Albus Lumen’s Marina Afonina returned to the show for the first time in four years, to the tune of A-ha’s “Summer Moved On.” With melancholic lyrics like “In the morning light / I found / the seasons won’t last,” paired with an opening look in a jet-black bikini under a baggy dust jacket, it could have set a sad tone; Backstage made things clear: It’s about confronting a turning point, and, as she candidly admits, a deeply personal one. “Fashion is really hard work, you know? And then you sometimes feel like, ‘Do you want to give up? This time I want to give it my all, or stop doing it.”
Pandemic Illness interrupted her trajectory: She was building unisex products and making her bridal debut three years ago, but things got tough. Happily, though, the results can be potent when the stakes are so personal, and Afonina, who chose the Latin phrase “white light” for her label name, is a highly positive optimist.
In her first full embrace of eveningwear and the return of the bride, she really went all out: double sheer silk petticoats, low-necked elongated dresses with trailing ties, And a low-waisted tiered dress in various shades of Afonina’s signature neutrals—bone, shell, and driftwood—could be attractive for formal occasions and weddings. A quilted silk tunic coat and a shortbread long-sleeved dress that fell gently at the hips made sense for Afonina’s surprising naming and “old glamour” of Grace Kelly, as she has so far eschewed raw and Natural decoration.
Raindrop-like teardrop pearls shone on a dropped-shoulder neckline dress, matching her primary touchpoint: a gloomy, foggy summer day. “It’s like she’s walking on the shoreline and she’s got sand all over her,” she said of the linen coat, which is decorated with pebble-shaped beads and buttons like precious flotsam and trash. Depictions of relaxed coastal style are almost inevitable at Australian Fashion Week, but Afonina is at the vanguard of the country’s minimalist, ocean-adjacent labels. Here, she reinvents crochet and knitting to create instantly desirable dresses, capes and suits with a grown-up bent. Clever moments, like the understated Australian-style tweed slub collarless jacket, gave her another step ahead.
Afonina’s three words for the series – nostalgia, faith, and future – are first and foremost true to her core. Faith is all about runway comebacks and futures: she’s counting on poignancy and polish to deliver an updated take on her label. It’s a collection worth going all out for.