as “brave”. “They’ve stuck to their guns in terms of their design aesthetic, which takes a lot of guts,” she said.