Credit: Lester Jones

He’s already the king of the Australian wedding and red carpet gown arena, but Steven Khalil brought something more mainstream to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia this year: relatable haute couture.

“The show with a really beautiful finale bridal gown because that’s what I’m known for and I want to always keep that alive,” says Khalil, but the show itself featured an array of stunning modern dresses and even a sequinned jumpsuit. “This year I wanted to work with something a little bit different. The pants suit will surprise people.”

Celebrity stylist and GRAZIA reporter Fleur Egan spoke to the Sydney-based designer who has worked as a designer since the age of 19 and draws inspiration from his Middle Eastern clientele, ahead of his MBFWA runway triumph. 

Khalil during rehearsal for his MBFWA 2016 show
Credit: Getty Images

Where do you start with your creative vision when it comes to preparing for a couture runway show? We sold a lot of the pieces off the last collection’s runway to the Middle East – Dubai and Saudi Arabia  so this season I decided to go into more stronger opulent tones with golds and burgundies and duck egg blues just to target that region a little bit more.

Steven Khalil Resort 2018
Credit: Getty Images

how is this year’s show different to the last one? This time, I wanted to this year develop my own fabrics, so each piece is created from scratch. Every panel was hand beaded, with countless hours of work involved in each piece to make it unique… which I’m really excited about. 

As the only couture designer at MBFWA, do you think that people have a different expectation of your show? I think they do, absolutely. I think the expectation is there is something a little bit more, not just everyday pieces. They’re specialty couture pieces [for] one-off occasions.

Steven Khalil Resort 2018
Credit: Getty Images 

You’re known for your amazing dresses. What else can we expect to see on this year’s runway? You’ll see a lot more a lot more beading. In the past I worked with simpler fabrics, but this year’s are much more detailed, more opulent, a little more colourful and a little more playful.

IS THERE ONE PARTICULAR PIECE IN THE COLLECTION YOU THINK PEOPLE MIGHT GO CRAZY OVER? Although it’s one of the simpler pieces, I feel that the pants suit will be a stand-out with a strong presence on the runway. I went back to a bit of a modern ’70s feel and it’s got a beautiful plunging neck line and nice tailored leg, with tonnes of silver, gold and black for an opulent feel.

Steven Khalil Resort 2018: that pants suit
Credit: Getty Images

IS THERE A COLOUR YOU’VE USED THIS SEASON THAT YOU HAVEN’T BEFORE? Yes, it’s like a duck egg blue which is paired back with quite a strong yellow gold. Those colours really just pair so well together and I think on the runway under the light it really is going to showcase quite beautifully. 

How important is the styling of the show? Do you like to be really involved? Absolutely. I think the styling, along with the hair and makeup, are the almost the icing on the cake. It’s what enhances the gowns, what enhances the models, the overall feel of the looks. It’s of utmost importance and I’m involved in every step of the process.

Steven Khalil Resort 2018
Credit: Getty Images

What do you hope people coming to see your show leave with? A sense of fantasy and a feeling of fantasy in their hearts. This year one of our major sponsors for the show is Affinity Diamonds, so we have paired the gowns with some beautiful stones, diamonds and lots of gold pieces. I wanted to have more boutique, old-school Dior showing feel.

View the full Steven Khalil Resort 2018 collection here

Video Credits
Creative Director: Justine O’Donnell
Motion: Lester Jones
Presenter: Fleur Egan