The Karla Spetic girl is all woman. She proved that today with her beautiful show, held bright and early on day 2 of MBFWA in the white expanses of the Ray Hughes gallery in Surry Hills. There, the models sipped on green juice and had their hair loosely plaited down their backs. Their nails were painted in pastel shades of Essie sweetness and their faces were scrubbed bare; the picture of youthful vibrancy coming into their own. The week so far has been all about confidence; camilla and marc's power femme-fatale, Christopher Esber's singularity, Romance Was Born's defiance and creativity. The confidence on the runway at Karla Spetic was a kind of grown-up loveliness. These were the girls - the lolitas of old - who used to prance around in peekaboo lace shifts and sheer organza confections, who picnicked at hanging rock and who blew kisses at the camera. Now, seasons on, with famous fans (Natalie Joos! Susie Bubble!) sitting front row and editors clamouring to take their seats, the confidence in the room was palpable.
The strength of Spetic's design lies in her ability to relay femininity for the modern woman. The usual trappings of girly dressing are her hallmarks - the flounces, the frills, the lace, the Barbie-perfect fuschia - but she translates them to the real world effortlessly and without pretension. The leading finale look was a shift dresses with delicate spaghetti straps, embellished with lace panelling and a soft flounce. It hang straight and true from the shoulders, hemline grazing the knee of the model, imbued with all kinds of knowing innocence. The perfect white silk suit was completed with a sheer tee shirt with oversized floral applique. Toned midriffs - the Karla Spetic girl has a great body as well as great hair - poked out from cropped shirts with flirty flounces. This was sweetness without the saccharine taste left behind in the mouth, this was femininity without the frou, this was innocence without the naivety.
Entitled 'Faith', this moniker seemed remarkably apt upon reflection. Not just because of the Jesus prints that emblazoned circle skirts and little blouses, but because of the open-armed way the collection was presented. Spetic asked very little of the audience, other than that they enjoy, and you could tell that. The models walked gracefully and without hurry, the show moved with a quiet elegance and the designs made steady ripples as opposed to the crash and bang of waves. Bright colours tempered with soft silhouettes, the flirtatiousness of lace given a wink and a smile with boxy shapes, sheer panels completed by a high neckline and buttoned-up sexiness. This art of balance was nowhere better epitomised than by Spetic herself, who took a bow in the collection's stand-out silky jumpsuit completed with a pair of converse. A woman in control.