When it comes to seasonless, minimalist fashion, there is a sweet spot. A point so perfectly at the centre of sartorial desirability that it has the ability to shift the way you dress from that moment forward. It’s a certain style that encompasses every foreseeable high or low dress code via magic, malleable designs and manages to render everything else superfluous. Matteau lives in this sweet spot.
For Resort 2023, founders Ilona Hamer and Peta Heinsen Matteau-ified the Kokomo mirage. An idyllic vacay dreamscape where everyone wears chic fisherman trousers and knows precisely the number of shirt buttons to leave open for the season’s silhouette (hint: most of them). Between the languid day gowns, the new-look Breton stripes and the expertly muted foliage-prints this collection was White Lotus levels of zeitgeist. However, its genius means that it is also completely, dangerously, wearable. Key, chic staples styled in delicately modern upturns prove that at a Matteau show not only do we learn what we’ll be investing in next, but how we’ll wear it, too.
The Sydney-based label that started out dedicated to navigating the perfect swimsuit has since become one devoured by fashion forecasters year round. Matteau is now the purveyor of the supreme black trouser, of the perfect oversized Oxford shirt and, of course, of the ultimate no-frills-all-style swimsuit. And, as far as delivering sharp and exciting new staples goes, this year’s spring offering is no exception – the lace panelled shirting, the inspired drawstring pouch-belts, the sharp-cut tees, the billowing dresses, the paper-bag trousers.
“We started this collection at the end of last year when we really felt like we needed an escape. An escape somewhere warm. An escape from reality and to brighter days. It is a collection for women to feel confident and powerful yet relaxed wherever they are.” Hamer told GRAZIA.
This escapist-minimalist discourse seems to be not only an aspirational theme, however, but an ever-growing fashion genre. Matteau is a leader when it comes to this look – a distinct type of modern Australiana fashion. A particularly antipodean take on casual minimalism. Oversized shirting, long, loose trousers, restrained prints and slouchy silhouettes all through the viewfinder or a very monochromatic kaleidoscope. After today’s show an international editor sitting near us commented on the intoxicating power of this nuanced look. She noted that although at its core the idea is simple, the subtlety of detail and the significance of materials make it so incredibly persuasive.
“I think we have had time look at who we are and who our woman is. It has helped us redefine what is important and where we spend our energy. This collection is a pretty concise edit of how the Matteau woman dresses.” said Hamer.
And a persuasive woman, she is. By the end of the show I was mentally Matteau-ifiying my own next day’s look. I would draw an oversized shirt into high waisted, loose-cut linen trousers. I would keep hair and make up light and accessorise with a simple pair of black sunglasses. I would channel my own Kokomo, a fantasy destination for the effortlessly chic. After all, The Beach Boys themselves invented Kokomo as a paradise dream. It’s not a real location but a realm or state of mind. Either way, this vacay vision is where we want to go…to get away from it all.