Hel in Metropolis

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There are a few particular visual cues I associate with the early part of my childhood. One is jumping from couch to couch to a soundtrack of Mozart (the cover had a glowing orange sunset that is vivid in my mind), another is the imposing and mysterious art deco home my family lived in, and the last is the image below:

We didn’t do arts by halves in my house. Fritz Lang’s evergreen Metropolis is a German expressionist sci-fi film which is always arresting – both for its visual power and theme. Incredibly modern and challenging, Metropolis charts revolution in a society which supports its few wealthy through the toil of an underground slave class. A son of the wealthy falls in love with an underground revolutionary, Maria. He discovers he is the child of Hel, a woman re-created in robot form by a mad scientist with the colorful name Rotwang (inset, above). By turns horrific, raunchy and shockingly contemporary, Metropolis is what came to mind at VAMFF’s Runway 7. As Hel is reanimated, she is a robotic ultra-femme who roams amongst an unwitting community. This robo-femme seemed to stalk the last premium runway of the fashion festival.

A note of caution, however: Metropolis was made in the Weimar Republic period (1927) – when the fascist government was removing liberty and encouraging racist division amongst its citizenry. Is the sci-fi meets recession aesthetic of streetwear an early reflection of our own Metropolis?

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Shakuhachi distorted brights badonka-donked down the runway, accessorized by faux-cornrows and dirty rnb littered with the n-word. #word

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Suitable for a Melbourne Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons.

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Bec and Bridge’s collection was eminently wearable (give or take a pony-pink harness for the office), but their wide-brimmed Lack of Color fedoras stole the show in terms of accessories. I am so looking forward to wearing one of these show-stoppers all winter long.

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Local heroes Limedrop brought ‘Hel’ into the 21st century with their machine-meets-woman, highlighted by ultra-size visors, futuristic perspex glasses and Barbarella-influenced pvc babydolls.

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Shades of stormtrooper, or perhaps Hunger Games resident of The Capitol?

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Alice McCall delivered a high-impact runway that felt reminiscent of the Marvel Superheroes collaborations undertaken by Romance Was Born but a couple of seasons ago. New York is the theme here, expressed in punchy graphics, scuba-fabrics and big shapes. This dress in particular fits my granny criteria for winter warmth!

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Perfect attire for a modern Maria-turned-fembot, ‘Hel’.

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