I typed “Dyspnea” into Google, and at first, the results seemed irrelevant because Dyspnea is a medical term for “shortness of breath”. The short version of why Google’s search results made sense a little later is that Dyspnea’s fashion show left me gasping for breath! The label was launched by best friends Jameen Zalfen and Rachel Motteram (fondly called Rach and Jam) and their latest collection, titled ‘Dyslexicola’, is unabashedly playful, fearlessly fluffy and paradoxically, a breath of fresh air!
Sydney’s Spring/ Summer fashion routinely features bold prints, bright colors and flimsy fabrics and that’s why this particular collection by Dyspnea stood out. The designing duo took an alternative route by making earthy tones the central color palette and opulent fabrics with statement embellishments. Pink was the core color for the collection, ranging from pale to bright shades; white, cream and beige were other dominant colors. Tutus, skirts with saucy slits, flared blouses and bralettes, all made it look like a fashion fairy had touched the runway with her wand.
A rather exciting element of risk was present throughout the collection: fluffy pink woolen balls with a cotton candy-like texture were placed ornamentally on a majority of the outfits. These little “pom poms” bounced along as models sashayed down the runway, adding plenty of fun, quirkiness and a fairytale spirit to the whole show.
A whiff of retro (bellbottoms!) came in with a creative and possibly, a trendsetting twist: flared trousers in organza and lace, paired with a long-sleeved cotton jersey in one look and a paisley blazer in another. The voluminous flare was further accentuated by a soft ribbon that was used as a border. The music matched the vibe as old time favorite hits by Britney Spears and Beyonce played.
There was a throwback to a trend from the 90’s, references made to Miley Cyrus’s (in)famous furry “twerk” bear outfit, and a distinct hairdo with spiraled tendrils gelled onto model’s foreheads reminiscent of FKA Twigs’ signature style. I loved how this show made so many cultural references and still remained youthful and daring. Did I mention that it was like a (short) “breath” of fresh air?