By Johnny, this popular designer's finale made it

From Project Runway alumni to Prince of the Runway candidate, Johnny Schembri's MBFWA leap had everyone's attention

If Georgia Alice is the next Kym Ellery, Bianca Spender the next Carla Zampatti and Bec & Bridge the next Zimmermann (although after today’s show that comparison might be a stretch) then Johnny Schembri with his label By Johnny is the next Toni Maticevski.

Both designers have a knack for occasion wear, in particular race wear, along with a fondness for zippers and bonded fabrics. While Maticevski is at the height of his considerable powers following Sunday evening’s sensational opening show for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, Schembri is still refining his vision for By Johnny. Today’s venue, the cavernous Blacksmith’s Workshop at Carriageworks was a gigantic step up from last year’s more intimate Theatre but fortunately that didn’t hold back attempts to push the label forward.
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By Johnny Resort 2017
Credit: Getty Images

The first dresses emerging from the incongruous inflatable igloo were familiar territory with body-conscious white numbers sporting hemlines that undulated like a piece of Dinosaur Designs jewellery. Black prints at times looked like cow print but finally blossomed as flowers, inspired by Liberty of London. The white and black palette continued for quite some time as the Myer team in the front row grinned, no doubt thinking of the amount of stock that will sell for Derby Day during race season.

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By Johnny Resort 2017
Credit: Getty Images

It was when the collection began to playfully explore proportion, with one long-sleeved dress covered with polka dots, billowing below the bust like a parachuting Jane Austen heroine that interest was piqued. Illusory pleating on tiered dresses and glossy black pleated skirts extended the repertoire with open backs preventing the looks from overwhelming the models. Sweet broderie angalise numbers were perfect for weekends when you’re not cheering on mares.

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By Johnny Resort 2017
Credit: Getty Images

There were a few misses among the serious hits (please let the peplum go) but Shembri was smart enough to add intriguing new arrows to his arsenal while still targeting his loyal customer base. Perhaps we can drop the ‘next’ tag now.

See all of the looks By Johnny Resort 2017 show.

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By Johnny Resort 2017
Credit: Getty Images